10 Injured by Lightning in Colorado

On Thursday, July 18, 2013 ten farm workers were injured by a lightning strike at a field near Silver Reef Family Farms in Wellington, CO. “Suddenly it started to rain and they got under the truck and all that and the lightning just struck them and they say that they got all knocked out,” said Lupito Jaquez, who works nearby.

At least two of the workers were rushed to the hospital in critical condition, while four workers were seriously hurt. First responders had to work quickly as flashes of lightning continued overhead.

To determine the location and time of this strike and any other lightning in the area, we examined lightning strike data from our Total Lightning Network (the largest in the world for detecting both ground strikes as well as in-cloud lightning strikes that often precede severe weather). Our network detected lightning in the danger zone
1 hour and 3 minutes
prior to when people were injured. 
Our thoughts and prayers are with the families affected by this incident. Please remember to be careful when outside this summer and use WeatherBug with Spark to monitor dangerous lightning near you.

Here’s the timeline of events as we captured it below (you’ll see in-cloud lightning in magenta and cloud-to-ground lightning in yellow):

2:31 -2:40 PM MDT – In-cloud (magenta) and cloud-to-ground (yellow) lightning are within a 10-mile radius of Grant Family Farms – 1 hour and 3 minutes prior to injuries.

2:31 -2:40 PM MDT – In-cloud (magenta) and cloud-to-ground (yellow) lightning are within a 10-mile radius of Silver Reef Family Farms – 1 hour and 3 minutes prior to injuries.

Lightning can jump 10 or more miles from a storm, so as long as lightning is within 10 miles of you, you’re in the danger zone!

2:40 -2:50 PM MDT – In-cloud and cloud-to-ground lightning are now within 3 miles of the farm.

2:40 -2:50 PM MDT – In-cloud and cloud-to-ground lightning are now within 3 miles of the farm.

2:50 - 3:00 PM MDT – A cloud-to-ground lightning strikes less than one mile from the farm – 34 minutes prior to injuries.

2:50 – 3:00 PM MDT – A cloud-to-ground lightning strikes less than one mile from the farm – 34 minutes prior to injuries.

3:15 PM MDT – Cloud-to-ground and in-cloud lightning continue to surround the farm – 14 minutes prior to injuries.

3:15 PM MDT – Cloud-to-ground and in-cloud lightning continue to surround the farm – 14 minutes prior to injuries.

3:34 PM MDT – A single cloud-to-ground lightning strike is detected less than 100 yards from the farm. Probable strike that caused the injuries.

3:34 PM MDT – A single cloud-to-ground lightning strike is detected less than 100 yards from the farm. Probable strike that caused the injuries.

Here is a closer view of the strike:

3:34 PM MDT – A single cloud-to-ground lightning strike is detected less than 100 yards from the farm. Probable strike that caused the injuries.

3:34 PM MDT – Probable strike that caused the injuries.

Deadly lightning strikes may be more common than you might think. If you or loved ones are often outdoors, please download WeatherBug w/ Spark… it’s free, and can warn you of lighting dangers around you.

In this specific case, WeatherBug knew lightning was a danger 1 hour and 3 minutes before any injury. No other weather app can do this.

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