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Thunderstorms

Rodrigo Cerqueira

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
3 French from St. Jean Pied Port, 3 Portuguese from Lisbon, 1 Portuguese from Porto, 1 Primitivo from Oviedo, 19 Lisbon - Fatima, 2 Porto - Fatima, 1 Coimbra - Fátima... Open the caminhos Nascente Fátima - Tomar, Poente Nazaré- Fátima, the north connection from Fátima to Ansião and Caminho Santiago central.
There is no good way to approach a thunderstorm. The matter is so serious that is serves as basis to the film "The Way", about the Caminho of Santiago. The best way to deal with phenomena that you cannot control is to previously prepare yourself to face them.

+info: https://www.caminho.com.pt/trovoada?lang=en

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cf (2), de la plata, cp. (2003 -2018)
There is no good way to approach a thunderstorm. The matter is so serious that is serves as basis to the film "The Way", about the Caminho of Santiago. The best way to deal with phenomena that you cannot control is to previously prepare yourself to face them.

+info: https://www.caminho.com.pt/trovoada?lang=en

View attachment 92954
and what about carbon fibre walking poles with the poor pilgie hanging on to 'em! It's a hard life. Buen Camino! my beachcasting fishing rods are carbon fibre and have warning labels " don't use in thunderstorms"

Walk soft. Stay safe.

Samarkand.
 

Rodrigo Cerqueira

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
3 French from St. Jean Pied Port, 3 Portuguese from Lisbon, 1 Portuguese from Porto, 1 Primitivo from Oviedo, 19 Lisbon - Fatima, 2 Porto - Fatima, 1 Coimbra - Fátima... Open the caminhos Nascente Fátima - Tomar, Poente Nazaré- Fátima, the north connection from Fátima to Ansião and Caminho Santiago central.
and what about carbon fibre walking poles with the poor pilgie hanging on to 'em! It's a hard life. Buen Camino! my beachcasting fishing rods are carbon fibre and have warning labels " don't use in thunderstorms"

Walk soft. Stay safe.

Samarkand.
Hi Samarkand thank you for your comment. Everything that produces a difference of potential is dangerous during a thunderstorm. If you open the URL on the bottom the basic physics is explained.

I like your words “walk soft” so I wish you the same.
Rodrigo Cerqueira
 

elizason

Member
Past OR future Camino
Lisbon- Santiago Sept-Oct 2015

Mr Magoo

Member
Past OR future Camino
Pilegrimsleden ( 2016).
Camino Primitivo ( 2017).
I thought you werent supposed to lie down, because of ground currents, which are supposed to be more to be a problem.
 
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Rodrigo Cerqueira

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
3 French from St. Jean Pied Port, 3 Portuguese from Lisbon, 1 Portuguese from Porto, 1 Primitivo from Oviedo, 19 Lisbon - Fatima, 2 Porto - Fatima, 1 Coimbra - Fátima... Open the caminhos Nascente Fátima - Tomar, Poente Nazaré- Fátima, the north connection from Fátima to Ansião and Caminho Santiago central.
I thought you werent supposed to lie down, because of ground currents, which are supposed to be more to be a problem.
Hi Mr Magoo, you have two positions. If you are the higher element around you or if you have higher elements around you. Because the currents unfortunately doesn’t always come from the ground.

You can find detailed information in https://www.caminho.com.pt/trovoada?lang=en
 

Mr Magoo

Member
Past OR future Camino
Pilegrimsleden ( 2016).
Camino Primitivo ( 2017).
Hi Mr Magoo, you have two positions. If you are the higher element around you or if you have higher elements around you. Because the currents unfortunately doesn’t always come from the ground.

