Moderator: HAZ - Moderators
Would like to know the same!Grasshopper wrote:I don't have the answers for the safest way(s) to wait out a lightning storm, but I would also like to know what the "official guidelines" are from a respected agency "in the know"...Who would that be and can someone post them here for further discussions?
BASIC LIGHTNING SAFETY GUIDANCE. The following guidelines have been compiled by lightning safety experts and reflect the current thinking on this topic. Please note the knowledge base on lightning is continuously expanding so readers are advised to keep abreast of new developments as they occur.
The National Weather Service routinely issues watches and warnings for thunderstorms that can produce tornadoes and other severe weather (high winds and large hail). It does not, however, issue warnings based solely upon lightning. Moreover, a storm need be neither tornadic nor severe in order to produce copious numbers of lightning strikes. When considering lightning any thunderstorm, by definition, has the potential to produce a "severe" lightning strike. While adhering to lightning safety rules can at times be inconvenient, one must consider the alternative of not following these simple measures. Adults are responsible for the safety of children under their care; this includes matters of lightning safety. In this spirit, the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) has issued guidelines for lightning safety for those in charge of team sports. K-12 educators have become active in promoting lightning safety on schools (Roeder et al., 2001). Ultimately each of us is responsible for our own safety during lightning storms. The most important fact is to realize that no place outdoors is safe when thunderstorms are nearby. Implementing a lightning safety and awareness plan is a multi-level process:
Level-1: If you are planning outdoors activities, obtain the weather forecast beforehand. Schedule outdoor activities around the weather to avoid exposure to the lightning hazard. Know your local weather patterns.
Level-2: If you are planning to be outdoors, identify and stay within travelling range of a proper shelter. Employ the "30-30 Rule" to know when to seek a safer location. The "30-30 Rule" states that when you see lightning, count the time until you hear thunder. If this time is 30 seconds or less, go immediately to a safer place. If you can't see the lightning, just hearing the thunder means lightning is likely within striking range. After the storm has apparently dissipated or moved on, wait 30 minutes or more after hearing the last thunder before leaving the safer location.
The "30-30 Rule" is best suited for existing thunderstorms moving into the area. However, it cannot protect against the first lightning strike. Be alert to changes in sky conditions portending thunderstorm development directly overhead. Larger outdoor activities, with longer evacuation times, may require a longer lead-time than implied by the "30-30 Rule."
Level-3: When lightning threatens, go to a safer location. Do not hesitate. The lightning casualty lore is replete with tales of persons just about to make it to safety when they were struck. Even a few extra minutes lead time can be life saving.
What is a safer location? The safest place commonly available during a lightning storm is a large, fully enclosed, substantially constructed building, e.g. your typical house, school, library, or other public building. Substantial construction also implies the building has wiring and plumbing, which can conduct lightning current safely to ground. However, any metal conductor exposed to the outside must not be touched precisely because it could become a lightning conduit. Once inside, stay away from corded telephones, electrical appliances, lighting fixtures, ham radio microphones, electric sockets and plumbing. Don't watch lightning from open windows or doorways. Inner rooms are generally preferable from a safety viewpoint.
If you can't reach a substantial building, an enclosed vehicle with a solid metal roof and metal sides is a reasonable second choice. As with a building, avoid contact with conducting paths going outside. Close the windows, lean away from the door, put your hands in your lap and don't touch the steering wheel, ignition, gear shifter or radio. Convertibles, cars with fiberglass or plastic shells, and open-framed vehicles are not suitable lightning shelters.
Level-4: If you cannot flee to a safer location, take action to minimize the threat of being struck. Proceed from higher to lower elevations. Avoid wide-open areas, including sports fields, beaches and golf courses. Avoid tall, isolated objects like trees, poles, and light posts. Avoid water-related activities such as swimming (including indoor pools), boating and fishing. Do not remain in open vehicles like farm tractors, cabless construction machinery, riding lawnmowers and golf carts (sun roofs offer no protection). Do not consider unprotected open structures such as picnic pavilions, rain shelters and bus stops. Avoid contact with metal fences, metal bleachers, or other long metal structures. And the cardinal rule remains: Do not take shelter under trees to keep dry during thunderstorms.
