How woman's innocent static hair selfie revealed she was 'close to death'

A woman was warned she likely cheated death after posting a selfie showing her hair standing on end while out for her morning walk. 

She was walking her dogs on the beach in Jersey when she felt ‘a very tingling feeling in my head/forehead’ and noticed her hair had begun to go frizzy. 

Later posting a photo of the bizarre phenomenon, known as ‘static hair’, on Facebook, she explained she could hear thunder rolling across the French coast, about 25 kilometres away. 

Users were quick to explain just how close she could have been to disaster. 

As one person wrote: ‘You were at risk of being struck, believe it or not you were a lightning rod standing on the beach projecting above the surrounding landscape.

‘The beach isn’t an ideal place [sic] that was an electrically charged atmosphere.’

Another user further clarified: ‘An electric charge builds up as part of a “positive lightning strike”. 

‘The charge is what makes your hair stand up. You may not think you’re in trouble if the storm looks to still be off in the distance. But that electric charge is a sure sign that you should get inside as quickly as possible.’

One other person added she was ‘lucky to still be walking and talking’.

The woman then responded: ‘I did start to get a little nervous and headed higher up the beach.

‘Goodness knows what it would have looked like if I hadn’t had my hair tied back! It was a really weird sensation.’

She wouldn’t appear to have been the only one among commenters to have first-hand experience of static hair amid a growing storm. 

Another user posted a photo of themselves with their hair on end at another beach, saying: ‘This happened to me a couple of years ago… crikey I had no idea I was that close to being fried.’

Experts advise people in this situation to get inside as quickly as possible, ideally by finding a house, large building or all-metal vehicle. 

According to the US National Weather Service, if there isn’t such a structure nearby, people should ‘drop to their knees and bend forward but don’t lie flat on the ground’, because wet earth can act as ‘a good conductor for electricity.’

RoSPA, an non-profit that works to help prevent accidental deaths, says that in the UK, between 30 and 60 people are struck by lightning each year. 

Of these incidents, between 5% and 10% prove fatal.

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