Lightning raced across our skies during last week’s heavy storms, but it also stopped to pay us a visit. On Tuesday evening (7th June 2016) lightning struck a 50ft ash tree near Cedar Place, Lower Broughton; cutting it in half only a few meters away from hundreds of local residents on Spike Island.
Most people were caught off guard as weather forecasters predicted the storm would pass by Salford unannounced.
Other areas of Salford were also affected. Firemen were called to Ellesmere Park in Eccles during the night when the rain flooded the basement of a house, where the water was pumped before anyone was injured.
Thunderstorms occur when the atmosphere becomes unstable. When warm air exists beneath much cooler air it creates a positive and negative charge in the clouds, which come together to discharge a huge amount of energy that has built up in the clouds. We call this discharge a lightning strike.
Standing beneath a tree during a storm is widely understood to be a dangerous thing to do, but why? This is because when lightning strikes it seeks out the path of least resistance. The moisture inside a tree trunk serves as an effective conductor to help lightning reach the ground.
This is also the cause of scarring on trees. When struck by lightning the moisture inside the tree becomes turbocharged with super-hot temperatures (up to 30,000 degrees celsius – hotter than the surface of the sun), and this causes the tree to simply “explode” beneath such high pressure.
During a thunderstorm it is always best to stay indoors and avoid any materials that may conduct electricity.