Peetz lightning strike

With his phone pointed at the sky, Kelby Nitz captured a photo of a lightning strike May 26, which was around the same time Monique Peetz’s oak tree was struck by lightning. The street behind the trees is Plainview, where Peetz resides. Nitz said he was unsure of whether he got the photo of the exact lightning bolt that struck the tree, but it was a possibility.

Monique Peetz and her family were talking to her daughter, Gretchen, when a startling sound interrupted their phone call the evening of May 26.

“There was a humongous boom, louder than anything I’ve ever heard,” Peetz said. “There was also a sharpness to it.”

About a street behind, Kelby Nitz also heard a boom. He was outside with his family sitting in their garage. Nitz had been keeping a close eye on the sky earlier after noticing some electric activity and thought he could capture some of it.

With his phone pointed at the sky, he shot a burst of pictures the moment he saw a hint of lightning on the screen.

“There was the initial bolt and then the loud crack. It almost took your breath away because it was so close. We were in shock,” he said. “You knew it hit something based on the crack you heard after.”

Peetz and her family thought the noise they’d heard was only thunder. Her husband Brad and one of their daughters, Izzie, left the basement to see if the lightning had caused any fire.

They saw their 58-year-old oak tree, now cracked down the length of its trunk after being struck by lightning, which Nitz may have captured while he was taking photos.

“I couln’t have been at a better location and it’s possible the lightning I captured may have done that to that tree,” Nitz said.

Peetz said the city sent over some people to assess the damage to the tree as well as an arborist to decide whether the tree needed to be choppped down.

Peetz said her husband Brad received a call from a city rep, who told them the tree belonged to them (the Peetzes) and gave no direction as to how to proceed.

Since the lightning strike, Peetz said she’s noticed a small surge of “spectators” in her neighborhood wanting to take a look at the tree.

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