• rafters paddling through whitewater

    Gauley River

    National Recreation Area West Virginia


Lightning is a common occurrence in the park, especially at higher elevations. It is important to be cautious during thunderstorms to ensure you and your family's safety.

Safety Tips:
• If you can hear thunder, you are close enough to be struck by lightning. Lightning can strike up to 10 miles away from where it is raining.

• Be sure to check the weather report before planning any outdoor activities.

• At the first sound of thunder seek shelter immediately.

• Do not seek shelter under trees.

• If no shelter is available and you must remain outdoors be sure to avoid open fields, ridge lines, hill tops, isolated trees, and other tall objects.

• Avoid water and other wet areas.

• Avoid metal objects such as fences and poles.

• Keep in mind that the tram at Pipestem Resort State Park will often shut down temporarily during lightning storms.

Lightning First Aid:
• Call 911

• If you are still within an active thunderstorm consider moving the victim to a safer location.

• Lightning victims do not carry an electrical charge. They are safe to touch and they need immediate medical attention.

• Deaths occurring due to lightning strikes typically result from cardiac arrest. Do not delay CPR if the victim is unresponsive or not breathing.

• According to the National Weather Service, lightning causes an average of 62 deaths and 300 injuries in the United States every year.

• Lightning hits the earth an estimated 100 times per second on average, or 8.6 million times a day.

• It is estimated that the U.S. alone receives as many as 20 million cloud-to-ground lightning strikes per year from perhaps as many as 100,000 thunderstorms.

Did You Know?

Rafting through rapid on Gauley River

Dropping more than 668 feet through 28 miles of rugged terrain, the Gauley River's complex stretch of whitewater features more than 100 rapids with a steep gradient, technical runs, an incredible volume of water and huge waves.