Lightning splits Bidwell Mansion tree


George Johnston

Many are left wondering if insurance will cover the damage done to their cars

While most Chico State students sought shelter from the hailstorm hitting campus, a bolt of lightning struck a tree by Bidwell Mansion, splitting it in half.

Jewel Keahilhau was sitting in her car at the Bidwell Mansion parking lot, recording the hail when the tree split and fell on her vehicle. Keahilhau says she saw the tree falling down and braced herself for the impact.

“I was very scared,” said Keahilhau “When I heard all the noise and looked out ‘I thought ‘oh my god, oh my god, oh my god.’ I knew I couldn’t go anywhere.”

Keahilhau does not have an optimistic view on how her car will run after this incident.

“She’s a mustang!” Keahilhau said. “The back window is out, but I do not know if she will survive this. Not body, but it didn’t hit the engine. I do not know.”

Chico State student Mark Olman and his friends were studying the architecture of Bidwell Mansion when they saw the exact moment when the lightning hit the tree. Olman said he felt the ground shake when the tree was struck.

“What are the odds that a lightning bolt would hit a tree,” said Olman. “It’s frightening. You never think you’ll see it in your life, but I saw it.”

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George Johnston can be reached at[email protected] or @gjohnston786 on Twitter.