Thunderstorm safety


If you’re outside and suddenly see darkening skies, increasing wind, or a drop in temperature, be aware that a thunderstorm may be looming. Thunderstorms are most common in the spring and summer months during the second half of the day but can happen any time.

Keep in mind these tips if you do hear that first rumble of thunder signaling lightning not too far behind, and can’t reach shelter quickly:

• Avoid open spaces (#1 most dangerous place), or bodies of water.

• Stay away from trees (#2 most dangerous place).

• Find the lowest point in the area and curl up into a ball instead of laying flat.

• If you are in a group, spread out to minimize the chances of everyone being struck.

• It may seem contradictory to avoid open spaces and trees, but the reason is because lightning strikes the tallest object. So if you’re in an open, empty space, the tallest “object” could be you. But if you’re in the woods, the tallest object is likely a tree. If you’re standing close to a tree that is struck, the electrical current can travel through the ground to you. So the key is to be among the trees but not directly next to them, especially not tall ones.

Standing tall and brave may work when encountered by a black bear, but not a thunderstorm

Whether you are hiking, mountain biking, or paddling, Hike Smart NY can help you prepare with a list of 10 essentials, guidance on what to wear, and tips for planning your trip with safety and sustainability in mind.