Level-5: If circumstances or a series of bad decisions have found you outside of a shelter, far removed from a safer place when lightning is occurring, there are still measures to be taken. If lightning is about to strike, it will sometimes provide a very few seconds of warning. Sometimes your hair may stand on end, your skin will tingle, light metal objects will vibrate or you will hear a crackling or "kee-kee" sound. If this happens and you're in a group, spread out so there are several body lengths between each person. Once you've spread out, use the lightning crouch. Put your feet together, squat down, tuck your head, and cover your ears. When the immediate threat of lightning has passed, continue heading to the safest place possible.
Level-6: If the worst happens, there are key Lightning First Aid guidelines. First, if at all possible, call "9-1-1" immediately. Since all deaths from lightning strikes result from cardiac arrest and/or stopped breathing, begin treatment as soon as possible. CPR or mouth-to-mouth-resuscitation is the recommended first aid, respectively. It is an enduring myth that strike victims retain electrical charge. They do not. There is no hazard posed to a care giver. If the storm's lightning is ongoing and represents a continuing risk to responders, consider moving the victim to a safer location
No lightning safety guidelines will provide 100% guaranteed total safety, but the preceding guidelines will greatly minimize the lightning hazard to humans.
No mention "good or bad" about rock ledge overhangs or caves?wallyfarak wrote:This is from the National Weather Service website.
wallyfarak wrote:the cardinal rule remains: Do not take shelter under trees to keep dry during thunderstorms.
"Level 5-spread out so there are several body lengths between each person. Once you've spread out, use the lightning crouch. Put your feet together, squat down, tuck your head, and cover your ears. When the immediate threat of lightning has passed, continue heading to the safest place possible."wallyfarak wrote:This is from the National Weather Service website.
It would not be a natural instinct for me to just stop in the open and use this recommended "lighting crouch", but it is supposedly proven to be the correct action one should take.. guess we just have to remember to do it if the other recommended options aren't readily available. Hiking with trekking poles must also be a no-no in this sitution.. toss them away from you, go into the lighting crouch, and grab your GoLite-Crome Dome umbrella and hide under it..fotogirl53 wrote:I don't think I could squat down and wait it out.
azbackpackr wrote:height and isolation of an object are the only two factors that predict the likelihood of a lightning strike
So we just need to be cautious of cave entrances?azbackpackr wrote:The type of material has no influence on the probability of being struck.
I think the Boy Scouts used to teach this rule of thumb.imike wrote:I've always adhered to the 45 degree rule... putting yourself within the "protection" of a taller object, yet within 45 degrees down angle of it's shadow. The thought is that lightning will follow the path of least resistance. The idea is to put yourself as far away from the taller object yet still be within that 45 degree "shadow"... then, still augment with the proper crouch.
dshillis wrote:So what's the rule on metal then?
azbackpackr wrote:height and isolation of an object are the only two factors that predict the likelihood of a lightning strike. The type of material has no influence on the probability of being struck.
dshillis wrote:So what's the rule on metal then?
I read that to mean that any metal in your pack doesn't matter. Hiking poles should probably be put down on the ground so that they don't create something that is taller than you in your crouch, but according to this, you could be wearing a metal hat and it's not going to "attract" lightning anymore than if you are wearing a rubber hat. BUT, if you do get hit, the metal hat will cause you greater injury.The height and isolation of an object are the only two factors that predict the likelihood of a lightning strike. The type of material has no influence on the probability of being struck. Metal, however, will do a much better job of conducting the current to ground than wood or plastic. Trees offer higher resistance to the flow of current and will become hot, burn and may explode as the water within instantly vaporizes.