It might seem like a foregone conclusion that using personal electronics during a lightning storm isn’t the brightest of ideas, but apparently nobody told these guys:
“Listen to an iPod during a storm and you may get more than electrifying tunes. A Canadian jogger suffered wishbone-shaped chest and neck burns, ruptured eardrums and a broken jaw when lightning traveled through his music player's wires.
Last summer, a Colorado teen ended up with similar injuries when lightning struck nearby as he was listening to his iPod while mowing the lawn.
Emergency physicians report treating other patients with burns from freak accidents while using personal electronic devices such as beepers, Walkman players and laptop computers outdoors during storms.”
While there is no conclusive proof that lightning is attracted personal electronics, the results of using electronics in close proximity to a lightning strike can be disastrous. Think of the damage lightning has been known to do to households and household electronics. Now imagine that same amount of energy being released on something much smaller, say a human being.
The moral of the story is to not be caught outside in or around a lightning storm if you can help it. Keep in mind that lightning is known to strike as far as a few miles away from the ‘rainy’ part of the storm, so don’t use rainfall as your only guide. If you absolutely cannot avoid being outside during such a storm (as sometimes happens) then by all means put the laptop, iPod, and cell phone away until you’re safely inside.