Zap! Unlucky wind turbine hit by storm, finished off by lightning
Sept. 3, 2018 | Mike Kilen | Des Moines Register
Don Henderson drives around taking photographs of Iowa, but this was a first, what he called “a very unlucky windmill” smoldering in the distance on Sunday.
He said a wind turbine four miles south of Zearing off U.S. Highway 65 was damaged by the tornadoes that ripped through Iowa earlier this summer, leaving one blade dangling. Then, lightning struck it during the storms this weekend.
He was there Sunday to capture the images of the smoking turbine, and thousands of people reacted to his images on Facebook.
After the turbine burned, he said, a second blade fell off later.
Henderson, of Zearing, uses his photography hobby to share his images on his My Eye on Iowa Facebook page, usually driving around with his window rolled down to capture them.
A close-up shot of a wind turbine struck by lighting over Labor Day weekend. Later, a second blade fell off, according to photographer Don Henderson of Zearing. (Photo: Don Henderson)
He’s right in the middle of two large wind farms to the north and south in Story County.
Tall wind turbines are lightning magnets, according to Scientific American, causing blades to explode and generator and control system damages.
“A lot of people commented on the photos, wondering how it happened,” Henderson said. “Of course, there were people who said, ‘Burn baby burn.'”
The dangling blade of a wind turbine near Zearing after a summer tornado was later struck by lightning, according to photographer Don Henderson. (Photo: Don Henderson)