Lightning, Trees and Gasoline Alley

Lightning #2

A strong storm rolled through here last evening.

It packed a wallop. Being a storm watcher, naturally, instead of being away from windows and doors as weather forecasters suggest, I was standing in the front door watching.

The door is a full plate-glass door. (Smart!)

Swoooooosh  . . . Click . . .BAM!

It all happened that fast. Faster actually.

Lightning is an amazing powerful thing. Wind gusts are close behind in reputation.

I saw a flash of yellow and red explode across the street and knew one of our neighbors just got hit by lightning.


Lightning (Photo credit: Pete Hunt)

The intensity of the storm following the explosion sent me running to the interior of the house screaming  like a girl.

Amazingly enough we didn’t lose power.

We are in a place where we are the first to lose and the last to be turned on. None of us have figured that out yet.

As the intensity of the storm dropped a few minutes later, I crept back to the door to look out again.

“Swoooosh . . . Fallen oak

I saw a man in a rain parka, soaked to the bone, outside picking up storm debris while there was still plenty of lightning rumbling overhead. Crazy!

We were most concerned about who got hit by the explosion. So a few minutes later, I grabbed my camera and stepped outside.

English: I photographed Jim Scancarelli, artis...

English: I photographed Jim Scancarelli, artist for the Gasoline Alley comic strip, at the Old Fiddlers Convention in Galax, VA on August 14, 2010. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The rain-soaked man was our neighbor, Jim Scancarelli, who draws and writes a classic comic strip “Gasoline Alley“. Jim is amazing in that he still draws each frame and colors each color by hand for every strip he writes since 1986.

Jim Scancarelli's Gasoline Alley (November 24,...

Jim Scancarelli’s Gasoline Alley (November 24, 2008) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Quite a fiddle player too.

No computer or color fill,  Each hand drawn image is all done by hand. He still sends the strip in by mail with original hand colored drawings. In this day and age of technology, it is sweet to find something done the original way.

The big oak tree in Jim’s yard took a direct lightning hit. His power was knocked out, we were afraid he would have to have the entire house re-wired in addition to taking out the big oak tree.

It was Jim who was walking around in the storm.

“Jim, what are you doing walking around out here? It’s still lightning!”

“My tree got hit.”

He saw the “Swooosh” which was another huge oak tree falling over directly across from his oak tree and seconds later, his gets clobbered, right in front of him.

I asked him if he was alright and he told me he was but his electric pencil sharpener went ballistic and stunk up his house. “It just started going faster and faster, then started smoking, getting hot and so I threw it out.”

Jokingly, “Is it still going?”

“No, Pamela, it is unplugged now.”

Duh.English: Image of a wooden pencil sharpener.

While Jim was in darkness inside his home, he decided to be outside, picking up the debris from the tree that exploded in his yard and all the debris from the other oak tree that fell across the street.

He had just witnessed something hardly anyone on the planet gets to witness and not get seriously injured. I could see in his eyes a nervous energy. He insisted he was OK.

He spent it by picking up all evidence of storm mess and making nice neat piles along side of the street.

Piles of debris lined the street by dark

Some of the exploded debris that splintered all over the yard

His front yard looked like a 10,000 piece box of toothpicks for a massive giant had been spread across the yard.

You could see where the energy came down the tree and up through the ground and

Look carefully, you can see where the lightning burst through the bark and zipped down the tree. It is the bright streak you see up there.


He is so lucky it didn’t travel into his home.

After dinner, Robert and I took our customary seats outside to watch the sun set.

Our skyline in our neighborhood lost two big trees recently. Another neighbor had a tree over 100 years old that split right down the middle. Since it was dropping major limbs on the house and damaging the roof and the top story of the house, it had to come down.

Very interesting to watch. A 75′ crane only reached part of it. They sent people climbing up to the top to cut it down in sections before they could use the crane.

Climbing trees with chain saws and cables to bring the tree down. Nerves of steel. I was nervous just watching them work.

My thoughts were with our neighbors as this storm passed over us. I was thinking they must be grateful that tree is no longer hanging over their home.

The far tree on the left is the one that got hit by lightning. The space in the middle is where the 100 year old tree used to be.

As the storm slipped by, Jim had cleared most of the debris that surrounded him. The electric company came and turned his power back on.

Everything but the two trees seem to be OK.

It is amazing how things can change in an instant.

Voila! Debris gone.

Gasoline Alley

Gasoline Alley (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

12 thoughts on “Lightning, Trees and Gasoline Alley

  1. We had almost the exact thing happen at our house about 7 yrs ago. A friend was house/dog sitting for us. A storm rolled in and wham! There was a lightning strike and our friend said her lap was instantly full of shaking dogs. She was worried that the roof had been struck and went outside to investigate as soon as everything had settled down. There was a big strip of bark gone and smoke coming off of one of our very old oaks in the back yard. We had an arborist check on it every year and eventually it became ill due to the lightning strike and had to be removed. The tree leaned heavily toward our house and would have split it in half had it fallen. Since there was no access to the back yard for heavy equipment, we had to have a crane come in and remove it. They did the same thing with the guys climbing to the top and lopping off huge limbs, etc. The crane had to actually swing the tree over our house to get it down to the heavy equipment. It was TOTALLY nerve wracking. We also had to pay about $2,000 to have it done! It was a sad day, we lost one of our 80 year old oaks and when the guys got up top, there was a raccoon who had to relocate. Ah, one of the joys of living in the south!

  2. This pertains to food because Pamela gives Jim her freshly made artisan bread (which is great if you haven’t tried her simple recipe for it) and cookies. It was an interesting evening in the neighborhood. I posted this on my FB page also.

    • Yeah, I run food down to Jim all the time. We have some really nice cartoons he has done for us in gratitude. One show how he instructs coloring the Sunday strips. Pretty neat!

  3. Wow what a storm! We got hit a couple of days ago as well. The rain was so strong. A bunch of our trees cracked straight down the middle. Thank goodness no one was hurt!

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