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Stephen M
(stephenm) - MLife

Locale: A very flat place (Grrrrrrrr)
Backpacking in Tornado areas on 11/17/2013 16:27:07 MST Print View

Was going to post this in chaff but realised chaff needs to be viewed separately.

We just had a tornado warning and crazy thunderstorms Michigan, it got me thinking that I could of easily been out backpacking tonight except for the fact that its rifle hunting season, I always check the forecast before I go on a trip but hardly do so during a trip due to lack of radio\phone signal.

Do folk who backpack in Tornado areas carry a weather radio and if you get very bad forecast would you try to get back to your car or hunker
Down somewhere (if thats possible)

I am used to backpacking in atrocious weather in Ireland and the UK but Tornados and Extreme thunderstorms are something we really see back their.

Jim Colten
(jcolten) - M

Locale: MN
Re: Backpacking in Tornado areas on 11/18/2013 01:24:40 MST Print View

Do folk who backpack in Tornado areas carry a weather radio and if you get very bad forecast would you try to get back to your car or hunker down somewhere (if that's possible)

short answer ..... not this one

1) the frequency of severe weather forecasts is not high
2) many are tornado watch forecasts and a majority of them are much ado about nothing
3) the area damaged by tornadoes is relatively small (I'm in the northern midwest, that is not always true 800 miles south of here)
4) tornado warnings are quite time & location specific (which would be useful) but tornadoes move fast by trail walking/running standards, it'll be over before you reach the car

In May 2011 there was a tornado "near" where we were backpacking on the SHT. Scared the dickens out of folks back home. But "near" was about 30 miles away and we were blissfully unaware. The same storm system DID catch me on a ridge top overlooking Lake Superior. The hail was "unpleasant", the lightning ground strikes somewhat beyond unpleasant. 30 minutes earlier it had been sunny. Radio weather forecasts are rarely specific enough to guide trail tactics for avoiding that sort of thing. Strategy? Sure, stay home unless the forecast is perfect. It's up to you to decide if that is acceptable.

Stephen M
(stephenm) - MLife

Locale: A very flat place (Grrrrrrrr)
Re: Re: Backpacking in Tornado areas on 11/18/2013 07:34:44 MST Print View

Thanks very much Jim,

I learned 25 years ago back in Ireland that if I was to wait for a perfect forecast then I would never get out.

Ryan Smith
(ViolentGreen) - M

Locale: Southeast
Re: Re: Re: Backpacking in Tornado areas on 11/18/2013 17:44:04 MST Print View

Paying attention to the forecast is about the best you can do really. If the weather turned really ugly you could lay down in a stream bed, but that will not save you if a tornado comes remotely close. Seeing what a tornado does to forest is really amazing. We had an F-4 barrel through the Smokies a couple years ago. It crossed over Calderwood Lake and then into the Citico Wilderness. Path was about a 1/2 mile wide.

Ryan