Chums - I hate following that attachment away from HAZ and it is TL:DR!!
Here is my answer to a question on Quora. Joe - you can copy and past this as a survival article if you are so inclined.
What should I do if I'm walking along a mountain ridge with a metal frame backpack when a lightning storm comes?
A great source for mountaineering answers is "Mountaineering - The Freedom of the Hills
, I try to avoid bad situations by planning and precautions. Where I live, thunderstorms usually fire up in the afternoon so I would try be off a ridgeline or summit before the storm.
But if I found myself in this predicament, this is what I would do with my group.
1) I would work my way about 100m down the side of the ridge opposite the direction of the storm. Even though this ridge has tall trees, I would still get off the ridgeline. The winds across the ridgeline will probably be pretty ferocious. Do not go into caves or under overhangs. I explain why below.
2) I would avoid tall trees and look for a stand of fairly even sized trees.
3) I would drop that pack about 20m from where I expect to hunker down.
4) I would put all items metal or graphite in the pack. Empty metal from my pockets. Even put my watch in the pack.
5) I would take out my tarp - marking sure it doesn't have metal grommets. If it has metal grommets, I would cut them off. It is likely to hail heavily so I could cover myself with the tarp.
6) I would take out my sleeping pad and move to a position about 20m from the pack. I would disperse my group in the same general area but about 10m apart.
7) You can tell how close the storm is by the time between the lightning and the thunder. Count the Flash to the Bang. Start counting seconds when you see the flash, stop counting when you hear the bang. Divide the number of seconds by 5. The result is the distance away from you. Sound travels at about 1 mile (1.6km) every five seconds.
8 ) as the storm got close I would crouch on the balls of my feet on my sleeping pad like a baseball catcher and I would cover my head and ears. .
UNDERSTAND THE DYNAMICS OF LIGHTNING.
"Most lightning ground strikes occur directly below a cloud and hit the nearest high point. But lightning strikes can emanate from several miles away toward high points ahead of (or, less frequently behind) the main thunderhead cloud formation - "out of a clear blue sky." Therefor, mountaineers can be in danger of a lightning strike at times even when the storm is not overhead" Mountaineering - The Freedom of the HIlls page 509
"Lightning can strike a climber in various ways:
Direct strike of a mountaineer in the open who could not find shelter
Splash strike, in which the lightning current jumps from an object it initially hit onto a mountaineer who sought shelter nearby
Contact injury, from holding on an object that lightning hits.
Step voltage, transmitted along the ground or through an object near a climber (even a wet rope)
Blunt trauma or blast effect, created by the shock wave from a nearby strike.
Lightning caused injuries include cardiac arrest, burns and internal injuries,"
We refer to these as FLASH, SPLASH and FLOW.
FLASH being the direct hit.
being side effects of the direct hit. Trees can literally explode throwing large branches and trunk pieces in all directions. Or the current can look for an easier way to complete the circuit by splashing to nearby objects.
is the flow of the current as it heads downhill to ground. Lightning doesn't just hit and stop. It flows. Do not stand in the entrance of a cave or under overhanging rocks. By standing in the cave, your body could complete the circuit of the downhill flow and the current will flow right through you.
"If climbers are caught out in the open during a thunderstorm, they should try to seek shelter. Tents are poor protection: metal tent poles may function as lightning rods; stay away from poles and wet items inside the tent. Take the following precautions to avoid being struck by lightning:
Get away from water, which readily conducts electricity
Seek low ground if the party is in an open valley or meadow
Move immediately if your hair stands on end
Avoid standing on ridge tops, at lookout structures, or near or under lone tall trees, especially isolated or diseased trees
Look for a stand of even sized trees if in a wooded areas
Do not remain near or on rocky pinnacles or peaks
Do not remain near, touch, or wear metal or graphite equipment, such as ice axes, climbing devices and frame packs
Insulate yourself from the ground if possible. Place a soft pack or foam pad beneath you to protect against step voltage transfer of the lightning strike through the ground - though ground currents may move through such insulation
Crouch to minimize your profile, and cover your head and ears
Do not lie down - lying down puts more of your body in contact with the ground, which can conduct more electrical current"
Mountaineering page 555
Have fun and stay safe. If you are in charge, then take charge. If you are not in charge, shut up, listen, and follow directions. If no one is in charge, then step up to the plate and take charge. I like thinking through Survival and "What-if" scenarios so that I can try to stay sharp and keep my skills current.
https://www.quora.com/What-should-I-do- ... torm-comes
Be careful when lighting is in the forecast!! (I spelled it like that just to aggravate LizBeth)
“Weather forecast for tonight: dark. Continued dark overnight, with widely scattered light by morning.” George Carlin