Trail Stories

Wind, rain, snow or shine, adventurous folk can still be found out pounding the trails or scrambling hills. And it would be fair to say that the weather affects our performance, mood and of course, the gear we choose to wear. But just how dangerous can it be? Below are four of the most extreme weather events in history – you would not have wanted to be caught out in these!


In 1887, after several days of heavy rain, the Yellow River in China burst its banks, crashing through the manmade restraints at such speed and force, many people were trapped without warning. Over 50,000 square miles were covered with water and 900,000 people lost their lives in the aftermath of the flood.


In April 1934, high winds battered the slopes of Mount Washington and its observatory in the White Mountains of New Hampshire. While high winds were not unusual for the time of year, during this particular extreme weather event the highest winds ever recorded hit the area. Peaking at an alarming 231 mph, it was a miracle nobody was injured.


In 1991, several separate weather systems bubbled over North America for five days bringing with them high winds and heavy rains. Low pressure built over the Great Lakes which met with the icy cold, Canadian winds on its journey east. Further south it was time for Hurricane Grace to make its mark. The damage caused by this combined weather system caused $208 million worth of damage and brought huge 40-foot-waves crashing down onto the coast of New England.


Even light fog can limit visibility and make life very difficult when you’re on the trail or going about your daily business. So when a huge area of fog hit a busy motorway in Padua, Italy in 1998; disaster was likely to strike. Two hundred and fifty vehicles collided and 4 people died. The subsequent rescue attempts were thwarted by emergency services struggling to land helicopters or reach causalities due to reduced visibility.


There’s sure to be more historic weather events in the future, so to avoid being caught out in a storm the next time you’re on the trail, make sure you’re checking reports before you go, choose a relatively mild time of year for your location and bring along a weather radio to be notified of any changing patterns.

Hopefully you’re never caught out in an extreme weather event like the ones above, but if you are, make sure you have the right hiking boots and outdoor apparel you need to survive.

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