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Thunderstorms, Lightning: Summer Starts With a Bang in SoCal

It’s officially summertime in Southern California, and to celebrate, Mother Nature has decided to bring some thunderstorms to the region.

Those thunderstorms, caused by some monsoon moisture that moved into our area overnight, are bringing scattered rain showers and some dry lightning with them. The cloudy weather is also accompanied by a heat wave that will stick around through the end of the week.

Here’s what to know about Wednesday’s forecast.

Monsoon Flow and Thunderstorms

An area of high pressure over the middle of the country on Tuesday, along with an area of low pressure right off the West Coast, is funneling monsoon moisture from the Gulf of Mexico up over California.

That means increased humidity and more cloud cover for Angelenos.

The heat from peeks of sun and the heat in the region are the critical ingredients to create thunderstorms, which started moving into the area just after midnight going into Wednesday.

There are also some rain showers and gusty winds in the forecast.

The amount of rain will vary depending on location, with some parts of SoCal set to stay dry and other facing the possibility of a quick 1/4 of an inch of water.

Rain, wet roads and dark conditions mean drivers should beware during their morning commute, especially in the Newhall Pass area where the thunderstorm passed through just after 6 a.m. Long Beach also saw some early morning rain.

The mountains and deserts will see bigger storms Wednesday afternoon, with the possibility of blowing dust in the deserts.

As temperatures cool down in the evening, the thunderstorms should dissipate as the heat disappears.

Lightning

With thunder comes lightning, which unfortunately won’t mesh well with the dry conditions on the parched West Coast.

Frequent lightning strikes Tuesday night — very rare for Southern California — combined with the gusty winds present in the thunderstorms moving over the LA area created a greater risk of wildfires in the region.

Much of the lightning appeared over the San Fernando Valley and over the LA County mountains. Lancaster also saw heavy rain and a number of lightning strikes.

Fire and Explosions

At least one brush fire began Wednesday after lightning struck some vegatation around 8713 W. Wentworth Street in LA, just before 5:30 a.m.

The slow-moving fire made its way up the hill there, as fire agencies including the Los Angeles County Fire Department battled the blaze.

Also this morning, several transformer explosions were also caused by lightning in the following locations:

  • In the City of Bell, a transformer exploded at Eastern and Bandini
  • In Huntington Park, an explosion occurred in the 3500 block of 59th Place
  • In Lakewood, a transformer exploded at Pimenta and Ashwood

All three of those explosions were called in after 4 a.m. Wednesday.

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Source: NBC Los Angeles

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