Summer storm in San Diego County

Thunder, lightning and rain along San Diego coastlines Wednesday as an unusual summer thunderstorm moves through San Diego. Dog Beach, a dog-friendly stretch of sand in Ocean Beach, had to be closed Wednesday due to lightning from a storm that began in North County. A fiercely intense lightning storm pounds the North County, hurling lightning bolts not just into the ground, but into the ocean, forcing lifeguards to tell everyone to get out of the water – a freakish weather event they haven’t seen in close to 30 years.

“Pretty unprecedented. In the last 27 years I’ve been working the beaches here in Encinitas, I haven’t seen that much lightning come onshore. The cloud-to-ground lightning is pretty prevalent here on our beaches and in the waters right off our beach,” said Captain Larry Giles of Encinitas Lifeguards.

By the time the skies clear on Wednesday, San Diego County was over 200 lightning strikes including both ground strikes and lightning strikes over the ocean. Lifeguards order swimmers out of the water, in part because of what happened in L.A. County several weeks ago when lightning strikes killed one man and hurt eight others along Venice Beach.

“We take this very serious, you know, just look at L.A. County – just earlier this summer. They had 13 people affected by lightning and actually one person ended up dying because of that. Resident Alexa Gibson of Encinitas said this about the lightning intensity that she witnessed:

“It was really loud and strong and I’d say it was the most intense that I’ve heard lately.”

But San Diego County residents marvel at this latest weather anomaly; those visiting from the east coast secretly laugh.

“It’s kind of funny because we get lightning and thunder all the time, but I heard (San Diego residents) haven’t had it in like eight years which kind of  makes us laugh,” said Virginia resident Alison Vess.

The final tally from the National Weather Service on Wednesday: 95 lightning strikes that hit the ground and 129 that hit the local ocean.

Categories: KUSI