The Interlopers

I need this sentence translated into the simplest of terms

I don't really understand 'a firece shriek of the storm had been answered by a splitting crash over their heads, and ere they could leap aside a mass of falling beech tree had thundered down on them.'. If someone could help me with this, it would be much appreciated!

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Last updated by Aslan
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There was a fierce storm and soon after a beech tree was struck by lightening and fell over them.