Lightning: terrible misfortune

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mjr
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Re: Lightning: terrible misfortune

Postby mjr » 9 Jun 2019, 11:02pm

Bonefishblues wrote:Better than the average wikihow:

https://www.wikihow.com/Protect-Yoursel ... understorm

That says bad things about the average wikihow! It seems to boil down to go: into a cavern, big inhabited building with plumbing and wiring, or car. Not that much use if caught in a thorm while cycling, is it?
MJR, mostly pedalling 3-speed roadsters. KL+West Norfolk BUG incl social easy rides http://www.klwnbug.co.uk
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Brucey
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Re: Lightning: terrible misfortune

Postby Brucey » 10 Jun 2019, 1:53am

years ago I was in Switzerland and I had a free afternoon; I decided to 'knock off' a local peak requiring about 1000m ascent from the valley, ending in a narrow path which lead to a rocky summit with a tiny chapel on it. I expected the views to be wonderful from the top; the peak sat at the end of two valleys, so I took my camera. There was tarmac/gravel farm road which climbed about 1/4 of the way up the side, so I took my bike that far, changed into walking boots and hoofed the rest.

I guess the weather was much as it was a few days ago; summer warmth, light winds and humid air meant that heavy showers late on in the afternoon were a distinct possibility. I got about half way up the mountain when I saw a heavy shower rolling up the valley. It looked dark and ominous; a flash and a clap of thunder confirmed it was not just rain coming towards me. I had a choice; either retreat, (and almost certainly get soaked in the process, because there was little shelter en route) or risk a dash to the summit. If I could get to the summit quickly, the chapel would provide both shelter from the rain and protection from lightning; it had a metal cross on the roof with a big conductor running into the ground, so I'd seen in pictures. However the path ran along an exposed ridge; I didn't fancy negotiating this in bad weather and furthermore it looked like a prime position to be zapped by lightning. On the other hand there wasn't any guarantee that I would be safe if I retreated, either.

Being a bloke, I chose to carry on, didn't I.... I was still some way short of the chapel when the rain started to fall. To my consternation the path, at its steepest points, had been fitted with an iron handrail; on the plus side lightning might strike that instead of me. On the minus side that wouldn't do me much good if I was holding it at the time. With the rain coming down hard and the lightning already striking the mountain nearby, I (imagined that I?) could feel the voltage stress around me as I stumbled into the refuge. It was tiny; no more than ten feet across inside and it was already occupied by some fairly startled-looking folk who found it hard to believe that someone had been foolish enough to continue upwards under such circumstances; they'd taken shelter about an hour earlier. We sat and talked inconsequentialities as the storm enveloped us; for a while it was as black as Hades outside and the lightning crashed all around, so loudly that at times it made conversation all but impossible. I felt very glad I wasn't trapped on the mountainside lower down; I'd probably have been forced to hunker down between some rocks or something, like a half-drowned rat.

Within forty-five minutes it was all over; the storm rolled away and was replaced by the almost supernaturally clear skies and vivid colours that follow heavy rain, with a rainbow arching through the sky and sun so warm the ground was soon steaming underfoot. The views were indeed wonderful; I shall never forget that afternoon, not least because I felt that I'd come uncomfortably close to being zapped.

cheers
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Bonefishblues
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Re: Lightning: terrible misfortune

Postby Bonefishblues » 10 Jun 2019, 8:32am

mjr wrote:
Bonefishblues wrote:Better than the average wikihow:

https://www.wikihow.com/Protect-Yoursel ... understorm

That says bad things about the average wikihow! It seems to boil down to go: into a cavern, big inhabited building with plumbing and wiring, or car. Not that much use if caught in a thorm while cycling, is it?

Well, other than the rest of the advice, no.

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mjr
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Re: Lightning: terrible misfortune

Postby mjr » 10 Jun 2019, 11:37am

Bonefishblues wrote:
mjr wrote:
Bonefishblues wrote:Better than the average wikihow:

https://www.wikihow.com/Protect-Yoursel ... understorm

That says bad things about the average wikihow! It seems to boil down to go: into a cavern, big inhabited building with plumbing and wiring, or car. Not that much use if caught in a thorm while cycling, is it?

Well, other than the rest of the advice, no.

"The rest of the advice" consists only of what to do or not do while in the cavern, big plumbed+wired building or car. Are you seeing a different page to me?
MJR, mostly pedalling 3-speed roadsters. KL+West Norfolk BUG incl social easy rides http://www.klwnbug.co.uk
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Re: Lightning: terrible misfortune

Postby Bonefishblues » 10 Jun 2019, 11:54am

The link works for me - perhaps it's your settings? I've cut out the transferable info fyi:

Minimize your risk.
If you absolutely cannot reach shelter during a lightning storm, do everything you can to reduce your risk of being struck by lightning.
Move to a lower elevation. Lightning is much more likely to strike objects at higher elevations. Do what you can do get as low as possible.
Avoid large open spaces where you are taller than anything else around you, like a golf course or soccer field.
Stay away from isolated objects such as trees and light posts.
Get away from unprotected vehicles, such as golf carts, and unprotected structures, such as picnic shelters. Avoid long metal structures, i.e. bleachers
Spread out.
If you are caught in a lightning storm with a group of people, maintain a distance of at least 50–100 feet (15.2–30.5 m) between each person. This will reduce the risk of lightning traveling from one person to another.
Take a headcount after every close strike. This will ensure that anyone struck will get emergency attention quickly.
Assume the “lightning crouch”.
Squat down with your feet together, your head tucked to your chest or between your knees, and your hands covering your ears or flat against your knees. Do not lie flat on the ground, as this gives the lightning a larger target.
This is a difficult position to hold, and it definitely doesn't guarantee your safety. However, by making it easier for a lightning strike to flow over your body rather than through vital organs, you may be able to sustain a smaller injury from it.
Cover your ears and close your eyes to protect against nearby thunder and bright lightning flashes.
Be alert for an imminent lightning strike.
If lightning is about to strike you or strike near you, your hair may stand on end, or you may feel a tingling in your skin. Light metal objects may vibrate, and you may hear a crackling sound or "kee kee" sound. If you detect any of these signals, assume the lightning crouch immediately.
Plan ahead.
The best way to avoid injury from a lightning storm is to avoid it completely. Make your plans with dangerous weather in mind. Listen to the local weather forecast, and pay special attention to thunderstorm advisories.
Research the local climate: in some areas you can almost guarantee a thunderstorm on summer afternoons. Schedule your activities to avoid many high-risk situations. Those hot, muggy days are just the thing that a thunderstorm needs to get going.
Watch the skies.
When you’re out and about, watch the sky for signs of approaching thunderstorms, such as rain, darkening skies, or towering cumulonimbus clouds. If you can anticipate lightning before the first strike, you can avoid being caught in a bad situation.
Note that lightning can, however, strike even in the absence of these indicators.
Calculate the distance to the lightning.
If conditions permit good visibility, and it’s not practical to seek shelter whenever you notice a strike, use the 30 second rule: if the time between a lightning flash and the resulting thunder is 30 seconds or less (aka 6 miles (9.7 km) or less), get to shelter immediately.Plan your response. If you are in an area that you expect will see lightning storms, know where safe shelters are. Communicate your plans to your group so that everyone knows what to do in an emergency.
Treating Lightning Strike Victims
Call emergency services. Because lightning strikes can cause cardiac arrest, aggressive resuscitation may be necessary. If you cannot dial 9-1-1, designate someone else to.Make sure it is safe to help. Do not put yourself in danger trying to help a lightning strike victim. Either wait until the immediate danger has passed, or move the victim to a safer location.
Despite the common myth, lightning can strike the same place twice.
Start CPR. People struck by lightning do not retain an electrical charge, so you can immediately touch them and begin treatment. Do not remove the burned clothes unless absolutely necessary.
Perform Child CPR if the victim is a child. Perform Adult CPR on adult victims.Treat the victim for shock. Lay the victim down on his or her back with the head resting slightly lower than the torso. Elevate and support the legs.

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mjr
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Re: Lightning: terrible misfortune

Postby mjr » 10 Jun 2019, 12:17pm

Thanks. None of that is displayed to me on either phone or tablet. While the phone could be my settings, I've really not changed the tablet settings much from default.

It's still a bit confusing and unhelpful, like telling you to avoid both tall trees and also open spaces, and to put your head on your chest but watch the skies (so be on your back?). How would we summarise it? If you can't get to shelter, crouch near a hedge?
MJR, mostly pedalling 3-speed roadsters. KL+West Norfolk BUG incl social easy rides http://www.klwnbug.co.uk
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Bonefishblues
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Re: Lightning: terrible misfortune

Postby Bonefishblues » 10 Jun 2019, 12:25pm

In summary order of priority I read it as:

1. Don't be near lightning at all if you have an alternative.
2. If you are, take shelter, ideally in car or building.
3. If you can't, get down from altitude/away from open areas.
4. If you are caught out in the open, assume the position recommended.

...and a bunch of other stuff.

As I say, we get the heck out of it if we see any lightning when we're fishing - out on wide open flats in or near a metal boat carrying carbon fibre conductors, sorry fishing rods, isn't a recipe for longevity :shock:

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Re: Lightning: terrible misfortune

Postby PDQ Mobile » 10 Jun 2019, 1:07pm

Brucey's experience in the alpine area is not unusual.
Thunderstorms take on another dimension out there.
And can develop incredibly fast.

I have heard horror stories of climbers bivvying on big walls with the metal work flying around on it's tethers due to the static.

In "High Level", David Brett recounts crossing a glacier near the Ofenhorn in a storm so that St Elmo's fire ran up and down his ice axe! :shock: :shock:


Personally I have been pretty frightened in the Alps, especially camping high up late in the day when escape is pretty much precluded.
I have even resorted to winding insulating tape around alu tent poles though others have considered it pointless as the charge is so high.
Certainly metalwork, stove pans karibiners etc get moved away.
Choice of pitch is important.

As a last resort when camping and all else to avoid strike has been done, one places one's fate into the hands of the weather Gods.

