A lightning bolt destroys a tree near a Catholic school in Tyler, Texas.

A lightning bolt destroys a tree near a Catholic school in Tyler, Texas.

A surveillance camera in the parking lot of a Catholic school in Tyler, Texas, captured the frightening moment a lightning bolt destroyed a tree in the school's prayer garden.

Fortunately, students and teachers were safely in their classrooms at Bishop Thomas K. Gorman Catholic School when the lightning bolt struck around 9:35 a.m. last Thursday.

Felipe Natera at Bishop Thomas K. Gorman Catholic School shared amazing video of the incident, which started getting media attention this week. Meteorologist Mark Scirto of KLTV-7 posted the video on Facebook. The lightning bolt strikes at the 28-second mark:

Bishop Thomas K. Gorman Catholic School showed what the tree looked like after the lightning bolt decapitated it:

“Phones out temporarily due to lightning strike,” the school reported in a tweet. “Tree down in the prayer garden. All students and staff are fine.”

Scirto called it “one of the awesome powers of nature.”

And it's a power not to be taken lightly.

“There is no safe place outside when thunderstorms are in the area,” the National Weather Service writes. “If you hear thunder, you are likely within striking distance of the storm. Just remember, 'When Thunder Roars, Go Indoors.'”

The National Weather Service offers the following guidelines for staying safe outdoors in case you cannot get to safety indoors:

Avoid open fields, the top of a hill or a ridge top.

Stay away from tall, isolated trees or other tall objects. If you are in a forest, stay near a lower stand of trees.

If you are in a group, spread out to avoid the current traveling between group members.

If you are camping in an open area, set up camp in a valley, ravine or other low area. Remember, a tent offers NO protection from lighting.

Stay away from water, wet items, such as ropes, and metal objects, such as fences and poles. Water and metal do not attract lightning but they are excellent conductors of electricity. The current from a lightning flash will easily travel for long distances.

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