Lightning safety tips for campers - WNEM TV 5

Lightning safety tips for campers

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BAY COUNTY, MI (WNEM) -

With people gearing up to camp out during the upcoming July 4 weekend it's a good time to think about lightning safety. 

"I would just tell people to go inside their car until the storm passes," George Lauinger said.

Campers at the Bay City State Recreation Area are fortunate it's a storm-ready park. That means they'll be warned if a thunderstorm is nearby.

"We go and alert people, if we have to we go through the campground here and use a bullhorn and tell people there is a thunderstorm warning," Lauinger said.

Jim Negipe and his family were camping in Ogemaw County this past weekend. They heard thunder, but elected to stay under a camper awning. Lighting hit a tree right next to the camper and they felt it.

"We all started screaming because you felt it go up your body," Violet Negipe said.

Luckily no one was seriously hurt.  

Here are some lightning safety tips from the National Weather Service:

  • Avoid open fields, the top of a hill or a ridge top.
  • Stay away from tall, isolated trees or other tall objects. If you are in a forest, stay near a lower stand of trees.
  • If you are camping in an open area, set up camp in a valley, ravine or other low area. Remember, a tent offers no protection from lighting.
  • Stay away from water, wet items and metal objects. Water and metal are excellent conductors of electricity. The current from a lightning flash will easily travel for long distances. 
  • If you hear thunder, get inside your camper. 

 "You can always play that game where you count the seconds, oh, it's two miles away. I wouldn't, just because you heard a clap two miles away the next one could be right above you," Lauinger said.

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