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Lightning is still poorly understood but surely is shocking

May 26, 2012
By Robert M. Ungerer , The Post-Journal

One evening in late April this year I discovered a shattered tree in the woods behind my house that I decided must have been struck by lightning. The 8-inch diameter black locust tree trunk was snapped off five feet above the ground. The upper portion was split apart exposing the heartwood. The branches leaning on a nearby tree were blackened, suggesting to me they were burned. The felled portion of the tree was leaning in the direction of prevailing winds, so something else besides wind was responsible for toppling this tree. A week later, I discovered a 3-inch wide vertical split in the bark of a 50-foot black walnut tree in my side yard extending from the ground to the highest branches. Was this a second tree struck by lightning, perhaps during the same thunderstorm?



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