For lighting to attract, you only need a tall conducting object that can pave a path for the current to the ground. Lightning and thunderstorms are very common natural phenomena wreaking havoc on humans as well as structures. With the deepest and strongest roots, trees play a major role in conducting the lighting strikes and act as lightning rods. Trees with robust and healthy root systems can get damaged and debris when they release a huge amount of energy when hit by such a natural phenomenon.
We at Jvm Often Get Queries on Why Tall Structures Such as Trees Get Hit by Lighting? In This Session, We Would Like to Answer Most of Those Queries:
- How and what will occur if a healthy tree gets lightning hit?
- Are these damages associated with lighting preventable?
- What are the preventive lighting measures as per the recommended standards?
How and What Will Occur if a Healthy Tree Gets Lightning Hit:
A common thought that comes into mind while noticing a lighting strike is to seek shelter but under a tree? This isn't a good thought as trees are strongly rooted in the earth, where the lighting tends to reach the shortest path. Trees have internal moisture content, which makes it easier to conduct electricity better than the air around.
When Are Trees More Likely to Be Struck by Lightning:
- In an isolated open area
- Nearby water bodies
- Situated on the edges of the forest area
- Highly tall trees
- Trees incorporated with electric lights
- Close to a building, tower or transmission lines
Are These Damages Associated With Lighting Preventable:
Various factors can affect the risk factor of a tree getting struck by lightning and a lightning protection system can only protect, such as its height, nearby conducting elements, surrounding conditions, etc. But when hit by lighting, the tree gets hit by energy that is six times hotter than the scorching sun. The risk and damages are a lot as its temperature reaches up to 30,000 degrees celsius. Many of these lighting strikes are unbearable by some trees, so they get completely ruined and initiate fire.
At times, there would be no damage to the tree if the tree's outer bark is wet (due to rain), which leads the lightning to travel through the outer bark only to reach the ground without affecting the tree. But, if lightning happens to reach the inner region of the tree, then the cells of the tree starts to boil and finally explode. Further, the tree may fall off or catch fire. But, you may be happy to know that this damage is preventable if provided with proper protection provisions.
What Are the Lighting Preventive Measures as Per the Recommended Standards:
Prevention options are many, but the standard recommends using a conventional protection system for valuable and vulnerable trees. Lighting strikes are truly real occurrences that can be defended with the installation of a lighting arrestor/ air terminal usually made of copper connected to a copper down conductor, which further connects the air terminal to the ground termination system. This is the most effective, recommended, and proven solution as the air terminal placed on the top of the tree will conduct the high bolt of lightning current and conduct it safely to the ground. Earthing systems installed at a safer distance would consist of copper bonded steel conductors surrounded by earth enhancement material, making it a maintenance-free setup.
If you stay in a lighting prone area and have trees around your facility, your building/ facility must have a well-designed lightning protection system installed. With decades of experience in the field, JVM is in force to install lighting protection provisions for trees and structures, further minimizing and eliminating lightning damages.