Louisiana woman nearly hit by lightning strike debris, says 'God was definitely with us'

'One step closer and I would have been seriously injured,' Sarah Ribardi said

A woman in Louisiana had a scary moment on Friday after a lightning strike caused a tree to explode, sending wood and debris flying through the air inches away from her.

The incident happened around 7:45 p.m. as a thunderstorm moved through Morgan City, located about 85 miles southwest of New Orleans.

Home security footage from Sarah Ribardi posted to Facebook shows her walking out to her doorstep just moments before the blast.

“God was definitely with us!” she wrote. “One step closer and [I] would have been seriously injured!”

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In the video, a bright flash and a thunderous crack cause Ribardi to duck as the tree explodes, sending splinters flying in every direction.

Sarah Ribardi ducks as debris from a tree is blasted into her front yard after a lightning strike on Friday, Aug. 7, 2020.

Sarah Ribardi ducks as debris from a tree is blasted into her front yard after a lightning strike on Friday, Aug. 7, 2020. (Courtesy/Sarah Ribardi/Facebook)

After screaming and ducking as wood and debris fly fast, Ribardi then quickly runs inside.

Ribardi also shared photos of some of the damage after the strike, including from the inside of a home.

According to KATC-TV, several homes and vehicles were damaged in the incident but no one was injured.

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Lightning typically strikes tall objects such as trees and skyscrapers because their tops are closer to the base of the storm cloud, according to the National Severe Storms Laboratory (NSSL).

"However, this does not always mean tall objects will be struck. It all depends on where the charges accumulate," according to the agency. "Lightning can strike the ground in an open field even if the tree line is close by."

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When a tree is hit, water inside the tree trunk is turned into steam as energy from lightning heats the air anywhere from 18,000 degrees Fahrenheit to up to 60,000 degrees Fahrenheit, according to the NSSL.

"If it gets under the bark into the surface moisture of the wood, the rapidly expanding steam can blast pieces of bark from the tree, and the wood along the path is often killed," the agency states.

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John Jensenius, a lightning safety specialist with the National Lightning Safety Counciltold Fox News he's found that people still believe lightning is attracted toward metal and that people also misjudge their distance from approaching storms, thinking that the lightning rise may be much further away than it actually is.

"The key is, if there's any threat at all, rumble of thunder or what looks like a threatening sky, you need to be able to get into a safe place very quickly," he said.