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Utility pole struck by lightning shuts down north and southbound I-15 freeway in Barstow

BARSTOW, Calif. ( — A utility pole reportedly struck by lightning has prompted a full closure of the I-15 freeway in Barstow.

At about 11:08 am, on Sunday, August 20, 2023, dispatch received reports of a fire at the top of a utility pole that snapped in half.

The lines on the damaged pole span across the entire portion of the I-15 and prompted authorities to request a hard closure of the freeway.

California Highway Patrol officers stopped all traffic, and vehicles on the freeway were forced to make a U-turn to exit. Motorists traveling southbound are exiting at L Street, and motorists traveling northbound are exiting at Barstow Road.

Traffic on the surrounding roadways like Main Street was reported to be gridlocked.

Officials said they did not know how long the freeway would be shut down and that SCE employees were at the scene assessing the situation.

At about 12:20 pm, the National Weather Service said that Tropical Storm Hilary made landfall in the northern Baja Peninsula and that conditions would continue to deteriorate in Southern California later this afternoon. The eye of the storm is expected to move across the Victor Valley at about 4:00 pm. The NWS said the mountains and deserts can expect areas of flooding and strong winds.

(Photo by Bobby Moore)

This is a developing story and additional information will be updated as it becomes available.

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