DENVER (KDVR) — On a dark and stormy day in Colorado, lightning lights up the sky to make it look like it’s daytime for just a moment.
When your living room seems more like a concert venue with strobe lights of lightning and the rolling bass of thunder, you might wonder how close it is.
Colorado is one of the top states with the highest risks of dying from a lightning strike. It might even be hitting your building, and you won’t even know it.
That’s why a lot of apartment complexes and buildings in Denver have lightning rods.
“Just about every major building downtown, at least 80% of them,” Ed McDonald, the owner of McDonald’s Lightning Protection, said.
McDonald said a person would probably not know if lightning struck a building with a lightning rod, as long as it was installed correctly that is.
Without one, McDonald said, “It does an awful lot of damage or burns it to the ground.”
Lightning rods are designed to be the highest point in the area. It won’t draw in more lightning, but if there is lightning in the area, it will absorb the strike.
“The idea is if a lightning strike were to come to us the lightning rod would attract the strike and then the rod itself absorbs the energy,” Pinpoint Weather Chief Meteorologist Dave Fraser said. “There’s a whole bunch of electrical wiring that then takes that energy and disperses it down and away in the ground.”
Fraser said if you are caught in a thunderstorm, you want to stay away from tall objects and make yourself the smallest, lowest target to reduce your risk of being struck.