Picture: Cumulonimbus Thunderstorm cloud building near the summit of the Sierra Buttes, California
This is going to be another post that my family isn’t going to like reading; but it makes for excellent blog fodder.
As a promised follow-up (read: preamble) to my previous two lightning related posts:
My Buddy Michael had already bolted off the huge metallic abandoned fire lookout a few moments before. We arrived only a short while earlier as this cloud had started to build well to the southeast of us. Within 20 minutes, the size and proximity was growing quickly as an afternoon thunderstorm started to take shape. I was a little less nervous than my friend, but due caution was called for. It’s a well known fact that lightning can strike out of a blue sky arcing from a cloud 10 miles away. I stayed an additional 5 minutes at the top, racing to finish a few shots since we’d not yet heard any distant thunder or seen any lightning. As I was bent over packing my camera bag, packing my gear for the decent, my brain suddenly raised a bright warning flag. In the space of a few seconds, the air around me was immediately filled with the unmistakable smell of ozone. It’s the smell of burnt electricity. Needless to say, my pace doubled as I slung my pack over my shoulder and high-tailed it out of there.
Within 40 minutes after our decent, there was no more blue sky. The lightning and thunder began, and I’d soon be watching from relative safety, one of the wildest electrical storms I’ve ever had a chance to witness.
Image ID#: 110913c_SRA-0033
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