How to avoid a lightning strike while hiking in Colorado

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DENVER — One of the main reasons Coloradans often begin climbing early in the morning is to avoid powerful thunderstorms that frequently arrive in the afternoon.

Atop a 14,000-foot peak, or 14er, the risk of being struck by lightning is significantly higher than at lower elevations.

The latest research shows people are four times more likely to be struck by lightning at 14,000 feet than at Denver’s elevation of 5,280 feet.

Recent video from the summit of Mount Evans shows hikers trying to find cover during a storm. They reported feeling the electricity. Pinpoint Weather Meteorologist Chris Tomer said that sensation is a building electric field.

Tomer says there are several signs of being in a building electric field and at risk of being struck by lightning, including feeling raised hair and hearing a buzzing noise.

If you experience either, Tomer recommends descending immediately and getting rid of anything metal, including trekking poles, ice axes and cellphones.

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