August 11, 2008

Lightning strikes at my farm

You may have heard the statement that lightning will never hit the same place twice – well that just isn’t true.  Lightning can strike the same object again and again.   The Empire State Building, for example, gets hit about 100 times per year and was actually built as a lightning rod for the surrounding area.  My Bedford farm seems particularly susceptible to this awesome force of nature.  You may recall reading a past blog about a beautiful old sycamore tree that finally perished after being struck. Well, it’s happened again.  In a recent storm, 2 more trees were hit.  One is a maple out in the woods and the other is a stately white pine, standing in a grove near the chicken coops.  I’m waiting to hear the assessment from my arborist, Ralph Robbins of SavATree

I’ve always loved this grove of white pines.  Because they’re so tall, they add a nice dimension to the landscape.

This is a classic lightning strike.  The powerful electrical
current caused intense heating, resulting in the bark exploding off the
tree.  The moist tissues beneath the bark acted as conductors for the

You can see how the bark and softer tissue have been stripped straight up the side of the trunk.

More damage at the base.

The exploding tree ‘splinters’ spread quite a distance. 

It’s not too difficult to understand why you should never stand near a tree in a lightning storm.

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