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  1. #1
    whistle_norvell's Avatar
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    Oct 2016
    Location
    Tulsa, OK
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    Severe weather: I survived near-tornadic winds last night in my hammock

    Last night I was in the most intense thunderstorm that I've ever been in - in my hammock.

    This is the same storm system that brought destructive tornadoes to Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, and Missouri (Sunday October 20th, 2019). I had been camping out a whole week - 8 nights and this was the last night. Earlier in the day some friends said that there was a chance of rain. I don't usually pay attention to that because I've slept comfortably through many stormy nights, including 3 nights in the Smokey Mountains of continuous thunderstorm. The storm came 30 minutes earlier than predicted by the weather sites and fortunately I was in my hammock and ready. The radar showed a line of scattered thunderstorms approaching from the southwest and moving directly towards us. I wasn't too concerned. The rain was heavy, the lightning was constant, and there were gusts of winds, but I was still not concerned.

    Then I noticed on the radar that several separate lines of thunderstorms converged right before us, and then things went crazy. The winds intensified considerably. My tarp started violently shaking like someone picking up a box and shaking it as hard as they could. I use a Superfly and had it setup low to the ground with the doors deployed. Three of my 10 titanium shepherd hook stakes came loose just behind my head (the two door stakes plus my left head corner). Then the leeward side of the tarp went horizontal and I could see what the sky looked like during the lightning strikes. It looked very angry with different hues of gray, green, and black. Tree branches were crashing all around me. Surprisingly enough my hammock didn't sway very much - only once or twice.

    I was suspended between two mature pecan trees, one 3' diameter, and the other 1.5' diameter. My tarp shook violently for about another hour and then things seem to begin to slow down, but the rain was still downpouring. The radar showed that the majority of the bad stuff was passing, and so I felt that I should get up and check the situation. It was about two hours of heavy storm.

    Being presently surprised that the tarp was still doing well on two of the four sides, I checked those stakes and then assessed the corner that had come loose. After the three stakes had come loose the guylines got twisted into a rat's-nest hell of a knot. I realized that sorting that out in the middle of the night was not going to be doable, so I secured the others and went back to bed.

    My tarp had been violently shaken, but it did its job and I was completely warm, toasty, and dry on the inside. I had an extra shirt stuffed in my Warbonnet XLC v1 shelf, and that shirt took the brunt of the rain through the tarp, but other than that I was dry. My down top quilt and down jacket were dry. It was going down to 9oC tonight so wanted to be both warm and dry.

    In the morning I further assessed the situation and found about 1 cup of water pooled up inside my down underquilt. I guess that waterproofing did its job as well.

    Would like to say one thing to our forum members who manufacture quality custom gear: THANK YOU for making such good products! I don't know if you think about it when you put those extra quality stitches in, but those could save people's lives in severe weather. Thank you!

    I was tempted to run (but knew better), but also knew that my body weight was helping my hammock to stay in place, and there wasn't really any safer place to be given the location and circumstances. If I had tried to run in those conditions I could have easily been hit by flying debris or worse.

    Attached is a picture of the rat's nest. Sorry I didn't get video during the storm. That would have been cool, but I was watching the radar and praying!

    IMG_20191021_080243.jpg

    natweathersvc.jpg

  2. #2
    TrailSlug's Avatar
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    Sep 2015
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    Huntsville, AL
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    You're blessed that it wasn't worse than it was. I'm not a fan of sever thunder storms and hanging in trees ever since a buddy took a lightning strike in a hammock. He has the butt burn marks to prove his brush with death.

  3. #3
    cougarmeat's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    Location
    Bend, OR
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    Are you sure that cup of liquid was water?
    In order to see what few have seen, you must go where few have gone. And DO what few have done.

  4. #4
    Senior Member FLTurtle's Avatar
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    Dec 2018
    Location
    Orlando FL
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    DW Half-Zipped, WB Eldorado
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    159
    Quote Originally Posted by TrailSlug View Post
    You're blessed that it wasn't worse than it was. I'm not a fan of sever thunder storms and hanging in trees ever since a buddy took a lightning strike in a hammock. He has the butt burn marks to prove his brush with death.
    Man, I was thinking about trees and limbs falling. Now add human lightning rod to the mix.

  5. #5
    Senior Member BillyBob58's Avatar
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    Jan 2007
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    Tupelo, MS
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    WOW!.............................................. .................... Glad you made it OK!

  6. #6
    whistle_norvell's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2016
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    Tulsa, OK
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    nice one!!

  7. #7
    Senior Member TallPaul's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    Location
    Charlotte, NC
    Hammock
    WBXLC, WBBB, LiteOwl
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    I'm glad you made it as well.

    I've had those nights where I'm thanking Brandon (or fill in the name of your vendor) for their great gear.
    Those nights when even the stout trees are moving & you feel it in your hammock.

  8. #8
    Senior Member mistone's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2014
    Location
    Oak Hill nc
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    DIY WINTER HAMMOCK
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    Diy Winter Tarp
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    I probably would’ve freaked out and ran for the car!! Did have a bad lightning storm to hit one night and I did get in the car for a couple hours but that was car camping I commemorate you for your bravery!
    Last edited by mistone; 10-21-2019 at 20:24.
    Its a good day to be out in the woods no matter the weather.Mist One..

  9. #9
    Senior Member jeff-oh's Avatar
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    Oct 2017
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    US
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    588
    Glad you got through ok. I have been in 2 such storms with 60MPH gusting winds and driving wind. Both this summer and both in my tensa stand. The Tensa stand provided a stout structure supporting the tarp cross pinned around the poles in full storm mode.

  10. #10
    psyculman's Avatar
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    Sep 2007
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    Whitefield NH
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    Just click your heels three times, and say "there's no place like home, there's no place like home...………"
    Never more than one man left behind, so far !

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