California Experiences 50,000 Lightning Strikes

Dayana Sabatin
Photo by Johannes Plenio

Over 54,000 lightning strikes hit the California skies between Wednesday and Thursday morning, an extreme rarity as the state is facing the most extreme drought it's faced in the last 1,200 years.

According to a report, a woman was walking her dogs and got struck and killed by the lightning early Wednesday morning just 15 miles southeast of downtown LA, in a city called Pico Rivera.

The Washington Post says the lightning was triggered by dry thunderstorm, which produced bolts of electricity but little rainfall. Currently, more dry thunderstorms are being predicted in the days ahead as the same humid air wafts through the north.

Chris Vagasky, a lightning solutions manager and meteorologist, says,

"This is one of the top 5-6 events since 2015. Most of the 'big' California days are around 20-30k lightning events."

According to Vagasky, this round of lightning surpassed the massive lightning siege that happened in August of 2020, which produced massive wildfires across Northern California; however, climate scientist Daniel Swain says, "the societal impacts will probably not be as severe as the August 2020 episode, which took place after a record-breaking heat wave. These thunderstorms were significantly wetter."

Additionally, these current storms occurred earlier on in the summer months as opposed to the ones in 2020, so the vegetation isn't as dry.

While I personally didn't see any lightning myself, friends of mine in Newport Beach thought they saw lightning off to the West; this was a surprise as it was a fairly clear day yesterday.

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