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Woman 'very lucky' after hair charged by storm

A woman who had a hair-raising experience while walking her dog on a Jersey beach has been told she is "very lucky" not to have been struck by lightning. Natalie Stevens was on La Rocque beach on 24 August when she noticed her hair was sticking up, and a thunder storm was approaching.

Ms Stevens said she then got a bad headache and a tingling sensation across her head. Jersey's Met office said it was lucky Ms Stevens' hair, which was charged by the atmosphere, did not connect with lightning. Ms Stevens said she was a "little bit nervous" when she noticed her hair sticking out.

She said: "I didn't know what it was, I thought it was just to do with static and maybe pressure and things. "I didn't think anything about lightning or being struck. I didn't realise, and then I continued a little bit further with my walk and then turned round and walked back."

'Very lucky'

Ms Stevens posted her picture to social media, where she was inundated with comments. She said: "I thought everyone was being a little bit dramatic and I didn't quite believe it all. "Then I realised, ok, I've been very lucky. I know what that means now and I know what to do, and hopefully lots of people know what to do." Jersey Met's senior meteorologist Johdi Stock said Ms Stevens could have been struck by lightning.

She said: "What's happening here with Natalie is that the hair is being positively charged and it's trying to reach up towards the negatively charged cloud and its streaming towards it. "Luckily in Natalie's case, the connection didn't occur between the negatively charged clouds and her positively charged head. She was very lucky."

Ms Stock said signs you could be at risk of being struck by lightning included hair-raising, tingling skin and also metal objects vibrating or buzzing. Ms Stevens said she was glad she was wearing her rubber wellington boots.

Advice for staying safe in a charged atmosphere

  • Seek shelter inside a large building or a car

  • Get out of wide, open spaces and away from exposed hilltops

  • If you have nowhere to shelter, make yourself as small a target as possible by crouching down with your feet together, hands on knees and head tucked in

  • Do not shelter beneath tall or isolated trees

  • If you are on water, get to the shore and off wide, open beaches as quickly as possible


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