Storm safety for runners

When you are out running on mountains trails pay attention to the weather, as it can change very quickly and it is very easy to be caught off-guard by a sudden storm - lightning and thunders, whirlwinds, and torrential rains. Here are some tips to address the most common weather-related dangers:

Check the weather reports before you head out. Predictions may not be always correct, but it can help you better judge what to expect.

Run in the morning. Warmer weather increases the chance of thunderstorms, and conditions are known to change more likely in the afternoon. Most thunder and lightning storms hit in the afternoon.

Getting wet is better than getting zapped. Do not go under an isolated tree or a picnic table. If you cannot get into a car, or get to lower altitude, find shelter between rocks or crouch down on the balls of your feet, keeping them close together, to minimize the surface area of your body in contact with the ground. Avoid being the tallest object but never lie flat on the ground.

Stay away from "electricity magnets" such as rivers, lakes, barbed wire fences, power lines, caves. This includes dropping all metal objects you carry on you, such as backpacks with an internal or an external frame, hiking poles, crampons, jewelry, etc., and move as far away as you can from them.

Carry a first aid kit with you every time and know how to use it.

If you hear thunder, you are most likely within striking distance of lightning, as lightning can strike more than 10 miles away from the center of a thunderstorm (well beyond the audible range of thunder). Count the number of seconds between the time you see the lightning and the time you hear the thunder, then divide this number by five to obtain the number of miles the lighting strike is away from you.

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