City of Colorado Springs / Emergency Management / Weather Information / Local Weather Hazards / Lightning

Lightning Safety

The City of Colorado Springs Office of Emergency Management (OEM) encourages you to be aware of the power of lightning and develop a lightning safety plan when you are outdoors. Lighting is the second greatest cause of storm-related deaths in the United States; only floods kill more people.

Knowledge and preparedness are keys to minimizing your risk of injury or death. Lightning can cause serious, life-long neurological injuries. Any time you hear thunder, you are in danger. All thunderstorms produce lightning, which often strikes outside the area of heavy rain. Lightning may strike as much as 10 miles from a thunderstorm.

Monitor the weather and have a lightning safety plan. Know where you?ll go and how much time it will take to get there. There is no safe place outside in a thunderstorm. If you are outside and hear thunder, immediately reduce your risk by going inside a substantial building or hard-topped metal vehicle. If you are unable to get to a safe place, reduce your risk by avoiding open areas; stay away from isolated tall trees, towers or utility poles; and stay away from metal conductors such as wires or fences. Crouch down on the balls of your feet, cover your ears with your hands and bend your head down. Make yourself as small as possible. Never lie flat on the ground. 

 Lighting facts:
  • Colorado has approximately 530,000 lightning strikes per year.
  • In 2008 and 2006, Colorado and Florida had the most lighting deaths in the U.S.
  • Over the past 50 years, Colorado has the fourth highest lightning fatality rate in the U.S.
  • In 2009, 14 people, one in Colorado, have been killed by lightning.
  • Each year, hundreds of people are permanently injured.
Learn more about lightning safety on at the National Weather Service website at www.nws.noaa.gov.