By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily
Two people in a car on Interstate 80 Tuesday evening managed to avoid injury after their vehicle was struck by lightning during a severe storm in Cheyenne.
According to Laramie County Fire District No. 10, firefighters, the Wyoming Highway Patrol troopers and emergency medical workers responded to a report of a vehicle on Interstate 80 near Cheyenne being struck by lightning.
The vehicle’s driver and passenger said the lightning struck the hood of their car and then felt as if something pushed the car forward. The driver was able to maneuver the vehicle to the side of the road even though its electrical power had been knocked out.
The departent said the lightning struck the front of the car and traveled to the back window, causing it to shatter. A couple of small pieces of plastic were also melted on the passenger side’s front wheel well.
“When dealing with lightning storms, and rapid weather changing conditions it’s critical to remain inside your vehicle while traveling,” the district said. Your vehicle is shelter. It’s also very important to not block the roadway under overhead passes, and bridges during hail storms. This allows emergency vehicles to respond to an emergency without interruption.”
According to an NBC report, cars are safe from lightning because of the metal cage surrounding people in the vehicle. The cage directs the lightning charge around the occupants and into the ground.
Tuesday’s hailstorm, accompanied by more than 2.3 inches of rain, left some streets flooded, but otherwise caused no major damage.
After the storm, Cheyenne has now seen more precipitation since Jan. 1 than in all of 2020, receiving 11.3 inches of precipitation so far this year. In 2020, the city only saw 10.03 inches.