Jun 25, 2022 - News

This is when lightning is the most deadly in Colorado

Colorado lightning fatalities, by time of day
Reproduced from NWS; Chart: Axios Visuals

Lightning strikes in Colorado half a million times a year … let that sink in.

Threat level: Given our proclivity for the outdoors, it's unsurprising that many people find themselves in harm's way, whether atop mountain peaks or picnicking in the park.

  • Lightning kills an average of two people and injures 12 a year in the state.
  • The danger is even greater when considering wildfires, a quarter of which are started by lightning in Colorado each year.

What to know: This week, the National Weather Service shared these numbers to raise awareness about weather-related hazards.

  • 100 people have died and 500 have been injured from lightning strikes in Colorado since 1980, records show.
  • The top three counties for fatalities are El Paso, Larimer and Jefferson, according to weather data.

Be smart: The late morning through early evening hours in the spring and summer are the most dangerous, as thunderstorms develop over the mountains and drift toward the Denver metro and Front Range.

  • The 2pm hour is the peak for fatalities, statistics demonstrate.

Of note: A flash of lightning is about 300 million volts and hotter than the surface of the sun, reaching upwards of 50,000°.

Yes, but: The odds of being struck by lightning remain small — 1 in 1.2 million nationwide.


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