What should you do if you are caught outside in an electrical storm?
Summer storms can roll in fast so be prepared
There is a lot of talk about preparing your home for summer storms, storing bottles of water and food, making sure the roof is in good repair and securing loose items lying around the garden and so on.
You should also be prepared when you go for a walk
Don’t be deceived we may live in a populated area, but just beyond the beach is the hinterland and it can be a wild place during a sudden change of weather. Storms can quickly sweep down from the border ranges and wreck havoc on the coastal strip.
What about going for that walk along the beach, should we still be prepared? Our vehicle maybe parked nearby or perhaps we live near the water.
Well believe it or not we should be prepared, especially during the spring and summer for that sudden storm.
Before you go for a walk do this…
- Check the weather before you leave, especially if you are going to be on foot for a couple of hours.
- Do a visual 360 check of the sky, there is only so much information you can receive from the weather bureau. We have to be vigilant.
- Take note of where you are going and how long you could be, if the weather turns pear shaped have an exit plan or a location where you can go to shelter in those isolated spots on your walk.
- Make sure you have a mobile phone with you for emergencies, but don’t use it if there is an electrical storm.
Think this is a bit over the top? Well I’ve been caught out a couple of times, once on the beach and another occasion on Burleigh Headland; in both cases the weather didn’t look so bad when I started on my walk. However a storm swept in from the ocean.
Did I feel vulnerable? Yes!
I did in both cases, I was on the upper trail of Burleigh Headland National and the sudden downpour turned the dirt track into a fast flowing stream. I sheltered in a hollow of a tree, surrounded by moths, for about 20mins they didn’t move and neither did I. I kept away from the inside edges of the hollow where they rested. This wasn’t the best plan, but there just wasn’t another option.
Couldn’t move off the pathway because of the water rushing down the hill, so I prayed that lightning wouldn’t strike this tree and was glad I was wearing only cotton and not polyester. Not that it mattered I was soaking wet anyway.
After the storm subsided, walking back down the track was particularly challenging the leaves were slippery underfoot and the path was a quagmire.
The second incident was especially frightening; I was on an open beach and didn’t do the right thing.
I was caught off guard never dreaming that this could happen so quickly and so close to home. But it did, you can read the account here. I made light of it at the time, however it was a very frightening experience, for about 10 minutes.
Tips to follow
If you are caught on an open beach during an electrical Storm, what should you do?
- Get off the beach!
- If there are no substantial building to shelter in, find a low place off the beach
- Shelter under a thick growth of small trees
- 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 above.
Leave a comment about your experience and any additional advice would be much appreciated.
Check this link for additional information http://www.bom.gov.au/nsw/sevwx/safety_tips.shtml
Take care while walking in the spring and summer months