Deadly Lightning Strike Kills Rancher in Colorado and 34 Head of Cattle

On Sunday, May 26th, authorities in Colorado reported that a lightning strike had killed 34 cows and a rancher.

51-year-old Mike Morgan was killed in a strike on his ranch in Rand (120 miles away from Denver). The incident occurred at the conclusion of branding day when community members usually get together to help brand cattle.

Around a hundred cows were thrown to the ground when a bolt struck Morgan while he was giving them hay.  

According to a statement from coroner George Crocket, Morgan and his 34 animals did not recover. When lightning struck the trailer, Morgan and the animals were struck because they were gathered around it. 

Morgan’s Cavvy Foundation, which aids ranchers with significant health problems, said in a social media post that Morgan’s wife, Nikki, was around 200 feet away when the lightning knocked her from her horse.

Much of the kinetic energy of a lightning bolt leaves the point of impact and spreads outward through the air and the ground.

According to George Crocket, the county coroner, the lightning bolt landed in an expansive meadow outside of Rand.  Crocket added that Morgan’s father-in-law and wife, who were close, survived the strike.

Over Memorial Day weekend, tornadoes and storms struck the central United States, killing at least 21 people, including Morgan.

According to Crockett, the event shocked the tiny, close-knit town where almost everyone knows one other.

People in the Front Range Urban Corridor were instructed by the National Weather Service to seek shelter inside as soon as they heard thunderous stormy weather.

With over 250 strikes per square kilometer per year, Lake Maracaibo, Venezuela, is the place on Earth where the most lightning strikes per square kilometer occur.

There are massive thunderstorms that occur up to 160 days a year. They may last up to 10 hours and have an average rate of 28 strikes per minute, traveling at 270,000 miles per hour. Forty thousand lightning strikes are possible in just one night.