Thunder! I wonder....

12:47 p.m. on August 15, 2011 (EDT)
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This actually came up this week, as our camp rafting adventure was nearly a wash. I was curious what others do when the skies threaten to toss bolts your way. Our river guide said there is no danger on the river, as lightning tends to hit the high points in the gorge, not the water.

Here's one article I found:

http://www.paddling.net/sameboat/

2:21 p.m. on August 15, 2011 (EDT)
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Hmm. I know being out on open water poses a high risk, but down in a gorge? I've never seen a lightning struck tree down in a deep narrow gorge. I've seen struck trees on the side of ridges, on rolling hills,  flat terrain, and of course on the crests of ridges and mountains. But never in a deep gorge.

I've also never heard of anyone being struck by lightning there either, on the water or off.  I am sure being IN the water might still bear some danger, but in a boat I suspect the risk is quite a bit lower.

I could be compeltely wrong though.

9:57 p.m. on August 15, 2011 (EDT)
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The photos of the haul-out where they camped appear ro show a relatively wide open area, regardless it is down in a gorge.  Since a boater on such water would be the only feature for a great many yards around, he may attract a strike.

It is amazing how localized conditions for lightning risk can be. I have seen evidence, and bore witness, that certain spots have a high frequency of strikes, while other surrounding areas a hundred yards away have significantly fewer strikes.

Ed

9:27 a.m. on August 16, 2011 (EDT)
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I was thinking of a very different geological setting than the on one shown in the article. I was thinking of the really deep and narrow gorges that are found all over the Appalachian and Cumberland region.

Something like this:


Falling-Water.jpg

Where this photo was taken:


IMG_20110416_173810.jpg

The wall of the canyon rise a couple hundred feet on both sides. I personally wouldn't be worried about being struck by lightning down in there.

9:06 p.m. on August 19, 2011 (EDT)
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f klock,

I almost always read the articles posters link to in the original post.

Unfortunately the link led me to an article about Mac & Cheese.

I would like to read it though before posting.



10:45 a.m. on August 20, 2011 (EDT)
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Ah, I see. Apparently the article was more of a blog than anything else. Now there is a Mac and cheese post in it's place.When I linked it, it WAS about paddling lakes during a storm, in Maine. Sorry.

2:38 p.m. on August 21, 2011 (EDT)
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f_klock said:

Ah, I see. Apparently the article was more of a blog than anything else. Now there is a Mac and cheese post in it's place.When I linked it, it WAS about paddling lakes during a storm, in Maine. Sorry.

 Well, that's life isn't it, no biggie.

To be perfectly honest I don't worry too much about lightning until it gets real close, then I say something completely useless like: "Maybe I should have waited until next weekend to come out here".

I do check the forecast before heading out and try to plan accordingly, but it seems as though there is almost always a chance of thunderstorms during certain times of the year, especially summer.

I have spent a good bit of time in steep river gorges and I don't recall seeing a lightning strike down in a gorge before, but I haven't looked at any statistics either. Surely there is a source of such information somewhere on the web.

I would tend to think lightning strikes would occur higher up on ridges or plateaus, I wouldn't consider that an educated opinion though. It's more of a belly button opinion. (everyone has one)

4:32 p.m. on September 4, 2011 (EDT)
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I live in the most lightening prone area in the US. Lightening is pretty simple to understand. When the voltage gets high enough it arcs to the ground or vice versa.   The shorter the distance the less voltage needed.  If you are at the bottom of a gorge you won't be struck because the top of the gorge will be much closer to the cloud than you.  When the width of the gorge is about 1.5 times wider than it is high is when you start to be at risk for lightening assuming you are in the middle.

4:01 a.m. on September 5, 2011 (EDT)
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ocalacomputerguy said:

..Lightening is pretty simple to understand...

For a variety of reasons lightning is not so simple to predict.  For example, you can be struck by lightning originating from over the horizon, or even while ensconced in a cave.  This while a narrow gorge may lower your risk, it will not eliminate lightning risk, especially if you are proximal to features that crate localized turbulence.

Ed

11:40 a.m. on September 5, 2011 (EDT)
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That is correct Ed, but the likelihood of you getting struck is greatly reduced to the point of being ridiculously small.  Obviously the wider the gorge the more likely the chance of getting hit.

5:23 a.m. on September 7, 2011 (EDT)
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ocalacomputerguy said:

That is correct Ed, but the likelihood of you getting struck is greatly reduced to the point of being ridiculously small.  Obviously the wider the gorge the more likely the chance of getting hit.

Unless you hike with me.  If there is lightning, it seems to always strike close by, gorge or otherwise.  Sometimes I wonder if someone is sending me a message...

Ed

7:11 a.m. on September 7, 2011 (EDT)
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It's "obvious" that you want some attention 'cause you're wearing that red pack and Hawaiian shirt. Try some muted colors.

August 20, 2014
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