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We took a lightning strike early this morning.

Mike Reavis_2
Mike Reavis_2 Member Posts: 307
Blew up the surge protector in the panel, three GFI's, the garage door opener, the VCR, the downspout, and blew the birdhouse clean off the oak tree in the back yard. We are all O.K. I was awake when it hit--wow!

The only thing I am concerned about is the tree. Does anyone have any experience or reference materials concerning how long a tree can be expected to live after getting hit? The tree is probably 20-24" @the base, and I think it is a white oak.

The force through dirt around at the base of the tree. There is dirt that made it 20 ft into the air. The lightning also danced around at the corner of the house where a fence post is/was. There are a few new nail-pops to boot.



  • Jackchips
    Jackchips Member Posts: 344
    Glad everything

    is ok, Mike. I had a similar experience years ago. Standing by my open garage door lightning struck a tree about 40 feet from me. It went between two trees about 15' apart, made some big cuts and blew a trench between them 14" deep.

    Our dog run was attached to one of the trees and my aluminum siding. The lightning ran across the wire, turning the entire length brittle after burning off most of the covering, then lite up the house for an instant. Scared the living daylights out of me.

    The only damage we had was a burned out cable line from the house to the street, about 220 feet. Both trees, New England oaks, survived and are still adding oxygen to the atmosphere.
  • Steamhead
    Steamhead Member Posts: 16,718
    Mike, I think it would be a good idea

    to take our own advice and have a pro look at that tree. The lightning strike may have damaged it in ways we might not be able to see. Because of this, they might advise you to cut it down- which we all hate to see, but you don't want it falling on something.

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  • kevin_5
    kevin_5 Member Posts: 308
    wait a minute.

    I agree that a mature tree is definately worth the cost of a professional opinion. Maybe it could use some help before it's too late.
    However, in this day of malpractice, liability, and everyone just generally wanting to cover their behind, I would be very wary of any advice to give 'er the axe.

    It would seem to me that there would be plenty of time to cut it down if it did in fact die as a result of this strike. I am not an arborist, but I have personally seen more than one tree struck and it seems to me there are two scenarios:
    It either splits the thing down the middle, or (usually) it is just a superficial wound affecting the bark the full length down. Maybe the Pro could protect from insect damage in the wound area or ??? I'm confident it will be dropping leaves on your lawn for many years to come. Trees are one of the most beautiful things on earth. If you ever get a chance, visit the giant redwood/sequoias of Northern California! Kevin

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  • Tony_8
    Tony_8 Member Posts: 608
    i agree

    with Kevin. There's VERY old Hemlock on my Grandma's property that is like a lightning rod, and has been struck numerous times, always on the same side and on the same scar. This tree is 3 ft in diameter and 60-70 ft tall minimum. I know of 4 strikes in the last 30+ years and it was scarred before that as my grandfather told me it was scarred when he moved there in '34 and struck many times since. That tree is rock-steady to this day. Just stay as far away as possible if the weather looks stormy !!!
  • Mike Reavis_2
    Mike Reavis_2 Member Posts: 307
    We are calling the insurance company to have their

    input. So far the $ amount of the damage should be below 500.00. Good advice so far.

    Here is something to think about: When we came out of church on a 3 month old tire was flat. After the guy replaced it, it made me wonder if the car which was in the garage got a charge, and the power went through the belt on the tire, and out through the rebar in the concrete. Mike
  • Mike T., Swampeast MO
    Mike T., Swampeast MO Member Posts: 6,928

    White oak tree about 50-60' high just a few feet from my house and neighbors took a hit near the top about two years ago. Mainly appears to have blown off bark near the top. A couple decent size branches have died and fallen out. The wounds appear to be healing and I'm seeing new green from what should become the new central leader. As long as insects don't kill it, I think it will survive. If reasonably accessible (this one really isn't) I'd get a good tree man to give it a "bandaid" and wait and see.

    Enormous (about 5' diameter) tulip poplar in neighbors yard took a hit around the same time--it was split down the middle and numerous very large branches absolutely cleaned of bark. It had to be removed.

    Look carefully along the trunk for strange looking vertical "creases" in the bark--you'll see touches of fresh-looking wood from the proper angle. These are telltale signs that the trunk has been split.

  • Eric Taylor_3
    Eric Taylor_3 Member Posts: 27
    That's Steam

    The lightning didn't blow the dirt out of the ground, it was the steam created by the current surge heating the ground. Trees have been known to tip over after being struck really hard because all the dirt was blasted out of the roots by the steam explosion. Otherwise they would have been fine.

    I'm wondering if its steam that splits the tree too.

  • Jackchips
    Jackchips Member Posts: 344
    Very interesting

    Eric, thanks.

    Do those trees qualify as Wetheads?
  • Mark Eatherton1
    Mark Eatherton1 Member Posts: 2,542
    I saw your pain...

    Friday night we had one HECK of a lighting storm come thorugh. I got some pictures of the action.

  • Mark Hunt
    Mark Hunt Member Posts: 4,909
    And just WHERE

    was your kite and key????

    You cooda' powered All of Colorado for a month with that strike!!!!

    Mark H

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  • Dale
    Dale Member Posts: 1,317
    Gas leaks

    We get alot of underground gas leaks from hits, gets on the tracer wire melts through the plastic and sometimes steel pipe, one hit caused 4 separate leaks. We had a gas leak in an ATTIC from a csst tube too close to ductwork, blew a hole in the stainless. Test everything electric in your house on all functions, I learned this the hard was after the insurance settled and the VCR would play but not rewind the microwave would cook but no clock and the AC would start but lockout from and exploded PTC start component.
  • Steamhead
    Steamhead Member Posts: 16,718
    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    Towson, MD, USA
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This discussion has been closed.