BEWARE THE OAK

It draws the stroke

It seems that when you mention lightning it begets questions. Several messages came to my CED in-file. One asked if the old tune "Don't sit under the apple tree with anyone else but me..." had anything to do with the chances of a good lightning strike. Like lightning, this question just came out of the blue. I took to my private sources and could find nothing on apple trees as targets of Thor. For those of you who know a lot about beech and would be willing to stand under one in a thunderstorm, record your confidence of being hit as 1.0 then you could rate standing under a spruce at 6, a Scots pine as 37 and an oak as 60. This little ranking is from "Trees and Lightning," Royal Meteorological Society, Quarterly Journal, 33:74:1907.

Carl Muller in little book Himmel and Erd, report that in 11 years of tabulating lightning strikes by species the following: 56 Oaks hit, 20 firs, 4 pines, but not a single beech was hit even though 70% the trees were beech!

Oaks are favored over beech as the fall guys in "Which Trees Attract Lightning?" (Monthly Weather Review, 26:257, 1898.)

Photo: NOAA

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