Video 1: Lightning


Windows Media Player


Video 2: Thunderstorms


Windows Media Player

Videos courtesy of NEWS4, Colorado's News Channel

Lightning is Colorado’s most dangerous weather hazard. Since the late 1980s, more people have been killed or injured by lightning than by any other weather-related phenomena in Colorado. In an average year, lightning kills three and injures eighteen people.

Hiking during a thunderstorm in Colorado's mountains can be very dangerous. In the summer, thunderstorms typically begin to form over the mountains in late morning or early afternoon. To minimize your risk of exposure to lightning, it's best to hike early in the morning.

How Does Lightning Form?
The turbulent, swirling air inside a thundercloud creates positively and negatively charged areas, with the negative charges clustering at the bottom of the cloud. Because opposite charges attract each other, positive charges on the ground collect beneath the cloud and follow it. When the positive and negative charges finally meet, they complete an electrical circuit, and—flash!—we see lightning.

Featured Link:

Colorado Lightning Resource Center
The Colorado Lightning Resource Center is based at the National Weather Service’s offices in Pueblo. The center’s site contains all sorts of great information about when and where lightning strikes in Colorado.

back to top

Photo credits: © Corbis Images, © NCAR, © NOAA, courtesy NEWS4, Colorado's news channel.