A Small Updraft Producing a Fatal Lightning Flash

Stephen Hodanish NOAA/National Weather Service, Pueblo, Colorado

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Ronald L. Holle Holle Meteorology and Photography, Oro Valley, Arizona

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Daniel T. Lindsey Cooperative Institute for Research in the Atmosphere, Fort Collins, Colorado

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Abstract

Just prior to 1900 UTC 25 July 2000, an 18-year-old male was fatally wounded by a lightning flash on the summit of Pikes Peak, Colorado. This case is believed to be unique in that radar and satellite data indicated that the cell that produced the flash was quite shallow and exhibited marginal reflectivity characteristics typically associated with electrified storms. Additionally, the National Lightning Detection Network indicated that this was the first and only cloud-to-ground (CG) flash associated with this convective cell. It is believed the height and isolated nature of the Pikes Peak massif played a role in the initiation of this flash.

Corresponding author address: Stephen Hodanish, National Weather Service, 3 Eaton Way, Pueblo, CO 81007. Email: steve.hodanish@noaa.gov

Abstract

Just prior to 1900 UTC 25 July 2000, an 18-year-old male was fatally wounded by a lightning flash on the summit of Pikes Peak, Colorado. This case is believed to be unique in that radar and satellite data indicated that the cell that produced the flash was quite shallow and exhibited marginal reflectivity characteristics typically associated with electrified storms. Additionally, the National Lightning Detection Network indicated that this was the first and only cloud-to-ground (CG) flash associated with this convective cell. It is believed the height and isolated nature of the Pikes Peak massif played a role in the initiation of this flash.

Corresponding author address: Stephen Hodanish, National Weather Service, 3 Eaton Way, Pueblo, CO 81007. Email: steve.hodanish@noaa.gov

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