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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 ...


12

Camp Selection The location of your camp will likely be a much bigger factor than what style of bedding you use. Find a low point away from any large trees and away from anywhere that may accumulate water as it lighting typically accompanies rain would be priorities. Mountain tops are great for view but are scary as hell during electrical storms. Tents vs. ...


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 ...


9

First of all: try to think and plan ahead. Don't get caught on a mountain top during a thunder storm... Keep an eye on the weather and change your route accordingly. Location: Make sure you're not exposed and not the highest point in the immediate vicinity. So stay off of summits, hills, and don't stand upright in the middle of a vast field. Ideal: (...


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 ...


8

I would say the tent if the hammock is tied to a tall tree. If you can tie the hammock to some shorter trees surrounded by taller then the hammock might be better. But any lying position is not optimal. Lightning storms don't last long I would squat.


7

In general the idea (#1) of the guide is not a bad one but it is way simplifying weather forecast. It is not as easy to predict even short-time. Of course it could be a local guide with lots of experience (we don't know that by your question and maybe you also didn't know while on tour) and he will be right most of the times because he knows his mountains ...


7

The guide's argument seems to be reasonable. However, I would not recommend to simply copy that behaviour but try to go with the more conservative advice you were given. The guide has one big advantage compared to you: He is roaming this area all the time – if he is a local guide, if not he has at least lots of experience with mountainous areas in general – ...


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 ...


7

(NB: I would have added this as a comment to @fgysin's answer, but I don't have enough rep. to comment yet.) @fgysin's answer (and the associated comments) is very thorough, and covers most points. However, there's one other thing worth considering (unless you're alone). If you haven't been able to get to a safe location, and are sitting out the storm as ...


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 ...


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 ...


6

Heat lightning is a myth. It's normal lighting from a far-away thunderstorm. Lightning is visible 30–50 miles (48–80 km), or up to 100 miles (160 km) over perfectly flat terrain. Thunder is only audible from about 10-15 miles away. So when a storm is more than 15 miles away, but less than 50-100 miles away, you get silent lightning. The term "heat ...


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

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 ...


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

One of the basic principles of lightning safety is that you don't want to be the highest thing around and you don't want to be under something that is the highest thing around. For example only one group has ever been struck while floating the Colorado through the Grand Canyon, but multiple people have been struck either on the rim or while sheltering under ...


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 ...


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