A farmer south of Quesnel is sharing her own story of an animal’s death by lightning after hearing of a girl in the Lower Mainland whose horse was killed during last weekend’s storm.
Lynda Atkinson, who owns Sisters Creek Simmentals in Kersely, commented on a 100 Mile House Free Press Facebook post about a Fraser Valley teenager losing her animal, saying, “We had a cow killed too.”
The Quesnel Cariboo Observer caught up with her to learn more.
“It was a horrific hailstorm,” Atkinson says of the Aug. 23 squall.
“It was only a narrow strip but it was really bad for all of us.”
Her farm manager, Fred Harder, says he noticed something was wrong when he went out to supplement the cows’ feed with some grain on Sunday (Aug. 25).
“The calf was with a bunch of cows and it was bawling,” he says. ”Which means momma’s not around.”
He took a good look for the missing cow but was unable to locate her until Monday morning.
While Harder, who has been working on farms for almost 60 years, has seen animals struck by lighting before, he notes this case was odd, as there were hardly any marks on the stricken animal.
“The only thing was her [udder] was basically blown off. She only had one teat left, and where it had been blown off, it was a luminous green colour.”
Also of note was the lack of predation.
Ordinarily, a large dead cow would attract critters from miles away, but this was not the case for this cow, which had been dead for three days.
“There had been no predation at all,” Harder says, “other than a couple pecks on her tongue. Her eyes had not even been pecked, which was quite odd.”
The dead cow was not the only mishap to befall the farm.
“Our horse shelter took off too,” Harder says. “A 12-by-16 [foot] horse shelter with a small door was picked up and carried back 25 feet and flipped over onto its roof.”
The farm’s neighbours also suffered big losses to their crops and properties due to the powerful storm.
Harder says the type of weather is unique for the Cariboo.
“It’s rare for here,” he says. “In other parts of the country where it’s more wide open it’ll happen more frequently, but a hailstorm like what we had here was strange.
“It was just a strip all the way across the country. It knocked trees down all over the place. Anything that was standing in gardens was completely destroyed.
“It looked like somebody had come from up above with a 12-gauge pellet gun and ripped it apart.”