You can find detailed information in https://www.caminho.com.pt/trovoada?lang=en
Yes, I read that. And I was suprised to see that a "lying flat on the ground " position was recommended on flat featureless terrain. However, mainstream lightning advice , the advice I have previously seen (I am 71 years old , live on a Scottish island and worked outside all my life ) says you shouldnt lie on the ground. In a thundtrstorm the ground is wet and lightning striking maybe 50 yards away can 'splash' out in many directions on the wet surface as "Ground Currents". So you are increasing the 'potential' by lying on the ground. The charge could go in your foot ,& out of your head and be more powerful & deadly than if it hit your feet as you crouch in the 'lightning position'.
Not nice crouching like that though, I can tell you. Several times Ive been like that with lightning striking close by. Once at my sisters mountain farm where I was working, twice in the Norwegian mountains, once walking around the cliffs by my village. I was just gibbering with dread and praying the Hail Mary, cursing myself for getting into danger. The storm at my sisters hit two walkers on a nearby mountain, melting their boots.
So, what I am trying to say, its not lack of attention to these instructions that prompts me to reply but a genuine query that I am making.
I thought scientists said that , statisticaly, ground currents were the main danger. A neighbour of mine lost several cows to a ground current strike. The bolt travelled along the wet ground and left holes in the lumps of mud the cattle were standing on. And what about all those hundreds of reindeer killed on the Hardangervidda ?
And are aluminium hiking poles more conductive than carbon fibre ?
Its very good to have raised this subject. Far too many hikers are blase about the dangers.
 
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CF 2006,08,09,11,12(2),13(2),14,16(2),18(2) Aragones 11,12,VDLP 11,13,Lourdes 12,Malaga 16,Port 06
This post reminded me of a serious but funny story of something that happened in my life about 40 years ago. My husband and 2 young sons and I lived in a wooded area in Georgia. We had a large garden and I'd been wanting chickens. In those days, he worked and I stayed home. I pestered him and pestered and pestered him about building me a chicken coop but we really didn't have the money to buy supplies. So he said, "If you can find 4 posts, I'll buy the wire and build you a coop."

Little did he know that while the children were napping, I often was out walking in the nearby woods (Today they'd put me in jail - but in those days, it was ok to leave children alone for short spurts.)

Well, out in the woods, I found an old abandoned swingset with FOUR love bright yellow poles. I got some tools, took that swingset apart and dragged the poles home, one by one.

True to his word, he dug holes, sunk the poles, bought wire, and built me a coop. I bought 24 chicks and soon had a coop of meat and eggs growing out in the yard.

We often sat in front of our large picture window in the kitchen to have morning coffee before he set off to work. One morning, we were sitting there watching a large thunderstorm and all of a sudden there was a flash and giant "BOOM!"

We both jumped! And when we looked outside, two of those pretty yellow poles were black as coal. There was steam coming up from the ground and 24 chickens were walking around, stunned, frizzled feathers, but alive! Holy HELL! Those poor chickens. In examining them, several had burned feet, so the lightning did indeed travel through the ground.

Needless to say, we took down those poles immediately and replaced them with wood.

He and I have been divorced for many years, but remain friends, and he visits every Christmas for the family dinner. We have had a great laugh about this more than once. What idiots we were!

Anyway, because of this, and because more than once I knew of people being killed while sheltering from storms in the domes of the fort wall in San Juan, Puerto Rico, I'm pretty scared of lightning. If there's a chance of it, and I know, I probably won't walk that day!
 
Past OR future Camino
cf (2), de la plata, cp. (2003 -2018)
This post reminded me of a serious but funny story of something that happened in my life about 40 years ago. My husband and 2 young sons and I lived in a wooded area in Georgia. We had a large garden and I'd been wanting chickens. In those days, he worked and I stayed home. I pestered him and pestered and pestered him about building me a chicken coop but we really didn't have the money to buy supplies. So he said, "If you can find 4 posts, I'll buy the wire and build you a coop."

Little did he know that while the children were napping, I often was out walking in the nearby woods (Today they'd put me in jail - but in those days, it was ok to leave children alone for short spurts.)

Well, out in the woods, I found an old abandoned swingset with FOUR love bright yellow poles. I got some tools, took that swingset apart and dragged the poles home, one by one.

True to his word, he dug holes, sunk the poles, bought wire, and built me a coop. I bought 24 chicks and soon had a coop of meat and eggs growing out in the yard.

We often sat in front of our large picture window in the kitchen to have morning coffee before he set off to work. One morning, we were sitting there watching a large thunderstorm and all of a sudden there was a flash and giant "BOOM!"

We both jumped! And when we looked outside, two of those pretty yellow poles were black as coal. There was steam coming up from the ground and 24 chickens were walking around, stunned, frizzled feathers, but alive! Holy HELL! Those poor chickens. In examining them, several had burned feet, so the lightning did indeed travel through the ground.

