Technician climbs on Forks Radio tower

Lightning strike damages broadcasting system

Technicians were working Thursday, Dec. 16 to restore the signal at Forks Radio.

The station has been off the air since early Wednesday evening, Dec. 8 due to a lightning strike knocking out the station’s electronic broadcast system.

Forks Radio tower technician

Chris Cook photo

Broadcasting equipment on Forks Radio station’s tower was worked on Thursday afternoon, Dec. 16. Here a technician has climbed to the top of the tower.

Forks Radio Station under repair

Chris Cook photo

Forks Radio station’s tower was struck by lightning at about 5 p.m. on Wednesday, Dec. 8. The bolt damaged broadcasting equipment inside the adjacent radio office and studio. The strike also damaged a City of Forks well pump (far left) and computer equipment at a nearby business. On Friday, Dec. 10, emergency tape cordoned off the station and work was underway in restoring the signal.

A lightning bolt reportedly struck the Forks Radio tower at about 5 p.m. at the height of a lightning and thunder storm. Sheet lightning was reported striking various locations with Forks city limits and surrounding towns. Having lightning strike so close to downtown Forks is a rare occurrence many long-time residents told the Forks Forum.

The radio tower is located adjacent to the station’s studios in a grassy field on Cedar Ave.

The bolt likely knocked out power in downtown Forks and surrounding neighborhoods. Lights flickered off momentarily, came back on for a few seconds then went out completely. PUD linemen restored power within about 90 minutes in the downtown Forks area following the blackout.

Over 3,700 PUD customers in an area stretching from Beaver north of Forks to Oil City Road along the Hoh River south of Forks lost power during the storm, where local residents have power restored later in the evening.

Reports also came into the Forks Forum of local residents seeing trees smoldering and charred after being struck by lightning during the storm.

The home of Barry Thomas on the Quillayute Prairie was burnt to the ground after lightning knocked his power out and turned off the electrical-powered circulation controller of his wood-fueled furnace. No one was injured.