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Is Boulder Lightening Really Dangerous Or Do I Just Hear My Mother Calling?

lightning strike at night

Is lightening really a dangerous Boulder phenomenon or is it just a GREAT light and sound show suitable for the concert stage? I’d name bands but it would too seriously date me. I have to avoid that because my wife does not let me date.

Let’s look at the facts and not just the flash. Here’s some balanced perspective on entertainment vs. embalming.

Lightning is definitely dangerous due to its unpredictable nature and the immense power it carries. It can cause severe damage, such as starting fires, damaging structures, and injuring or even killing people and animals. Every year, lightning strikes are responsible for numerous deaths and injuries worldwide.

However, in the context of a rock and roll stage show, what you might see mimicking lightning are controlled special effects. These effects can include pyrotechnics, strobe lights, and other visual technologies designed to create a dramatic and safe spectacle that captures the raw energy of lightning without the associated risks. These stage effects are carefully managed by professionals to ensure they enhance the show while keeping everyone safe.Here are a few key points about its dangers and safety measures:

  1. Voltage and Current: Lightning can carry over 100 million volts of electricity and currents can reach up to 200,000 amperes. This immense power can cause fatal injuries, start fires, and damage electrical systems and buildings. It will light a light bulb, and could light an entire city!
  2. Safety Distance: There’s no absolute “safe” distance from a lightning strike because lightning can travel sideways for up to 10 miles (16 kilometers) from the base of a storm. Generally, if you can hear thunder, you are within striking range of lightning.
  3. 30/30 Rule for Safety: To determine how close lightning is, you can use the “30/30 Rule”:
    • 30 Seconds: After seeing lightning, count the time until you hear thunder. If this time is less than 30 seconds, lightning is close enough to pose a threat.
    • 30 Minutes: After the last sound of thunder, wait at least 30 minutes before leaving a safe location.
  4. Indications of Immediate Danger: If your hair stands on end or your skin tingles, lightning may be about to strike near you. This is an immediate danger signal, and you should quickly move to a safer place.
  5. Safe Locations: The safest place during a lightning storm is inside a substantial building or a hard-topped vehicle. Avoid open fields, high land, trees, poles, or metal objects. The auto tires provide insulation between the car and the ground. That can help prevent the electricity from traveling through the car, through you, and to ground. If that path to ground is not interrupted, the flow of current (POWER) is unimpeded, and you are BBQ supper. Sorry for being blunt, but let’s all avoid getting cooked!

bare tree on snow covered ground under gray cloudy skyBy respecting these guidelines and understanding the risks, you can greatly reduce the dangers posed by lightning.

For many of us, this is simple. Get OFF the mountain early in the day, since typically the worst thunderstorms hit in the mountains in the early afternoon in my experience. I’ve only been chased off mountains twice by thunder and lightening. Only once did my hair stand on end coming down from Arapahoe Peak. I do NOT want to ever experience that level of terror again. My soon-to-be wife and I held hands and we raced down the fields, figuring that if we were going to get cooked in a microwave, at least we’d be cooked together. And while I may make “light” of this, please take it as seriously as one can take serious advice. If you are watching from a safe location, it is a great special effect. If you are watching from a poor location, it could be the worst day you’ve ever had.

Lenny Lensworth Frieling

Shared Knowledge Is Power

Leonard Frieling Pen Of Justice Legal Blogger
  • Senior Counsel Emeritus to the Boulder Law firm Dolan + Zimmerman LLP : (720)-610-0951
  • Former Judge
  • Photographer of the Year, AboutBoulder 2023
  • First Chair and Originator of the Colorado Bar Association’s Cannabis Law Committee, a National first.
  • Previous Chair, Boulder Criminal Defense Bar (8 years)
  • Twice chair Executive Counsel, Colorado Bar Association Criminal Law Section
  • NORML Distinguished Counsel Circle
  • Life Member, NORML Legal Committee
  • Life Member, Colorado Criminal Defense Bar
  • Board Member Emeritus, Colorado NORML
  • Chair, Colorado NORML, 7 years including during the successful effort to legalize recreational pot in Colorado
  • Media work, including episodes of Fox’s Power of Attorney, well in excess of many hundreds media interviews, appearances, articles, and podcasts, including co-hosting Time For Hemp for two years.
  • Board member, Author, and Editor for Criminal Law Articles for the Colorado Lawyer, primary publication of the Colorado Bar Assoc. 7 Years, in addition to having 2 Colorado Lawyer cover photos, and numerous articles for the Colorado Lawyer monthly publication.
  • LEAP Speaker, multi-published author, University lectures Univ. of Colorado, Boulder, Denver University Law School, Univ. of New Mexico, Las Vegas NM, and many other schools at all levels.
  • http://www.Lfrieling.com
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