Surviving a Storm Heath OH

Weather conditions can pose serious safety risks in the outdoors if your not prepared. Surviving a storm can be easy, read on to learn how.

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Surviving a Storm

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Surviving a Storm

Common-sense storm survival

The old saying is wrong. Lightning does strike the same place twice. Some elevated geographical locations get struck regularly. And some people like Roy Sullivan , a national park ranger, are human lightning rods - he survived seven hits.

Despite advancements in weather forecasts , each year approximately 1000 people die from lightning strikes worldwide. And if you do the math, you'll find your chances of being struck by lightning are seven times greater than winning the California state lottery. Those aren't the kind of odds you want to gamble with.

While storms take a while to whip into gale-force winds, thunderstorms frequently catch outdoor enthusiasts off guard. With 100,000 thunderstorms and 25 million cloud-to-cloud lightning flashes each year in the United States alone, the odds are that every outdoor adventurer gets caught in a storm at least once. However, you can reduce physical risks with a few simple precautions.

Too Soon to Panic?

Most thunderstorms develop on warm summer days with at least a few hours warning. If you're caught in a storm, how do you measure the proximity of lightning? When it's near, the ensuing thunder sounds like a single sharp crack. When lightning is far away, thunder rumbles deep and long. Depending on wind direction and temperature, thunder can rumble for 15 to 20 miles.

Even if the storm is far off, is it approaching or receding? Time the interval between the lightning and corresponding thunder - remember to count one one thousand, two one thousand... Thunder travels approximately a mile every five seconds, so after a few flashes you'll know if the storm is heading your way or not.

If a thunderstorm is approaching while you are in the wilderness,

  • Avoid tall, solitary objects: Trees are the most obvious example, but any isolated tall object, like an open shelter, is a natural strike point for lightning.
  • Avoid water: Water conducts electricity. If you're in the water get out quickly. If you're on shore but near the water's edge, move away. If you're in a boat and can't get to back to shore, make sure everyone is wearing their PFDs and approach waves at about 45 degrees to prevent the boat from capsizing.
  • Head to low ground: If you are on a mountain or a ridge line, descend immediately.
  • Shed the metal: Remove anything from your body that could conduct electricity. Anything made of metal or graphite can draw lightning. This includes...

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