Sort of out of nowhere today the weather kicked up over the Catalina Channel to our south and a series of fairly good sized thunderstorm cells started drifting north over the Los Angeles basin. We don’t get that sort of weather often, maybe once every couple of years at best, and often even when we do, the storms tend to drift inland into Riverside and San Bernardino Counties and miss us over here at the far west end of Los Angeles County.
It’s no secret that I absolutely ❤ LOVE ❤ rain and thunderstorms. So when they started coming in, I grabbed a whole slew of cameras and gear over the evening to take pictures of the clouds (some fantastic pictures of mammatus clouds right over head), to listen to the rain, wind, and thunder, and to try to catch lightning strikes on video.
Eventually about 20:30 there was a good sized cell sitting just to our south.
(Image from NOAA High-Def Weather Radar app)
Sitting out in the back yard, listening to the rain pounding on the back porch roof and the howling of the wind, seeing the flashes of lightning, this (long-ish, 4:31 total) clip ends (at 3:36) with a HUGE boomer. That was a good one!
A little later things had fired up again and a couple of big thunder boomers had rattled the house, so I took my iPhone out into the front. Another cell was coming in south of Calabasas, so I started recording. It was raining pretty hard, so I stayed on the porch, but then I couldn’t see the sky real well, so I decided to walk down to the garage door, figuring I could lean against the garage and stay pretty much out of the rain, but still have a good view of the sky. Just as I got there, at about 0:55 in this clip, and turned around… (I urge caution if you’re listening with headphones or earbuds or have the volume turned up!!)
How I managed to not clear out the deepest darkest corner of my obscenity directory, I’ll never know. How I managed to not come in with brown jeans when I went out with blue jeans, I’ll never know.
Curious, once I got my heart rate back down into double digits, while editing the video I checked a few figures on the timeline.
The frame where the bolt struck, at 1:02977 seconds.
The frame where the sound hit, at 1.04070 seconds.
That’s an elapsed time of 1.093 seconds. With the speed of sound being 1100 feet per second, that means that the bolt hit somewhere down the street 1,202 feet away.
That’s a really high “pucker factor.”
Furthermore, look at the soundtrack magnified way, way up:
About 1/20 second before the sound hit, there’s this.
An extremely vivid part of my memory of the event is that the incredibly bright flash hit, but in that 1.093 seconds between the strike and the sound I very distinctly heard a frying or sizzling noise, almost like someone on the roof right above me had a big sheet of cellophane and was crumbling it up into a ball. I think this is that sound. Why I would hear it separate from the “BOOOOOOM!” and every so slightly earlier, I don’t know.
Looking at the map shows more waves of showers building to the south and headed our way…
…with more behind that.
It could be a VERY long night!