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Summertime Storms


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schessl | ClubKayak.com
Published Thursday, June 01, 2000

Summer StormsOn the west coast of Florida, summer always brings afternoon thunderstorms and with those storms comes lightning. If you haven't figured out by now, storms and paddling don't mix. Fortunately, you can easily identify threating storms by the dark, towering clouds and distant thunder and lightning.

 

Below are some tips and simple precautions that will make your paddling trip a bit more safe and enjoyable:

  • First check the weather report. If thunderstorms are predicted for your area you may want to reschedule for another time or day.
  • If you are out and see storm conditions, assess potential safe take-out locations. Always keep close to shore and do not attempt long open water crossings.
  • Always get off the water when a storm approaches. In open water you are the most prominent point and are a likely target.
  • Getting off the water does not guarantee that you won't be a lightning target. You need to be careful not to wait out the storm under the tallest tree or on the highest point in the area. Your best protection is inside a building that has electrical wiring and plumbing.
  • According to FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency), if you are caught in the open, crouch low with hands on knees. Do not lie on the ground.
  • Wear your Personal Flotation Device (PFD). This is always good advice, but especially so during storms. If hit by lightning, you may not be killed but instead knocked unconscious or stunned. Sinking to the bottom does not help your chance of survival.
  • You can measure how far away the lightning is by counting seconds from the flash to the boom. Sound travels approximately one mile every 5 seconds.

It's important to remember that if you can hear thunder, you're close enough to be at risk by a lightning strike. If you haven't done so already, learn first-aid and CPR. Be safe. Have fun.

Thanks for visiting Club Kayak!

Ed Schessl
FloridaKayaker@gmail.com


Last update Friday, January 30, 2009


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