Why they’re important & how they help
Lightning is the second most common storm-related killer in the United States. It causes several billion dollars in property damage each year and kills several dozen people. It is a frequent cause of wildfires and costs airlines billions of dollars per year in extra operating expenses.
Florida has the highest frequency of lightning in the United States. There, sea breezes from the Atlantic Ocean and Gulf of Mexico converge over solar-heated land. This lifts the moist air masses that host thunderstorms. Florida is also the state with the highest number of deaths from lightning strikes. Other states along the Gulf of Mexico coast, such as Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, and Texas, also have frequent lightning. Along the Atlantic coast, North Carolina and South Carolina have frequent lightning.
Lightning is an extremely powerful force of nature. An estimated 100 million lightning strikes occur annually in North America, killing an average of 90 people each year. Lightning is the greatest single destroyer of property, including thousands of trees, some of which will start fires.
When lightning strikes trees near homes, it creates additional risk to the home, people, pets and other personal property.
A lightning struck tree, if it survives, may have suboptimal growth and compromise the trees structural stability. This can pose additional and continuing risk exposure.
Lightning protection systems in trees are intended to intercept these strikes and safely conduct them into the ground. Fielder Tree Service Lightning Protection services can protect your valuable trees.
Additional types of damage….
SIDEFLASH – When lightning strikes and unprotected tree, it may travel along the stem for distance, or it could “JUMP” to a more conductive tree, structure, animal or person. This jumping phenomenon is called “sideflash” and can cause serious damage to structures– potentially starting fires or damaging electrical systems and appliances. It can be responsible for the death, or injury to the tree, and even result in the injury or death of people and animals taking refuge beneath the tree.
STEP VOLTAGE – Lightning exits an unprotected tree through the roots and lower stem, and dissipates energy into the soil. At the soil surface, a great difference in the electrical potential exists as the charge spreads out. This difference is called ‘step voltage.” If people or animals are standing in the area, a potentially deadly flow of electricity may go up one leg and down the other. On trees with lightning protection systems, step voltage should be greatly reduced but still may occur.
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Watch more on this subject with WFSU’s shown, In The Garden