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Hikers Grow Cautious After Deadly Lightning Strikes

7/16/2014 11:18:58 AM

Hikers in Colorado's Rocky Mountain National Park are taking precautions after two visitors were killed by lightning strikes in recent days.

"We were looking at the sky and [thinking], 'Don't be the tallest thing around,'" Sarah Jones said yesterday, before hiking in the park with her husband and three children.

A lightning bolt Friday killed 42-year-old Rebecca Teilhet of Yellow Springs, Ohio, as she hiked on the Ute Crossing Trail with her husband and a friend. On Saturday, Gregory Cardwell, 52, of Scottsbluff, Neb., was killed by a lightning strike on another trail in the park (Greenwire, July 14).

Lightning safety sign in Rocky Mountain National Park. (Credit: Flickr/Richard Masoner)

The last time lightning killed a visitor in the park was in 2000. Colorado averages three deaths from lightning a year, according to Bob Glancy, a National Weather Service meteorologist in Boulder, Colo.

Justin Teilhet, Rebecca Teilhet's husband, doesn't remember being hit before he woke up numb with a burned shoulder and scraped face. His group had been heading back to a parking lot when the bad weather hit. "A storm blew in, and it came very fast," Teilhet said yesterday (Linsley/Elliott, Associated Press, July 15).

Reprinted from ClimateWire with permission from Environment & Energy Publishing, LLC. 202-628-6500.

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