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  1. #21
    Registered User JPritch's Avatar
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    Decent read. Hitting the JMT in a few days and understand I'll be pretty exposed in some parts. I do alot of fishing and had some very close calls. Seen lightning touch down on the water around me while I'm gunning back to the dock. One of my graphite fishing poles began buzzing one night. I knew I had to get out of there quick! Man do I hate lightning. Definitely puts you in your place so to speak and shows you how powerless you really are.

  2. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by JPritch View Post
    Decent read. Hitting the JMT in a few days and understand I'll be pretty exposed in some parts. I do alot of fishing and had some very close calls. Seen lightning touch down on the water around me while I'm gunning back to the dock. One of my graphite fishing poles began buzzing one night. I knew I had to get out of there quick! Man do I hate lightning. Definitely puts you in your place so to speak and shows you how powerless you really are.
    I'm happy one of those close calls you had didn't become fatal.
    Everyone must be careful while hiking, especially while hiking alone.

  3. #23
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    Well this seems to rain on the "lightening position" parade. This seems like many things, ask 3 experts, get 3 opinions.

    The National Weather Service (NWS) stopped recommending the crouch in 2008. Why? The crouch simply doesn't provide a significant level of protection. Whether you're standing or in the crouch position, if a lightning channel approaches from directly overhead (or very nearly so), you're very likely to be struck and either killed or injured by the lightning strike. Rather than "what to do in a dangerous situation" NWS focuses on "what to do so you don't get into a dangerous situation," and, "if you do find yourself in a dangerous situation, how to get out of the dangerous situation."
    ◾Plan ahead, that includes knowing where you'll go for safety.
    ◾Listen to the forecast.
    ◾Cancel or postpone activities if thunderstorms are in the forecast.
    ◾Monitor weather conditions.
    ◾Take action early so you have time to get to a safe place.
    ◾Get inside a substantial building or hard-topped metal vehicle before threatening weather arrives.
    ◾If you hear thunder, get to the safe place immediately.

    Promoting the crouch gives people the false impression that crouching will provide safety. Even to promote the crouch as a last resort when a person's hair stands on end gives people the impression that they will get a warning sign or that there is something that they can do in that situation which would prevent them from being struck.These beliefs could cause people to become apathetic and not seek a safe shelter before the lightning threat becomes significant.

    So...what do you do when _____(fill in the blank)_____ and you can't get to a safe place? There is no safe place outside in a thunderstorm. NOAA's recommendations are based on safety. If you can't get inside a substantial building or hard-topped metal vehicle, you can't be safe. While there may be nothing you can do to lower your risk significantly, there are things you should avoid which would actually increase the risk of being struck. Those include:
    ◾ Avoid open areas.
    ◾Don't be or be near the tallest objects in the area.
    ◾Don't shelter under tall or isolated trees.
    ◾In the woods, put as much distance between you and any tree.
    ◾If in a group, spread out so that you increase the chances for survivors who could
    come to the aid of any victims from a lightning strike.

  4. #24
    Registered User Redbird2's Avatar
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    Lightning is nothing to fool around with. It can be deadly. Check out this video of a lightning strike: https://youtu.be/Uunp45iO1RY

  5. #25
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    thanks for sharing the information

  6. #26
    MuddyWaters's Avatar
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    If you hike, you are going to have to engage in risky behavior occassionally.
    Your chances of being struck are not very high. It goes with the activity.

    One rule still applies.....dont be the tallest thing around.

    Most of us have crossed high places in thunder storms because we were in wrong place at wrong time. Dont be foolish, but sometimes your choices are limited and you take risks.

    Lightning can strike miles away from the actual thunderstorm , under clear sky. You cant go running off mountain every time you see a storm in distance. Well, maybe you can,but no one does.

    Actually, contrary to above, the crouch does provide protection. Having feet touch ground close together minimizes potential for ground current to flow thru your body in a strike nearby. You dont have to be struck directly , to be killed. Many victims are not struck directly.
    Last edited by MuddyWaters; 03-03-2018 at 07:47.
    "Inevitably, a long distance hiker must choose between travelling light, and not travelling at all." - Earl V. Shaffer

  7. #27

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    interesting old thread....
    about "metal in your pack"
    I seriously doubt if a pot or tent stakes in your pack are going to make a hill of beans worth of a difference. I don't think the metal in and of itself is an attractant or magnet to draw in the lightning. In my estimation, the metal thing is all about the conduction path to ground....the conductive umbrella shaft that increases your height &/or improves the path to ground.
    This points to something I was considering when I bought trekking poles, knowing that I would likely end up with a trekking pole supported tent. I was reluctant to buy metal thinking they would be two lightning rods right next to me while I sleep. I did end up going aluminum and did end up with a zpacks duplex and I often second guess that decision.

    3 sided shelters - maybe 35 years ago I was in a boat with my dad, a 23 ft Penn Yann with a flying bridge.....so we were in the cabin, motoring off shore in a thunderstorm. Lightning hit the top of the radio antenna and traveled through all the electrical system....everything that was turned on was literally melted into goo.... ever light bulb, the windshield wiper motor (the one that was off was fine), the engine's electronic ignition module.... everything. Everything was off was fine.
    I was standing at the opened doorway looking out when it struck. The rain was splashing on the deck just outside was hitting my shins. Flash/Bang and I felt a zing. Much like touching a fully charged 9volt to your tongue.
    Since that time I've learned a little more about lightning related to it striking aircraft. If it can pass through the structure or wiring, that acts like a faraday shield and never theoretically touches anything inside. The current is just trying to pass through to ground.
    I'd recon that a metal roof shelter isn't such a bad place to be. It's really just the stray currents that might arc off the structure that might jump out to get you..... like the guy I knew once that told a story about lightning hitting a pole outside his house that got into the phone wire and jumped 10 feet or something from the phone on the wall in his kitchen to zap him..... so I wouldn't be touching anything on the walls that could be the path from that roof to ground and I'd be trying to stay away from the rain spray at the door, and I'd stay off the old wired phone on the wall.... but otherwise I'd rather be in a shelter than in my tent on a bald. I'd guess teh main bolt is much more likely to hit the taller trees around that shelter anyway.

  8. #28

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    Gabby Johnson lives.

  9. #29
    illabelle's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Traveler View Post
    Gabby Johnson lives.
    Learned something new googling "who is gabby johnson"

  10. #30
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    I've only had two scary experiences. Once I was above the tree line in the Pecos Wilderness area - I could see thunderstorms brewing and started to run to get off the exposed portion of the ridgeline and into the woods. The other was kayaking on a three mile crossing in coastal Maine, and a thunderstorm appeared that came off land bearing down. Both times, there wasn't much warning as the storms were partly hidden by land and other ridges.

  11. #31
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    Interesting article, thank you, but... As you may know, according to the NOAA, over the last 20 years, the US averaged 51 annual lightning strike fatalities. And each year in the US, approximately 400 deaths are attributed to excessive natural heat. So you have 10x chances to be hit by heat, you know

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