Lightning bolt kills cow trio

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Photo: Mats Lindh (file)
10:39 CEST+02:00
A powerful lightning bolt that knocked pictures of walls and sent warm, supercharged air through a farmhouse in Vindfjord, Norway also killed three dairy cows, Norwegian media have reported.

“I’m actually glad it went as well as it did,” said farmer Vidar Hjelmeland to coastal newspaper Haugesunds Avis.

Hjelmeland said the lightning destroyed fire detectors and caused an electric surge in farm equipment that housed natural fertilizer and methane gas. A half-metre-wide crater was discovered between the electrocuted livestock and the fertilizer.

The farmer — who like most Norwegian farmers has another job, coincidentally as an electrician — said he faced a significant insurance claim but was happy his parents, who reside on the farm, were okay.

Norwegians greatly fear lightning strikes for a variety of reasons. Many houses are built onto mountains making them compete as lightning conductors with the highest trees and man-made structures.

Many older houses, and some newer homes, are not equipped to ground lighting strikes away from combustible materials and electrical units.

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Yet some parts of Norway are more susceptible than others: on a single Saturday in June 2011, the county of Tröndelag recorded a record 6,200 lightning strikes that established contact between earth and sky. Horses were killed, windows were smashed, wooden homes were hit and communications were cut.

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