Sunday, December 21, 2014

When Lightning Strikes

One of our members, Tess Hart Ross, Dogwood Circle, has a unique experience to share with us.

July 4th came early at our house this year. On June 3rd during a driving rainstorm lightning struck an 85' laurel oak tree about 20' from our house. We were not home at the time but various neighbors have described the event in vivid detail. Most included finding religion from the vantage point of under their kitchen table.

We came home to find the A/C, the computer, our phone recorder and four remotes, and one TV totally fried. And because of the proximity of the underground telephone and TV cables to the roots of the tree, all their connections to the house were toast as well.

Living in Mandarin under a canopy of live oaks, laurel oaks, water oaks, black cherry trees, longleaf pine, and hickories such occurrences don't come as a surprise. We don't even bother to call our insurance agent anymore as he disowned us years ago after the first strike.

We set about making contact with all the service folks needed to get back up and running, with a special trip to purchase heavy duty surge protectors for all the new electronics. We've got it down to a fine science.

They say lightning does not strike the same place twice. NOT TRUE! Three weeks later in the middle of another downpour, the wounded oak took another hit. The same underground cables were fried but nothing else in the house was damaged. In three days every leaf on the tree was brown. It was a goner.

We lived with its standing corpse for a couple months hoping for signs of life and attracting all kinds of drive-by tree removal companies, full of advice. We were too fond of our giant and were just not ready to see it go. It was safely in a far corner of the yard so falling limbs were not an immediate threat to pedestrians but we needed a unique solution to the tree's demise.  (Click below to read more)