Needless to say, we took down those poles immediately and replaced them with wood.

He and I have been divorced for many years, but remain friends, and he visits every Christmas for the family dinner. We have had a great laugh about this more than once. What idiots we were!

Anyway, because of this, and because more than once I knew of people being killed while sheltering from storms in the domes of the fort wall in San Juan, Puerto Rico, I'm pretty scared of lightning. If there's a chance of it, and I know, I probably won't walk that day!
Is the Nepalese Crouch of any use in these situations? I believe the recommendation is to roll out that nice rubber mat and crouch on it with back to the rucksack and the wind. I often thought of an addition in that I would lengthen my poles and plant them some distance away and they being higher than me would draw the bolts. I am of course not recommending ANY of this and the slightest hint of any danger in the weather forecast would have me hiding under the bed. :)

Samarkand.
 
Past OR future Camino
CF 2006,08,09,11,12(2),13(2),14,16(2),18(2) Aragones 11,12,VDLP 11,13,Lourdes 12,Malaga 16,Port 06
I am of course not recommending ANY of this and the slightest hint of any danger in the weather forecast would have me hiding under the bed. :)

Samarkand.
Me too! I'm scared of lightning.
My 87 year old mother, on the other hand, will stand right up against the window to watch lightning storms!
She also loves riding "The Bullet" at the county fair - a ride I will pass, thanks anyway!
 
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Rodrigo Cerqueira

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
3 French from St. Jean Pied Port, 3 Portuguese from Lisbon, 1 Portuguese from Porto, 1 Primitivo from Oviedo, 19 Lisbon - Fatima, 2 Porto - Fatima, 1 Coimbra - Fátima... Open the caminhos Nascente Fátima - Tomar, Poente Nazaré- Fátima, the north connection from Fátima to Ansião and Caminho Santiago central.
Thanks a lot for all the different real experiences about thunderstorms.
If we search for information about thunderstorm its like casino gaming theories...

This NOAA phrase explains how the thunderstorm issue is not a mathematical issue:
"If Caught Outside in a Thunderstorm If you find yourself caught outside during a thunderstorm, there may be nothing you can do to prevent being struck by lightning. There simply is no safe place outside in a thunderstorm. This is why it is very important to get to a safe place at the first signs of a thunderstorm."

On a fast book search in my library I found this information on SAS SURVIVAL GUIDE, COLLINS GEM.
image1.jpeg

The best tip is trying to find out previously the weather forecast for the time period in which you'll be walking.

This link explains why cattle die more due to thunderstorm, sad but very interesting.
https://www.dw.com/en/lightning-risk-much-higher-for-animals/a-19511426
 

Mr Magoo

Member
Past OR future Camino
Pilegrimsleden ( 2016).
Camino Primitivo ( 2017).
Thanks a lot for all the different real experiences about thunderstorms.
If we search for information about thunderstorm its like casino gaming theories...

This NOAA phrase explains how the thunderstorm issue is not a mathematical issue:
"If Caught Outside in a Thunderstorm If you find yourself caught outside during a thunderstorm, there may be nothing you can do to prevent being struck by lightning. There simply is no safe place outside in a thunderstorm. This is why it is very important to get to a safe place at the first signs of a thunderstorm."

On a fast book search in my library I found this information on SAS SURVIVAL GUIDE, COLLINS GEM.
View attachment 92997

The best tip is trying to find out previously the weather forecast for the time period in which you'll be walking.

This link explains why cattle die more due to thunderstorm, sad but very interesting.
https://www.dw.com/en/lightning-risk-much-higher-for-animals/a-19511426
Yes, 'Step Voltage', because of legs spaced out. Which is what the lightning crouch, with feet held together, hands off ground is supposed to minimise, and why youre not supposed to lay down flat , according to the advice I got, anyway .
I was given a copy of that 'Lofty' Wiseman SAS survival book for Xmas years ago, with the message "This will get you through 1990 ". I'm not sure about his advice to put hands on the ground, for same reasons as above.
Standard advice changes over the decades. You used to have to kneel on your rucksack or sit on rope back in the 70's. It may well be that standard advice has changed.
Of course, to be in a house, car, somewhere else etc. is best, but its a bit like getting advice from a Job's comforter when youre caught out. As inevitably happens if you do lots of multi day wilderness hikes, or work in remote areas.
Maybe the best advice when you have no choice but to be in such areas, apart from getting forecasts, is to start as early as possible. Get to where youre headed to, or finish the task, by mid day. For summer lightning , anyway.
 

