Farmhouses in rural areas are often fitted with lightning rods, but never in cities. Is weather change responsible for this?

Weather Blog

Dear Tom,
Farmhouses in rural areas are often fitted with lightning rods, but never in cities. Is weather change responsible for this?

James McGrath

Dear James,
Much of post-World War II building has occurred in areas where lightning protection had not been a part of home building codes. There is a greater appreciation of lightning’s threat in rural areas where less accessible firefighting resources make it imperative to try and prevent fires. In addition, farmhouses are frequently the highest structures around and are more susceptible to lightning.

Weather change is not the explanation. Thirty thousand residences are struck by lightning annually. One claim occurs with one of every 60 lightning strikes to buildings and lightning strikes account for about five percent of residential damage claims.

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