Northern California

‘Oh, Wow:' More Than 450 Lightning Strikes Over Northern California

More than 450 lightning strikes were captured streaking across Northern California skies in a 24-hour period, according to the National Weather Service, marking an unusually high wintertime count.

“Lightning and thunder are not terribly common here,” forecaster Diana Henderson said Wednesday morning. “This is an ‘Oh, wow.’”

Henderson said there is no way of knowing if this is a record, as the NWS does not track lightning strikes, which are a result of an unusual pattern of warm and unstable air coming in from the west.

From 7 a.m. Tuesday to 7 a.m. Wednesday, the NWS tracked 458 strikes, mostly over the Pacific Ocean, with higher densities of lightning hitting over Santa Cruz and Monterey areas, with some notable strikes off the Marin County coast near Farallon Islands and Point Reyes.

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