Severe Weather Safety Tips

July 9, 2014

Summer time in Central Virginia is a great time to explore all of the areas trails, but it's also the time of year for pop-up storms that can be quite sudden and dangerous.

Scott Paisley of Blue Wheel Bicycle urges mountain bike riders to plan ahead, saying with summer storms often striking in the afternoon, the best time to hit the trails is in the morning. Paisley says if riders are out and a pop-up storm rolls in, the best thing to is keep riding to find shelter.

"Listen for how soon the thunder comes, and most likely the best thing to do is head home," said Paisley

Paisley says don't be afraid to knock on a strangers door if conditions become too dangerous.

"It was flash, boom! I'm in the lightning storm very suddenly, and a wall of rain. I hot footed it up the nearest drive way and knocked on the door," said Paisley.

For hikers and bikers who are not near shelter, Blue Ride Outdoors Magazine Travel Editor Jess Daddio says too look for a safe spot to assume lightening position.

Daddio says hikers should head down the mountain, away from the tallest trees and the mountain's peak to reduce the risk of being struck by lightning. When looking for shelter, Daddio says to avoid caves because they are often damp and can channel electricity.

Once a hiker finds you find a spot of dense forest, to reduce the risk of getting struck by lightning, they should crouch down as low as possible with their feet together on to a sleeping bag or towel.

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