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

Alene Tchekmedyian, Los Angeles Times on

Published in Weather News

LOS ANGELES -- 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 off 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.

A Delta flight to Seattle returned to Los Angeles International Airport after getting struck by lightning, said Los Angeles Airport Police Officer Rob Pedregon. No injuries were reported.

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Later in the evening, a lightning strike caused a brief power outage at three terminals, said Los Angeles International Airport spokesman Charles Pannunzio.

"It is dangerous for people to go outside and watch the lightning," Hoxsie said. "People think they're safe because it's not on top of where they're standing, but that's not accurate."

(c)2019 Los Angeles Times

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