A severe thunderstorm passed through Cody on Saturday afternoon, wreaking havoc with local events and dropping rain and lightning bolts .
Though only measured as a trace amount at the airport, the storm produced enough moisture in a short span to cause flooding along Sheridan and waterlog second base at the Northwest Class A Regional Tournament.
The teams from Vauxhall, Alberta and Portland, Ore., were in the middle of a game when the rain started. The downpour delayed the game and left puddles along the baselines and behind second plate.
Cody players, parents, city maintenance workers and volunteers were out on the field after the squall to drain the water with buckets, pumps, puddle pillows and vacuums. A fresh sprinkling of quick-dry clay and dirt raised the muddy areas and play was able to resume about an hour later.
“It was unbelievable,” Cubs assistant coach Andy Schroeder said. “We had like 30 people come together. It was like a little village.”
“Our out-of-town guests were very complimentary of the work they saw,” coach Bart Grenz said. “We were able to pull at least a couple hundred gallons of water off that field.”
Across town, tourists and employees at the Cody Chamber of Commerce had a scare. A lightning bolt struck a tree within 20 feet of the building, spraying bark across the lawn. Carla Parsons was at work at the chamber when the storm blew in.
“We had a lot of people in the building and out on the porch to get out of the rain,” she said. “Then there was a loud bang and a second one that hit really hard. We knew it had to be close.”
It wasn’t until about a half hour later that staff noticed the bark showered across the yard from where the tree was struck. Chunks were found as far as 50 feet away. The tree also showed the bare wood scars typical of a lightning strike.
“I had never been that close to a lightning strike,” Parsons said. “I don’t think I ever want to be again.”