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Pueblo County Sheriff's Office

Safety Tips - Thunderstorms


Thunderstorms affect relatively small areas when compared with hurricanes and winter storms.  They typical thunderstorm is 15 miles in diameter and lasts an average of 30 minutes.  Nearly 1,800 thunderstorms are occurring at any moment around the world.  That's 16 million a year.

Despite their small size, all thunderstorms are dangerous.  Every thunderstorm produces lightning, which kills more people each year than tornadoes.  Heavy rain from thunderstorms can lead to flash flooding.  Strong winds, hail, and tornadoes are also dangers associated with some thunderstorms.

Of the estimated 100,000 thunderstorms that occur each year in the United States, only about 10 percent are classified as severe.

Your National Weather Service considers a thunderstorm severe if it produces hail at least 3/4" in diameter, wind 58 mph or higher, or tornadoes.


Lightning: (click here for more information)

  • Occurs with all thunderstorms.

  • Averages 93 deaths and 300 injuries annually.

  • Causes several hundred million dollars in damage to property and forests annually.

  • The air near a lightning strike is hotter than the surface of the sun!


Severe Thunderstorm Watch:

Informs you when and where severe thunderstorms are more likely to occur.  Watch the sky and stay tuned to know when warning are issued.  Watches are intended to heighten public awareness and should not be confused with warnings.

Severe Thunderstorm Warning:

Issued when severe weather has been reported by spotters or indicated by radar.  Warnings indicate imminent danger to life and property to those in the path of the storm.


Lifecycle of a Thunderstorm


Visit the Colorado Division of Emergency Management website for additional safety tips.



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Pueblo County Sheriff's Office