Like HowStuffWorks on Facebook!

How to Survive a Storm in the Middle of the Woods


Weathering the Storm

Once you've found the spot where you'll stick out the storm, make yourself as small a target as possible. Squat low to the ground, place your hands on your knees and p­ut your head between your knees. The soles of your feet should be the only part of your body touching the ground.

Don't kneel or lie flat on the ground; this will make you a larger target for lightning. Since water conducts electricity for long distances, stay away from bodies of water. Steer clear of bicycles, fishing rods and any other metal camping equipment; they'll attract lightning. Get rid of your backpack if it has a metal framework. Wet ropes are also very good conductors of electricity, so remove any excess ropes near or attached to you.

Lightning is one of the greatest dangers associated with surviving storms in the middle of the woods. While rain mostly causes you to feel uncomfortable, being struck by lightning can have catastrophic effects.

Every year in the United States an average of 62 people are killed by lightning. In 2008, 27 people died due to lightning strikes, and in 2007, 45 people were killed by lightning in the United States. Ninety-eight percent of those victims were outside when they were struck, and 25 percent were standing under a tree. Twenty-five percent of victims were on or near the water when struck [source: NOAA]. Being struck by lightning can cause some serious injuries. Because the victim receives an electrical shock, his or her body may be burned where it was struck and where the electrical shock left the body. Other possible injuries include nervous system damage, broken bones, blindness and deafness.