“Caught in a Severe Storm While Walking – How I Survived!”

Walking in the rain…..

The stuff romantic songs are made of…

However walking in the rain can take on a whole new meaning when the rain is pounding on your back and the wind is taking your breath away.  Oh did I mention the sand! There have been two occasions over the years where this has happened to me and it both cases I became quite anxious about my surroundings.

What should I do?

 The first occasion was walking at North Palm Beach and the weather suddenly turned nasty. First up I just felt a bit foolish walking on the beach soaking wet and looking like a drowned rat, pardon the expressions if you like rats (the four leg variety) and what were people saying as they sat in their beachfront properties dry and warm sipping a class of wine, looking at this fool caught in the rain, however those thoughts quickly disappeared. 

Palm BeachThese photos on this page weren’t taken on the day, although this looks like it’s a menacing storm, there wasn’t a drop of rain. All bark but no bite.

Be prepared for a change in the weather

The real storm rolled in from the sea! Thunder, lightning and wind, I didn’t know what to do and panic set in, take shelter amongst the ‘She Oaks” (trees) near the Tallebudgera Leisure Centre (fitness camp) and get struck by lightning, they are useless for protection anyway and you’re not suppose to shelter beneath trees.

The run up the beach towards vegetation was a fair hike, there were sand dunes and the tide was out it looked a long way or stay put and take my chance of being struck by lightning out in the open!

My instincts kicked in right or wrong

Well I did what any normal person would do …I starting running. Have you ever run along a beach with the wind pushing against you? Its hard work and throw into the mixed driving rain and stinging sand along with claps of thunder, which unnerves me at the best of times?

Things we remember…

The stories I heard as a child from my grandmother about ‘God moving furniture around’ never helped. I always preferred the scientific approach where there’s smoke there’s fire, (where there is thunder there’s lightning). I couldn’t crouch low to the ground in this open area I was next to the powerful pacific ocean roaring and pounding on the shoreline like a hungry beast waiting to devour anyone that got close.

Water and electricity don’t mix kept thumping through my head. A mental picture of me in rubber shoes, rubber gloves and holding a wooden spoon to turn on a faulty light flashed was filling my mind.

After the storm

Will I make it home?

Pushing forward with tremulous effort was all I could do, I couldn’t see for starters. What I really needed was a couple of mini windscreen wipers on my sunglasses; couldn’t take them off because of the stinging sand and couldn’t see with them on.

What a dilemma! Thoughts of how ridiculous I must look started creeping back into my mind.  Why would you even be concerned about your appearance when you think that you might die is beyond me. (must be vain)

Stay Calm

The wind rain and sand were horrific yet I managed to push on and think nice thoughts, then suddenly everything stopped ….no rain, no stinging sand and the wind was abating, nearly home thank goodness.

Looked down at myself and I resembled a cinnamon doughnut, the front of me only was covered in a layer of sand, we’re not just talking about a bit of sand sticking to my clothes they were heavy like a suit of armour.

I looked like I had fallen face first into a vat of cinnamon sugar. (Sand in this case)

What can be learn from this walk

Well if there is a moral to this story it’s this, if you enjoy walking?

Check the weather first, and have a backup plan if you are caught in a severe storm.

 

Tips to follow

If you are caught on an open beach during an electrical Storm, what should you do?

  1. Get off the beach!
  2. If there are no substantial building to shelter in, find a low place off the beach
  3. Shelter under a thick growth of small trees
  4. If you feel your hair stand on end, crouch down feet together hands over your ears and head between your knees. The aim is to make ‘you’ the smallest target possible but minimise contact with the ground. (Don’t lie down) A lightning strike maybe imminent.

 

Remember the storm doesn’t have to be overhead; people have been struck by lightning with blue sky.

Keep in mind that south east Queensland has some of the most volatile weather in Australia.

Enjoy your next walk but check the weather forecast first.

Take care while walking in the spring and summer months…

 

Check this link for additional information

http://www.bom.gov.au/nsw/sevwx/safety_tips.shtml

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