We’re told from a young age to head inside when it starts to thunder and to avoid taking shelter under isolated trees. That’s good advice, but it can be hard to visualize why you should avoid trees on a stormy day. Here to demonstrate is a new video shared by the US National Weather Service in Wisconsin, one that shows a tree being blown to pieces by a lightning bolt faster than you can blink.
The video was recently shared by the National Weather Service in Green Bay, Wisconsin, which explains that the event happened at the Wautoma High School. The target in this apparent Zeus moment was an isolated pine tree, which went from standing to completely obliterated in a literal flash.
The video was shared with local news station WLUK-TV FOX 11, which then shared it with the US National Weather Service. Not only is the event a rare video display of nature’s destructive ability, but it also served as a teaching moment for the government’s weather agency.
The National Weather Service has a web page dedicated to lightning safety and what you should do (and not do) during a thunderstorm. The agency notes that all thunderstorms contain lightning, which means that if you hear rumbling you should head inside. If that’s not an option, you should avoid anything that can act as a lightning rod, according to the agency.
This can include, for example, a tree that is standing isolated from other trees and structures, as well as things like a telephone pole or a flag pole. If you’re stuck in a forested area during a lightning storm, the agency says you should use a ‘thick growth of small trees’ to hide under while avoiding the taller trees.
Of course, there are other aspects involved with staying safe during an electrical storm, such as staying out of swimming pools, away from appliances, and avoiding making yourself a lightning rod — something that could happen if you’re, for example, holding up a golf club or umbrella. Head over to the NWS website for the full details.