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Colorado rancher becomes country’s first victim to lightning strikes in 2024

todayMay 27, 2024 4

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WALDEN, Colo. – A thunderstorm that moved through rural Jackson County, Colorado, on Saturday is believed to have produced the first deadly lightning strike of the year, claiming the life of a local rancher.The Jackson County Sheriff’s Office reported that the 51-year-old man was attending to his cattle when the strike occurred.In addition to the rancher, several cows were also reported to have been killed during the storm; however, no other humans were thought to have been directly impacted.Every year, hundreds of millions of lightning bolts are detected across the U.S., but only a handful become deadly.According to NOAA statistics, lightning kills about 23 people each year in the U.S. and injures hundreds more.LIGHTNING FATALITIES WERE SECOND-LOWEST ON RECORD IN 2023, SAFETY COUNCIL SAYSData compiled by the National Lightning Safety Council showed ranching is one of a dozen activities that lead to the most deaths around the country.The Jackson County death is reported to be the first in Centennial State since 2020 when a woman was struck and killed in the southwestern portion of the state.Despite the recent death, fatalities related to lightning strikes have been on a steady decline.In 2023, 14 people were killed by lightning, which was a 65% decrease from just seven years ago.According to the NWS, a bolt can travel 10-12 miles outside of a thunderstorm and can contain 300 million volts of electricity.242,101,157 LIGHTNING BOLTS SPOTTED OVER US IN 2023 WITH WIND FARMS, MIAMI TARGETSThe North Park Stockgrowers Association, a group that helps promote the local beef industry, offered its thoughts and prayers to the family of the man who was killed. “Our western ranching community will feel this for a long time. We all know what we do has a high degree of risk. We do it anyway. We do it for the livestock. We do it for the landscape. We do it for food security. We do it for our family – past, present and future. We do it because it feels right. We do it because it is right,” a nearby ranch posted on Facebook.A food and donation site was set up for the family, which has already reported to have raised nearly $10,000 in the first days after the incident.

Written by: Badlands Classic Rock

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