Nearly 1,500 pulses of lightning recorded off Southern California coast in 5 minutes

A band of thunderstorms that stretched from southern Kern County past the Channel Islands was producing a dramatic lightning show Tuesday night in the Southern California sky.

In one five-minute stretch alone, shortly after 8 p.m., the National Weather Service recorded 1,489 pulses of lightning off the coast, 231 over Santa Barbara County and 40 in Los Angeles County, said Kathy Hoxsie, a meteorologist with the weather service in Oxnard.

“It’s a lot,” she said. “We usually don’t get that.”

Those numbers appeared to taper down later Tuesday evening. The storms were expected to move into Ventura and Los Angeles counties overnight.

“There’s no guarantee that they’ll hold together but it looks pretty good right now,” Hoxsie said.

People wanting to catch a glimpse of the show should do so from indoors, Hoxsie said, noting that lightning can strike 10 or 12 miles away from a storm. Los Angeles County sheriff’s officials decided to land a department helicopter because of the extreme weather.


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