Welcome to the flash density maps section of the Colorado Lightning Resource Page.

Below are lightning flash density maps for State of Colorado, southeast Colorado, northeast Colorado and western Colorado. The United States is also shown. These maps show the number of Cloud to Ground (CG)flashes per square kilometer per year. To convert to flashes per square mile per year, multiply the value on the map by 2.59.

Eleven years of data are shown for the Colorado maps. Five years of data are shown for the Continnetal United States.

The maps of Colorado are courtesy of Texas A&M University. The map of the United States is courtesy of Vaisala.

NOTE! Although the colors on the scales may be the same on some of the charts, the values on each of the charts may be different.





The data above shows the average number of CG lightning flashes per year for the state of Colorado and surrounding areas. Eleven years of lightning data (1989 to 1999) were collected to make the flash density plot of Colorado, while 12 years (1989 to 2000) of data were used to make the regionalized Colorado plots.

The following Colorado cities are shown: Denver (DEN), Grand Junction (GJT), Pueblo (PUB), Trinidad (TAD), Alamosa (ALS), Fort Collins (FNL), Boulder (BOU), Eagle (EGE) and Cortez (CEZ).

The primary "hot spot" for CG lightning in Colorado is the greater Pikes Peak region, including Colorado Springs. Another hot spot is on the Raton Mesa. The reason why so much lightning occurs in these regions is due to a combination of topography, low level wind flow regime, and moisture. The least amount of CG activity occur in the San Luis Valley, the central mountain regions, and the Upper Arkansas river valley. The reson why there is not too much lightning in these areas is due to the lack of moisture.

Approximately 494,000 CG lightning flashes occur in Colorado every year.

United States

This map is similar to the map of Colorado (above), except for the entire United States. Note that most of the CG lightning occurs over the southeastern United States and Florida. Florida leads the nation for lightning.  Approximately 22 million lightning flashes occur over the United States per year. As can be seen in the figure above, many other states have more CG lightning than Colorado. There is a misconception that Colorado is 2nd in the nation with respect to CG lightning. This is obviously not true. The Centennial State ranks 26th in the nation with respect to CG lightning.

Once again, please note the difference in the color scales between all of the maps.

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