It was on Tuesday, August 28 of this year that 19 cows – around a third of the entire cow herd – took shelter under a tree during a thunderstorm in Hallsville, Texas. After taking shelter, the tree was struck by a single bolt of lightning, which killed all 19 of the cows.
According to the Daily Mail, Ashley Anderson, the owner of the cow herd, claims she has never seen anything like what happened during her entire lifetime of farming.
Unfortunately for the grazing animals, this violent attack by Mother Nature happened just days after more than 300 reindeer were killed during a thunderstorm in Norway. The Daily Voice reports exactly 323 reindeer were killed in central Norway during the storm.
Ashley, the owner of the 19 cows killed by the lightning bolt, describes the incident as surreal. She claims it is something that, unfortunately, just happens. It was a freak accident she could not have done anything to prevent as her cows were just trying to stay out of the rain. The owner of the 19 cows killed by the lightning bolt went on to reassure that none of the other animals on the farm have been killed in such a horrific manner.
— Barstool Sports (@barstoolsports) September 2, 2016
Victor Benson, a neighbor to the farm where the 19 cows were killed by the lightning bolt, witnessed the occurrence first hand. He claims the lightning bolt struck the 19 cows and in a “blink of the eye” they all fell to the ground.
— RT (@RT_com) August 31, 2016
Nearly all of the cows from the herd that had taken shelter under the tree during the thunderstorm from the rain dropped dead after the lightning bolt struck. However, Victor could see a small number of the herd limping away after the lightning bolt hit them.
John Jensenius, a representative from the U.S. National Weather Service, spoke to the New York Times about both the lightning bolt striking the cows and the reindeer. He claimed that while seeing several animals die from lightning is rare, it is something he can explain.
“Lightning does not strike a point, it strikes an area,” he told the New York Times.
“The electricity would go up one leg of the body and stop the heart and go down and out another leg. In an instant, of course.”
John Jensenius believes it was likely nearly all of the cows and the reindeer actually died of cardiac arrest. He claims it is possible the bolt hit one or two of the animals, but it did not have to strike any of the animals in order to kill several of them. Furthermore, the reindeer and cows did not even have to be touching in order to get electrocuted. Each animal only had to be touching the ground within between 160 and 260 feet in diameter from where the lightning bolt originally struck.
These four-legged creatures actually have a greater chance of getting struck by lightning than people do because they have more legs, which are normally further apart. The greater the distance between two legs touching the ground, the greater the chance of the electricity from the lightning bolt trying to flow from one leg to the other. The greater distance also increases the risk that the electrocution from the lightning bolt will be fatal. This is why animals are also more likely to die after being struck than humans.
— WSFA 12 News (@wsfa12news) August 31, 2016
The Daily Voice reports that lightning strikes roughly 100 times every second each and every day in warmer climates. Roughly, 240 people are injured by a lightning strike and nearly 24,000 die after being struck. While animals being struck by lightning tends to be a rarer occurrence, it can happen.
How would you feel after watching 19 cows get killed by a lightning bolt?
[Image via Shutterstock]