Hurricane in an open area - how to survive a strong wind?
In 2017, hurricane winds with a speed of up to 150 km / h devastated the Rytel forest district, fell 2 million m3 of trees. The destructive element then destroyed thousands of hectares of forest, taking the lives of two people. Girl scouts who camped in Bory Tucholskie had virtually no chance of survival. The phenomenon was called the hurricane of the century, but the changing climate may soon lead to a wind that will break the 2017 catastrophe with its force. For such a powerful element, coming out of nowhere, one should be properly prepared. And here the question arises - is it even possible to shelter from the storm that raging in the forest?
How to survive a gale in the forest?
Before you start looking for shelter, check for civilization somewhere nearby. The safest thing is to just leave the forest and take refuge in any residential building.
However, if you are deep in the wild and the element suddenly grows stronger, you have no time to waste. Go forward, facing the wind, thanks to which the falling trees will always be in your sight. When you move with the wind, you lose any chance of dodging falling branches or falling tree trunks.
Search for depressions of the terrain. These can be ditches, trenches, natural basins or the remains of the Second World War (e.g. trenches and dugouts). If the trees have already started to fall, lie down in a hollow in the ground and try to wait out the gale. There is a chance that a tree will lie over you without crushing you.
If the wind picks up, but you still have some time and it is still relatively safe, you can refine the shelter with little time. How to do it? It is worth covering the depression with fairly thin trees that lie in the forest. Some trees will need to be sawed or chopped - use a survival saw or, if you don't have one, use a strong knife. Then cover the wooden roof with moss to stop the rain and cushion fallen branches. For added insulation from the ground, place a military jacket on the bottom of the makeshift dugout and tuck a backpack under your head.
Mountain hurricane – what to do?
When in the lower parts of the mountains, do the same as in a dense forest. However, it may happen that a strong wind will catch you high in the mountains, above the tree line. You then have two options:
- descend lower, minimizing exposure to the chilling wind, but at the same time risking being crushed by trees
- stay high in the mountains, seeking shelter from the cold wind
Personally, I would choose the second option. By sitting behind rocks, in a mountain pine or in a grotto, you will minimize the risk of chilling without risking being crushed by a tree. It is worth adding that in the mountains a storm is no less dangerous than the wind, which requires you to quickly descend from the summit and seek shelter in a dry place.
Strong wind in the open area
I mean vast meadows, steppes, fields. These are areas where, on the one hand, you will not be in danger of a falling tree, but on the other - you will not find any shelter from the wind. Very strong blasts can pick up small stones from the ground, which behave like projectiles. Lie flat on the ground, protecting your head with your hands. If you have a mat or a backpack, isolate yourself from the cold ground with them. You can also enter the sleeping bag - you will gain thermal comfort and armor that absorbs impacts of stones. If the wind does not pick up stones and other objects, try to reach the nearest buildings as soon as possible. Also remember that you should behave differently when the wind blows in a hurricane and different when it comes to a tornado, which we wrote about in a separate article.
Author: Kajetan Wilczyński
Editing: Tomasz Świgoń