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Should I Avoid Certain Trees in a Lightning Storm?

I hike in the Midwest and I was told that in a lightning storm that it's best to stay away from hardwoods like hickory trees and oak trees. Is this true?

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Question:

I hike in the Midwest and I was told that in a lightning storm that it’s best to stay away from hardwoods like hickory trees and oak trees. Is this true? And if so, why?

Submitted by – Hayley K., Kent, OH

Answer:

I have never heard, and I doubt that, hardwoods are more likely to be struck than other trees.

Lightning has struck, and will continue to strike, isolated trees that make them the tallest object in the vicinity.

Hickory trees and oak trees are probably struck more often in the Midwest because they are more common.

Out here in Wyoming, where I live and where evergreens dominate, evergreens are struck far more often. Stay away from all unusually tall trees during a storm and avoid contact with any tree. Seek uniform cover: trees of uniform height and low rolling hills. —BUCK