CASPER, Wyo. — The Casper area saw a significant amount of lightning on Thursday night and early Friday, making for a busy night for the Casper Fire-EMS Department.
Recently promoted Engineer and Public Information Officer Dane Andersen said during a Friday morning update that B Platoon firefighters responded to a number of calls for possible lightning strikes on residential structures during the storm. He said crews also responded to a the scene of strike that set off a fire alarm on the 2500 block of East Second Street in Casper.
“The weather definitely caused some havoc last night for B Platoon firefighters and kept them up pretty late,” Andersen said.
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Some areas of Casper also saw some torrential rainfall early Friday morning, according to Andersen. He said that when C Platoon came on shift this morning, those crews were already kept busy.
With the heavy rainfall and with more rain in the forecast, Andersen took some time to talk about the risk of flash flooding in low-lying areas.
“I know it is kind of a feast and famine sort of thing where we are also dry for so long and then we get all this rain at once,” Andersen said. “The flash flooding that may occur in the low-lying areas definitely poses a risk if you are going to be out motoring or traveling or being around the areas that are prone to flooding here in town.”
Andersen said that if people come across an area where flooding has occurred, they should not attempt to travel through the water.
“Turn around, don’t drown; find a different route there,” he said.
When flooding occurs, there is no way to accurately gauge how deep the water is, how fast it may be moving and whether any objects are lurking under the surface.
“Just don’t drive through it, don’t walk though it, [and] don’t go and play with it because it is just such a dynamic situation with so many unknown variables that you can encounter. If you were to enter that body of water … you can find yourself in trouble really quick,” Andersen said.
He noted that the fire department engaged in water rescue training last month. Water rescue situations are already challenging, but adding in the factor of someone becoming trapped in a vehicle during a flood makes the response even more difficult, according to Andersen.
Andersen noted that more rain is in the forecast for the weekend. The Casper area has a 50% chance of precipitation Friday, mainly after 1 p.m., according to the National Weather Service in Riverton. There is a 30% chance of rain on Saturday and a 20% chance on Sunday. Monday has a 40% chance of rain, increasing to 60% on Monday night and Tuesday. There is a 40% chance on Thursday.
Andersen’s comments can be heard in the morning briefing posted to the City of Casper Fire-EMS Department’s Facebook page: