29

Okay - I found that both my Langmuir (Mountaincraft and Leadership) and my Mountaineers (Mountaineering: The Freedom of the Hills) have pretty good advice about lightning. I would advise anyone planning on heading out into the hills to read both of these excellent books - Langmuir is the book for British Mountain Leader Training, and the Mountaineers covers ...


22

Any pole will have a fractionally greater chance of attracting lightning than a piece of flat ground or a dome tent - but this doesn't mean the increased chance is that high. If you are in the middle of an entirely flat field and your tent pole is the highest object for miles, then it will be a slight risk, but some points to consider: If you are anywhere ...


21

It is safer to be inside the vehicle than out. The NOAA National Weather Service's lightning safety page recommends vehicles as a safe location during a thunderstorm: You are not safe anywhere outside. Run to a safe building or vehicle when you first hear thunder, see lightning or observe dark threatening clouds developing overhead. Stay inside until 30 ...


19

The first thing to do is to not pitch your tent in the middle of a flat area when there is a chance of thunderstorms. Sometimes that's not so easy, but that doesn't make it any less a good thing to do. For a properly sited tent, the best thing to do during a thunderstorm is to stay put. Lightning shouldn't hit the tent directly, but it could hit something ...


17

Here is the position the Boy Scouts of America teaches boys to use when in this situation. If a lightning storm catches your group in the open, spread out so that people are at least 100 feet from one another. Further limit your risk by crouching low with only the soles of your shoes touching the ground, and take off your hat if it has any metal parts. ...


13

Here's a lot more advice than you aked for: Around 24000 people in the entire world are struck by lightning each year. Supposing you live to be 85, that's 2 million people in your lifetime. On 7 billion people alive today, that's a lifetime chance of 1 in 3500 -- your chances are pretty slim anyway :) But, to be more elaborate: your chances of being ...


11

To answer your other questions: No, don't insulate the pole at the bottom with a sandal, and yes, you are overthinking this. In the relatively unlikely (but possible) event that lightning does stike your tent pole, you want the current to be conducted to ground as easily as possible. If not, it might find other routes, like thru you. At best a sandal is ...


9

Your chances of getting hit by lightning while on the water are actually higher then if you are on the beach. (unless you are fishing) Fishing contributed to almost half - 46% - of the water-related deaths involving lightning strikes; while boating (power boats, canoes, sailboats, tubes) added another 25%. About 20% of the victims were relaxing on a beach,...


9

No, you should definitely have stayed in your vehicle. Think about what lightning will do. It is attracted to tall conductive things, but that's not the whole story. A vehicle on a flat plane is more likely to be hit, but the conductive metal on the outside will shunt the current around the contents of the vehicle. It may be very loud and unpleasant, but ...


8

I am by no means an authority on lightning in any way. With that said, however, I have had my share of getting caught climbing in a thunderstorm, and have since tried to do some reading on the subject. The biggest hurdle to surmount here is that most lightning safety advice revolves around seeking shelter, which is often not a viable option midway up a ...


8

Yes. It is safe to be in your car when in a lightning storm. Cars (pretty sure not soft-tops) and planes act as a Faraday Cage Faraday cages are metal containers or meshes which protects against static and non static electricity. As a note... Top Gear also tested this in laboratory conditions with an artificial lightning generator and Richard Hammond ...


8

Close enough to shock i.e. an indirect strike According to the National Lightning Safety Institute lightning has been observed to arc out 40 meters and how far it conducts varies. Possible outcomes Death Concussive injury Burns Lichtenberg figures Blunt force trauma Cardiac Arrhythmias Kidney damage Cataracts Eardrum damage Lower extremity paralysis Not ...


7

The pass is safer than the peaks on either side of it, but less safe than not hiking over the pass. When I did my Instructors course for Summit Adventure, hiking over a pass during a thunderstorm would have been considered extremely unwise, and the procedure would have been to either not cross or to get the heck off if you were on top and saw a storm ...


7

It seems you are asking about risks of lightning striking close by, but not directly on you. In other words, the lightning current isn't passing thru you on its way between the ground and the sky. There are certainly risks. I think the two main ones are flying debris and ground currents. The current in lightning is very high, can heat things above the ...


6

From https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jama/article-abstract/403803 Access to the full article requires subscription, but an extract is quoted below: In their article entitled "Prehospital Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation: Is It Effective?" Cummins and Eisenberg state: "Clinical evidence provides strong support for efforts to increase the percent of persons ...


5

I don't know how to compute the odds, but being out on a lake in a lightning storm is a really bad idea. The mountains around the lake aren't going to provide cover. There are several models about how nearby tall object protect you from getting directly hit by lightning. None of these are accurate or guarantees, as there is still much chance associated ...


5

Lightening strikes from a point of excess electrons (negatively charged) to a path to a deficit of electrons (positively charged). As a rule, lightening usually strikes from the clouds to the ground, but occasionally, the opposite can happen as well. It is not always the case that the tallest object will be struck. The path which offers least resistance ...


4

This is a partial answer, without the requested statistics. Lighting strikes can disrupt the normal electrical signals in the heart. See Cardiac Effects Of Lightning Strikes Assuming that no other life threatening physical trauma has occurred, CPR can maintain oxygen flow until the heart restarts. CPR by it's self is unlike to restart a stopped heart but ...


4

The short answer is yes, if the rules are followed, it is technically legal for personal size sailboats, 16ft (4.9m) or under, to be out in a thunderstorm in Nantucket Sound. The Sunfish, which is 13.9ft, (4.23m), falls into that category. However, it's not smart, and is highly discouraged! Classification: Massachusetts State Boating Laws break watercraft ...


4

If your vehicle has a closed metallic structure, you are definitely safer inside than out: if lightning strikes your vehicle, or near your vehicle, the metal will conduct the electricity away from you. The protection is almost as good as if you were inside a building with a lightning rod. If you are in an open-top vehicle, or one with a non-conductive roof,...


4

Cracks in rocks or lying on the ground won't improve things. Creek beds might make it worse if there's enough water to conduct electricity. The best policy is to get down before the lightning starts. Moving to the trees is probably the second best bet. Look around and see if a bunch of trees in your area have been struck over the years. If so, you're in a ...


4

It depends a bit on your circumstance, but it's fair to say that the 3 options you provided would each be okay, given the right circumstance. If you are close to the treeline, it might well be worth running to it. But if it's more than a mile or two away, I wouldn't risk it... Finding an imperfection is probably your best bet. Just make sure it's not next ...


3

If you're really above the treeline you don't have a lot of options. However the best thing is to make yourself as small as possible. This means you should squat down. (The same way you use a squatting toilet). To even improve this, you should only place a small piece of your foot to the ground. The reason for that is, that you should try to minimize the ...


3

I would lay down your backpack and crouch on top of it. The backpack combined with your hiking boots should insulate enough. Of course, this should not be done on top of the peak. This technique is even improved when used in a cave but finding a cave up there is rather unlikely. I found this the most comforting counter measure against lightning.


3

Being struck directly is very unlikely though. Canoes are often made from wood, aluminum or fiberglass, although some plastic is used as well. Lightning strikes insulating materials all the time, like wooden trees or wooden houses. This is why lightning rods are found on wood buildings, to stop any lightning bolt from setting the building on fire. ...


2

@Wigwam's answer is a pretty good explanation, but I thought I would add to it a bit more "common" one. First lightning is extremely powerful, and it does not need to hit you to totally mess you up or kill you. Lightning will hit just about anywhere, though it likes to take the "best path" to the ground. That's not technically true, but like any ...


2

Lightning likes to take the path of least (electrical) resistance. Air has an extremely high electrical resistance, so lightning will strike just tall objects so it doesn't have to travel as far through air to get to the ground (even things we think about as insulators, like wood, conduct electricity much better than air) To get to the point of your ...


2

I've been inquiring about lighting safety in general, and the more I read the less certain I am about anything. A: While boating incidents are a big fraction of lightning deaths, and deaths of fishers are over twice as great as of beach bums, there's a confounding factor: Fishermen spend more time on the water, and are not dismayed by cloudy weather. B: ...


2

I agree with being sure to properly site the camp but I disagree with laying on the ground during thunderstorms. Crouching on the balls of your feet is the safest course of action. Do not lay on the ground ... the infinitesimally small insulation from your mat isn't going to do much when it comes to current that first made it through the air and then ...


2

It's risk management. The best way to handle a storm is to get down before it starts. Check the weather and be down by noon or whenever the weather normally gets genned up. If you're in a thunderstorm and you're very high, it is probably more dangerous to rush a technical descent than to wait out the storm or continue climbing (up or down) normally. Don't ...


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