Before six am one morning this week, there was a tremendous crack that filled every inch of the house from lightning striking nearby. While it sounded like it was just outside the window, it turns out it was about five hundred feet away at my neighbor’s place. He texted me a picture of the tree later that morning and invited me over to look at it. While I had not seen a freshly stricken tree before what stood out first was its long strips of bark laying fifty feet away from the tree in many directions.
The tree wasn’t just singed; it had essentially exploded. From the point it was struck, on down, looks like a charge went off at its core. With one to five billion joules of energy, a lightning strike is more than enough to destroy the life of anything. Yes, it can reach out up to ten miles from the center of the storm so give yourself thirty minutes from the last sound of thunder to consider yourself safe from it.
We didn’t find anything burnt as I had expected and although the center was compromised, it remained standing. The tree is a post oak which is very common in this area and was certainly not the tallest nor the highest in the area, so why it, in particular, was hit is unknown.
While many of us enjoy the sound and sight of lightning; there are those who would do well not to have to bother with it, including many dogs. Ninety percent of the people struck by lightning live, though many do come away with some negative impact not as much as the 10 percent that dies from it. In America, about two dozen folks a year are propelled into eternity from lightning strikes.
While there is no safe place, if caught in the outdoors, the best course of action is to seek shelter in a permanent building or inside an automobile. While inside the vehicle avoid contact with the doors and inside buildings avoid windows, window frames, and incoming phone lines, etc.
Our canine companions often feel the buildup of static in their coats and may react negatively towards it in addition to the sounds that tend to accompany storms. There are various strategies to help them discharge it from lying against exposed metal pipes and radiators to methods using aluminum foil, just check online for more ideas.
Springtime is the right time for storms with lightning so keep your awareness up. Share as you wish, have a great weekend and Be Well!