Author Topic: Thundery rain while camping  (Read 1086 times)

Gwydion

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Thundery rain while camping
« on: 14:04:55, 06/06/18 »
Hello all,
Looking at the MWIS forecast for the Lake District for Friday, it says "Dry much of the day. However, small risk of isolated bursts of, locally thundery, rain developing".
Now, as I am going to be doing a 4 day backpack where I am planning to camp, the mention of thundery rain is worrying me. As English is not my first language, would that mean lightning? or just heavy rain ...? Would that put you off camping altogether?
Thanks for your opinions,
Gwydion

tom83

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Re: Thundery rain while camping
« Reply #1 on: 15:28:19, 06/06/18 »
Hi Gwydion,


I was in Keswick at the weekend, and the forecast was similar. We experienced a couple of heavy showers, and some periods of light rain, but I only remember a couple of rumbles of thunder, and didn't see any lightening at all over the 3 days I was there.


As long as you're happy camping in periods of wet weather, you should be fine.

April

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Re: Thundery rain while camping
« Reply #2 on: 16:40:37, 06/06/18 »
Hi Gwydion

We will still be going out camping, the forecasters aren't always correct with their predictions anyway :)

We also use this website too to plan where we are pitching our tent. We use it a guide only but never rely on it to be totally accurate. What is good about it is that you can choose a fell and it will give you the forecast for it. The wind direction and speed are normally accurate.

https://www.mountain-forecast.com/peaks/Scafell-Pike/forecasts/978

Another website is weatherline, if you don't know of it already
http://www.lakedistrictweatherline.co.uk/

and we also use the BBC Weather website and choose a place, this is the Keswick forecast
https://www.bbc.co.uk/weather/2645756

We also look at MWIS forecast and we put bets on for who gets the forecast right  ;D
"Who would've thought...... you are light and darkness coming through" words by Tim Armstrong

alan de enfield

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Re: Thundery rain while camping
« Reply #3 on: 17:37:10, 06/06/18 »
As English is not my first language, would that mean lightning? or just heavy rain ...? Would that put you off camping altogether?
Thanks for your opinions,
Gwydion



Thunder is the noise that is made by lightning flashes, so if you have thunder you have lightning, BUT, the lightning may not always be visible to you, but you still hear the thunder.

Thunder can be a sharp crack (like a gun being fired) or it can be a 'slow' rumble (like dragging furniture along the floor)


You can hear thunder and see lightning but may not get any rain.


Mel

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Re: Thundery rain while camping
« Reply #4 on: 18:57:07, 06/06/18 »
I was camping at the bank holiday weekend just gone - in thunder/lightning and rain... and under trees  :o   I survive to tell the tale!


I think lightning would be attracted to any metal parts on the tent first and the tent material itself should be made of/treated with a fire resistant substance which would (in theory) not "go up in flames" but simply scorch or singe a hole - in theory (unless it's a cheap Chinese copy).



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fernman

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Re: Thundery rain while camping
« Reply #5 on: 19:52:13, 06/06/18 »
If you do a search for something along the lines of tents and lightning you get some rather depressing results that are going to do nothing to reassure the OP, so the only advice I'm going to give is don't camp on concave ground that could become a pond in heavy rain, look instead for a spot that is slightly convex (but not on a hilltop, according to the online advice).

gunwharfman

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Re: Thundery rain while camping
« Reply #6 on: 11:01:24, 08/06/18 »
Thundery rain can mean something or nothing. I've often seen lightning in the distance, then thunder sometime later, I usually count the seconds in between light and sound to pass the time and only once in the last 10 years has it really bothered me. I was in my tent, the rain was pounding down (I thought the tent would collapse on top of me), the lightning and thunder were instant and it felt like everything was happening right above me. I could feel my body taking on some of the shocks, at the time it was so scary. The noise was totally deafening and the multiple flashes were so intense but in hindsite it was such a personal experience, I felt so involved. I just lay there on my mattress just 'praying' for it to pass and it did, within half an hour everything was still again. The next morning was glorious, bright sunshine and so many vivid colours. I casually checked my phone, the advice I read was that I should have curled up in a ball, not just lay there full length.

April

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Re: Thundery rain while camping
« Reply #7 on: 13:32:21, 08/06/18 »
We have been out in a few thunderstorms, sometimes too close for comfort and then other times a few rumbles that were quite distant. There is a small risk of thunder on Saturday, we are still going out to camp, most people will be mindful of the risk but will still go out to walk or camp I'm sure.
"Who would've thought...... you are light and darkness coming through" words by Tim Armstrong

Gwydion

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Re: Thundery rain while camping
« Reply #8 on: 10:53:04, 12/06/18 »
Hi all, thanks for your responses.

