Lightning Strikes Twice – Two Devastating Days in Colorado

Sometimes when lightning strikes, it can strike twice  – and in Colorado’s Rocky Mountain National Park, the deadly duo of strikes occurred within a few miles and 24 hours. Up to 21 people were affected.

Friday afternoon saw fast-changing and rapid-moving storms. Justin Teilhet was hiking with his friend and wife when disaster struck. A bright flash of light left 42-year-old Ohio native Rebecca Teilhet unresponsive. Seven others, including her husband and friend, were injured and taken to the hospital to be treated for burns on their feet, as well as other signs of trauma. Lightning is a big killer in this park as fast-forming storms high in the mountains roll in without warning.

Rocky_Mountain_National_Park_in_September_2011 wikimedia

The beauty of Rocky Mountain National Park turned deadly as lightning storms hit this weekend.
Credit: Wikimedia

Fewer than 24 hours later, lightning struck a few miles away on Rainbow Curve. Nebraska resident Gregory Cardwell, 52, was in a wheelchair, and witnesses who were just feet away described the lightning “white flash” that left them with temporary hearing and vision loss. Cardwell’s t-shirt was burned, and it is believed the lightning struck him directly.

He and a total of 13 others were taken to the hospital for treatment and examination.

a view from along the curving path in rocky mtns. credit-

A view from along the curving path in the Rocky Mountains.
Credit: Miguiel Vieira via Flickr

As the summer months roll on, make sure you know how to keep yourself safe from dangerous weather in any situation. Park officials say that anyone above tree line should take cover right away, because storms are fast-moving and unpredictable. The sight of any dark clouds means it’s time to seek shelter immediately.

Additionally, Disney World in Florida was perhaps not the happiest place on Earth this weekend as impending storms caused power outages in their overhead monorail. 120 passengers were forced to sit in train without air-conditioning for 90 minutes as they waited to be rescued. Though no one was hurt, the powerful storms did bring the potential for serious damage.

Learn how to keep yourself safe from lightning here.

views from rocky mtns national park credit adam baker via flickr

Views from a scenic overlook at Rocky Mountain National Park just as the storms roll in.
Credit: Adam Baker via Flickr

Eleven people have been killed in the U.S. so far in 2014. According to the National Weather Service, 70 percent of lightning deaths in the U.S. occur in the summer months of June, July and August – 30 percent of fatalities occur in July alone. As the peak of lightning season is upon us, summer storms approach rapidly and without warning. And with today’s modern technology, even one death is too many.

Check WeatherBug’s exclusive Spark™ feature to monitor lightning near you.

Here’s wishing you a happy and safe rest of your summer.


Stay Safe. Know Before™.

The WeatherBug – Earth Networks Team

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This entry was posted in General, Lightning, Safety, When Weather Attacks!.