Rodrigo Cerqueira

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
3 French from St. Jean Pied Port, 3 Portuguese from Lisbon, 1 Portuguese from Porto, 1 Primitivo from Oviedo, 19 Lisbon - Fatima, 2 Porto - Fatima, 1 Coimbra - Fátima... Open the caminhos Nascente Fátima - Tomar, Poente Nazaré- Fátima, the north connection from Fátima to Ansião and Caminho Santiago central.
Yes, 'Step Voltage', because of legs spaced out. Which is what the lightning crouch, with feet held together, hands off ground is supposed to minimise, and why youre not supposed to lay down flat , according to the advice I got, anyway .
I was given a copy of that 'Lofty' Wiseman SAS survival book for Xmas years ago, with the message "This will get you through 1990 ". I'm not sure about his advice to put hands on the ground, for same reasons as above.
Standard advice changes over the decades. You used to have to kneel on your rucksack or sit on rope back in the 70's. It may well be that standard advice has changed.
Of course, to be in a house, car, somewhere else etc. is best, but its a bit like getting advice from a Job's comforter when youre caught out. As inevitably happens if you do lots of multi day wilderness hikes, or work in remote areas.
Maybe the best advice when you have no choice but to be in such areas, apart from getting forecasts, is to start as early as possible. Get to where youre headed to, or finish the task, by mid day. For summer lightning , anyway.
I agree with you Mr. Magoo. Hope for the best and prepare for the horst.
 
I spent many years in the professional soccer (football) arena and continue in the sailing community. Most smart phones have a weather app. The app should have a map that tracks storms. The "Rule of Thumb" for sporting events is (1) Once the last lightning strike enters a 30 mile radius (48km) of your position, seek shelter immediately. (2) Remain in shelter for 30 minutes. (3) If no further strikes reenter the event. (4) If another strike, even if in minute 29...remain in shelter and restart the 30 minute clock. This is good advice for any outdoors activities.
My South African mother-in-law hated me. I was visiting at the family home in Jo'Burg the lightning capitol of SA. I love lightning storms and was sitting under an awning when the storm hit. I realized it was getting dangerous to remain outside. Ma said "Is the big bad Marine afraid of a little lightning?" Looking out the window there were a series of lightning strikes immediately in the vicinity of the back yard. Seeing the results I turned to Ma and said, "I'm not afraid of the lightning, but I do respect it. Oh, and by the by, the last strikes completely flattened your prize flowers and shrubs in the yard!
 
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Rodrigo Cerqueira

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
3 French from St. Jean Pied Port, 3 Portuguese from Lisbon, 1 Portuguese from Porto, 1 Primitivo from Oviedo, 19 Lisbon - Fatima, 2 Porto - Fatima, 1 Coimbra - Fátima... Open the caminhos Nascente Fátima - Tomar, Poente Nazaré- Fátima, the north connection from Fátima to Ansião and Caminho Santiago central.
I think if you live and traveled enough you will have imprinted in your memory for life one or more thunderstorms events. :) Thank you Arn.
 
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RJM

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
A few times
Lightning scares me very much. Twice while out fishing in the marshes was caught in serious lightning storms, and once on a canoe trip. In all those instances I still vividly remember the lightning strikes around us while we were proned out on the ground some distance away from each other, yelling out expletives with each nearby bolt. Could not make ourselves crouch. The thought of any part of me higher than the ground during the strikes was too much lol.
Thankfully I have never experienced lightning while walking the Camino. I check the weather in the morning before I walk and quite honestly if thunderstorms were in the forecast I might rethink my plans.
 
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Mr Magoo

Member
Past OR future Camino
Pilegrimsleden ( 2016).
Camino Primitivo ( 2017).
FWIW, the SAS Survival Guide by John Wiseman advises getting to low ground and lying flat on the ground.
I just googled "should you lie flat on the ground in a thunderstorm?". The result is quite emphatic ! Certainly lying flat is what you FEEL like doing at the time.
 

