Zap, crack, boom
It was an explosion of wood and bark outside when lightning struck a tree during Thursday Afternoon's storms.
From their Shenandoah area Baton Rouge home, George and Stacey Tull said, “the power surged, house shook and we heard the loudest explosion.”
The noise wasn’t just the zap of electricity or the crack of rapidly expanding air. A boom was produced by the tree literally exploding. When lightning strikes a tree, sap in the trunk is rapidly heated by more than 50,000 degrees of electrical charge. The sap then changes to steam and the steam expands, blowing the tree up from inside.
The strike serves as a keen reminder that being anywhere outdoors, especially near trees, is extremely dangerous during a thunderstorm.
Lightning is a killer.
If you hear thunder, lightning is close enough to strike you so move to a sturdy, enclosed shelter or a car with a metal roof. Once indoors, stay off of corded appliances that put you into direct contact with electricity. Avoid plumbing, doors, windows and concrete floors.
Thunder and lightning occur at the same time. It just seems like you see the lightning first because light moves faster than sound. As soon as you see lightning, count the seconds until you hear the thunder. If you count 5 seconds, the lightning was about a mile away. Sound goes about 1000 feet a second. If you see lightning and hear thunder at just about the same moment, the storm is right above you.
Remember to bring in your pets during thunderstorms; they are just as vulnerable as people.
For more on the types of lightning strikes, the most dangerous places during a storm, lightning safety and myths about the phenomenon, visit the series of stories on our webpage by clicking HERE.
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