Unfortunately I was only able to check the first one before I set off on my trip. Had I read all your accounts I probably would have felt more confident to try one last wild camp on Saturday night (I did camp out the previous two nights), but the fact that on Saturday:

-the sky looked like storm
-MWIS was still forecasting lightning
-even the met office had a lightning alert (which it hadn't the previous nights)

All that made me drop down to the valley and spend the night in a hostel. I don't regret it though as even though it turned out to be a rather pleasant evening/night with no signs of storms, I probably would have felt very uncomfortable fearing the thunder and not have enjoyed myself at all, which defeats the point of camping!

In any case, I was surprised with how "easy" people on the fells were about the chances of storm. On Saturday morning, on my way up Helvellyn, I managed to get 4G reception and checked the mountain weather app, which clearly forecast lightning specifically on Helvellyn. On the ground, it certainly looked like it. In spite of it, there were loads of people around, and going up Dollywaggon Pike towards Helvellyn, a few people I talked to about the chances of storm were "well, that's where we're going anyway, we'll drop down if it gets worse", but to me that still felt like unnecessary risk. I mean, if it's forecast to be lightning, and the sky looks like a storm is approaching, and it's actually starting to rain ... well, why bother going up an exposed ridge? I turned back and improvised another route somewhere else which wasn't exposed and closer to the valley, but it did amazed me and made me wonder who was being more extreme in their attitude, whether myself with my extreme precaution, or the rest with their extreme lack of...

Anyway, having experienced how the storm never happened in spite of all the forecasts, I might be braver next time.

Cheers

Islandplodder

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Re: Thundery rain while camping
« Reply #9 on: 13:10:53, 12/06/18 »
I think you called it right Gwydion.  I was caught on a ridge in France in a thunderstorm with no easy way off and it was terrifying, though I had taken the precaution of walking with someone taller!  And, as you say, it would have been no fun if you had spent the night waiting and worrying.

April

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Re: Thundery rain while camping
« Reply #10 on: 13:26:54, 12/06/18 »
We were out in the Central Lakes and heard maybe three very distant rumbles of thunder during the day but never saw any lightning. The forecast was for a small risk of isolated thunder storms further east, I don't think our decision to still go out was in any way an "extreme" decision.

Anyway, having experienced how the storm never happened in spite of all the forecasts, I might be braver next time.

The reason you saw lots of other people out is their experience with the forecasters not always getting it right, we would never go out if we took the forecast as gospel. "Small risk" means it most likely won't amount to much.
"Who would've thought...... you are light and darkness coming through" words by Tim Armstrong

Slogger

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Re: Thundery rain while camping
« Reply #11 on: 16:41:57, 12/06/18 »
Makes no difference to me, if I'm planning on a trip, I will go anyway. Obviously camping spots may have to be chosen with extra care if thunder and lightening. I will only pitch my tent during rain if absolutely neccesary, prefering to carry on walking until it stops, even if that means walking right through the night and doing without a night sleep.

Pennine Way Virgin

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Re: Thundery rain while camping
« Reply #12 on: 18:44:04, 12/06/18 »

I am also curious about the risks of hiking or camping in thundery conditions, and the precautions to take. 


Thunder and lightning has never really worried me in general every day life, I mean you have as much chance of winning the lottery as you do of getting struck by lightning right?  However I am not sure I would feel so confident if I every found myself caught out in a thunderstorm on the summit of a high barren hill or mountain, with a pair of aluminium trekking or tent poles strapped to my backpack like some kind of human lightning conductor! 


Yeah probably needless worry on my part, but it is always in the back of my mind.


Gwydion

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Re: Thundery rain while camping
« Reply #13 on: 16:52:42, 13/06/18 »
The reason you saw lots of other people out is their experience with the forecasters not always getting it right, we would never go out if we took the forecast as gospel. "Small risk" means it most likely won't amount to much.
True true, I am still very inexperienced in that respect but I have certainly learnt a lesson from last weekend. Surprisingly, I was out on the Saturday too, going up Wyth Burn from Thirlmere when it started to rain heavily and I didn't hear any thunder. Maybe I was deafened by my waterproof hood and didn't hear much around me.

If I were out camping and there were a chance of storms, I would definitely feel more confident if I were camping with someone more experienced, even if just to calm me down ..!

Mel

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Re: Thundery rain while camping
« Reply #14 on: 18:23:58, 13/06/18 »
Ultimately, you've got to do what you feel comfortable with.  If you're a bit apprehensive about being out "in the wilds" when there's a storm forecast then change your plans/route.  Those hills will be there another day and it's surely better to be out amongst them and enjoying the experience rather than feeling anxious about being out in bad weather.



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