The house just got shaken with the loudest thunder crack that I've ever heard! We looked around - low and behold, the big poplar tree just outside the house got hit! It stripped off a 30 foot long ribbon of bark from top to bottom and sort of exploded it away from the tree. There were chunks of bark 50 yards away!
I had thought that I was living a fairly good life, but..... was this a warning of some-kind??? At least it wasn't a punishment - yet!
I know that because, fortunately, the bark was the only damage. The tree neither split, started on fire, nor came down - a good thing as, had it fallen, it likely would have crushed my car, the house, or both!
By the way - yes, that picture was taken by me, standing under the tree shooting upwards to show the bark stripped off, not twenty minutes after it had been struck. And yes, I realized almost immediately just how incredibly stupid it was for me to be standing there and got the h*** out from under it.
Had I been the target, it was the perfect opportunity to strike while I was being an idiot!
You NEVER, EVER, stand under a tree during a lightning storm! Remember that kids! It's not like I don't know that, so for me to get all excited and go rushing out, under the tree with a camera while the lightning was still cracking.... just plain stupid!!