2,200 lightning strikes light up the sky over Southern California

March 6, 2019, 12:11 p.m.
This time exposure image shows multiple lightning strikes over Santa Barbara's Stearns Wharf.
Photo: @EliasonMike/Twitter

There's an old saying that lightning never strikes twice, but when it strikes more than 2,000 times, it has to at least get close.

Residents of Santa Barbara in Southern California were treated to a brilliant display of lightning on March 5 as 2,200 pulses of lightning crackled across the sky. The lightning briefly knocked out power on the runways at the city's airport, according to KEYT, and was followed by heavy rain. The rainfall is worrying as many areas haven't recovered from the wildfires, meaning there's an increased risk of flash floods and mudslides.

The memorable storm was the result of an atmospheric river, a weather phenomenon filled with rain and wind. This particular river traveled from Hawaii to the U.S. West Coast.

"We are dealing with so much rain right now," KCAL meteorologist Amber Lee said on March 6. "We had the lightning, we had the thunder overnight, and that's because how much unstable air moved into the air. A subtropical plume coming in, and now a cold front right behind it. So that's going to bring us a lot more of this scattered showers, turning more widespread."

So if you're in SoCal, be safe and keep your eyes peeled for more extraordinary sights like this one.