National Weather Service United States Department of Commerce

Widespread Heat This Week; Monsoon Rain Lingers

Widespread heat concerns are expected through at least midweek as high pressure covers a large portion of the U.S., especially the Central half. Excessive heat warnings and watches along with heat advisories are in effect from the northern Plains to the northwestern Gulf Coast and in parts of the West. Flood watches continue in parts of the Southwest due to the heavy monsoon rain threat. Read More >

 

...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.

Lightning usually kills and injures more people in Colorado than any other thunderstorm hazard.  From 1980 through 2016, lightning has killed 95 people and injured 472 people in Colorado.

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 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 fully-enclosed building such as a house, a business or a church.  Metal-topped cars and trucks also offer excellent protection from lightning. Once inside a substantial building or metal-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 outside.

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, sports 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 including 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 All-Hazards NOAA 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 fully-enclosed building or in an enclosed metal-roof vehicle.  

For more information on lightning safety, please check out the web site https://www.lightningsafety.noaa.gov

For more information about lightning in Colorado, please go to the Colorado lightning resource webpage at

https://www.weather.gov/pub/lightning