Managing a storm / staying dry at camp

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SSSdave
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Re: Managing a storm / staying dry at camp

Post by SSSdave » Thu Sep 03, 2020 8:37 am

I refrained from commenting on lightning within this thread as it is off topic, likely to change the subject. However on any web board when a thread has run its course and other members are no longer adding posts, that changes. As someone in a career in hardware electronics, at one point decades ago, I calibrated various test equipment with CRT tubes that like TVs use high voltages to accelerate electrons and after getting zapped a bit even without touching obvious conductors but rather just being near such, much like a tyke that sticks their finger into an ac wall socket and never does such again, I bothered to figure out why. More interestingly personally, during the last 8 years before retiring, I worked as the sole person at a corporation repairing (including SMT soldering) voice over IP telephony switches (router-like boxes) looking through stereo microscopes at microcircuits on pcb's that tend to be damaged by lightning that strike our myriad telephone poles, wires, and towers and then followed wires down in buildings.

This board already had 2 excellent threads years ago that one could have searched for. As is the case with many searches on the web, it is an advantage to understand how to use advanced search features instead of simply entering some obvious word and then being frustrated because there are way too many unrelated hits. For instance to find the old topics Using "lightning", I changed the default search from text and titles to titles only. The first is this 2012 thread maverick started:

http://www.highsierratopix.com/communit ... lightening

He immediately provides a link to a more up to date lightning safety essay than that old 2002 NOLS link.

http://www.lightningsafety.com/nlsi_info/thunder2.html

That leads to a more thorough link:

https://www.weather.gov/safety/lightning

Within that thread I added a more recent and thorough article from 2010 targeting outdoor enthusiasts. The information within for us is much more useful than any others. Despite all the info, all the above does leave out a modest amount of useful wisdom. Read what I added on post #49 of the 2012 thread:

https://www.vaisala.com/sites/default/f ... Gookin.pdf

Then in 2013 rlown started another thread apparently after reading the NOLS advice for getting out of one's tent because of the tent poles haha. He didn't like that and I agree. Well there are times when that would be good advice if one had say set up a tent beneath the lone high tree in an expanse but the advice was not so narrowly explained.

http://www.highsierratopix.com/communit ... ing#p73142

You'll notice I followed up with a comment much like I did above in this thread haha. One issue with advice on all matters of interest to a general audience is authors tend to dumb down whatever to lowest common denominator persons. Much of the advice above does not explain why clearly. What is it about the lightning position in your tent that makes it wiser than laying down in that sleeping bag? Well if ground currents are routing across your tent, then one's feet only touching the floor of a tent provides less distance at the floor level over which a voltage potential between 2 points on the floor might develop. Countering that is the fact by doing so one is also higher in a tent than if prone that is not an issue with ground currents but rather attracting a leader strike. Although tent poles are more likely to conduct currents away from such an immense strike, they are also likely to instantly melt and splatter the metal poles that by time the currents are over, anything in a tent would be toast. More importantly what is not noted is metal tent poles on the surface of the tent fabric are much more likely to redirect ground currents up and over a tent than allow a current to pass through the inside of a tent, especially if poles are in more than one dimension. If one kneels instead of is just being on the feet, a difficult position to maintain for anything but short periods, ground currents through the inside of a tent will only go through one's lower leg and not the upper body that is more likely to kill a person. Additionally you can pray on your knees with more sincerity since you also might be confessing all your nasty ways at that time haha.

Another issue is the myth of an advantage to getting rid of small metal objects within pockets like coins, keys, watches, etc. (Don't forget to pull out those dental fillings, so bring along a good pair of pliers, haha.) The only danger of such objects is if strong currents pass through them, they are likely to get hot or melt while not being any factor in attracting current paths. Likewise leaving that cellphone or camera in the corner of your tent is of no interest while a longer metallic object like a tripod or hiking poles or metal frame of a pack would be. Finally there is wisdom in bringing along a spare plastic bottle that may be used as a pee bottle while stuck inside a tent for longer periods as each time the thunder rattles you, you might have a growing urge to go outside where maintaining the lightning position while relieving that stress is unlikely. ;)








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sambieni
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Re: Managing a storm / staying dry at camp

Post by sambieni » Thu Sep 03, 2020 1:29 pm

The thread is called "Managing a storm" - Lightning is included in that. Which means, your post was on topic- directly and tangentially.

Your obnoxious, arrogant reply on the other hand now was not. Zero reason for it. Belies any potential for reasonable advice to follow.

