Updates to this journal
may be sparse for a time.
Please dip into the 140+
existing posts and pages.

Weeding by Thor

Cloud-to-cloud

 

Don’t stand under a tall tree during a storm…

Late on Friday afternoon, a brief but violent thunderstorm took a narrow track through town. Along with gusty winds and hail came an unusual amount of lightning. On this side-road above Farrar Pond, a bolt hit slightly below the top of a 90-foot eastern white pine

After the strike

causing a steam explosion that blew warm bark and bone-dry shards all around the area. A large amount of energy was apparently deposited in a zone about 18 feet up from the ground, leaving a little soot from pyrolized pitch

and blasting out about two yards of the tree’s core.

Heartwood attack

The trunk was split vertically along two lines, leaving most of the mass supported by a narrow strip in the middle. The whole thing teetered alarmingly (see video here) so police closed that part of the street until a sharp gust of wind finished the take-down on Saturday afternoon

with enough force to land the whole upper section all the way out onto the street. Remarkably, the top missed wires—including the new 13,000V lines—that occupy more than 180° azimuth of possible fall paths. The large rhododendrons inside the circle were damaged, but should largely recover in 3-5 years. Clearing the street kept axe and mule team busy for a couple of hours

and then the good folks from the Highway Department came to remove the mess.

So now there’s a scenic new snag for the woodpeckers, and some other upstanding tree can take the next hit.