Subscriber login

Welcome to our new site. You will need to reset your password if this is your first time logging in. Please click here to reset your password.
News
What you need to know for 01/18/2017

Lightning safety tips for mountain visitors

Lightning safety tips for mountain visitors

Lightning strikes have killed two tourists and injured others in recent days in Rocky Mountain Natio

DENVER — Lightning strikes have killed two tourists and injured others in recent days in Rocky Mountain National Park. The strikes happened along a popular road that is above treeline and is prone to rapidly-developing early afternoon summer thunderstorms. Here are some precautions mountain visitors should take to stay safe:

CHECK THE WEATHER: According to the park, a bright summer day can turn stormy within minutes, with lightning, high winds and even snow. In the Rocky Mountains, thunderstorms typically develop in the early afternoon. Elsewhere, ask rangers or check the weather service to learn about the weather patterns of the area you are visiting.

GET OUT EARLY: If hiking, start your hike early in the day — and plan to be down the mountain by noon. Summer thunderstorms can form quickly anytime in the afternoon. Get below treeline or to safe shelter before a storm strikes.

STAY ALERT: If you hear thunder, lightning is close enough to strike you. If you see lightning in the distance, it's close enough to strike you. And at altitude, if skies look threatening, a thunderstorm can develop immediately overhead. A significant lightning threat generally extends up to 10 miles from the base of a thunderstorm cloud. And on rarer occasions, bolts can strike up to 15 miles from a thunderstorm.

ABOVE TREELINE: Get inside your vehicle immediately, do not lean against the doors, and wait at least 30 minutes after a storm passes overhead. If you are away from a vehicle, get away from summits, isolated trees and rocks. Find shelter but avoid small cave entrances and rock overhangs. They won't protect you. Crouch down on your heels.

BELOW TREELINE: If you are in a forest, stay near a lower stand of trees. Stay away from tall, isolated trees or other tall objects.

WHAT'S SAFE SHELTER: Tents, trees, small caves and picnic shelters are not safe. A vehicle or a substantive, enclosed building are. Stay away from water and any metal.

ESSENTIALS: Carry these: Raingear, map and compass, flashlight or headlamp, sunglasses and sunscreen, matches or other fire starter, candles, extra food and water, extra layers of clothing, pocketknife, and a first aid kit.

Visit NOAA's National Weather Service for more information.

View Comments
Hide Comments
You have 0 articles 1 articles 2 articles 3 articles 4 articles 5 articles 6 articles 7 articles remaining of Daily Gazette free premium content.

You have reached your monthly premium content limit.

Continue to enjoy Daily Gazette premium content by becoming a subscriber.
Already a subscriber? Log In