Before every hike you should check the weather for the location you will be visiting. If there are thunderstorms in the forecast for that day or night, change or delay your plans. Do not risk getting caught in a thunderstorm on a mountain trail.
Sometimes, thunderstorms can develop unexpectedly and appear despite a clear weather forecast. Keep the following in mind to help you avoid pop-up thunderstorms and stay safe if you do get caught in one:
- Watch for darkening skies, increased winds, and lightning flashes, and listen for thunder.
- As soon as you are first aware of an approaching thunderstorm, move to lower elevations and seek shelter.
- Avoid summits and other open areas during thunderstorms.
- If you cannot take shelter indoors, find a low spot away from tall trees. Seek an area of shorter trees and crouch down away from tree trunks.
- Make yourself as short as possible by sitting on your backpack or sleeping pad with your knees flexed. Hug your knees and keep your feet together to minimize the ground effect of a nearby lightning strike.
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