Rancher and His 34 Cattle Become Latest Victims of Deadly Weekend Weather

Drew Angerer/Getty
Drew Angerer/Getty

A 51-year-old rancher and 34 of his cattle became the latest victims of a spate of severe weather over the weekend.

According to press accounts in Jackson County, Colorado, rancher Mike Morgan was feeding his cattle with hay from his trailer on Saturday when a bolt of lightning killed him and knocked over 100 of the animals, roughly a third of which died.

“As best I can tell, it hit him on the trailer. The cattle were bunched up around the trailer and it hit them all,” county coroner George Crocket said, as reported by the Colorado Sun.

The outlet noted that Morgan’s father-in-law and wife were both in the vicinity and survived. They had spent the early part of the day branding cattle. By early afternoon storm clouds engulfed the sky as they were feeding the herd.

Crocket described the incident as unusually deadly. “I’ve seen horses get killed, but it’s usually one at a time,” he said, according to the Sun. He added that his grandfather once lost seven cattle to a lightning strike.

The outlet described Morgan as an outspoken rancher who was vocal about issues stemming from the reintroduction of wolves in the area.

“We need to get our way of life out to the people because they don’t understand our livelihood, the emotional impact and the financial impact,” he said in 2022.

Elsewhere in the country over the weekend, more than two dozen tornadoes touched down in five states, killing at least 20 people and injuring scores more.

Texas was especially impacted, with more than 100 injuries reported and disasters declared in 106 counties, the Associated Press noted. In Cooke County, two young children from the same family were fatally wounded.

Deaths were also reported in Oklahoma and Arkansas, with additional twisters sighted in Missouri and Kansas. Arkansas also suffered from a landslide over the weekend that off traffic on some sections of a highway in both directions.

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