A lightning strike took out internet service and cellphone coverage for about 24 hours in Silverton.
The strike occurred Thursday afternoon and apparently hit or impacted a cell tower near the south end of the historic mining town at 9,318 feet in elevation, 50 miles north of Durango.
“We heard a huge boom,” said Myste French, manager of the Grand Imperial Hotel. “My husband actually thought it was a car accident. He ran out outside to the street to see if there were cars in the street. When the internet went down, we put two and two together and realized that boom we heard was the lightning strike.”
The outage lasted from about 5 p.m. Thursday to 5 p.m. Friday.
French warned visitors Friday that they wouldn’t have cellphone service, regardless of their service provider, and would need cash because credit card machines weren’t working.
“Every single cellphone in town does not work, and no one has internet at all,” she said Friday morning. “The only things that are working are landlines and satellite phones.”
Several events are planned this weekend in the tiny tourist town, including the Hardrock Holidays and Brass Band Festival.
French said the Grand Imperial was booked full Friday night, but she had to ask the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad to print a copy of the arrival list because no internet was available.
“We’re kind of taken back to 1980s status here,” French said. “I’m great. I’m crocheting a baby blanket behind the front desk. But people are definitely showing up here very surprised and not knowing what to do.”
The local bank needed to borrow a telephone to plug into a landline, and the ATM was receiving heavy use, she said.
Efforts to reach town officials were not successful.