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Posted: 7/3/2012 8:10:11 AM EDT
My wife called me late yesterday and said our tree just "exploded" after lightning hit it, and "exploded" is about the only way to describe it. I got home and took these pics. The shrapnel and damage is just unbelievable. It was about 30 yards from the front of our house, and has scattered branches the size of a person's arm as far as 100 yards away. It started a small fire in the field next to us, but a couple guys passing by stopped and stomped it out before it got out of hand.

This was a 40-45 ft oak tree that was about 100 years old in our yard. Everyone who has stopped by has told me they've never seen lightning do this to a tree. All the pics are from 1 tree, and a single lightning strike.

My wife's car was about 25 yards from the tree and somehow has no damage. Huge pieces of wood surround it on all sides, but somehow it didn't put a scratch on the car.

Here is the overhead view:

The blue circle is all that's still standing of the tree where it originally was, the photo is taken from the upstairs window of the house. The red circle is what's left of a pedestal thing from the phone/cable company. The strike hit the tree and ran in on the pedestal. I found the cap about 20 yards away and the phone company looked today and said everything inside it was fried. The guy who looked at it was completely baffled, as the dispatcher who took my call gave him a service ticket that said "all services down due to lightning strike". He thought it was just going to be a simple box replacement.

This is where the phone lines come into the house, and another smaller junction box where it has been patched in the past. It ran into both and completed destroyed them.

It ran inside and into our cable box. Like a lot of people, I have several metal boxes stacked on top of the cable box, and the surge ran up through all of them. My Bluray player, wireless router and modem are all shot. It also took out a computer and external hard drive. The TV powers on, but I need to do some checking to see if it's still 100% functional.

And the absolutely strangest thing to happen was this:

The concussion from the strike was so hard that it bent all of the metal tabs that holds the glass in on our storm door. They moved out about 1/4 of an inch and now the glass is loose in the frame. Surprisingly, it didn't break or crack any of the glass in the house.

Overall, it's a pretty humbling reminder of how much power a lightning strike actually has. It's pretty amazing that it can wipe out a tree and still do that much damage to the wiring nearby. We're pretty lucky the entire house didn't burn down, or start a field fire, destroy her car, etc.....


Here's a before pic of the tree. This was taken when we bought the house about 2.5 years ago.

Link Posted: 7/3/2012 8:12:31 AM EDT
Holy shit.  

Your yard got hulk smashed by the fist of an angry god!
Link Posted: 7/3/2012 8:13:36 AM EDT
Link Posted: 7/3/2012 8:14:45 AM EDT
Link Posted: 7/3/2012 8:14:47 AM EDT
So standing under a tree during a storm for shelter is a bad idea?  
Link Posted: 7/3/2012 8:15:09 AM EDT
Link Posted: 7/3/2012 8:15:22 AM EDT
Jeezus!  at least no one was injured.  Insurance?
Link Posted: 7/3/2012 8:15:30 AM EDT
Sap flashing to steam is a real mother!
Link Posted: 7/3/2012 8:15:34 AM EDT

that is nuts
Link Posted: 7/3/2012 8:16:43 AM EDT
Link Posted: 7/3/2012 8:17:37 AM EDT

I've seen a tree explode from a lightning strike before - literally 30ft in front of me.  I was behind a glass door - but in this case the tree was no more than10ft tall, maybe a 2-3" trunk.  Scared me to death since I had just put my hand on the door to push it open to head out with the

My parents have some gigantic (3+ story) mesquite trees in their backyard, one of them suffered a lightning strike back in '85 - it only took out half of one main branch though.

Never seen an entire tree get taken out like that.

Would imagine insurance will cover all of your hardware that was fried.
Link Posted: 7/3/2012 8:17:53 AM EDT
OP, where was this in KY? I'm in Owensboro. We had a lot of lightning last night as well.

@ the pics

When I was a teen, my parents neighbor had their house struck by lightning, twice each instance was two years apart.

Chimney, both times. Took off about 3 feet of the brick from the top of the chimney. Sent it flying about 150ft or so. Fried all of his phone lines. Had to have all the phone lines re run in the house.

I came to respect lightning at a young age. I was 14 or so and on the porch watching the lightning with my dad. All of a sudden everything flashed bright white and the loudest boom I have ever heard in my life.  Pine tree in the back yard got nailed. I pissed myself, litterally. It was so loud and frightened me that badly.
Link Posted: 7/3/2012 8:18:15 AM EDT
Holy shite thats serious
Link Posted: 7/3/2012 8:18:21 AM EDT
The flexing on your glass door is impressive.
Link Posted: 7/3/2012 8:18:29 AM EDT

You have been cast down to Earth and are a mere mortal now.
Link Posted: 7/3/2012 8:18:37 AM EDT
I saw that happen to a very large incense cedar tree about 50 yards in front of me one time.  It was VERY impressive.  I was backpacking in the Sierra Nevada mountains with some friends.

