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The late summer / early fall months are very risky because of mountain storms and those who venture into mountain hiking know that some of the signs are dangerous thunders and bolts of lightning. Storm avoidance is extremely important, regardless of the season.

The most important thing before planning a hike is to check the weather forecast. It is essential, however, to note that they are not 100% safe and, at high levels, the weather can change extremely quickly.


Signs that the storm is approaching


1. Cloudy sky in the morning

If from the first hours of the morning the clouds appear, they can signal a possible atmospheric instability. Storms are rarer in the early part of the day, with more going on in the afternoon.

The clouds do not necessarily announce extreme weather phenomenons, but when they change their appearance and grow vertically, this is a sign that they can turn into cumulus - similar to whitish piles with a fluffy consistency and flat base.


2. The presence of cumulonimbus clouds

Cumulus clouds are their precursors, typical from the storm. Signs of cumulonimbus clouds include vertical development (the altitude may exceed 10,000m), and the appearance involves protuberances with well-contoured edges. They are similar to sugar wool.


3. Moisture and stinging

The suffocating atmosphere is another sign of a storm approaching, especially if it is accompanied by a sudden drop in atmospheric pressure. The pressure decreases as the altitude increases, the temperature decreases and the humidity of the air decreases.


4. Thunder and lightning

Rain and wind are not too dangerous unless they are accompanied by lightning. Electric discharges are almost impossible to avoid once they hit the earth's surface. The most dangerous is lightning that comes into contact with the earth, but they are a minor part of the total lightning. You can see how close the cell is to bad weather, depending on the distance to them.


5. Other alarming signs

The animals tend to be agitated, and the birds have a more energetic flight.

Strong wind gusts signal the approach of a storm on the mountain.

The smell of the plants becomes more intense before a storm.


How to determine the distance at which lightning occurs

To determine the distance at which a lightning strike occurs, you must count the seconds. The interval elapsed from the electrical discharge or the visible lightning in the sky to the thunder must be calculated. To find the approximate distance to the lightning (up to the storm), divide the number of seconds to 3. The contact point is at the number obtained at the end and is measured in kilometers. The sound travels through the air 1 km in about 3 seconds.

For example, if you count 9 seconds and divide by 3, the storm is 3 km away from you.

When you realize that the thunder follows within 3 seconds of lightning, the best thing to do is to quickly seek refuge. Mountain storms are very dangerous and not a pleasant experience at all.