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Storm strikes

Thursday, 10th November, 2011

DESTRUCTION: Peter Keenan cleans up his yard after lighting struck his 80-year-old silky oak tree. DESTRUCTION: Peter Keenan cleans up his yard after lighting struck his 80-year-old silky oak tree.

 By Kurtis Eichler

 Two big trees were split by lightning bolts during yesterday morning’s powerful electrical storm.

The spectacular thunderstorm lit up the sky, set off smoke alarms, cut the electricity supply to some houses and put the hospital’s phones out of action.

Peter Keenan’s 80-year-old silky oak at his Chapple Street home copped a fatal blow.

He said he was woken by an “incredible bang” and got up to find the tree split straight down the centre and debris all over his yard.

“It was in the swimming pool, parts of it were on top of the shed out the back.

“The real guts of the tree was 15 metres away.

“It would have been good to sit in the backyard and see it happen.”

The lightning hit a tree in Crystal Lane but it wasn’t only the trees that were brought down - the hospital’s phone system was also knocked out.

“The cracker of storm has apparently damaged our phone system at the Broken Hill Health Service,” a hospital spokesman said.

Only one line was left working and the problem was still not fixed by 4:30pm. The spokesman said the hospital was waiting for spare parts to arrive.

Meteorologist with The Weather Channel, Tom Saunders, said rain gauges showed roughly 10mm had fallen during the storm.

He also said wind speeds of up to 61km/h were recorded in parts of the city.

“There are three ingredients that make up a storm; you need moisture and the humidity before the storm was about 50 per cent.

“You need the atmosphere to be unstable and you need a trigger to cause uprising and that was a trough.”

Yesterday morning the Silver City Highway and Cameron’s Corner Road were closed due to rain from the storm but the highway was re-opened later to 4WD vehicles.

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