SACRAMENTO (CBS13) – Some unexpected lightning storms rattled the Sacramento area early Thursday.
Lightning was forecast for later this afternoon when temperatures would be heating up but, things began popping up much earlier.
About 4:45 a.m., lightning started in the El Dorado County area. Then at about 6 a.m., a cell over Sacramento started firing up.
One bolt of lightning actually hit a large oak tree in the parking lot of CBS13/CW31 leaving a 30-foot gash and sending huge chunks of the tree flying into the parking lot.
While the bolt hit the tree in the parking lot, it was close enough to the station to cause some electrical problems including briefly knocking ‘Good Day Sacramento’ off the air. Weatherman Cody Stark was giving the forecast when the screen flashes to green for a few seconds. The lightning strike also caused a few short-lived equipment problems for CBS13 and ‘Good Day Sacramento’ including knocking out the robotic cameras and part of the audio system.
WATCH: Good Day Sacramento Briefly Knocked Off Air By Lightning
CBS13 anchor Koula Gianulias was live on the air when the lightning hit. She said she was so startled by the loud noise, she grabbed CBS13 Meteorologist Laura Skirde’s arm. Gianulias said she thought the noise was a shot gun. Others in the CBS13 newsroom described the noise as an explosion.
CBS13/CW31 Director Mark Woodfork happened to be in the parking lot setting up a camera shot about 40 feet away from the tree when the lightning struck. He was unhurt, but shaken by the incident.
The tree, a Valley Oak, believed to be between 90 and 110 years old may have to come down.
John Spurgin, with Master Tree Care, came out to inspect the tree and says he doesn’t think the oak can recover from the strike. He believes the now exposed interior of the tree will begin to rot before the bark can cover it and heal the wound.