David Tallan

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
1989
I just googled "should you lie flat on the ground in a thunderstorm?". The result is quite emphatic ! Certainly lying flat is what you FEEL like doing at the time.
I was just citing one source (which I identified), for what it was worth. As you point out, other sources say differently. What I FEEL like doing at the time is going inside. :)

Generally, lying flat on the ground isn't what I feel like doing in a rainstorm. What I feel like doing is find any cover I can and expose as little of myself to the rain as possible (which is much better accomplished by crouching down in a ball-like position than by lying flat) if there is no cover.
 

Mr Magoo

Member
Past OR future Camino
Pilegrimsleden ( 2016).
Camino Primitivo ( 2017).
I was just citing one source (which I identified), for what it was worth. As you point out, other sources say differently. What I FEEL like doing at the time is going inside. :)

Generally, lying flat on the ground isn't what I feel like doing in a rainstorm. What I feel like doing is find any cover I can and expose as little of myself to the rain as possible (which is much better accomplished by crouching down in a ball-like position than by lying flat) if there is no cover.
According to all-wise google, the American CDC & British Met Office say you must not lie flat, and should adopt the 'lightning crouch' ( like you describe) and explain why.
However, the U.S. National Weather Service, rather than say theres a 'safe crouch' emphasise that youre in great danger in ANY position. They say get somewhere safe quickly (lower down, among similar size trees,etc ) Which is a good point.
Maybe different countries give different advice because their geography is different. For example the U.S. has more powerful thunderstorms than U.K..
 
Past OR future Camino
Us:Camino Frances, 2015 Me:Catalan/Aragonese, 2019
Ahem. To all " Lightening " spellers. In the Queens English it's spelt/spelled "Lightning". A shocking mistake, even in American English.
By Queens English do you mean the variety of English as spoken in the Queens borough of New York City or Queen's English as spoken in the palace? 😈 Sorry, it's only a mild poke in the ribs. I like your play on words though. 👍

It is snowing here right now so I'm thinking of thundersnow. I've only seen it a few times but it was spectacular! It is a snowstorm with thunder and lightning.
 
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Deleted member 73526

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Often, it only takes a spark of inspiration to create a bond fire of understanding.
Consider yourself enlightened.
Speaking of inspiration, the last place you want lighting is in a spire... Churches ground/earth their spires as early as possible, lest they ex-spire. The device used for this is called a Franklin Rod, after Benjamin Franklin. I'm not sure why it isn't called a Franklin Ben. Perhaps his middle name was Rod.
 
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William Garza

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
Camino Frances, The Jakobsweg
While shooting lighting one year early in my lightning shooting career...i set up my Canon camera on a tripod and was happily shootung cloud to ground lightning.

Next thing...everything went purple,white and deaf....

Hat knocked off and all tingly to a painfull extent i recovered my sight before getting up off the ground to see my rig flat on the ground with an error message on the screen.

My hairs never stood up, this wasnt my first time..

I wasnt the tallest object and the ringing goes away...after a while.
The first time i was knocked off a 18 wheeler, obligatory hat blow off and worse tingles..read hitting your funny bone but all over your body.

Feller said to his wife inside the truck i was standing on..." honehh...feller just got kilt by lightning...she-sugar,yew ok hun?
Me..WHAT?
HER..yewl be fine(southern gal drawl)

Lightning had modulated through the antenna i was holding on to.

Back to the back 40
Got up all tingly,not so deaf and blind, took out camera battery, and it re set on insertion..(canon cameras rule) and scampered into the car because rain.
Lesson?

Crawler lightning is fun, i still shoot in the wide open

Cloud to ground...under cover and shooting.

Crawler that CGs means storms intensifying so i scamper.

I dont recommend ANYONE do what I do because..because.

Never felt any "tension" nor stand up hair in either case.

CGs in the distance lets you get to shelter.

Crawlers,fun to watch, more time to shelter.

A quick "snap" lightning? Its too late, the beast is on you, squat down and grab the worry beads.

Good luck, have fun,dont do.as i do, milage may vary,no warranty implied...
 

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