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'The house was shaking' - Gorleston residents describe moment lightning struck

PUBLISHED: 14:11 25 July 2019 | UPDATED: 16:24 25 July 2019

A black poplar tree in Gorleston, damaged by a lightning strike on Wednesday (July 24), has been taken down by Great Yarmouth Borough Council. Picture: Sheila Denton.

A black poplar tree in Gorleston, damaged by a lightning strike on Wednesday (July 24), has been taken down by Great Yarmouth Borough Council. Picture: Sheila Denton.

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A lightning strike left a long scar in a park in Gorleston while electrical storms rolled over the county.

A black poplar tree in Gorleston, damaged by a lightning strike on Wednesday (July 24), has been taken down by Great Yarmouth Borough Council. Picture: Sheila Denton. A black poplar tree in Gorleston, damaged by a lightning strike on Wednesday (July 24), has been taken down by Great Yarmouth Borough Council. Picture: Sheila Denton.

People in the town and across the borough were woken from their sleep during the early hours of Wednesday (July 24) by loud bangs and bright flashes.

And one fork of lightning struck a black poplar tree in Crowhall Green, or Burn's Farm as it is known locally, near the James Paget University Hospital.

The lightning tore strips of bark from the tree and ripped a long, deep scar in the ground, throwing stones and clumps of earth up to three metres away.

Sheila Denton, Gorleston resident, said the scar is more than eight inches deep in some places.

A black poplar tree in Gorleston, damaged by a lightning strike on Wednesday (July 24), has been taken down by Great Yarmouth Borough Council. Picture: Sheila Denton.A black poplar tree in Gorleston, damaged by a lightning strike on Wednesday (July 24), has been taken down by Great Yarmouth Borough Council. Picture: Sheila Denton.

On Wednesday, Great Yarmouth Borough Council's tree contractor inspected the tree, finding its roots were badly damaged.

A spokesperson for the council said: "In the interest of safety the tree sadly has to be felled."

The council plans to replace the tree.

The first storm had rumbled over Norfolk at about 3am on Wednesday, bringing downpours, thunder and spectacular lightning.

A black poplar tree in Gorleston, damaged by a lightning strike on Wednesday (July 24), has been taken down by Great Yarmouth Borough Council. Picture: Sheila Denton. A black poplar tree in Gorleston, damaged by a lightning strike on Wednesday (July 24), has been taken down by Great Yarmouth Borough Council. Picture: Sheila Denton.

There were power cuts in parts of Great Yarmouth.

Georgie Brown, 29, who lives on St Hughes Green in Gorleston, said she and her husband were woken up abruptly at 4.30am by "an almighty bang and bright flash".

"It felt like the house was shaking," Ms Brown said.

The electrical items in their bedroom room lit up, started flashing and a stereo screen exploded.

A black poplar tree in Gorleston, damaged by a lightning strike on Wednesday (July 24), has been taken down by Great Yarmouth Borough Council. Picture: Sheila Denton. A black poplar tree in Gorleston, damaged by a lightning strike on Wednesday (July 24), has been taken down by Great Yarmouth Borough Council. Picture: Sheila Denton.

"We knew that lightning had struck but weren't sure where or what til Wednesday morning and it was the tree on the green not far from the house," she said.

"We were thankful it was just the stereo," she said.

A spokesman for the James Paget University Hospital said the thunderstorm had caused minor disruption to some of the hospital's computer systems but they were back up and running again at 10am on Wednesday.

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