This summer has been record setting in terms of drought and heat. Now, epic storms are rolling across the country and there are reports of hikers getting stranded. Here's what you need to know!
Always check the forecast in the area you'll be hiking in and surrounding areas. Torrential rain 50 miles away can lead to fast growing watersheds and flash flooding downstream - especially in canyons and gullies. If there's a chance of rain, use extreme caution when going out in those areas.
Most (but not all!) late summer storms start in the afternoon so if there is a chance of rain, be sure to get an early start and plan on getting to a safe area by noon.
If you are in a canyon or gully and you hear a roar head to higher ground immediately. You can't outrun a flash flood, so move vertically as quickly as you can.
Flash floods can occur in plains as well. Trails often run along creeks or runoff areas that may only swell during storms.
If you're on a mountain and you hear thunder, get below the tree line immediately.
Lightening can travel through the ground to you or jump sideways from a tree to you. Therefore, don't stand next to a very tall tree or lie down near it. You also want to avoid large boulders, water, and canyon walls. Ideally, find some smaller trees or bushes, spread out if you're in a group, and assume the lightening position.
To get into the lightening position, remove your pack and don't hold on to any metal objects such as hiking poles. Crouch down on the balls of your feet. Keeping your feet close together and your heels up minimizes your contact with the ground and any current that might travel there. Tuck your head and cover your ears similar to a crash position on an airplane. Wait at least 30 minutes after you hear the last rumble of thunder before resuming your hiking.
As always, tell someone where you're going and what time you expect to return. Carry your 10 essentials so you're prepared for any emergencies that might occur.
If you're ready to be a better, stronger, and more confident hiker, schedule a consultation and find out how The Healthy Hiker Virtual Training Program can help you conquer your dream trails!