Wednesday, July 17, 2024

Thunderstorms: what should you do?


Sometimes when you’re out on the water, out in the field or maybe on the golf course, the rain will come. A slow drizzle without any thunder can be refreshing certain times of the year and may not interfere with your outdoor activity. Fishing and hunting on some of these days can be excellent. Chances are however, if you spend a lot of time in the outdoors, you will get caught up in a storm or two. Hopefully you will have a chance to seek shelter before the lightning approaches, other times you may need to take quick action if a storm develops right on top of you. Today’s discussion will hopefully shed some light on this subject.

If you are out boating or swimming, get to land, get off the beach or shoreline, and find shelter immediately. Stay away from rivers, lakes, and other bodies of water. Water is an excellent conductor of electricity. When lightning strikes nearby, the electrical charge can travel through the water. Each year, numbers of people are killed by nearby lightning strikes while in or on the water. We had a couple of fatalities in Hood County previously due to a lightning strike right on the boat launch area adjacent to the lake.

It is recommended that you take shelter in a permanent enclosed structure such as reinforced building or house. Stay away from unprotected gazebos, tents, picnic shelters, golf carts, baseball dugouts and/or bleachers. These type shelters are often isolated in open areas and can be a target for lightning. In addition, these non-permanent structures are often easily damaged in strong winds or during large hail.

Staying in your automobile will generally protect you from lightning. If a tornado is imminent, you should get out of your automobile and find a low-lying area such as a bar ditch and cover your head. Of course, a storm shelter would be best, but if you’re outdoors this may be difficult to find. Keep car windows closed and avoid convertibles. Rubber-soled shoes and rubber tires provide little or no protection from lightning. However, the steel frame of a hard-topped vehicle provides increased protection if you are not touching metal. Although you may be injured if lightning strikes your car, you are much safer inside a vehicle than outside.

If you are in the woods, find an area protected by a low clump of trees. Never stand underneath a single large tree in the open. Be aware of the potential for flooding in low-lying areas.

As a last resort and if no structure is available, go to a low-lying open place away from trees, poles, or metal objects. Make sure the place you pick is not subject to floods. Make as little contact with the ground as possible. Squat low to the ground. Place your hands on your knees with your head between them. Make yourself the smallest target possible. Do not lie flat on the ground this will give the electricity flowing through ground more chance to flow through you.

Avoid tall structures such as towers, tall trees, fences, telephone lines, and power lines. Lightning will generally strike the tallest object in the area, as this may be its easiest path to arc across.

Stay away from natural lightning rods, such as golf clubs, tractors, fishing rods, bicycles, and camping equipment. Metal or graphite poles/rods are generally better conductors of electricity, and these may be the easiest path for the electricity to follow.

If you are isolated in a level field or prairie and you feel your hair stand on end (which indicates that lightning is about to strike), drop to your knees and bend forward, putting your hands on your knees. Crouch on the balls of your feet. Do not lie flat on the ground. The electrical build-up or elevated charge just before lightning strikes will cause your hair to stand on end. Make yourself the smallest target possible and minimize contact with the ground.


Granbury water temperatures are in the low 80s and falling slowly. Water levels continue to be about 2 feet low. The fall feeding frenzy is starting and many are reporting surface action. Striped bass continues to be fair to good to 10 lbs. on the lower ends on live bait and downrigged/trolling baits. Sandbass action is improving near DeCordova subdivision and near Indian Harbor. Big blue catfish are being caught mainly on the upper ends near Hunter Park on cut bait. Largemouth bass are good in numbers with an occasional bigger fish. Largemouth are good near points and creek entrances on spinners and crankbaits early and soft plastics later in the am. Crappie limits are being caught midlake near submerged timber on small minnows and jigs.

Squaw Creek now called Comanche Creek will be opening to the public on Oct. 1. Call to reserve your spot.

On other reservoirs: Lake Whitney top water action for striped bass is coming strong near the McCown Flats. Possum Kingdom striped bass action is excellent on live bait and downrigged jigs on the lower ends. Some good top water reported near Hogs Bend. Benbrook crappie are excellent on small jigs and minnows. | 254-396-4855