what to do if you are caught in a thunderstorm while hiking
The fierce winds can destroy up to large, well-built structures depending on the strength of the tornado. You will want to avoid being in water during a storm. When a severe storm watch is issued it means that conditions are favorable for severe weather. What to do to avoid being exposed to lightning when hiking? The best thing you can do is to try and find some sort of depression and lie flat face down and use your hands to protect the back of your head. Statistically flash flooding is more of an immediate danger than lightning. NWS defines a storm as severe when it contains one or more of the following: hail one inch or greater, winds gusting more than 50 knots (57.5 mph), or a tornado. While an underpass would provide shelter from rain, wind and debris are another story. Every per­son in your group should spread apart 50–100 feet from one anoth­er while the storm pass­es over. Ranging from mild to severe and deadly, storms can be a serious threat and require monitoring to determine their potential impact. It also uses the alert feature of the NOAA broadcasts, which means you can set the radio to monitor a specific broadcast frequency and it will alarm if an advisory is issued for your area. We already discussed the danger of being in water during a storm, and the danger of lying down and increasing your contact with the ground. Beware of Met­als Second, a tent provides no protection from lightning or falling trees/limbs. The primary threat during a tornado is wind. Check the Fore­cast Seek shelter immediately from an enclosed space, if this is unavailable then find a low stand of trees and drop trekking poles or metal objects at least 100 feet away from your position. Spread Out This is just a bad idea in general. You will be able to hear a significant difference in sound if a tornado is approaching that most people describe as a freight train like sound. You also have winter storms, but that will be a separate article. Keep your eyes peeled for clouds and light­ning, and always lis­ten for thun­der. A severe thunderstorm watch means that conditions are favorable for severe thunderstorms in the watch area. After all, she cre­at­ed the incred­i­ble moun­tains, forests, and lakes that we can’t seem to get enough of. However, the agreed number is approximately 10 miles. It can be hard to see tornadoes coming, especially if it is dark. But with the good comes the dan­ger­ous: in the face of a light­ning storm, a hike to the top of a moun­tain to take in epic views can very quick­ly become a seri­ous emer­gency. If a building is nearby that would be the number one choice. If a sin­gle bolt of light­ning strikes, this mit­i­gates the chance of the entire group becom­ing immo­bi­lized. If you have a pack keep it on as it will protect your back and add some weight to you. A NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) weather radio allows you to tune into local weather broadcast from almost any location on earth. As an electrician I learned years ago that high voltage could go where you can’t see a path. In this article, we will look at how to survive a storm while hiking. If you should become aware of flash flooding, move to higher ground if heavy rainfall moves into the area. … in a cab­in, trail shel­ter, deep in a cave, or at the low point in low, rolling ter­rain. Second, Many caves flood during or after rains. Don’t let any oth­er part of your body come into con­tact with the ground: avoid touch­ing any­thing at all. If you are deep enough inside the cave to be safe from lightning and wind, you are at risk of being caught by flood waters that can come from either direction. After the Storm Pass­es There are some constants that we can tap into to help us gauge how far off a storm is, the speed of sound (767.269 mph) and the fact that thunder is caused by a lightning strike. How do you know if lightning can hit you? The size, however, doesn’t determine how powerful a tornado is, as you can have large weak tornados or small but very powerful ones. When are severe storm warning is issued, remember that it means severe weather has been confirmed by either spotters or radar. Back­packs should be put aside (met­al frame packs should be left at least 100 feet away from you), and belts and met­al jew­el­ry removed and placed aside. Here’s what you need to know about sur­viv­ing a light­ning storm while out on a hike. They also issue several other weather statements that we will discuss in other sections. Head for Shelter. One of the most essential elements in surviving a storm while outdoors is preparation. If it’s less than 10, head for cover. Close your eyes, tuck your head, and cov­er your ears with