Lightning strike caught on tape is amazing!

This viral video of a person filming a rainbow then nearly getting hit by lightning has been making the rounds around social media. While this is another great learning lesson on lightning safety there were some amazing images caught on this recording. 

While videoing the rainbow a lightning bolt comes down and obliterates a tree.  This is actually quite common. The explosion is usually due to the lightning superheating the sap or moisture in the tree causing a steam explosion. This is often why the bark is blown off in all directions when a tree gets hit. Not sure if this is a positive strike but it could be.

I got some amazing frame grabs that show this is action.




The 1st one is the strike but then thanks to what must have been a really good frame rate on this camera or phone. You can actually see small elements of plasma from the strike along the channel of the lightning strike a few frames later. Also note the dust/dirt plume from the explosion around the tree. The dirt likely comes from the steam/sap explosion within the roots of the trees which spread from the trunk. This is why you often see trenches in the ground from a strike as the bolt travels through the tree roots and superheats the sap and water in the root causing an explosion through the soil.

Pretty dang cool and scary all at the same time!