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ntfd60
2005-04-03, 12:14
Just a question about lightning. How dangerous is it being caught in a thunderstorm w/ rain and lightning.....are you at greater risk being tied to a tree in a hammock? Tom

SGT Rock
2005-04-03, 12:18
Just from widow-makers. Since you are not grounded and are not in the path of ground, you should be safe. Just don't pick the biggest trees and make sure you have a good idea of where the dead branches are so you don't get a surprises coming down at night. But that is the same thing you should worry about with a tent as well.

ntfd60
2005-04-03, 19:54
Thanks for the info Sarge.....Have you ever been out in a storm in a hammock?

Rage in a Cage
2005-04-03, 20:11
Widow-makers are definitely something to watch for. In SNP there are many areas where trees are half or fully dead that sometimes I spend up to 45 minutes trying to find a spot that is safe. As far as lightening goes I feel safer in my hammock than on the ground in a tent.
I have been in my hammock when lightening struck a tree about 35 yards away. I almost jumped clean thru the netting. Afterwards there was all these little pieces of wood and dust in the air and settling on the fly. Yeah I think you will be okay.

SGT Rock
2005-04-03, 21:31
I've been in lots of storms. I even went through one degrading hurricane that was just a tropical storm when it hit me. I kind of like the ride. :D

GregH
2005-04-03, 21:45
I, too, have endured serious afternoon thunderstorms in my hammock up in the Quetico. I made sure to have ample snacks and a good book with me and all was well. Some of the guys in tents weren't so dry and tight, having an impromptu river run underneath them. I could hear them outside in the rain trying to scratch a diversion trench around the tent. Two of them have since switched to hammocks!

MalTheElder
2007-02-12, 16:10
I know this thread died quite a while back, but . . .

I've been lightning-struck in my hammock in early July '05. I was out at a local park one afternoon when an afternoon squall started to kick up. I pitched my tarp and hammock, grabbed a book and water bottle, and settled in for a while. About 15 minutes into it one of the trees I tied to was struck. It seemed to bridge across me to the other tree; what I know for sure is that it was blazing orange all around me, as if I was inside the thing.

Your mileage may vary, though.

Take-a-knee
2007-02-12, 16:22
Mal, did you sustain any injuries? What kind of shape were the trees in? How about the condition of your hammock?

Mutinousdoug
2007-02-12, 19:42
Last summer a guy was struck in a hammock in New Jersey. Google: "lightning strikes man in hammock"
Killed him outright. I doubt you're any safer in a hammock than on the ground.
Lightning is scary stuff.

Just Jeff
2007-02-12, 20:39
I doubt you're any safer in a hammock than on the ground.

Or any less safe. If the tree you're hanging from gets struck, the 2' between you and the ground isn't going to make any difference than a guy sleeping on the ground next to it. As always, site selection is key.

Mutinousdoug
2007-02-12, 22:18
Or any less safe.
As always, site selection is key.
JJ: Oh, I fully agree, I've slept (I should say: "slept") in some camps below some mountian tops that scared the cr@p out of me during evening storms and storms that blew in during the night.
Story:
I drove to the top of an old fire watch tower station with my wife and foreign exchange student. Beautiful mountian views. Great tent camp site. Storm blew in over night;10,400 ft mountian top. Mom says: screw this tent, I'm sleeping in the truck. Next morning , found a tree not 10 yds from our tent blown to smithereens about 15 ft from the ground. I'm surprised the wood chips didn't shred the tent.

MalTheElder
2007-02-13, 13:55
Mal, did you sustain any injuries? What kind of shape were the trees in? How about the condition of your hammock?

No injuries, though my ears were ringing big time and all I smelled for a bit was ozone. I figure I lucked out---I left my crutches on the ground below me instead of leaning them against the hammock side. I suspect otherwise I would have fried, since I would have been part of the ground path then. My car was about 100 ft. away, and I still wonder how I found myself inside it, sans crutches, so fast. The trees were fine, as was my hammock (a Byers Traveler, then). The trees were two smaller trees among literally thousands around me, so it was chance that I got hit. This was neither the first or last lightning storm I've ridden out in a hammock, either.

I agree with the rest of the posters that we're at much more risk from widowmakers than lightning, but it's not something I care to repeat. But it's nice to know it's survivable.

Now I'm headed outside to take a nap---big storm front's on the way!

No kidding,
Mal

Just Jeff
2007-02-13, 21:51
...but it's not something I care to repeat. But it's nice to know it's survivable.

Or test....

shooter
2007-02-22, 16:32
i saw a friend of mine get struck,he was in a boat , it knocked his hat off,but he surived had one minor burn on the thumb of his right hand.
mal what do you think the odds are of being struck again,low i would think.

TeeDee
2007-02-22, 17:36
i saw a friend of mine get struck,he was in a boat , it knocked his hat off,but he surived had one minor burn on the thumb of his right hand.
mal what do you think the odds are of being struck again,low i would think.

