The Carlisle Mosquito Online

Friday, August 15, 2008

Lightning hits playground


photo by Cynthia Sorn

This summer has seen relentless rains, accompanied by lightning, thunder and hail. Just a year ago the Mosquito reported that stormy weather seemed to bypass Carlisle (see “How’s the weather?” August 24, 2007), but this year the magic protection has disappeared.

During a storm on August 2, lightning hit the area of the Carlisle Castle school playground. It appears the lightning hit a metal sign on a pine tree near the bus parking lot. The sign and tree bark blew off, leaving a 2-foot by 5-foot bare patch. The charge ran down through the tree, blasted a hole by the base of the tree, and traveled underground to another pine tree approximately 50 feet from the first tree. The charge then dispersed half-way up the tree. A two-inch streak can be seen traveling 25 feet up one side. The police were called to dispose of a dead squirrel, which was badly burnt on only one side. It was lying on the ground about ten feet from the second pine tree.

Carlisle School Building and Grounds Supervisor David Flannery said a licensed arborist has examined the two trees and recommended they be removed. While there is no immediate danger to children using the playground, Flannery said the trees will be removed before school starts in September.

The hill in the center of town has seen lightning before. Flannery said that previous lightning strikes on the school campus over the years have hit electrical equipment and alarm systems. He noted that the recent lightning struck just a few hundred feet away from the spot where, according to S.A. Bull’s History of Carlisle, in 1810 lightning struck and set fire to the town’s meeting-house. That structure was rebuilt in 1811 and is now owned by the First Religious Society.

Other storm reports include tree limbs on roads and wires. At the Banta-Davis Land one side of the stone road leading to the top parking area has been washed away. Flannery, who is also the Chief of the Carlisle Fire Department, told the Mosquito that the damage to the Town Hall and the Fire Station from earlier storms this summer may cost around $20,000 to repair. ∆

© 2008 The Carlisle Mosquito