Sunday, August 19, 2018

August 19, 2018 - Paddles, Picnics, and Explosions

It was a busy weekend on Lake Wicwas as the 9th Annual Paddle Regatta took place on Saturday, followed the annual picnic and barbecue.
The lead boats in the Paddle Regatta

The forecast was for scattered showers all day, but they held off long enough that both events went off without a drop.  The questionable weather made for a smaller turnout for the paddle, but as usual, the award for the best decorated boat went to the Naso's patriotic entry. 

But the weather didn't reduce the barbecue turnout, and Wayne and Lavon hosted yet another great event.
No rain to dampen the party
Cooking up another great barbecue
Lots of visiting before and after the food
Many thanks to the Blakes for hosting, and for everyone who brought all the delicious food!

A couple of weeks ago the Lakes Region was pummeled by some strong electrical storms, one of which came right over Meredith with several ground strikes very close to Lake Wicwas - we knew they were close not only by the concurrent thunder and lightening, but also by the sizzling of electricity in the house.  One strike was close enough to take out our television, even though it was unplugged!  The unit still powered on and had a picture, but none of the input ports (HDMI, etc) were functional.  We hadn't disconnected those cables, so the surge must have been strong enough to come along those lines and fry the electronics on the board.

Later in the week I noticed some bits of wood on the ground near our house, so I looked up to find what tree a woodpecker had been tearing apart.  But instead of finding a rotting snag, I found a solid hemlock with a long strip of bark missing - the tell tale sign of a lightning strike!

There were long strips of bark still attached to the trunk, but clearly blown apart by the explosive power of moisture instantly vaporized by electrical current travelling through the moist layer of cambium under the bark.

Looking around a bit more I found chunks of hemlock 2 inches thick and several feet long blasted over 50 feet away from the tree.

Strips of wood thrown 50 feet
There were other hunks of wood blown off the trunk but arrested by branches on the tree.

The whole scene was a powerful reminder of the forces of nature.  And why you don't stand under a tree in a thunderstorm.

I'll close with a raptor I saw on the way home from Lake Hosting this morning, which I believe is a Broad-winged Hawk.  It flew over me and I was quick enough to catch it as it flew by.

It landed on a near-by tree to pose for a couple of pictures before it took off again.

I guess he wasn't perched in that hemlock when the lightning struck.

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