Public Information Statement
Issued by NWS Pueblo, CO
NOUS45 KPUB 221152
Public Information Statement
National Weather Service Pueblo CO
600 AM MDT WED JUN 22 2015
Colorado Lightning Safety Awareness Week continues through Saturday.
Today we discuss outdoor lightning risk reduction.
Outdoors is the most dangerous place to be during a thunderstorm.
Each year...nearly all people in the United States who are injured
or killed by lightning were involved in an outdoor activity. They
were struck while working outside...were at or participating at an
outdoor sporting event...were boating or fishing. They were struck
while hiking...mowing the lawn or simply going to or from their car.
Quite a few were on their own property when they were struck.
Unfortunately...there is no place outside that is safe from
lightning. The only safe place to be when lightning is occurring is
either inside a substantial building...or an enclosed automobile.
Here are some important things to remember before venturing
An informed decision will help you avoid being in an area where
lightning is expected to occur. Before heading out...get an updated
forecast. Stay tuned to NOAA Weather Radio...check National Weather
Service web sites...or access your favorite weather apps on your
cell phone for the latest forecast.
In Colorado...it is important to remember that thunderstorms
typically develop in the mountains after 11 am. So it is best to
plan your climbing or hiking trip so that you are coming down the
mountain by late morning.
If thunderstorms are in the forecast...consider planning an
alternate indoor activity or make plans which will allow you to
quickly get into a safe shelter.
Once you are outside...keep up-to-date on the weather via your
smartphone or portable NOAA weather radio receiver. Check for
updated forecasts. Check if storms are near you by checking the
latest radar imagery on your smartphone. There are now several
smartphone apps you can purchase that show you real-time lightning
activity in your area. Do not forget to simply look around you to
make sure storms are not developing in your vicinity.
We will now discuss two outdoor scenarios. The first is what to do
if you are outdoors and a safe location IS nearby...while the second
scenario is what to do if you are outdoors and NO safe location is
If you are outside...such as a park...a lake...or an outdoor
sporting event...know where the nearest safe location is located.
A safe location is any substantial building...such as a business...a
home...or a church. Any enclosed hard topped automobile also offers
excellent protection from lightning. Once you hear thunder or see
lightning...immediately stop what you are doing and quickly get to
the safe shelter. Do not wait until the rain starts to seek safe
shelter. Once inside a safe shelter...it is recommended you stay
there for 30 minutes after the last rumble of thunder.
Past history has shown that most people who were outdoors and were
injured or killed by lightning had access to a safe shelter nearby.
Do not wait to seek safe shelter when lightning threatens. When you
hear thunder or see lightning...it is important for you...and your
family...to act quickly.
It is critically important to avoid shelters that are not safe from
lightning...including picnic shelters...bullpens...tents and any
other small buildings that are open to the elements.
NEVER...NEVER...get under a tree to seek shelter from lightning.
It is 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. It is also important that people know where to seek safe
shelter if a storm threatens. As we have seen recently...the
NCAA...the NFL and MLB now delay games when lightning is in the
Our second scenario involves what you can do to reduce your chances
of being injured or killed by lighting if no safe shelter is nearby.
This situation typically occurs to people who are hiking or camping
in the backcountry. Unfortunately...in this scenario...there is not
much you can do to reduce your risk from being struck by lightning.
The best thing to do is move away from tall isolated objects...such
as trees. Stay away from wide open areas. Stay as low as possible
with your feet close together if lightning is nearby. If you are
with a group of people...spread out...that way if someone is struck
by lightning...the others can offer first aid. If camping in the
backcountry...place your tent in a low area away from tall isolated
trees. Remember...When Thunder Roars...Go Indoors!
There are a couple of web sites that contain additional lightning
NOAAs lightning website which contains abundant information on
lightning safety can be found at...
Lightning information specific for the State of Colorado can be
The lightning topic for tomorrow will be on indoor lightning safety.
NWS Pueblo, CO