Lightning is faster and stronger than you. It can take out a tree like it's a matchstick. Cedric Haynes, a weatherman for Texas television station KLTV, gave proof of this phenomenon when he tweeted a fascinating video of lightning smiting a tree.
The tree was just standing there minding its own business when the zap came and sheered off chunks of bark and downed massive branches. The strike was bright and sudden.
The video comes from a surveillance camera overlooking a parking lot at the Bishop Thomas K. Gorman Catholic School in Tyler, Texas. The incident happened on January 21, and Haynes shared the video on Saturday.
This isn't the first time we've seen a video that spotlights the awesome power of nature. For a completely different perspective on lightning, check out this European Space Agency video of strikes happening inside an electrical storm as seen from space.
According to NASA, "lightning is responsible for the deaths of a hundred or so people, injuries to several hundred more, and millions of dollars in property damage" every year. And that's just the toll for the US. NASA pursues lightning research in part to avoid hazards to spacecraft during launch. Lightning famously struck Apollo 12 during its launch in 1969, but the craft recovered from the temporary loss of instrumentation.
That helps to put the tree video in perspective. As frightening as it is to see a tree taken apart by a blast from the sky, at least it wasn't a spacecraft full of people on its way to the moon.
(Via Boing Boing)