VIDEO: Lightning bolt destroys tree near La Center

The owner says it happened around 5:30 a.m. and sent debris flying a hundred feet in every direction

CLARK COUNTY — Mother Nature put on quite a show Thursday morning as a rare late Summer thunderstorm rolled through Southwest Washington and the Portland Metro area. 

A homeowner near La Center caught this photo of a tree on fire after lightning struck it early on Thursday morning. Photo courtesy Kristeen Millett
A homeowner near La Center caught this photo of a tree on fire after lightning struck it early on Thursday morning. Photo courtesy Kristeen Millett

Kristeen Millett says a loud clap of thunder shook her out of bed at her home near La Center about 5:30 a.m.. Her power had been knocked out and she noticed a strong odor of something like pine.

“I knew something had been struck,” Millett told ClarkCountyToday.com.

She ran outside and saw what remained of a large Douglas Fir on fire in her field.

“The fire department came and put it out,” says Millett. “The debris field goes about a hundred feet in all directions.”

Amazingly, Millett says none of their horses, chickens, goats, or dogs was near the tree when the lightning struck. The force of the electricity flipped all the circuit breakers in her house, shutting down the electricity.

“I can’t imagine the force of the electricity that went through the ground,” she says. “It was pretty crazy this morning.”

This lightning strike was one of around 300 to hit the region overnight on Thursday. Photo by Mike Schultz
This lightning strike was one of around 300 to hit the region overnight on Thursday. Photo by Mike Schultz

The National Weather Service in Portland says their equipment measured between 250 and 350 cloud-to-ground lightning strikes in the area as of 6 a.m.

There were several other reports of lightning hitting trees, and Clark Public Utilities reported several hundred outages during the morning, but there have been no reports of any injuries or major fires as a result of this morning’s storm.

This Douglas Fir was demolished by a bolt of lightning around 5:30 a.m. this morning in a field near La Center. Photo by Mike Schultz
This Douglas Fir was demolished by a bolt of lightning around 5:30 a.m. this morning in a field near La Center. Photo by Mike Schultz
Scorch marks are seen on part of a tree destroyed by lightning this morning near La Center. Photo by Mike Schultz
Scorch marks are seen on part of a tree destroyed by lightning this morning near La Center. Photo by Mike Schultz
The owner of this tree struck by lightning near La Center says there is debris for a hundred feet in any direction. Photo by Mike Schultz
The owner of this tree struck by lightning near La Center says there is debris for a hundred feet in any direction. Photo by Mike Schultz
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About The Author

Chris Brown comes to Clark County Today with 15 years of local news experience as a reporter, editor, and anchor at KXL News Radio and KOIN-6 TV in Portland. In 2016, he won an Oregon Association of Broadcaster's award for Best Investigative Reporting for a series on America's Violent Youth. He has also been awarded by the Associated Press for Best Breaking News coverage as editor of Portland's Morning News following the 2015 school shooting at Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, Oregon. The second oldest of eight home-schooled children, Brown graduated from high school two years early. After several odd jobs, he earned an internship at KXL Radio, eventually working his way into a full-time job. Brown has lived in Clark County his entire life, and is very excited at the opportunity to now focus full-time on the significant stories happening in his own back yard, rather than across “the river.’’ After a few years in Vancouver, he recently moved back to Battle Ground with his wife and two young daughters. When he's not working to report what's happening in Clark County, Brown enjoys spending time with his family, playing music, taking pictures, or working in the yard. He also actually does enjoy long walks on the beach, and sunsets.

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