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#27119 - 08/21/12 12:41 PM Lightning hits Whitney campers
Harvey Lankford Offline


Registered: 11/10/09
Posts: 1024
Loc: Richmond, Virginia
Guitar Lake story at
lightning strike on Whitney

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#27121 - 08/21/12 01:51 PM Re: Lightning hits Whitney campers [Re: Harvey Lankford]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7875
Loc: Fresno, CA
Whoa! Thanks for posting that, Harvey.

It occurred on Aug 14, 2012.

From [url=http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-19326042]the article[/url]:
[quote][b]US backpacker Joshua White, 36, his brother Colton, 23, and friend Ian Richmond, 26, are recovering after they were all struck by lighting while sharing a tent near Mount Whitney in California.[/b]

...Then out of nowhere came the brightest light we had ever seen and the loudest noise. We were all thrown around the tent and it was all over very quickly.

We had no idea what had happened at first but quickly realised we had all been struck by lightning.

It was extremely painful. Every nerve ending was hurting and I thought I was on fire. I thought I was going to die. We were all hysterical and shouting for each other to help.

I was trying to rip my clothes off while the other two were trying to do the same.

The whole tent was filled with smoke while smoke was also coming out of our mouths.

[img]http://news.bbcimg.co.uk/media/images/62394000/jpg/_62394280_broken_tent.jpg[/img]

We were - to pardon the pun - in shock afterwards.

The force was just so strong. It felt as if we had travelled at high speed and slammed into an unmoveable object. The pain was extraordinary.

I had a burn mark on my shoulder which luckily has gone down thanks to a treatment of aloe vera.

I think it was because I was close to the tent poles and my body was slightly touching them. I think the current passed through me and through to the others. There were scorch marks all over the metal poles although luckily the tent managed to stay together.[/quote]

I am sure curious how BBC News scooped this story!

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#27123 - 08/21/12 02:22 PM Re: Lightning hits Whitney campers [Re: Harvey Lankford]
juroknow Offline


Registered: 06/01/12
Posts: 19
Loc: Tehachapi, Ca.
holy crap!!!!!!!!!

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#27124 - 08/21/12 03:24 PM Re: Lightning hits Whitney campers [Re: juroknow]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7875
Loc: Fresno, CA
> holy crap!!!!!!!!!

I am sure you wrote that with no pun intended... wink

From the article:
> Our main priority was to get to the bathroom though.


They may have actually been aided by being inside the tent with those tent poles arched over them. The aluminum would provide something of a Faraday Cage, directing the escaping electrical charge past them, rather than through them. Refer to Alan K's post regarding lightning and the summit hut.   Lightning: Thunderstorms on Whitney?

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#27128 - 08/21/12 05:42 PM Re: Lightning hits Whitney campers [Re: Steve C]
wagga Offline


Registered: 10/07/09
Posts: 2249
Loc: Humbug Reach (Pop. 3)
Hmmmm... a giant Slinky designed into the tent would be a good Faraday cage.
_________________________
Verum audaces non gerunt indusia alba. - Ipsi dixit MCMLXXII

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#27129 - 08/21/12 05:45 PM Re: Lightning hits Whitney campers [Re: Steve C]
Bob West Offline


Registered: 11/13/09
Posts: 828
Loc: Bishop, CA, USA
From what I recall, most of the level campsites at Guitar Lake are pretty close to the lake...possibly a bad spot in a thunderstorm. They might have received a ground charge from a lightning strike on the lake water. A direct hit would have probably killed them.

One of our old SAR missions involved the recovery of the bodies of two guys in a tent camped close to Big McGee Lake (south of Mammoth Lakes). Both were killed when lightning apparently hit the lake or wet meadow and jumped from their tent poles into their bodies.

I was camped at Loch Leven, below Paiute Pass last week, and witnessed multiple lightning stricks on the ridges above and near the lake. My campsite was about 150 yards from the lake, but it was still scary, since the ground around my tent was soaked in rain water. I hoofed it for home the next morning...


Edited by Bob West (08/21/12 05:48 PM)

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#27131 - 08/21/12 06:02 PM Re: Lightning hits Whitney campers [Re: Bob West]
Harvey Lankford Offline


Registered: 11/10/09
Posts: 1024
Loc: Richmond, Virginia
Originally Posted By: Bob West
From what I recall, most of the level campsites at Guitar Lake are pretty close to the lake...possibly a bad spot in a thunderstorm. They might have received a ground charge from a lightning strike on the lake water. A direct hit would have probably killed them.


Agreed. I am not an expert Bob, but from what I have read more people are killed from ground current than direct hit.

Close counts in horseshoes, hand grenades, nuclear bombs, and lightning.

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#27134 - 08/21/12 06:14 PM Re: Lightning hits Whitney campers [Re: Harvey Lankford]
Bob West Offline


Registered: 11/13/09
Posts: 828
Loc: Bishop, CA, USA
Yes, you are probably right about ground current deaths. I just read the following about ground current at the NOAA website:

http://www.lightningsafety.noaa.gov/science.htm

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