Over 40 million lightning strikes occur each year in the United States. In Colorado, lightning is a significant natural hazard. A bolt of lightning is over 50,000 degrees Fahrenheit, and will strike twice in the same location. Lightning can branch off of trees, fences, poles, or tall objects to strike people. In addition, you do not have to be directly under a thunderstorm for lightning to be a threat. Lightning can strike several miles away from the thunderstorm. The peak seasons for lightning are spring and fall.
Lightning Safety Tips
- 1. Do not stand under or near an isolated tree or small group of trees.
- 2. If caught in an open area with no buildings nearby, seek refuge in a canyon (but be alert to flash flooding!)
- 3. If you feel your skin tingle or hair stand on end, drop to your knees and crouch. (lying flat on the ground will cause lightning to more easily pass through vital organs.)
- 4. If you're inside a hardtop vehicle, stay inside; this is one of the safest places to be in a thunderstorm.
- 5. Stay off all bodies of water.
- 1. Unplug all unnecessary appliances before a thunderstorm and lightning approaches
- 2. Do not stand by open windows, doors, or patios during a thunderstorm.
- 3. Do not use the telephone except in emergencies, because current can travel through the line.
- 4. Do not shower or bathe in a severe thunderstorm, because lightning can feed back into the plumbing system.
- 5. Stay away from indoor targets (i.e., stoves, washers, and televisions).