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Larry Roll

Pumping Gasoline During A Thunderstorm

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Has anyone ever given any thought to whether or not it is safe to refuel a gasoline-powered vehicle during a thunderstorm? Today, I didn't refuel during a strong local thunderstorm, because I didn't consider it safe to do so. Later, a Google search failed to come up with any definitive information on the safety of refueling from a typical gasoline station during a thunderstorm. Does anyone have any information or opinions on this topic?

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trap

This is one of those cases where it is better to be safe than sorry. Even if there is no real threat in fueling a car during a thunderstorm, I certainly percieve that there might be one and so I will not refuel in a thunderstom either. It might be purely psychological, but it freaks me out and I try to avoid situations that freak me out.

 

Thunderstoms can be really serious. Last night I had to go into work for some training. Within minutes of getting there, a serious thunderstom developed. Next thing I know the tornado sierens are blaring. The storm got really violent, it was beginning to tear metal off the roof and signs off the building. After a couple minutes the winds picked up and the rain stopped, which is a sure sign that a tornado may be in the area. The siren continued to wail and the acting manager was freaking out. Just as the siren stopped and she calmed down, I got a call from my manager from her home. She informed me that a line of really severe thunderstoms was passing over our area. She told me to lock the front door and tell the other employees that we needed to go to the back room. Our building is in an outside mall and the entire front wall is glass. If the glass was hurricane glass, we would have been fine, but the glass is so poorly installed that it actually flexes when the wind blows across it too fast. Anyway, we went to the back room for something like five minutes before I decided that the stroms just weren't that bad. We closed up the store (which was my training), locked up and got into our cars.

 

As I started to drive home, I turned my Sirius off and switched to a local radio station for a weather report. The station was completely dead, which got me worried. My cell phone also would not recieve a signal, even though I was in a area which normally had full coverage. I was on the intersate and on this particular stretch of interstate there is nothing between the mall and home. About 15 miles from home, the tornado sirens started again. It was raining so hard that I had to turn the high beams on just to see and every once in a while thunder clapped so loudly that it shook the glass in the car. At that point I realized that there was no where to pull over if the weather got any worse and that I was 15 minutes from home. Even though I knew that it was a stupid move, I got in the left lane and got the car up to an unsafe speed for the conditions. 10 minutes later I was on my street, just as I hit the garage door button, the power went out on the other side of the street. Turns out that I was driving home in a Thunderstom that was so bad that the county emergency management was called out to sweep the highway for motorists who were too scared to drive any further.

 

Thinking about it today, I should have stayed at work for another 20 minutes and let the storm pass, but I didn't know that it would pass so quickly at the time. Oh well, I got home safe.

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Has anyone ever given any thought to whether or not it is safe to refuel a gasoline-powered vehicle during a thunderstorm? Today, I didn't refuel during a strong local thunderstorm, because I didn't consider it safe to do so. Later, a Google search failed to come up with any definitive information on the safety of refueling from a typical gasoline station during a thunderstorm. Does anyone have any information or opinions on this topic?

I saw a show once that warned against being on the telephone or taking a shower during a thunderstorm. My wife kept warning me and I thought it was a myth until I watched it on Discovery.

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True about using a phone or shower during a storm. There are much more attractive targets for lightning to strike at a filling station than you and if I remember right then stations are grounded with lightning rods so if they are struck the energy goes into the ground away from the pumps and you to prevent an explosion or electrocution. However I personally would not want to fill up anywhere when its raining or soon after it has rained because I'd be afraid I was buying watered down gas since the rain can drain into the tanks.

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It's not the thunder, it's the lightning :D

 

Seriously, I have never heard anything about this and don't recall any warnings. However, I don't like lighting (had a car parked under a large tree that was hit while I was getting in to the car - not fun). I avoid being outside when the bolts really start to appear and I am not about to be holding a gas hose during a lightning storm. It may be grounded, but it's not a chance this guy would take.

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I would wait out the storm b/c i dont want to get wet...

As for lighting, is it really an issue? wouldnt it hit the buildings/signs around you first?

 

$0.00002

tdk

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The odds of getting struck by lightning is low, although my high school gym teacher did get struck and died.

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Odds of being struck by lightning, in your entire lifetime, is one in 3,000. Still, I wouldn't tempt fate. 

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