You'd be shocked how often lightning strikes in Zion National Park. Here's how to stay safe during your visit

Here's how to stay safe during lightning season in the national park

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  • patriot Cedar Hills, UT
    July 2, 2018 2:14 p.m.

    three easy tips for staying safe when climbing anywhere...

    1. Climb early in the morning while the air is cool. Thunder bumpers always crop up after noon during the summer months.
    2. You should always be off the summit in Zion or any tall peak and headed down by 11am. Noon at the latest.
    3. Just check the weather report the day before. Heed it because it will save your life.

    All common sense items but I am always amazed at how many people violate all three.

  • search diligently Lehi, UT
    June 30, 2018 5:10 p.m.

    When I was young I was always told not to go find shelter under a tree. This article suggests your odds of getting hit are the same. I don't think that is likely correct. Electricity likes to find a quick direct path to ground itself. Seems like if I am standing 10 yards from a tree, the lightning would likely pick the tree over me. But here is what I am told by another source:

    Yes, standing under a tree in a lightning storm is extremely dangerous. Don't do it. But, there's one place you can be that's even deadlier — out in the open. According to NOAA records, more people died from lightning strikes they received while out in the open than from any other location between 2006-2016.

    Okay... I guess I'm toast either way.

  • Y Ask Y Provo, UT
    June 30, 2018 10:25 a.m.

    I see what you did there with that headline.

    So clever.

  • Holy-Schamoly-What Baloney Kaysville, UT
    June 30, 2018 9:01 a.m.

    Very interesting article. There are millions (I think) of visitors to Zion's NP annually so the chances of being a victim to lightning is statistically very slim. In fact, one has a better chance of being hit by lightning that in winning the lottery, yet look at how many people waste their money thinking they will somehow, some way, win. They'd have about the same chance of winning, in most instances, if they just sent their money to me! As for outdoor weather hazards, it's always smart to review the forecast before participating in events that will last for several hours regardless of whether you are in a NP or somewhere else.

  • Allen South Jordan, UT
    June 30, 2018 7:20 a.m.

    As a runner, I'm very concerned about lightning, and I was surprised to learn that lightning can strike anywhere within a 10-mile radius. I had thought one mile was enough distance, and when I saw a flash, I would count seconds, to when I heard the thunder,determine the distance of the flash. If the flash was more than a mile away, I would continue running. Now, if I see lightning flashes, I head for home since the strike can be anywhere within a 10-mile radius of the flash.

    I remember one time I attended a fathers-son overnight camping activity in Arizona. I saw a large pine tree (trunk was about three feet in diameter) that was blown in half by lightning. The sap in the tree boiled, and the steam built up pressure, and the tree blew apart when the pressure was great enough. The explosion was about halfway down the tree trunk, and I assumed the lightning hit the tree further towards the top of the tree! I learned to respect the energy of a lightning bolt!

  • Wasatch Rebel Kearns, Utah
    June 30, 2018 6:11 a.m.

    This just goes to show that we all take risks to do the kinds of things we love to do. Many of us are no where near a car or a building at places like Zion when a thunderstorm arrives. Hopefully we have checked the forecast and aren't in slot canyons during a rainstorm, but hikers are often caught out in the open during such storms, with no safe place to go. It would be helpful to have some tips for that kind of situation in an article such as this.