Actually the odds of getting struck twice, or 3 times or 4 times or .... are exactly the same as getting struck the first time (unless you change your behavior and stop going out in lightning storms anymore).

sailingsoul
2007-02-22, 21:11
From what I've read on the net on, average one person is killed while on the phone each year, in the US. In 1961, Eight people were killed by the same bold while sheltering in a barn, in North Carolina. SS

Just Jeff
2007-02-24, 22:04
Actually the odds of getting struck twice, or 3 times or 4 times or .... are exactly the same as getting struck the first time (unless you change your behavior and stop going out in lightning storms anymore).

Sort of. The odds of a person getting struck by lightning is...well, it's anywhere from 1:65,000 to 1:3,000,000 depending on where you look. We'll call it 1:100,000 to be easy. That's the odds of getting struck once.

At that point, the odds of getting struck again is also 1:100,000. As you say, the odds don't decrease just because it's already happened.

But the odds of one person getting struck twice is 1:100,000 times 1:100,000, or 1:1,000,000,000.

Just like the odds of rolling a 6 is 1:6, but the odds of rolling two sixes in a row is 1:36.

sailingsoul
2007-02-25, 08:18
I've lived in florida over 15 yrs and more people get struck by lightning each year than win that states' lottery. Most are struck on the Beach or on Gulf courses. Places where few hammock campers are seen. I perfer to keep my dollar and take my chances camping under trees. SS :captain:

tyro
2007-02-25, 15:27
Sort of. The odds of a person getting struck by lightning is...well, it's anywhere from 1:65,000 to 1:3,000,000 depending on where you look. We'll call it 1:100,000 to be easy. That's the odds of getting struck once.

At that point, the odds of getting struck again is also 1:100,000. As you say, the odds don't decrease just because it's already happened.

But the odds of one person getting struck twice is 1:100,000 times 1:100,000, or 1:1,000,000,000.

Just like the odds of rolling a 6 is 1:6, but the odds of rolling two sixes in a row is 1:36.
Well, it depends on how the odds were calculated. With a die, any of the 6 possible outcomes is equally likely. Where lightning is concerned, your chances of getting struck depend on your situation. If you're on an exposed ridgeline, carrying a large metal pole, your chances are much higher than if you're in the woods on flat ground w/out the pole.

So, once you've been struck by lightning once, you've demonstrated that your situation (where you are, etc) is conducive to a lightning strike and if you stay there, you are much more likely (than the general odds) to get struck again.

Am I making sense?

MalTheElder
2007-02-25, 21:22
. . . So, once you've been struck by lightning once, you've demonstrated that your situation (where you are, etc) is conducive to a lightning strike and if you stay there, you are much more likely (than the general odds) to get struck again.

Am I making sense?

Yes. It's a myth that lightning doesn't strike twice in the same place. Very often it will strike at or very near the same place several times, until the charge potential differences are more or less neutralized. If you are near a lightning strike, I suggest bailing out if you can do so safely. I was just lucky when I got nailed in my hammock---the trees I was tied to were standing in an inch or so of water already, and I can only presume that that provided a better ground path for the strike than going through my enhammocked---and dry---body. I bloody well didn't expect that kind of electrical activity when the storm was approaching me.

That being said, if I were out amongst the trees with no safer shelter available, I'd rather ride out a lightning storm in my hammock that not. I'd just try to pick short trees.

While my earlier comments sound a bit flippant, I live in central Florida, and have a great deal of respect and healthy fear of lightning. I don't advocate challenging the lightning; I've just had a deplorable amount of direct contact with it, and survived.

Pax,
Mal (aka Half Step)

Just Jeff
2007-02-26, 18:07
Am I making sense?

True...can't calculate the odds of idiocy!

Everything else held equal (i.e. no change in behavior), the odds of a single person getting struck twice are equal to the odds of getting struck once, times itself.

Rhino-lfl
2007-03-21, 17:30
If god is throwing lightening bolts at ya, he's gonna get ya :)

JAK
2007-03-21, 17:58
I am not a hammock camper, and we don't get a lot of lightning here, but enough to make you think about it. They say avoid open spaces. They also say avoid trees. WTF? So I try to avoid wide open spaces and trees that stand out. I figure the best odds is a bunch of trees that are fairly homogenous, and just blend in with them, in a hammock or on the ground. My guess would be that hanging between two trees might at least double your odds of getting hit, but if you are in a good spot the odds are minimized hopefully. Then again perhaps being off the ground has some merit, like being in a car. I think having a ridge line above you or whatever you call it might help some. When we are out in sailboats and it starts to thunder some of us hang a wet rope from one of the shrouds or the backstay. An old-timer told me that one, so I just go with it and hope for the best. Of course I don't leave the dock if it lightning, but if I'm already out there that's what I do.