Gates of Hell? Lightning strike ignites tree from inside
Sunday, April 23, 2017, 6:56 PM - Lightning strikes trees all the time, and the result in most cases would be to set the tree on fire. It's how many wildfires start, in fact.
As severe weather season ramps up across North America, you'll be seeing a lot more of the phenomenon, especially if you live in a wooded area, but it's not too common that the tree, when struck, burns from the inside out.
Still, that seems to have been what happened in the picture below, taken in the northern Mississippi community of Baldwyn by Janis Melton on Saturday. Melton passed it on to Alabama meteorologist James Spann, who tweeted it out.
Mississippi and Alabama have had a very active Saturday, with very severe storms passing through the two states. At least three tornadoes were reported, two of which weren't far from where the photo was taken.
Naturally, the Internet was having a field day with the photo, with plenty of references to the Upside Down from Stranger Things, or the Eye of Sauron from the Lord of the Rings (our favourite).
More seriously, some tweeted the internal blaze as an example of how a fire can start in the dry interior of a tree when the exterior is wet from downpours, later igniting once it dries.
The photo is so striking, Twitter put together a dedicated Moment around it, below.