Lightning struck nine Colorado farm workers Thursday afternoon north of Fort Collins in a storm that created mudslides and floods in other areas of the state.
The workers were in the field when the lightning struck about 3:30 p.m., knocking several of them unconscious, the Fort Collins newspaper The Coloradoan reported
Doctors listed two of the workers in critical condition and seven others were transported to several hospitals. The newspaper reported that paramedics and firefighters treated the workers while lightning was still a threat in the area.
"This was a very significant lightning storm," said Wellington fire chief Gary Green. He told the newspaper that the victims worse off could not control their muscles and "couldn’t respond appropriately" to rescuers trying to help them.
A language barrier between paramedics and the farm workers, who mostly spoke Spanish, complicated rescue efforts, The Coloradoan reported. Farm workers who were not hurt were asked to help translate with injured workers.
Meanwhile, Rocky Mountain National Park authorities told the Denver Post
that a 65-year-old woman was struck by lightning while hiking on the Ute Trail. Doctors at Estes Park Medical Center declined to release her condition Thursday.
The lightning strikes spotlighted an active day of weather-related challenges in the state. A series of flash-flood warnings and advisories were issued for the northern Front Range as heavy rains hit areas barren from wildfires.
More than 1.5 inches of rain fell in those burn areas, the National Weather Service reported.
John Schulz, spokesman for the Larimer County Sheriff's Office, said flooding and mudslides damaged at least one structure in the Rist Canyon area. The sheriff's office also reported mudslides along the highway Colorado 14 in Poudre Canyon.
The storm also produced a snow dusting at the Loveland Ski Area. The Colorado Department of Transportation reported light snow at Loveland Pass.
Forecasters predicted a 50 percent chance of more rain and thunderstorms in Larimer County. There was a 40 percent chance of thunderstorms in Denver.
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