Lightning Tree

This is a bit off topic, but lightning from the storm yesterday (Sept. 11th) took out one of the honey locust trees in my front yard.  On its way from the top of the tree to the ground, the electricity apparently heated the sap and turned it into steam.  It blew strips of the bark and sapwood off the tree to distances of up to about 40 feet (12 m).  Pieces of bark broke two windows on the front of my house.  Locust is tough wood, though; no branches came down although some were clearly damaged.


The lightning even made a small trench in the sod as it found its way to earth.  In the house, three circuit breakers tripped, four compact fluorescent light bulbs stopped working, and some small electronic gadgets seem to have died a quiet death.

No-one was hurt.  The windows are double pane and the inner panes survived, so we don’t have holes in the wall.  The tree will have to come down; there’s too much damage for it to survive as anything but a misshapen, unbalanced testament to the power of the storm.

There’s another storm rolling through as I write this.  We’re under a severe thunderstorm warning.  For some reason, this bothers me more than it would have a couple of days ago.


About brianbreczinski

work: chemist, NMR manager; hobbies: gardening, reading, photography, electronics, biking, woodworking
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8 Responses to Lightning Tree

  1. OMG, it would bother me a whole lot more! Must have been scary. Sorry about the tree and the windows, bulbs, etc. What a mess! Although I have to say, that tree almost looks pretty. Let’s hope this next storm won’t be as damaging.

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