National Weather Service Surveying Medford Storm Damage

By Danielle Craig

MEDFORD, Ore. — The clean up is underway in one South Medford neighborhood to pick up thousands of pieces of a redwood tree. The National Weather Service says the tree actually exploded after being hit by lightning during Monday night’s storm.

Neighbors say the tree on Shafer Lane in southwest Medford was hit by a lightning bolt. Seconds later, they say it exploded, sending pieces of wood flying throughout the neighborhood.

The National Weather Service is out surveying the damage, something the meteorologists usually reserve for tornados or strong winds, not for lightning. They say the lightning strike likely had a lot of voltage.

“We’re sort of like forensics trying to find out what happened, piece together the mystery, learn from it,” says Ryan Sandler, with the National Weather Service.

There’s no shortage of clues thousands, if not tens of thousands of pieces of the tree lay throughout the southwest Medford neighborhood.
“A tree that maybe had a lot of moisture and when the lightning bolt hit it, it turned to steam exploded, expanded and exploded the tree,” Sandler says.

Dozens of neighbors are crossing the yellow tape, to see the results of the noise they heard Monday night. The debris spans a nearly 100-yard radius around the tree.