Is Anywhere Safe From Lightning Strikes?

A look at unpredictable lightning strikes and the people who've lived to tell their electrifying tales.
6:48 | 08/08/14

Coming up in the next {{countdown}} {{countdownlbl}}

Coming up next:

{{nextVideo.title}}

{{nextVideo.description}}

Skip to this video now

Now Playing:

{{currentVideo.title}}

More information on this video
Enhanced full screen
Explore related content
Comments
Related Extras
Related Videos
Video Transcript
Transcript for Is Anywhere Safe From Lightning Strikes?
? ? It sure seems this has been the summer of stream weather. August, peak season for lightning. 70% of all deaths from lightning happen in the summer. So, where do you go when lightning strikes? Even sitting in your own living room, you're not totally safe. Ginger zee with a reality check. Reporter: Lightning claiming the life of a 20-year-old. It's the M.O. Usually associated with lightning. Attack quickly and strike outdoors. But this summer, lightning is making house calls. I still to this day cannot believe I was hit by lightning sitting on my couch. Reporter: You heard right. Last week Theresa Celeste was jolted from the comfort of her living room in upstate New York. It was the sound of a bomb going off inside your house. Reporter: At the time, she was being treated to a foot rub by her mother. She does this for you regularly? Yes, she does. She does. Yes. And I was just sitting here like this. And it was thundering, lightning. And one struck in the backyard and I went, "Oh my god, mom, that is so close." Reporter: And you saw it. Right there. I saw that lightning. And the next I knew it was the sound. And I went like this, I guess. And my mother felt the jolt. I felt it. She felt it. I don't remember feeling anything. Reporter: A roofer came to inspect the damage and could not find the point of entry. But the path is clearly visible if you look up at her ceiling. You think you're safe sitting in your house and I guess you're not. Reporter: In Maine, Christine Poore suffered blisters on her feet after a bolt came through a light fixture on Wednesday. I thought the bulb had broken, but it shot down and danced around in the bathroom sink like you were welding. She was standing right here and it just came through the light. Reporter: In Atlanta, 7-year-old Sebastian Cedeno was struck while he was inside his house with his mother. We're standing at the bay window, and then all of a sudden we hear this big coosh, and it blew both of us back, both of our hands went to our ears, and all I could see was my son on the ground, and his foot was smoking. Reporter: Fortunately, little Sebastian survived. And indoors is still the safest place to be in a storm. But lightning expert John jensenius says you still have to be aware of your surroundings. You want to avoid any with any metal connections with the outside, that would include anything that's plugged into the wiring. Reporter: So stay off the corded phones, the computer and away from appliances. You don't want to be taking a shower and you don't want to be washing dishes. The water in your home is a conductor of electricity. Reporter: So stay out of the kitchen and the bathroom. We also recommend that you stay away from doors and windows. Reporter: And position yourself toward the center of a room. Of course, the overwhelming number of lightning strikes still occur outside. On open fields. And open roads. Take a look at this. A truck is driving down the highway in Canada when it's suddenly struck by lightning. Back in 2012, I went on a mission with my friend and mentor, the late storm chaser Tim samaras. Oh, look at that. That was beautiful. Reporter: Tim wanted a glimpse into what makes that power. That electric flash of light and how we might better understand the mystery behind this lethal phenomenon. Armed with his ultra-high speed camera, he tried to capture this elusive moment. The birth of a lightning strike. And the return strobe. Reporter: Oh, my god. Even though every thunderstorm is pregnant with that brilliant but deadly force, we know surprisingly little about where, when or why it strikes. Why does it choose a target like a tree instead of a building or building instead of a tree? You know, perhaps some of the imagery that we collect in the field may help answer some of those questions. Reporter: Sadly, that mission must now be shouldered by other scientists. Less than a year after this interview, Tim, his son Paul and a colleague were killed in a tornado in Oklahoma. While 90% of lighting strike victims survive, they often suffer long lasting effects. Michael Utley has been feeling them for 14 years. My heart stopped three times that day. Reporter: Utley was playing a tournament with friends on cape cod when they ran into the ultimate golf hazard. I heard the loudest bang of my life. We turned around and Mike was on the green, scorched. His shoes were blown off. And he was just unconscious, smoking. Reporter: He spent the next 38 days in a coma. Who gets struck by lightning? Who takes that something seriously? I mean, what are the odds of that happening to you? You're 48 and invincible. Reporter: These days, Utley is about as far from invincible as you can get. Because my lower legs, there's no muscles left in them, they will not rebuild. I've been working out with a trainer every week for 14 years. And it -- they just won't rebuild. Mike is quite a fighter, and he still is today. But he had to go through a lot to get back to where he is today. Reporter: There are also concerns about what lightning can do to your mind. If you spill a coke on the laptop, it will look the same, but it won't run the same. People who are struck by lightning can suffer personality changes. They may just not be the same person they were before they were struck. People that live, there's a high percentage of personality changes, things happening afterwards. You're lucky to feel the same. I'm nervous. It's not my personality. I was lucky that I'm still here today to talk about it. We're glad she's okay, too. The question tonight, how close have you been to lightning strikes? Use #abc2020. And you're about to see the hot car vigilantes.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

{"id":24911812,"title":"Is Anywhere Safe From Lightning Strikes?","duration":"6:48","description":"A look at unpredictable lightning strikes and the people who've lived to tell their electrifying tales.","section":"2020","mediaType":"Default"}