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Thread: Dealing With Lightning when walking

  1. #1
    Mini Goon Daleyboy1234's Avatar
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    I got caught out by lightning and ridiculous rain yesterday and got stuck in a tunnel (until it flooded), granted it was in Newcastle City Centre so I was able to run to another building in reletively short time but I got thinking what the hell would I do if I was out and about and something severe came out of knowhere?

  2. #2
    ‹bermensch
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    The time between thunder and flash tells you if lightening is approaching or going away. Don't be the highest thing in the area. Avoid trees even root spread, big rocks,caves. If lightening looks threatening, put your pack and poles down, if you can get it out quickly take your sleeping pad with you, and find the most protected possible area and get yourself down on the pad. Get in the Lightening Safety Position ie on your knees head down over them,hands over your ears,(unless you are confident you are in a really safe place). Stay like that until it is clear that it has passed.

  3. #3
    Ultra King Paddy Dillon's Avatar
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    Probably the same storm I had yesterday, while hacking and slashing my way through my garden, where everything is growing faster than I can deal with it!

    This is what will happen next...

    Lots of people will say that you have to get off the summits, and chuck away your walking poles and anything metal you're carrying... etc... etc... blah... blah... blah...

    It's a load of rubbish!

    If lightning strikes always hit the highest points, you'd see evidence of it on Ben Nevis, and indeed every other prominent high point in the country. You don't see blasted trig points and cairns, so clearly that's a load of rubbish. If you check news reports about lightning strikes and see what eye-witnesses say, you'll find that lightning can, and does, strike anywhere and everywhere. You can get hit indoors and outdoors, and you can get hit on flat ground even in a valley, or when surrounded by high buildings. Why is this? Well... simply because the lightning is following the line of least resistance, and there is absolutely no way that you can see what that line is, or plan to be somewhere else at short notice.

    As for metal bits and bobs about your person, these don't 'attract' lightning at all. That's just another piece of rubbish. Sure... they put lightning conductors on high buildings, but that's the get rid of the charge as quickly as possible in the event of a lightning strike. If you actually get struck by lightning, THEN any metal bits will conduct a charge, but they won't do that if the lightning strikes anywhere else.

    In short... lightning will strike where it wants to strike... in an unpredictable fashion... and there's precious little you can do to avoid it.

    On the othe hand...

    If the air is literally 'buzzing', and your hair is standing on end and crackling with static, then you probably need to move VERY FAST to anywhere... anywhere at all... where that isn't happening, because it's quite likely that you're already on one of those lines of least resistance!

  4. #4
    ‹bermensch
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    Lightning Safety Tips

    AVOID: Avoid water. Avoid all metallic objects. Avoid the high ground. Avoid solitary tall trees. Avoid close contact with others - spread out 15-20 ft. apart. Avoid contact with dissimilar objects (water & land; boat & land; rock & ground; tree & ground). Avoid open spaces.

    SEEK: Seek clumps of shrubs or trees of uniform height. Seek ditches, trenches or the low ground. Seek a low, crouching position with feet together with hands on ears to minimize acoustic shock from thunder.

    KEEP: Keep a high level of safety awareness for thirty minutes after the last observed lightning or thunder.

    Above is from the US national Lightning Safety iInstitute

    Other stuff -Get into fully enclosed buildings,car,not barns.Some say using the foam mat is a myth.Saying avoid high land is not that helpful when you are already up there and it is hours'/days to come down.

    But as Paddy says lightening strikes are not unpredictable.

    I try kneeling in a ditch,low area if it is really bad and hope for the best. Also heed the forecasts and plan accordingly.




  5. #5
    Ultra King Peter Clinch's Avatar
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    MC o fS have a page on it here...

  6. #6
    Ultra King Paddy Dillon's Avatar
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    Safest place to be is inside a vehicle!

  7. #7
    ‹bermensch
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    The MC of S sums it up well. I recall being on the GR5 sheltering high up with a couple of Germans, who interestingly had much the same advice as I had, But seeing bolts striking objects around complete with puffs of smoke, brings the subject home to you.

  8. #8
    ‹bermensch Moonlight Shadow's Avatar
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    Anyone sells portable Faraday cages...?

  9. #9
    Mini Goon Daleyboy1234's Avatar
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    Thanks guys some good advice I hope, the buzzing thing I had heard before and to crouch down. I don't know if I am more worried than I was before now I know, the tallest building thing is a myth, it is a bit worrying. Lightning I find amazingly beautiful and scary in equal measures! It looks like there is more going to be hitting the nation today so we shall see what that brings! I managed to see a bus and car submerged in the after effects of yesterday!

  10. #10
    Ultra King Paddy Dillon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Paddy Dillon View Post

    Safest place to be is inside a vehicle!
    Well... except when it's submerged!

  11. #11
    Ultra King That bastard Skip's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Paddy Dillon View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Paddy Dillon View Post

    Safest place to be is inside a vehicle!
    Well... except when it's submerged!
    Unless you've got your wetsuit and scuba gear with you, of course.

    Kneeling in a ditch? Sounds like some of my camping experiences


  12. #12
    Ultra King Parky Again's Avatar
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    and don't forget the lightning that goes from the ground to the air...

    being hit by lightningis generally being in the wrong place at the wrong time.

    would being struck by lightning be better thanstanding under a tree that is struck. don't trees tend to boil and explode nastily giving youm uch nastier injuries.in addition to the usual.


  13. #13
    Initiate Kish Logan's Avatar
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    There's a guy conatacted Test Match Special having had his umbrella struck by lightning yesterday. Spent five hours in hospital but all he's left with is a bit of pins and needles.

    Apparently he was going to a Test Match in Leeds carrying a Lancashire CC umbrella! See #flyingVee75

  14. #14
    ‹bermensch Mr Sworld's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Moonlight Shadow View Post

    Anyone sells portable Faraday cages...?
    Yeah but most people call them a car...

  15. #15
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    MPO, just continue with what you are/going to do.

    The only truely safe places are in a car, a Farraday cage, or very deep in a cave.

    Otherwise you have too hope for the best. Even sheltering in buildings doesn't help.

    How many homes have been hit? Some times causing great damage.

    If/when I get caught in a electric storm, (and I have been, more than a few times), I don't bother with all the "supposed" advice, I watched a TV programme about a Park Ranger in the US, he'd been hit 4 times!! According to him the first 2 times he'd followed the advice and was still hit, after that he didn't bother but was hit twice again.

    His policy was not to bother and just get on with it. "If your gonna get hit, your gonna get hit, don't matter what you do".

  16. #16
    ‹bermensch
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    Quote Originally Posted by Paddy Dillon View Post
    If lightning strikes always hit the highest points, you'd see evidence of it on Ben Nevis, and indeed every other prominent high point in the country. You don't see blasted trig points and cairns, so clearly that's a load of rubbish.
    Very true. I've seen lighting strike the ground several times on a relatively flat plain lower than I was on the Spanish side of the Breche de Roland in the Pyrenees & aroound the rim of High Cup Nick in the Pennines. In both cases I decided the best policy was to run, in one case down to a refuge, in the second to a pub. Worked.





  17. #17
    Ultra King Paddy Dillon's Avatar
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    I've seen refuges that have been destroyed by lightning... one of which was 600m below the summit of a mountain. Best place to have been when that got hit would have been on top of the mountain!

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