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Re: Managing a storm / staying dry at camp

Post by TahoeJeff » Thu Sep 03, 2020 1:59 pm

sambieni wrote:
Thu Sep 03, 2020 1:29 pm
Your obnoxious, arrogant reply
You forgot "verbose".
“Those who desire to give up freedom in order to gain security will not have either one.”

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Re: Managing a storm / staying dry at camp

Post by rlown » Thu Sep 03, 2020 2:05 pm

You have to keep in mind SSSdave knows more than anyone else. He has mellowed over the years.

Lightning is pretty simple. Be the lowest point in the area. That doesn't mean lying in a ditch of water, but a shallow drier spot.
There are no guarantees.

Or you go the other way and take off a boot for ground, put on your tinfoil hat, and raise your trekking poles up high on a ridge.
Kind of a choice at that point.

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Re: Managing a storm / staying dry at camp

Post by SSSdave » Thu Sep 03, 2020 4:00 pm

sambieni wrote:
Thu Sep 03, 2020 1:29 pm
The thread is called "Managing a storm" - Lightning is included in that. Which means, your post was on topic- directly and tangentially.

Your obnoxious, arrogant reply on the other hand now was not. Zero reason for it. Belies any potential for reasonable advice to follow.


You need to calm down, and think clearly. This board is a place to be helpful without getting emotional.

Your obvious angry response only shows you didn't like how I pointed out you should have used the search function that would have provided plenty of information we didn't need to discuss again in a thread that was about getting WET during storms. After a link was made to point to past lightning threads for you with that dated NOLS link and YOU still didn't find that adequate, and after a time no one helped you, I provided the obvious info just like Spock would have for captain Kirk.

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Re: Managing a storm / staying dry at camp

Post by maverick » Thu Sep 03, 2020 4:15 pm

Keep the discussion civil or move on please. Thanks. :)
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I don't give out specific route information, my belief is that it takes away from the whole adventure spirit of a trip, if you need every inch planned out, you'll have to get that from someone else.

Have a safer backcountry experience by using the HST ReConn Form 2.0, named after Larry Conn, a HST member: http://reconn.org

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Re: Managing a storm / staying dry at camp

Post by sambieni » Thu Sep 03, 2020 4:35 pm

Not angry. Just pointing out that patronizing behavior isn't a good look.

We're all learning on how to be better, safer backpackers. Not everyone has spent years on this forum or frequents it daily. Seeking clarity over lightning when paper suggests you leave your tent - risk getting wet and hypothermic - seemed very much on point. I didn't know we had referees over what we could or could not ask.

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Re: Managing a storm / staying dry at camp

Post by sambieni » Thu Sep 03, 2020 4:44 pm

rlown wrote:
Thu Sep 03, 2020 2:05 pm
You have to keep in mind SSSdave knows more than anyone else. He has mellowed over the years.

Lightning is pretty simple. Be the lowest point in the area. That doesn't mean lying in a ditch of water, but a shallow drier spot.
There are no guarantees.

Or you go the other way and take off a boot for ground, put on your tinfoil hat, and raise your trekking poles up high on a ridge.
Kind of a choice at that point.
Tinfoil seems way most folks going.

Yes, always known lowest point. I was only more, not less, confused when NOLS article said avoid being under trees, but also an open field. Neither seems reasonable. And leaving a tent? I want to know - would anyone do that in middle of a storm that has lightning ? Is that actually the right thing to do? I would assume taking shelter is the right call, then get on a mat, take off any metal, and pray.

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Re: Managing a storm / staying dry at camp

Post by rlown » Thu Sep 03, 2020 5:02 pm

perfect response. I stick with a low no water area.

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Re: Managing a storm / staying dry at camp

Post by maverick » Thu Sep 03, 2020 5:12 pm

Not angry. Just pointing out that patronizing behavior isn't a good look.
I hear you.
Folk have different writing styles, some may come across has harsh, abrupt, or even condescending, even though it probably isn't their intent to do so, of course without out knowing the person you will never know this.

I didn't know we had referees over what we could or could not ask.
You can feel free to ask anything you want that falls within the rules of this board, asking questions and learning from one another are the best things about forums like this one. :nod:
Professional Sierra Landscape Photographer

I don't give out specific route information, my belief is that it takes away from the whole adventure spirit of a trip, if you need every inch planned out, you'll have to get that from someone else.

Have a safer backcountry experience by using the HST ReConn Form 2.0, named after Larry Conn, a HST member: http://reconn.org

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