Hazardous Wet Weather Camping

by Kade 4. February 2012 07:23

About 4 years ago I wrote a post containing wet weather camping tips.  One thing I failed to mention is that wet weather can become hazardous.  Here are some tips to consider when you are considering wet weather camping.

1.  Determine how wet it is actually going to be.
The first and most important thing to do when anticipating wet weather for camping is to determine how wet it is actually going to be.  You need to ask yourself, is it going to be a light rain, or are there possible flash floods?  This will help you determine where you should set up camp. 
www.nws.noaa.gov or www.weather.gov are great sites to plan for what weather will be in the area.

2.  Have an alternate plan.  Don't be afraid to cancel.
Having an alternate plan or location to go camping can make all the difference between disappointing your children and creating a lasting family memory.  However, don't be afraid to cancel an activity if the weather is going to be so wet that it could threaten your survival.

3.  Determine if lightning is going to be a factor
Lighting is deadly. Dozens of people die in the US every year from lightning strikes.  Make sure you are not the highest object, standing near, or under the highest object.  Lightning can strike within 10 miles of a thunderstorm.  If you can see it, flee it.  Hear it, clear it.  If you can't get away put your feet together, duck your head, and crouch down low like a baseball catch with your hands on your knees.  Spread out everyone in your group at least 100 ft.  If someone gets hit in your group, it is safe to give CPR because they will not hold a charge.

4.  Thunderstorms can turn in to hail storms, and it hurts like hail
If you are trapped outdoors, get under cover, but remember to avoid lightning danger.  Hail can range in size from pea-sized to larger than a softball and can quickly change in size during a storm.  I once got hit in the head with a golf ball size piece of hail while trying to get out of a hail storm.  Those things knock you loopy and can cut you open.

5.  Beware of flash floods
Flash floods can turn a dry area in to a raging river in minutes.  If flash floods are expected, never set up camp in low areas or near water.  If you are hiking, especially a canyon, watch for rain upstream from you.  Last but not least, don't drive in to water as it only takes a few inches of moving water to sweep a car off of a road.

Lastly, just a quick reminder about the difference between a weather warning and a weather watch.
Warnings - The hazardous weather is actually occurring.  "Warning. A tornado has been spotted."
Watch - The hazardous weather might occur.  "Watch for tornadoes."


Camping | Weather

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