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How to predict a storm is coming even without a proper forecast

  • Jan 13, 2017

Some of the best outdoor adventuring puts you in places far away from civilization and without cell phone service. This is a great way to unwind, but can leave you vulnerable because you're otherwise unable to communicate with the outside world.

When it comes to serious weather, this is especially problematic. We're accustomed to having up-to-the-minute forecasts in the palm of our hand, which makes it easy to make plans accordingly. Getting caught in a storm without warning while camping or hiking can be extremely dangerous, but if you can't connect to the web, you may be unable to get accurate weather predictions. 

For that reason, outdoor adventurers should learn the usual warning signs of an incoming storm. That way, you can begin to prepare and take shelter. Here are some basic things to look for: 

Look to the sky
Before getting technical about what actually causes a storm system, simply being vigilant can provide basic clues about upcoming weather. The National Weather Service stated that different types of clouds usually indicate varying conditions.

Light, wispy clouds rarely carry too much moisture or energy. That said, a calm morning can give way to a treacherous evening, so its wise to always keep an eye on the sky. If darker, thicker clouds take hold, there is likely a change brewing. This might mean you have few hours to prepare.

If the day starts with thick, fast-moving cloud-coverage, this can be a sign that a storm is imminent and quickly approaching. In this case, take the time to secure your belongings and avoid open areas that could leave you exposed. As Backerpacker reported, different parts of the country have varying weather patterns based on the local geography, so its best to do a bit of research to know what to look for in particular.

Consider the air
Cloud coverage is a great way to get a basic sense of upcoming weather, but a deeper dive into what is happening in the atmosphere providers even better clues. Your PRW6000SYT-1 Triple Sensor Pro Trek watch is loaded with tools that will give you everything you need to spot an upcoming storm.

Use your watch barometer and watch thermometer to look for changing conditions. The blast of cooler, windy air that proceeds a summer thunderstorm is easy enough to detect, but by looking for changes in temperature and pressure, you can identify a possible storm long before you feel it. Even if the cloud patterns are unchanged, a drop in either temperature or pressure should be taken as a serious warning that wind, rain or snow is on its way.

Observe changes around you
The natural world around you also holds clues about changes in weather. Higher humidity, which usually precedes strong storms, can cause leaves to curl slightly in the same way that it makes your hair frizzier. Pinecones, flowers and other plant structures may close in anticipation of adverse weather as well.

There can be even more subtle ways to detect an incoming storm. Dropping pressure usually triggers the release of gas in wetlands, so if you suspect the smell of a swampy area is getting worse, there could be bad weather coming. Many animals, meanwhile, may also show a change in behavior. There may not be an obvious exodus, but a flock of birds or scampering ants can be a reliable warning sign.

Above all else, remain vigilant. If you're in an area without cell service, not only will you be without any forecast for bad weather, but you may not be able to call for help. Keep an eye on changing conditions and if a storm is coming, make sure you take shelter and protect yourself.