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Colorado, Elbert/Central and East Douglas Counties Above 6000 Feet

Public Information Statement

Statement as of 4:22 PM MDT on April 18, 2014

... When thunder roars... go indoors...

Thunderstorms produce some of the most dangerous weather on Earth...
including tornadoes... flash floods... large hail... and destructive
straight line winds. However... the most dangerous aspect of
thunderstorms in Colorado is usually lightning.

Since 1980... lightning has killed and injured more people in
Colorado than any other thunderstorm hazard... with an average of 3
fatalities and 13 injuries each year. These numbers are probably
higher as studies indicate that many lightning casualties...
especially injuries... are not reported. In 2013 there were no
documented lightning fatalities in Colorado. However... 22 people
were struck by lightning within the state and all survived.

In addition to producing human casualties... lightning also ignites
most Forest and rangeland fires in the Centennial state. Many of
these wildfires occur when lightning is generated from
thunderstorms which produce little or no rainfall. This type of
lightning is commonly referred to as dry lightning.

The safest thing for you to do if you are outside and lightning or
thunder begins to occur is to immediately get inside a substantial
building... such as a house... a store or a church. A hard topped
vehicle such as a car or truck also offers excellent protection from
lightning. Once inside a substantial building or hard topped
vehicle... keep all windows and doors closed... and do not touch any
metal inside the vehicle. It is then recommended that you wait at
least 30 minutes from the last rumble of thunder before returning

A recent lightning safety study has shown that 95 percent of the
people who were struck by lightning while outdoors had a nearby
substantial building or vehicle nearby. Remember... there is no
safe place outdoors when lightning is occurring. Do not seek
shelter under picnic shelters... dugouts... porches... trees...
carports or tents. These types of structures are not safe when
lightning is occurring.

Once inside a substantial building... stay off corded telephones
and away from electrical appliances since the electrical
discharge can travel along the telephone lines and electrical
wires to produce fatal results. Stay away from water... such as
showers... tubs and sinks. Even indoor swimming pools are not safe
when lightning is occurring. It is also recommended that you
unplug sensitive electronics such as computers when lightning is
expected to occur nearby.

The best defense to protect yourself against a lightning strike is
to plan ahead and avoid being caught where you might be
vulnerable. Check the weather forecasts prior to venturing out...
especially if you are heading into the mountains. Plan your outdoor
activities for early in the day before thunderstorms typically
develop. Stay tuned to NOAA all hazards weather radio and check
the National Weather Service forecasts at www.Weather.Gov.

It is very important that all sports leagues and other outdoor
groups have a lightning response plan that is understood and
consistently applied for the safety of the participants. Part of
the plan would include a designated weather watcher at each outdoor
event with the authority to postpone or cancel the event due to the
threat of lightning.

Remember... if thunderstorms threaten... seek shelter in a
substantial building or in an enclosed metal roof vehicle.

For more information on lightning safety... please check out the web
site www.Lightningsafety.NOAA.Gov.

For more information on lightning in Colorado... please go to the
Colorado lightning resource webpage at www.Weather.Gov/pub/ltg.Php

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