Outdoor Thunderstorm Safety
Date: Winter 2012-2013
If air pressure increases with temperature, how come the poles are regions of high pressure? Should they not have low pressure?
If you were in a canoe on a lake during a lightning storm, yes, you should head to shore as soon as possible and get ?below? something else that will take the strike and keep you safe. Ships at sea have masts that dissipate the charge buildup by actually passing a current into the air, acting like a lightning rod suppressing lightning strikes. The top of the masts have an eerie glow called St Elmo?s fire as it carries the current that would otherwise manifest in an instantaneous strike. But sitting in a canoe on a flat lake is a bump on a flat surface that has increased chances of attracting a lightning strike.
I thought about whether being in a canyon (a deep canyon) would diminish your chances of a lightning strike, but 1) you really would not want to be in a narrow canyon during a desert rain storm or else you risk the danger of being washed away and 2) let us not get into speculation about how wide the canyon would be vs. the probability of a lightning strike in such a canyon. There is just no way of trying to predict where lightning will strike. It might, or it might not. The consequences of sustaining a lightning striking under your conditions are unimaginable, so moving to safety should not be a question.
The best advice for you in this case would be to head to shore in areas where you can move to shore before you get to areas where you cannot move to safety when expecting the storm to reach you.
Also, please review this advice from the Boy Scouts of America in regards to being outdoors during lightning storms:
Have a good and safe trip.
Click here to return to the Weather Archives
Update: November 2011