Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Understanding Colorado's Monsoon Season Weather

Most people who hike in the Rocky Mountains do so in July and August when the temperatures are warmer and the trails are generally snow free. However, this time period also coincides with the "monsoon season," that time of year when tropical moisture combines with lots of sunlight to create almost daily afternoon thunder and lightning storms. Between 2003 and 2012, Colorado was tied for second in the nation in terms of the most lightning deaths - in total and adjusted for population. Just earlier this month two people were killed and 10 others were injured by lightning strikes during a two-day period in Rocky Mountain National Park.

Whether your out for a day hike in Rocky Mountain National Park, or you're seeking to climb one of Colorado's 14ers, you need to be aware of lightning risk, and what you should do if you find yourself in a lightning situation.

The folks over at the Colorado Fourteeners Initiative recently published a short video that explains how the monsoon season creates the notorious afternoon thunderstorms that the Rocky Mountains are famous for. The video is narrated by KDVR/KWGN meteorologist, Chris Tomer, who has climbed all 54 of Colorado's 14ers:

Chris then follows up in a subsequent video with how to stay safe while climbing in monsoon season:


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