Lightning kills cows

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, August 13, 2008

CORAPEAKE – A typical summertime thunderstorm turned deadly here Sunday morning.

Gates County Emergency Services Director Billy Winn reported the death of 11 cows on a farm in the Corapeake community. He said the cows were standing near a tree when the deadly bolt struck at around 11 a.m.

“There were some people nearby who heard the loud crack of lightning and then saw the cows lying on the ground under a tree,” Winn said.

The bolt of lightning apparently struck the tree in which the cows were under. The ensuing electrical jolt was enough to kill the animals.

Winn said he was unsure if the beef/breeding cattle were insured. He was scheduled to meet with the owner of the cattle later on Monday afternoon.

“It’s not all that uncommon for farm animals to be killed by lightning, especially those whose normal living environment is outdoors,” Winn said. “I’ve heard other farmers talking about how common it is (for lightning to kill animals) out in the western portion of the United States.”

Less than two weeks ago (July 31), a bolt of lightning killed 11 cattle that took shelter under a tree during a storm in southern Germany, according to a report.

The cattle had been out to pasture when a severe storm came up near the southwestern town of Freiburg and deluged the area with rain and hail.

The animals were pressed together under the tree when the lightning splintered the trunk and sent a bolt of electricity into the ground that killed the animals.

On Oct. 31, 2005, 68 dairy cows, all in full milk, died on a farm near Dorrigo in New South Wales (Australia) after being struck by lightning. The cows, all camped in a paddock, were struck by lightning at lunchtime when a fierce electrical storm hit the area. This was according to an article filed by