Friday, February 15, 2013

How to avoid lightning when day hiking

To avoid lightning, get away from the places it is most likely
to strike. Photo courtesy of NOAA.
Lightning provides a spectacular show for free, but it’s also potentially quite deadly.

Once you hear thunder, lightning is not far off. Thunder is the traveling ripple caused by lightning’s shock wave as it darts through the sky.

Rain need not be falling for lightning to hit you. An electrical storm is a major cause of lightning strikes.

To avoid lightning, you want to get away from places where it is most likely to strike: above the tree line on mountains; the mouth of a cave; a solitary tree; depressions; and ledges or wet ground.

If on a mountain, immediately descend to below the tree line. A thick tree grove is the best form of natural shelter. Remove metal from your body and sit on your backpack to keep you separated from the ground. Crouch as low as you can, shielding your head with your arms.

Read more about day hiking with children in my Hikes with Tykes guidebooks.