I have found that it is the noise and the volume of it in close strikes that terrifies the most.
The simple expedient of diving right into the sleeping bag eyes tight shut and fingers firmly in ears eases the fear considerably!! :shock:

Tangled Metal
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Re: Lightning: terrible misfortune

Postby Tangled Metal » 10 Jun 2019, 1:57pm

Not sure a cave is right. There's been stories of people getting struck inside caves. Apparently the strike can pass through the ground and jump across the gap in the cave using you as the conductor. Possibly a very rare occurence though.

The other point is protected building. Potentially a strike can pass through you inside a building without a conductor. Your house should be earthed especially your TV ariel or satellite dish.

There's stories of a few people getting caught out on the same fell in borrowdale. One was a petite woman with his 6'4" partner who you missed despite his height and trekking poles on his rucksack. Advice doesn't help if you've got especially conductive body chemistry! Afterall you're more likely to be struck a second time than a first time I believe.

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Re: Lightning: terrible misfortune

Postby mjr » 10 Jun 2019, 3:13pm

Tangled Metal wrote:Your house should be earthed especially your TV ariel or satellite dish.

If you earth a satellite dish antenna, it ain't gonna work because the antenna head power (12v IIRC) will go to earth instead of the antenna. The usual trick with satellite dishes is for the cable to run near to earth before turning upwards again to go through the wall and into the house, in the hope that the lightning will jump to earth rather than back up again and along.

I've never replaced a terrestial antenna to know how/if they're protected. The junction box in the loft plugs into the mains, so might be earth-protected that way.
MJR, mostly pedalling 3-speed roadsters. KL+West Norfolk BUG incl social easy rides http://www.klwnbug.co.uk
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Tangled Metal
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Re: Lightning: terrible misfortune

Postby Tangled Metal » 10 Jun 2019, 3:22pm

Fair enough, never had a dish to know about them.

Our ariel has an earth that goes to a copper pipe on the ground. When they moved the overhead electricity supply to an outside shed they separated the ariel earth and the supply earth and put a new, uprated earth cable in to the ground. I know have two earth points. I do not know if this is a normal thing or not.

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Re: Lightning: terrible misfortune

Postby Carpediem » 11 Jun 2019, 12:16am

reohn2 wrote:For those who know the area,on Thursday after carefully checking the forecast said no rain over the moors,I decided on an MTB ride from Rivington village.
The ride took me up to the Dove tower and down into into Belmont village,where I spotted the flaw in the forecast(a huge black cloud heading my way from the west),I decided to keep heading east toward Edgerton and over Turton golf club,swinging north on the Witton Weavers way to Entwhistle,stopping off at the Strawberry Duck for a sandwich then heading west to Cadshaw crossing the A666 and over Tuton Moor,heading for The Jubilee tower on top of the moor.
I was was doing well skirting around the huge black cloud and rolling thunder just to the to the south.
At this point I felt that chilly wind that says I'm coming your way :? .
The rain came so quick I'd barely time to get my waterproof on and it was overhead,and the thunder with it.
The high point of an exposed moor is not the place to to be in a thunderstorm on a steel bicycle :shock: and boy was it raining,I was soaked within a minute of it starting.
At this point I should say that one of my granddaughters was once struck by lightening,thankfully she only suffer very slight burns but was knocked unconscious but recovered fully within a few days.This was to the forefront of my mind as I hastily descended the 1km rough track down,which was now 7cm deep in water running off the moore,to Sunnyhurst and what seemed to be safety.
I continued my ride in pouring rain to Tockholes,Roddlesworh wood.Abbey Village,Briscall,Whit Coppice,The Nab and back to Rivington for the drive home.32 hard hilly enjoyable miles with the last hour and a half soaked through :D
You never know do you?


That’s my neck of the woods,
All my rides start from my home village of pickup bank.near Darwen
No avoiding hills round here

Brucey
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Re: Lightning: terrible misfortune

Postby Brucey » 11 Jun 2019, 1:14am

standing under trees when there is lightning is widely regarded as A Bad Idea. People conduct electricity better than most trees do, so the lightning can jump from the tree into you; it is easier for it to reach ground that way. And then there is the danger that parts of the tree can fall on you should it be struck.

However not all trees are the same perhaps; a German friend of mine tells me that they have a saying at home which is 'Suche die Buche" i.e. 'seek the beech'. They believe that beech trees are less dangerous to stand beneath than other types of tree. I wonder if there is anything to back this up?

cheers
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reohn2
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Re: Lightning: terrible misfortune

Postby reohn2 » 11 Jun 2019, 7:55am

Carpediem wrote:That’s my neck of the woods,
All my rides start from my home village of pickup bank.near Darwen
No avoiding hills round here

I've ridden through Pickup Bank in days past,its hiilly round your way but a great area for cycling :D
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Tangled Metal
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Re: Lightning: terrible misfortune

Postby Tangled Metal » 11 Jun 2019, 8:26am

Beech trees have the unfortunate name in forestry sector of "the widowmaker". The reason is they drop branches without warning we're talking big, heavy branches. I learnt that as I was told that by a more experienced outdoorsman she discussing camping spots in woods. Not sure I'd seek out a beech to shelter under in a thunderstorm or any type of storm.