In light of the devastating windstorm that struck the Great Smoky Mountains Thursday evening, I have been wondering what a hiker should do if a severe windstorm were to hit while out on the trail. I did a few Google searches but could not find any advice.
So, I will pose my questions to my readers to see if anyone has any advice, recommendations, or even an authoritative source to quote:
My first question is what you should do if you're out on the trail, in the middle of the forest, miles from your car, and a severe windstorm hits? Running back to your car doesn't seem to be an option. Assuming you don't have meadow, a cave, a rock outcropping, or a steep embankment to use as a shelter, I'm thinking getting behind the largest (live) tree you can find might be the best thing you can do. I'm assuming you would have time to get out of the way if that tree were to fall. Of course I really don't know the answer to this question - any thoughts from anyone?
My second question: What do you do if you're driving when the storm hits - such as on Little River Road or Laurel Creek Road? Do you keep driving and hope to find a pull out or clearing in the tree canopy? Do you stop and get on the floorboard of your car? Get underneath the car? The last two options may protect you if a smaller tree falls on your car, but I'm not so sure about a large hemlock. Does anyone have any thoughts or suggestions?