SOUTHERN UTAH — A motorist traveling along Interstate 15 during a Southern Utah storm last week experienced a heart-pounding thrill when a lightning bolt struck the edge of the freeway directly in front of him. What’s more, the motorist captured the lightning strike on video via his cellphone.
Marquez Jessup was traveling north on I-15 from Cedar City Tuesday, heading home to Beaver around 5 p.m.
“I could see that there was a storm coming in,” he said, “but I had to get home.”
As Jessup was driving, he said his girlfriend called him to ask if he was safe and to inquire about what the weather was like.
“As soon as I got off the phone with her,” he said, “I was going to send her a Snapchat of the storm and (as) soon as I took my phone out, the cloud-to-ground hit about 20 feet in front of me.”
Jessup said the motorist behind him thought the bolt had hit Jessup and stopped to make sure he was OK.
Though a bit shaken, Jessup was fine.
The thunder rolls
As the saying goes: “When thunder roars, go indoors” as there is no safe place outside when thunderstorms are in the area, but certain vehicles can lessen the threat of being struck.
According to the National Weather Service, a common misconception many people have regarding lightning safety is that rubber tires on a car will protect a person from lightning by insulating them from the ground.
However, while most cars are safe from lightning, it is the metal roof and metal sides which form a Faraday cage that protects the individual inside – not the rubber tires, according to the weather service.
Thus, it’s important to remember that convertibles, motorcycles, bicycles, open-shelled outdoor recreational vehicles and cars with fiberglass shells offer no protection from lightning. Also, when lightning strikes a vehicle, it goes through the metal frame into the ground. Therefore, don’t lean on doors during a thunderstorm.
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