Thunder, lightning and everything frightening

We don’t know about where you live, but Mother Nature has been a little finicky these last few weeks. One moment she is delivering bright, sunny and 80 degree weather. The next moment she serves us up thunder, lightning and pouring rain. While we welcome all Mother Nature has to offer, all of us here at Klymit like to ensure that we are safe when we go to experience her many gifts. That means, among an array of safety skills, we also have the best practices in place to deal with flash flooding and lightning strikes.

Based in the desert lands of Utah, flash flooding is a reality for many of us here at Klymit and when we are planning an outing we take precautions to be sure we are making safe choices. We should probably also mention that many of us are Eagle Scouts, oh yeah – we are “physically strong, mentally awake and morally straight,” so you better believe we had better get this right or suffer the consequences from former scout leaders and fellow Eagle Scouts.

When heading out to a region that is prone to flash flooding here is what we learned from the National Disaster Education Coalition.

1. Observe current conditions and weather forecasts – flash floods occur during periods of excessive dryness when the ground may be so baked that the water simply runs off or after many successive days of rain when the ground is overly saturated and no more water can be absorbed. Overall, it is when there are high volumes of rain over a short period of time. When planning an outing in areas prone to flash floods or during a rainy period, watch the weather and forecasts before your visit and during. Of course, weather forecasters will address if there are flash flood concerns. It is also wise to contact a local ranger station if you are concerned and want first-hand accounts of the weather.
2. Keep an eye for high ground when hiking – if you are hiking in a area prone to flash floods, keep and eye open for high ground and make and exit plan. Don’t enter slot canyons or narrow low elevation areas if you think there is a chance for a flood.

Rain storms often come with lightning. If you are in a lightning storm, here are a few tips for staying safe from the New York Health Department.

1. On your toes – if you are stuck out in the open during a lightning storm, crouch down onto the balls of your feet, bend at your knees and tuck your head. Try not to put your hands on the ground and do NOT lie down. Try to find a low spot away from tall trees, metal fences or tall poles.
2. Off the water – if you are on the water, try to seek dry land as soon as possible. If you cannot get to shore, crouch down on the boat as lined out above or go below if the boat has hull.
3.  In the woods – if you are in the woods, try to find a group of smaller trees and get into the crouched pose.

We hope you don’t get caught in any sort of inclement weather, but if you do be prepared, know your surroundings and be sure to do as much information gathering prior to your outing. Knowing Mother Nature is the best way to enjoy her many offerings.

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June 2012


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