Grand Canyon Rims Currently Most Dangerous For Lightning Strikes

Published: Monday, July 16, 2018 - 10:33am
Updated: Tuesday, July 17, 2018 - 8:35am

The rain accompanying early monsoon weather may have made it easier to visit parks once restricted for fire safety, but a recent study shows hikers on the Grand Canyon trails should look out for another danger.

A study by the National Lightning Detection Network in Tucson warns lightning can, not only strike twice, but can strike more than 15,000 times in a single year at the Grand Canyon National Park.

In fact, the Grand Canyon has the dubious title of most lightning strikes on average compared to any other national park, with 91 percent of those between July and September.

Meteorologist Ron Holly with Vaisala, the network’s operator, said lightning is not striking as deep in the canyon as it is where visitors perch.

“The rims are actually quite dangerous," he said. "Because the lightning that would have occurred down in the canyon is actually reaching over to the rims, and that’s where people, unfortunately, are congregated.”

Holly said the danger is highest between noon and sundown.

To avoid becoming a conductor, he recommended getting inside a car or building where the structure’s own metal can direct the lightning bolt’s charge.

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