SHERIDAN — The widespread power outage that hit Sheridan County around 12:15 p.m. Tuesday was caused by a large bull snake, according to Mark Hanson of Montana-Dakota Utilities Co.

The snake had slithered into a substation insulator, Hanson told The Sheridan Press, tripping the main transformer that feeds the Sheridan area. Around the height of the outage, a map by MDU showed 3,945 affected locations in Sheridan, Dayton, Ranchester and Acme. When crews discovered and removed the snake, power was restored in the majority of locations.

As of 1:45 p.m., MDU’s website reported 245 known outages remaining in Sheridan and Dayton. Visit the outage map page for updated information.

If traffic lights are still out, drivers should treat them as four-way stops, cautioned a representative from Sheridan Police Department.