One of my favorite weather forecasting websites is Weather Bug. Like most forecasting, it’s not always correct but it gives a rough idea. It’s Spark component shows where lightning is active and how far away it is.
One of our customer’s white pine had a very close encounter with lightning. This tree is roughly 18” diameter at 4.5 feet above the ground, the stump is now 10 feet tall.
The top of the tree was struck by lightning, notice the very thin line of exploded bark indicating the electricity’s line of travel. When the lightning exited the tree it severed the top from the base at about 12 feet from the ground. The top fell vertically spearing itself into the ground. The shattered pieces on the ground are 12-14 feet long and three to four inches thick, some thrown thirty feet away.
Our client said, “I wish I could have seen this strike, but I’m very happy I was nowhere nearby when it hit!”
Jim Walsh, Board Certified Master Arborist