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If you’ve seen Back to the Future, then you know that a pivotal aspect of the movie is a DeLorean channeling energy from a bolt of lightning to enable it and Marty Marty McFly to return to the year 1985. Or, as Doc Brown said, “The only thing that could generate 1.21 gigawatts is a bolt of lightning!” Recently, a Toyota Prius was struck by a bolt of lightning. While the Prius didn’t do any time travel, it was completely immobilized. 

Storm-chasing Toyota Prius struck by a bolt of lightning

Distant view of silver Toyota Prius struck by a bolt of lighting
Toyota Prius struck by a bolt of lightning | High Risk Chris via YouTube

As much as the world advances technologically, we still face the humbling forces of nature. It’s easy to be awed and amazed by nature, especially during thunderstorms. This is the thinking behind storm chasers, who often risk their lives to get a closer view of storms. 

Recently, two storm chasers, “High Risk Chris” and “More Pi,” chased tornadoes in Iowa and were caught in severe thunderstorms. A second-generation Toyota Prius, driven by More Pi, was then struck by a bolt of lightning. High Risk Chris filmed the incident.

View slow-motion video of Prius struck by lightning

Close-up view of silver Toyota Prius struck by a bolt of lightning
Toyota Prius struck by a bolt of lightning | High Risk Chris via YouTube

A video shows a view of the silver Toyota Prius through the windshield of High Risk Chris’ car. The Prius is perpendicular to the road, and then More Pi pulls it forward. At the seven-second mark of the video, the lightning flashes down on the Prius. High Risk Chris exclaims, “Oh my God. Oh my God.”

The lightning bolt is so fast that it’s difficult to see it. However, the video then slows down the footage for a clearer view. First, it slows down to 1/5 speed, then 1/20 speed, and then a still shot.

When slowed down, you can see the bolt of lightning shooting down, with flames emitting from it. The lightning bolt strikes the antenna of the Prius, causing sparks and flames to bounce off its roof. Also, as detailed by The Drive, you can “see bits of electricity dance around the tires and near the base of the pavement,” which is “a testament to a metal-topped car’s safety during lightning storms.”

View video of the lightning strike from inside the Prius

If that video wasn’t enough excitement for you, there’s another video taken by More Pi from inside the Prius while the lightning bolt struck the car. Before the lightning strike, the video shows footage of heavy winds blowing the roof off of a nearby barn. At the 19-second mark of the video, the lightning bolt hits the Prius. It’s very loud, so you might want to turn down the volume of the video before watching it.

More Pi exclaims, “Gosh dang it. Did that just? Wow! My Prius just literally conked out on me from that lightning strike. I cannot move my car. I think lightning may have hit my car because now it’s not working.”

More Pi then goes outside to assess the damage. The lightning bolt stripped away the coating of the antenna, exposing bare circuitry. He said that it will be around a week before the dealership can look at the car. However, More Pi had an optimistic tone when discussing the incident. He said, “That was a sick catch, dude. If this is the final nail in the coffin for the Pi Prius, I can rest easy knowing it went down with a zap!”


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