your hands. Even if you had to hike through some weather, if you can make it before the worst parts of the storm, it may be worth the effort. We obviously know that it would be a bad time to take a swim, but even standing in ankle deep water in a ditch or creek would be a bad idea. There are several popular versions of durable radios that feature solar panels, hand cranks, built in flashlights, the ability to charge phones and other useful features. Tree limbs, dead trees, rocks, and many other items can be picked up and thrown with great force. This lowers your chance of getting struck by lightning. The 30 seconds/30 min­utes rule can also help: if the sound of thun­der comes less than 30 sec­onds after the flash of light­ning, you need to find shel­ter imme­di­ate­ly. Do Seek Shel­ter… If you are caught outside during a tornado, you have very few options. Any car, truck. This is of course highly dependent on the location of the shelter from where you are, physical stamina, hiking speed, as well as the storm’s strength and characteristics. Don’t Seek Shel­ter… How far lightning can extend outward from a storm can vary depending on the storms strength and atmospheric conditions. Caves can be very dangerous shelters during a storm for several reasons. The actual electricity will be gone from their body before the flash is over. Lightning is still present during most tornadoes, so being strapped to a lightning rod would be a bad idea to begin with. When lightning strikes the ground it is conducted along the surface or near the surface. © 2009 - 2020 The Clymb. These debris items become missiles that can do as much damage as the wind itself. If you have no shelter, you will want to find a ravine or depression, that will allow you to get below the surrounding area. If the dis­tance is six miles or less, you’re in the strik­ing zone. Once a per­son has been struck, they are safe to touch: there is no elec­tric residue. If the light­ning storm is pass­ing over and you’re unable to get shel­ter, assume the “light­ning posi­tion.” Crouch down low onto the balls of your feet, with your feet close togeth­er. Also, research the location itself, and take note of clearings, depressions, and other prominent features. If you hear this coming through the storm, it’s time to move. Your email address will not be published. If you are in a heavily forested area and can not find or are not near any open areas, you need to try and find a group of smaller trees. There are many myths out there about how to stay safe during inclement weather, and many will put you in more danger rather than help keep you safe. If any­one in your group is hurt, act quick­ly. Being outdoors during a storm can be dangerous, and there are certain things you need to do to stay safe. Do not use large trees as shelter during a storm. The most common watch or warning that is issued is for a severe thunderstorm. The secondary threat is from debris. The enhanced scale was developed to allow for more consistent assessment of damage and to allow for better data collection. Secondly, the possibility of larger limbs falling out of the tree during wind increases with the age of the tree. The best possible solution is to get to some kind of shelter. R D, Your email address will not be published. Light­ning storms usu­al­ly form in the after­noon, so bear that in mind for lat­er hikes. All rights reserved. Head for Shelter. We will also discuss several myths about what to do in a thunderstorm if you in the backcountry. Here’s how to fig­ure out the dis­tance of light­ning: count the sec­onds between a flash of light­ning and the sound of thun­der. First, rock conducts electricity. What to do once you are within lightning range? For this reason, all storms must be treated with care. Warnings mean there is a serious threat to life and property to those in the path of the storm. Find a val­ley or a depres­sion in ter­rain. The Ultimate Buying Guide, How to choose the best family tent for camping – Ultimate guide, Best dog backpacks for hiking – Ultimate guide to help you choose, The 16 most beautiful treks in the world you have not yet thought of, Top 8 Best GPS Watches for Hiking [How to Choose Ultimate Guide 2020], SOCKWA – The Ultimate GO-TO Shoe for Hikers, Campers and Backpackers, 8 Best Backpacking Pump and Straw Water Filter Systems (Review), Best Portable Camping Coffee Makers (Enjoy Your Coffee Anywhere), Practical Tips for Safe Winter Hiking (Outside High Mountain Environment), 10 Best Hiking Boots and Shoes of 2020 – Men and Women Models, Top 8 Best Hiking GPS of 2020 [Ultimate Buying Guide], Best Backpacking Stoves of 2020 and How to Pick One for Your Next Hike.

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