Hail, Hail, the Storm's Still Here

Thunder and hail made a surprise visit to San Francisco Tuesday afternoon -- and made an impression on Twitter users.

A flurry of tweets hit the Web in the three o'clock hour talking about pea-sized hail, lightning, and thunder.

From 2:15 p.m. to 3:15 p.m. the Bay Area recorded at least 51 lightning strikes.

One of those strikes hit a condo complex in south San Jose causing a fire.  The lightning hit a drainpipe on the side of the building and traveled inside to a furnace.
Bay City News says a large flash of lightning struck around 4 p.m. on Colony Knoll Drive.

"It just traveled to try and get aground," Capt. Scott Kouns said. "That's what  lightning does."
 The current heated the furnace, causing some items nearby to catch on fire.  Crews were able to put the flames out in a matter of minutes.

The rain, hail and lightning came down hard and fast, but didn't last long and was caused by a lingering and unstable weather system that quickly made its way from the coast through the City and into Alameda County.

And while were clear for most of the rest of Tuesday, the problems connected to this morning's powerful storm continued.

The California Highway Patrol had to close one bore of the Caldecott Tunnel due to flooding for about 30 minutes.

PG&E had all hands on deck Tuesday as they tried to restore power to ten of thousands of people who lost it during the recent round of back to back storms.  By 2 p.m., they had it back on to all but 5,400 customers.  Most of them were in the South Bay and on the peninsula.

People living in the red-tagged Pacifica apartments are also keeping a close eye on the storms.   A chunk of the cliff along Esplanade Avenue fell Monday, but engineers said it held steady during Tuesday's rain.  Crews there are working on a repair plan which will likely include the installation of soil nails into the cliff to stabilize it.

The next round of storms is due Wednesday morning before sunrise and is forecast to be an exact replica of Tuesday's weather.

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