Washington motorcyclist survives lightning strike

SEATTLE (AP) — A motorcyclist survived a lightning strike in western Washington as a tumultuous day of weather saw thunderstorms and rain roll through the state on both sides of the Cascade Mountains.

Washington State Patrol Trooper William Finn says the biker was driving on Interstate 5 through the town of Chehalis when the lightning hit Thursday.

Witness Martin Zapalac told KOMO-TV the man had just passed him when he and his bike “lit up.” The biker managed to pull over on the highway shoulder, and the witness drove with him to a nearby gas station.

The 59-year-old motorcyclist was treated locally for burns to his ears. He was then taken to a Seattle hospital, where he was reported in satisfactory condition.

Chehalis firefighter Steve Emrich tells the Chronicle of Centralia that the Tenino man suffered “basically a direct hit right through the helmet,” and is lucky to be alive.

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