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7 Signs That Lightning Is About to Strike

Have you ever had the feeling that lightning was about to strike? It was more than just a feeling. Oncoming lightning can give some noticeable signs before it's about to strike; you just need to know what to look for. Here's what you need to know.

1. You See Tall, Bright White Clouds 

Tall, bright white clouds are "cumulonimbus clouds." These clouds may appear to be soft, fluffy, and nonthreatening, but that's only true when they appear in bright skies. If these clouds appear during a storm or in a gray sky, they could mean lightning.

2. You Can Hear the Thunder Approaching

When you see lightning, count the seconds until you hear the thunder. Keep doing this every time lightning strikes. You don't need to ensure you count in one second intervals; it's more important that you count consistently.

If the time is getting shorter, that means the storm is approaching and lightning is coming your way. If the lightning is heading your direction, you should immediately seek shelter.

3. You See Your Hair Standing on End or Feel Tingling

Just before lightning actually strikes, static energy is going to fill the air. If you look at your arms, you may see the hair on your arms standing on end. You may also feel a physical tingling sensation throughout your body, especially in your extremities. This is often the gut feeling that people get when they "sense" that something is impending.

If your hair is standing up, you may have only a few seconds to protect yourself from lightning.

4. You Taste Something Metallic

Though it may sound strange, you may taste something metallic in your mouth just before a lightning strike. Electrical stimulation in general can lead to a metallic taste, including electrical discharge from batteries. If you taste something metallic, you are already experiencing some form of electrical current, and you should immediately get into a safe area and out from under open sky.

5. You Smell the Scent of Ozone in the Air

Ozone, the smell after a rainstorm (often described as similar to the smell of chlorine), has an unmistakable scent. It often feels fresh or clean after a storm, but when it's during a storm, it could mean that a lightning strike is imminent.

The scent of ozone in the air is associated with electrical discharge overall. That means that the scent of ozone could also mean that lightning has already touched down in an area. Of course, this also means that the area itself could still be dangerous.

6. You Start to Get Dizzy or Sweat

Once you start to get dizzy or sweat, a lightning strike is imminent. This means that you should immediately get under cover and away from any large, metal objects as soon as possible. The feeling of dizziness and sweating is caused by the electrical charge interfering with your nervous system and heating your body, as hearts run on electrical current.

7. You Can Hear Vibrating, Buzzing, or Crackling 

Even if you aren't feeling anything electrical, you may be able to hear a buzzing, cracking, or vibrating in the metallic objects near you. Under no circumstances should you try to touch these objects. Make sure you stay far away, because electricity can arc towards you even if you aren't touching the items. Electrical hums and buzzing may intensify as lightning approaches, and it should only happen once lightning is within a few seconds of striking.

Of course, even when you know lightning will strike, you still need to do something about it. Not only do you need to go to a safe place when it's happening, but you may want to take proactive measures to protect your property. Visit Michigan Lightning Protection today to find out more.