Lightning thunderstorm flash in the mountains Photo Credit: Trifonov_Evgeniy (iStock).

File photo. Photo Credit: Trifonov_Evgeniy (iStock).

From the same minds behind the ski-focused forecasting service OpenSnow, OpenSummit offers highly detailed weather-related information that caters to those looking to hike many of the country's most popular peaks. One new addition to the service is a real-time lightning map, which can be particularly helpful in a state like Colorado where afternoon storms are so common.

Found on the map page among a number of layers that also include things like smoke presence, wind gusts, and cloud coverage, the 'lightning density' option reveals how many lightning flashes have occurred per square kilometer over the past 30 minutes in a given area.

Using this feature of the site requires an 'all-access' pass, which costs $29.99 per year. There is also a free registration that allows users to see hourly forecasts two days out and to save favorite peaks.

When hiking in Colorado's mountains, especially during the spring and summer months, it's crucial to be aware of the weather forecast AND to watch for changes that might not be predicted. Severe afternoon storms are common and even cloud-free skies can seem to turn tumultuous in a matter of minutes. Services like OpenSummit, Weather Underground, and the National Weather Service can be great resources for staying up-to-date, but, as any forecaster will say, there's never a 100 percent guarantee that what's predicted to happen will happen.

Learn more about OpenSummit here.

Director of Content and Operations

Spencer McKee is OutThere Colorado's Director of Content and Operations. In his spare time, Spencer loves to hike, rock climb, and trail run.

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