Half-century-old oak takes direct hit from lightning; probably won’t survive
By Mark Wineka
MOUNT ULLA ó Millicent and James Hoffner were already in bed by 11:10 Tuesday night when Millicent heard a crack and sat straight up as their bedroom was filled with light.
“I screamed,” she said. “That’s what woke him up.”
Millicent knew lightning had hit somewhere close to their house off N.C. 150, but she didn’t know how close until James came in from the front yard Wednesday morning.
Their large water oak, planted by Millicent’s father about 50 years ago, was split in three places. Splinters, bark and chunks of wood from the tree littered the yard between the road and the front door.
It was clear the cherished tree took a direct lightning hit.
The Hoffners still had power, but lightning had run into the house and fried their dishwasher and washer.
Ground fault receptacles in the kitchen were burned.
Millicent said insurance will cover the damage, and she knows it’s nothing compared to the total devastation people suffer in more major weather disturbances, such as floods and tornadoes.
Still, she fears the tree won’t survive.
“No way,” she said. “I wish it would, it hurts my feelings.”