We decided it was time to hunker down for the evening.

Link Posted: 7/3/2012 8:19:09 AM EDT
Amazing how powerful nature can be.
Link Posted: 7/3/2012 8:19:21 AM EDT
Cut and season the wood if you have a fireplace or outdoor fire pit.
Link Posted: 7/3/2012 8:19:47 AM EDT

So are you going to make a bat with the wood?

Link Posted: 7/3/2012 8:20:03 AM EDT
Impressive, I take it you will be buying a surge protector in the near future?
Link Posted: 7/3/2012 8:20:05 AM EDT
Awesome display of mother nature.

I had a pine tree on a fence line explode like that.

4-5 fence posts on either side also exploded...50' in both directions.
Link Posted: 7/3/2012 8:20:20 AM EDT
most impressive

Link Posted: 7/3/2012 8:21:10 AM EDT
Sap flashing to steam is a real mother!


And if you are standing under the tree when the current gets nearby YOU are a much better conductor than the sap.

Side flash from tree to that nice saltwater conductor on the way to the earth.  Results in dead person in many cases.
Link Posted: 7/3/2012 8:21:47 AM EDT
Link Posted: 7/3/2012 8:22:45 AM EDT

Lightning huh... Ya i remember the first time i played with Tannerite too.

Link Posted: 7/3/2012 8:22:46 AM EDT

angering gods isn't as fun as you thought?

Link Posted: 7/3/2012 8:23:14 AM EDT

Thor done fucked up your tree.

Link Posted: 7/3/2012 8:23:52 AM EDT
Zeus was not amused...

Link Posted: 7/3/2012 8:24:12 AM EDT
I want to mourn the loss of all the old growth trees I'm seeing

Tree Explosion's are sad
Link Posted: 7/3/2012 8:24:49 AM EDT
Excellent! Tests on the new targeting system for the Halliburton Weather Machine are complete and successful. On to the next phase!
Link Posted: 7/3/2012 8:25:19 AM EDT


most impressive

very much so. Glad everyone is alright.

Link Posted: 7/3/2012 8:25:47 AM EDT

Link Posted: 7/3/2012 8:26:13 AM EDT
You pissed off Al Gore didn't you?
Link Posted: 7/3/2012 8:26:14 AM EDT
I saw lightning do that to a cedar tree on a golf course once.
Link Posted: 7/3/2012 8:26:42 AM EDT
I want to mourn the loss of all the old growth trees I'm seeing

Tree Explosion's are sad

Link Posted: 7/3/2012 8:27:16 AM EDT
Have never seen the likes of that.  Glad no one was fried.

Link Posted: 7/3/2012 8:27:18 AM EDT
Do you have a before picture of the tree for comparison?
Link Posted: 7/3/2012 8:28:54 AM EDT
holy shit thats crazy.  Glad no one was hurt, I would have probably shit my pants if i would have been near that
Link Posted: 7/3/2012 8:29:42 AM EDT
I'm in louisville and we had some gnarly lightning last night. Glad there were no injuries op.
Link Posted: 7/3/2012 8:29:56 AM EDT
Damn, that is amazing.
Link Posted: 7/3/2012 8:31:02 AM EDT
It fucking figures.

The government says I can't have high explosives, yet they just let that weather shit do whatever the hell it wants.

Some animals are more equal, it seems.  
Link Posted: 7/3/2012 8:33:03 AM EDT
I want to mourn the loss of all the old growth trees I'm seeing

Tree Explosion's are sad

Link Posted: 7/3/2012 8:33:04 AM EDT
Deer hunting in the UP one year I came upon a cedar tree that had been hit by lightening.

It looked similar to these pictures.

The tree had been blown into shards, toothpick like pieces, spears, some of them driven a foot or more into the ground.

Some were five to six feet long.

I wish now that I had saved some of the spears, and not lost the pictures.
Link Posted: 7/3/2012 8:33:15 AM EDT
Admit it, you left your glock fo-tay in the tree and it just went off!

Link Posted: 7/3/2012 8:33:29 AM EDT
dang, nature, you scary!

glad everyone is OK!
Link Posted: 7/3/2012 8:34:24 AM EDT
This is truly a cool story, perhaps for the 1st time in internet history!
Link Posted: 7/3/2012 8:34:37 AM EDT
Link Posted: 7/3/2012 8:35:19 AM EDT
Link Posted: 7/3/2012 8:35:30 AM EDT

Link Posted: 7/3/2012 8:36:22 AM EDT



I want to mourn the loss of all the old growth trees I'm seeing

Tree Explosion's are sad

What kind of mental illness does it take to talk to trees?  

Usefulus Idiotus. Very terrible disease.

Link Posted: 7/3/2012 8:36:23 AM EDT
Obviously, it tried to resist.
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