Colorado Lightning Safety Week
Colorado Lightning Safety Awareness Week will continue through Saturday. You can check out the National Weather Service website for tips to keep safe during a thunderstorm.
According to the NWS, there are an estimated 25 million cloud-to-ground lightning flashes per year and each one is a potential threat to a person's life and property.
Last year was an active year across the United States for lightning fatalities with the number reaching 27, which is high, considering the average number of people killed in the last decade as a result of lightning is 31.
Statistically, 100% were outdoors, 59% were male, and 30% were under or near a tree. In Colorado, lightning killed one person and injured seventeen.
A general rule of thumb is if you can hear thunder, you could be in danger of being struck by lightning. "When Thunder Roars, Go Indoors."
While the chance of being hit by lightning in the United States is about 1 in 960 thousand for each year of your life, but there is a chance.
If you are outside, know where to locate a place where you can go that will offer safety, meaning a substantial building. Any enclosed hard topped vehicle also offers excellent protection. Picnic shelters, bullpens, tents, and any other small building that are open to the elements are not safe. NEVER seek shelter under a tree.
What do you do if you're in the backcountry? Unfortunately, there's not much you can do to reduce your risk. The best thing is to stay away from all tall isolated objects (like trees). Stay away from wide open areas, stay as low as possible with your feet close together. If you're in a group, the NWS says to spread out that way if someone gets struck the others can help.
For more on safety for the outdoors and indoors, you can check out the excellent presentations the National Weather Service has put together.