Weather Preparedness Part 1: The Top 4 Killers

Tornadoes and Hurricanes do incredible damage and usually get a lot of attention in the mainstream media but despite their dramatic appearance, they are not the most lethal weapons in Mother Nature’s arsenal. Know the top 4 weather killers:

This article will identify the most potent weather killers and what you can do to survive them, should you ever find yourself stranded outside or away from adequate shelter.

1. Extreme Cold

It’s not dramatic and very easy to predict. Nonetheless Extreme Cold weather tops our list, killing 680 annually — more deaths than all other extreme weather combined.

In a survival scenario, it can be easy to be caught unprepared by extreme weather. If you have access to basic communications such as a NOAA Weather Radio, listen for Blizzard and Winter Storm Warnings, which are often issued 24 hours in advance of an event.

AM/FM radios are also a great source for local weather forecasts. Always have extra blankets and winter gear in your vehicle, in case you become stranded during winter months.

2. Extreme Heat

Desert SurvivalOn the other end of the spectrum, but just as deadly, is Extreme Heat. Heat-stroke, heat exhaustion, and other heat-related illnesses account for over 350 deaths annually. Like Extreme Cold, Extreme Heat can also be difficult to avoid in a survival scenario, so be vigilant.

Look for shade and avoid unnecessary physical exertion during peak heat hours (noon-5PM). Infants and elderly are especially at risk during extreme heat, and should be monitored closely.  Finally, drinking lots of water (16-32oz per hour) is a must to avoid dehydration.

3. Flooding

Flood SurvivalSlow-rising currents of water may not look threatening, but looks can be deceiving. Flood waters kill 100 people every year in the U.S.

A primary reason why people die in flood waters is because they are swept away and drowned attempting to drive through flood currents. Never attempt to cross flowing water more than 6 inches deep. If the depth is unknown, avoid it altogether.

4. Lightning

Lightning SurvivalKnown as the “underrated killer”, Lightning ranks #4 on our list with 60-90 deaths and 500 injuries each year – more than Tornadoes and Hurricanes combined.

There is a lot of confusion regarding when and where lightning can strike. The critical rule is this: if you can hear thunder, you’re close enough to get struck by lightning.

The majority of lightning fatalities occur when people leave their shelter too soon after a storm has passed. Their flawed reasoning is, “it stopped raining, it is safe to be outside”. However, a lightning bolt can travel up to 10 miles away from the storm. To avoid tragedy, you should wait at least 30 minutes after a storm has passed before leaving shelter.

In terms of shelter from lightning, avoid particularly exposed areas like hilltops and tall trees. Lightning bolts will follow the path of least resistance, so the lower to the ground you can be and the further away from tall objects, the better.

Part 2

In the next Weather Preparedness article, we will explore several techniques you can use to detect severe weather without power or technology, increasing your preparation time and chances of survival.

Rory Groves is a weather preparedness expert and developer of Weather Defender the desktop weather software designed to protect families and communities from severe weather.

Top Photo: magikid

Written by Joel Jefferson

Joel is one of the original founders of After college, he joined the USMC where he served as an (0302) Marine Infantry Officer. Joel is an avid outdoorsman and spends much of his free time in the mountains. Joel’s hobby is researching survival gear & weapons as well as prepping. Read his full interview here. Read more of Joel's articles.

11 thoughts on “Weather Preparedness Part 1: The Top 4 Killers”

  1. Freebie for the first-aid kit……

    Grab 2-3 packs of sugar from the coffee bar or restaurant and stuff em in your first-aid kit. Pour it on cuts (no it doesn't burn, you sissy but make sure it aint salt LMAO). Sugar helps activate some clotting factors. This does NOT work on gushing arterial or very heavy venous bleeds, but it does work on the average cut and on those annoying bleeds that just wont seem to stop. Its not instant but it significantly reduces clotting time.

    If you dont have sugar, use spider webs (any species) also work because of the glucose and proteins. Try not to use old, dusty, or bug filled ones. Fresh is better.

  2. This a place that I am a little lost AR rilfes and auto hand guns but I have fired some auto handguns 45 1911 auto never a AR rilfe !
    I have fired A great many bolt action rilfes and lever guns up to 444 marlin !
    And lot's of 30-30's hand gun's mostly wheel gun's 357mag ,38,41mag,44mag.

  3. The debate over 9mm and .45 will continue forever, but still great conversation.
    Hell I'll even try a slingshot if it will stop em!

