UPDATE Storm sweeps through Clark County

first_imgA crowd gathers to see damage caused by a lightning strike to two trees across Mill Plain Boulevard from Hudson’s Bay High School on Friday evening. David Santos glanced heavenward with a sense of disbelief Friday night at the sad remains of a vanquished Douglas fir tree standing before him off East Mill Plain Boulevard. Under his left arm, Santos held “his trophy”, a 5-feet-high chunk of tree, nearly as tall as him.“Wow!” Santos, 25, exclaimed to no one in particular. “It’s unbelievable.”Dozens of onlookers joined Santos to stare at the damage Mother Nature wrought and grab mementos of a once mighty tree blown to smithereens when a lightning strike hit it shortly after 7:30 p.m. The lightning strike’s impact was so powerful that it scattered debris from the tree at least a hundred yards away onto a nearby soccer field and broke two windows at the nearby Marshall House, fire authorities said. Onlookers described the strike as sounding like a bomb exploding.The lightning strike that slayed the tree and topped another Douglas fir nearby resulted from a series of thunderstorms that delivered heavy rain and hail across Clark County Friday night, causing at least one house fire and power outages for more than 1,500 homes in Vancouver. A low-pressure system sweeping through the Pacific Northwest was responsible for the nasty weather, said Tiffani Brown, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Portland. Thunderstorms during the late spring and early summer usually are relegated to the Cascades, Brown said. However, on Friday night, Southwest Washington was on the back edge of a low-pressure system, making it more susceptible than usual.The storms, moving from the north-northeast, began sweeping into the area about 6:30 p.m. Lightning and hail associated with the storm were heaviest in Battle Ground, Brown reported. “It wasn’t necessarily strong, but it was prolonged,” she said, noting the National Weather Service had not received reports of strong, gusting winds or large hail. The storm, she added, was not strong enough to require a thunderstorm warning.last_img

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