Meteorological Analysis of the Rocky Mountain National Park Lightning Fatalities of 11 and 12 July, 2014

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Tuesday, 6 January 2015: 9:00 AM
225AB (Phoenix Convention Center - West and North Buildings)
Stephen J. Hodanish, NOAA/NWS, Pueblo, CO; and P. Wolyn and K. Mozley
Manuscript (1002.2 kB)

On 11 July, 2014, a lightning strike caused a fatality and several injuries on the Ute Trail in the immediate vicinity of Trail Ridge Road in Rocky Mountain National Park (RMNP). On the following day another strike occurred in RMNP, this time along Trail Ridge Road, causing another fatality and several more injuries. This study continues the work of the main author of examining the meteorological conditions prior to people being struck by lightning in the state of Colorado. Unlike previous studies, in cloud (IC) lightning data will be utilized along with the cloud to ground (CG) lightning data to examine the both the temporal and spatial aspects of Cloud to Ground (CG) and In Cloud (IC) lightning immediately prior to and up to the fatal flashes. One aspect of the cases to be addressed is the number of IC flashes along with CG flashes before the fatalities occurred. How much thunder, if any, could have occurred from IC flashes before the fatal lightning strike? Another area to be addressed is the relationship between the IC flashes and CG flashes, including the fatal lightning strikes. In addition to the lightning data, other meteorological data will be examined including the intensity of any rainfall (or lack of rain) before and at the time of the fatal strikes.

Supplementary URL: http://www.crh.noaa.gov/pub/?n=/ltg/case_studies_index.php