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Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Lightning strike


You know that pop a light bulb makes when it breaks? This sounded like that, except about 100 times louder. And more intense. I was inside, about 50 or 60 (edited from 40) feet away, and I think it restarted my heart. A couple hours later, and I'm still kind of feeling it (or maybe it's just adrenalin). I kept waiting for the crash, but it never happened, thankfully -- just lots of "toothpicks" in varying lengths everywhere. It's in the parkway, which technically is city property, so I'm hoping they can do something about it.

More coverage of today's weather:

Everything's quiet now.

Photo by Laura Carnes.

Posted by Marie at August 19, 2009 5:43 PM


Wow. I'm glad you're okay...that looks very scary.

Posted by: karoli at August 19, 2009 7:45 PM

Thanks, Karoli. It was the closest I've ever been to lightning striking.

Posted by: Marie at August 19, 2009 8:39 PM

I was the same distance from one years ago. A tree in the backyard was hit. I, too, kept waiting for a crash -- debris to hit house -- but it never came. The lightening had hit the side away from the house and blew a line of bark off top to bottom -- not quite as much as that in your photo, but still noticeable.

Posted by: delmer at August 19, 2009 9:12 PM

Very interesting. Thanks for the comment, Delmer.

This is a 50+ year old Sycamore. The shredding starts about 20 feet up. The bark below it is splotchy. I'll have to get a better look at it when everything dries up to see if the splotching is from the lightning or the rain or what. Did your tree have to be cut down?

Posted by: Marie at August 19, 2009 9:38 PM

Scary stuff when it gets that close. I used to kind of like thunderstorms, then about twenty years ago I had a bolt of lightning go through my bedroom while I was sleeping. At least I'm pretty sure that's what it was. I was asleep, but I saw a bright flash, heard that pop noise, and when I got up and turned the light on, there was a brand new hole about the size of a quarter in the plaster ceiling. It was about 4:00 am and no, I did not go back to sleep. Too freaked out.

Posted by: Dave E. at August 20, 2009 12:15 AM

Dave, Wow! That is very scary. You're fortunate it didn't hit you. I take it you don't live in that house anymore. Or do you? I used to find thunderstorms very relaxing. Now I find them very jarring.

When I was a kid, the house across the street from my friend's house had about 10 lightning rods on it. Whenever I go by there now, I always look and it still has some rods, just not as many. Also, during that same time, my dad told me and my brother to stay out of the house across the alley from us because a "lightning ball" had gotten inside and it could happen again. Still not quite sure about that one, but I never did go in that house.

Posted by: Marie at August 20, 2009 1:26 AM

Our tree had been trying, hard, to dies on its own for years. The lightening didn't do much in the way of hastening its demise and the tree was still standing when we moved.

Posted by: delmer at August 20, 2009 8:07 AM

Still in that house. That happened about 10 days after I closed on it and moved in(July 1990). I think it hit the large tree just outside the bedroom and then went down through the house. I went outside just to make sure my house wasn't on fire and there was a big branch down and a shingle that had a dime sized hole in it also. My bed was about two feet over from the hole in the ceiling. Nothing like that has happened since, but I can't help but think about it when thunderstorms roll in.

Posted by: Dave E. at August 20, 2009 9:57 AM

We got hit by lightning here a couple of years ago. It did a lot of damage and I still have no idea where it hit of what it hit. Was told the charge carried through tree roots to get our well. I saw lightning strike a transformer while I was at work many years ago. Pure luck that I happened to be looking in the right direction. Cool pic. That tree is history. It will have to be removed.

Posted by: Rob Author Profile Page at August 20, 2009 8:23 PM

Interesting. Thanks, Delmer.

Dave, I still can't get over how fortunate you were that that bolt missed you.

Rob, now that you mention it, I sort of remember you blogging about your well getting hit.

I got a better look at the tree in the daylight today. The bark is fried all the way to the ground. Just not all the bark. Like I said, it's splotchy.

I called the city this morning, and they are going to send the city arborist over. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that he give the okay to have the city cut it down.

Posted by: Marie at August 20, 2009 8:37 PM

The other day I stopped by the house I used to live in. The tree is still standing, but just barely. The area the lightening went down is much wider now and a lot of limbs have been trimmed off over the years... right now it looks more like a poorly-formed stake sticking up out of the ground.

Posted by: delmer at August 28, 2009 9:47 PM

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