Photo Gallery | Images from China Grove lightning strike
CHINA GROVE - Jessica Hamilton said it sounded like a bomb, and that was the same description given by her neighbors about what happened in the mobile home park on Brookwood Drive in China Grove Friday morning.
Lightning struck a big poplar tree in front of Hamilton's home, sending branches and wood flying in all directions, slicing through windows and crashing down on roof tops.
"I was sitting on my bed getting ready to take a shower," Hamilton told WBTV just minutes after her close call. "The next thing I know it was like a bomb had hit me. The tree was right beside my head, near my head, I was just hunkered down, I got up and just called everybody and told them to come help me."
While no one was hurt, damage was widespread.
"We've three additional mobile homes surrounding the one mobile home to receive lesser damage," said Rowan County Emergency Services Director Frank Thomason. "There was no active storm going on at the time. This was just an unusual event from that standpoint, but the weather was just right, the electrical charges just right, causing the lightning to strike the form and go to ground and strike the tree."
WBTV meteorologist Kelly Franson noted that there was a storm in the area, though some distance from China Grove.
"There was a large cell about 5 miles south of Salisbury at that time," Franson said. "Lightning can strike up to 10 miles away from a thunderstorm. I’ve heard that statistic for years, but this is probably the first actual report I’ve heard of it actually happening, as you usually hear the thunder as the storm approaches, and/or have rain in the area at the time.
"I was coming down the road, coming back from the doctor," said witness John Allen. "I seen a strike of lightning and it just exploded. It looked like artillery rounds hit the tree and i mean they was 300 feet int he air and it just exploded, it was crazy!"