One time I was out in the Coconino National Forest in Arizona as a thunderstorm passed by. I was scared to death. Lightning was followed almost immediately by thunder; the storm was right overhead. Yikes! Maybe the fact there were so many trees, no strikes came too near me. At one point, I thought of crouching under overhanging rocks, but somewhere in the back of my mind I remembered that caves and under overhangs were not safe. Lightning could flow right inside. I was never so glad to get back to our camper.
Last weekend a woman was injured when lightning struck close to her in a campground in Maine, according to the Portland Sun. When the pine tree she was standing near was struck, it threw her and others into the air. She was thrown into the rocks and a concrete barrier at the water's edge and was pulled from the lake unconscious by the others on scene.
Trying to remember what to do in a storm with lightning is too late. You may make the wrong choice. Here's what NOAA has to say:
While nothing offers absolute safety from lightning, some actions can greatly reduce your risks. If a storm is approaching, avoid being in, or near, high places, open fields, isolated trees, unprotected gazebos, rain or picnic shelters, baseball dugouts, communications towers, flagpoles, light poles, bleachers (metal or wood), metal fences, convertibles, golf carts and water. If you can see lightning or hear thunder, the risk is already present. Louder or more frequent thunder means lightning activity is approaching, increasing the risk for lightning injury or death. If the time delay between seeing the lightning and hearing the thunder is less than 30 seconds, you are in danger.
No place is absolutely safe from the lightning threat, however, some places are safer than others. Large enclosed structures are safer than smaller, or open, structures. Avoiding lightning injury inside a building depends on whether the structure incorporates lightning protection and its size. When inside during a thunderstorm, avoid using the telephone, taking a shower, washing your hands, doing dishes, or having contact with conductive surfaces, including metal doors, window frames, wiring and plumbing. Generally, enclosed metal vehicles, with the windows rolled up, provide good shelter from lightning.
Ah- if your car or RV is close, get in that. You probably remember this, but put the umbrella away! Keep safe in your RV travels. Jaimie Hall Bruzenak