A lightning strike caused a North Carolina road to “explode,” sending debris flying into the air, officials said.
Photos show pavement was left crumbled on Hatley-Burris Road, roughly 40 miles east of Charlotte.
“Road debris landed on the roof of a nearby home,” the Oakboro Police Department wrote on Facebook.
Officers said it happened after lightning struck a tree and traveled through the pavement on Wednesday, July 20.
Brad Panovich, a WCNC meteorologist, explained on FB:
“When lightning hits a tree like this the heat is so intense it flash steams the sap & water which causes a steam explosion and blows the bark off.
Here’s an example:
“In our case, the lightning went into the roots and spread underneath the road flash steaming any moisture causing the explosion.
“It’s a great example of why you don’t want to seek shelter under a tree because once it is hit the lightning spreads through the root system and into the surrounding ground.
“One thing I would love to investigate here is if there is a fulgurite from the strike. A fulgurite is sometimes called fossilized lightning. When lightning hits very sandy soil it can form a glass tube buried in the ground.”
Here’s a terrifying lightning compilation:
The same day as the strike, forecasters had predicted that places near Charlotte could experience strong winds. As a storm rolled through, social media users reported being jolted and hearing a boom.
“It was the loudest strike I have ever heard in my life,” one person wrote on the Stanly County police department’s Facebook page.
Another person commented: “Oh my it scared me so bad I jumped up.”
As of July 21, Hatley-Burris Road was closed near the intersection with Trotters Ridge Road. Police didn’t have a timeline for the road’s reopening and said “power, cable and phone service” also were impacted. [FB, Charlotte Observer]
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