  4. If you begin to see small soft hail like pellets during a snowstorm be cautious of thunder snow. This type of hail is called grauple and almost always is a sign of lightning during the snow storm.

  5. *cough*earthquakes*cough*
    Here in california, we're expecting a big one any second, yet no one is preparing for it, which makes me feel like I'd have to lead my neighbourhood through this tragedy… which is too bad because I only have 4 BOBs and not even an INCH bag.

  6. Also important, if you duck inside a cave, the depth must be three times the width of the opening of the cave… just for reference.

  7. anything that can provide protection can provide shade your preps should be aligned around your locality
    not what you see in posts to a degree.

    my experience in certain climates helps I still like the 2MM wet suit no matter where you are night time temps that
    drop fast and swing 30 to 40 degrees are miserable deserts have this extreme.

    if your caught in a storm or do not gauge the oncoming night and cannot get a fire you need thermal protection NOW
    all this whiz bang survival blankets are not long term and do not hold heat if your ringing wet and cold to start.
    add in high wind and these flimsy things can be a chore to hang onto that does not mean not to have one but a
    wet suit can be worn under clothing you need water resistance if you get wet you want the suit to hold body heat still
    wind resistance and light weight I have used these as pillows if you have a hood and neoprene gloves your now holding as much body heat as possible in fact you need to open the chest to not sweat in cold weather.
    neoprene dive boots in extreme cold would not hurt as regular boots get soaked and you need to allow them to dry
    but keep your feet warm and may still have to make distance / time.

    if it is hot you can use it on your blanket as a pad

    boating unless your in a Boston whaler or some boat that has a lot of buoyancy protection your still exposed to the elements storms drop temps drastically with wind.
    If your body temp drops you loose motor function and cannot tread water and you will die a wet suit holds heat
    and if your forced into water depends on the water temp and your thickness of suit as to how long you can live
    if you swim it will increase body temp and that may save you in a boat I would also have fins like jet fins not these
    crappy ultra flexible as they do not have the rigidity to produce maximum propulsion with minimum effort.

    I kept a wet suit in all my boats they float with you in it or not you can put them on in water and just wear it like an open jacket if the weather is warm.

    tents and tarps are great but unless your clothing can trap heat and insulate as well as resist moisture your going to be miserable and when you can you need to rest or sleep and you can't do either if your miserable.
    in a lake if your bot goes to the bottom you as long as gators are not abundant you can tie off and lay back and float
    until the storm passes and you are able to see an escape route.
    blindly swimming is like blind walking if your in open water and the storm is over now your a floating obstruction
    and likely to get run over people so not figure on a body floating and you probably won't have a signal lite or flare.

    So how is this a desert survival piece of equipment try making it through a sand storm in shorts and a tee shirt
    sometimes they are a precursor to savage rain and even hail rare but survival is preparing for the worst weather
    recorded in your area not the best.

    I also have a folding camp chair if flooding gets too deep I can sit it out above the water water hides holes and rocks
    that cause ankle injuries, seek some safe place and a wind break if possible.

    Lightning not to dispel any content but it has no rules does not care and all information is invalid I have seen it hit water when a power transmission tower was within a 100 foot and it was 50 foot tall made of metal in a lake.
    I have seen where it struck a house roof went through the side blew out the brick threw a window and exploded a kitchen sink and destroyed a counter top and blew tile off the floor.

    it has no conscience no rhyme or reason it can hit and arc and jump it hit a tree next to a power pole did not knock out power went to ground and hit the phone pillar and destroyed it and the tree was barley taller than the pole.
    the power is always unknown as well as duration of a strike from a micro second to what seems more than a second

    People have been only knocked down and recover in a day some badly burned and permanent nerve damage
    severe burns or die with few external signs other torn and burned like a rag doll.

    it is unbridled raw power up to 100,000 amps and kill about 100 people a year it can strike once or stroke / multiple
    discharges to a singular point it turns sand into glass and some strikes in metal bearing soil produces
    root looking tendrils many feet into the ground, and can start a raging fire during a flood soaked forest.
    if it has your name there is nothing that can be done if you cannot find shelter.

    last HDPE pool liner or coy pond liner expensive but very durable and it can be patched or welded
    a large tube made form this could be a boat with a wood / limb structure made like an igloo water proof from high water { to a degree of course} but way better than a tent or just a tarp I would still have a tarp.

    if your in the wild everything is going to get wet the point is not to not allow it to ruin your equipment and for you to keep warm and as dry as possible it is the wilderness it is not if but when and how much is ruined and with
    water proof cases and sacks wet suits and decent equipment you should be OK.


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