Safe Trails: Stormy Weather

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It’s a beautiful time of year to enjoy the Little Miami Scenic Trail, but sunny, warm weather can give way quickly to thunderstorms, windstorms, hailstorms, or even tornados. Follow these tips to safeguard yourself during severe weather.

  • Know before you go: Check the weather forecast before leaving home. If stormy conditions are expected, stay home or at least stay close to home. It is said that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Having a sturdy shelter readily available is far better than being caught out in the elements.

  • Monitor conditions: Carry your cell phone so that you can receive updated forecasts and weather alerts. Pay attention to changing conditions. Changes in cloud cover, temperature, and wind speed can indicate an approaching storm.

  • React: If indoor shelter is not available, follow these suggestions from Travelers for what to do if caught outdoors on a trail: Always avoid lone trees and other tall objects when on a hiking trail during a thunderstorm. Stay away from rocky outcrops, ledges, water and wet items like ropes and towels. If you are deep in the forest, retreat underneath a group of small trees, preferably surrounded by taller ones. In more open areas, retreat to and crouch down in the closest dry, low area, such as a ravine or valley, and squat in a baseball catcher’s position; minimize contact with the ground and do not lie flat.

It is also said that discretion is the better part of valor. If severe weather threatens, err on the side of caution and stay home. You will be safe today and ready to enjoy the trail again soon enough.


by Erick Wikum
July 2023

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