TACOMA, Wash. – A line of thunderstorms brought a rare vivid display of lightning across the Seattle and Tacoma metro areas Wednesday as the Southwest monsoon paid a visit to the Pacific Northwest.
Hundreds of lightning strikes were reported as the storms moved across the region late Wednesday morning, at one point knocking out power to over 15,000 people.
At one point, the storm moved over the heart of Tacoma, putting on a dazzling show for the hundreds of thousands in town, including Ryan Lucido, who works at the Port of Tacoma and captured three massive strikes over the city.
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The Seattle-Tacoma area only receives a handful of thunderstorms each year with its moderate, marine climate, and most feature just a few lightning strikes here and there. But this storm, fueled in part by some tropical moisture from the monsoon pattern in the Desert Southwest, had plenty of lightning.
Over 900 cloud-to-ground lightning strikes were detected within a 100-mile radius of Seattle, according to Chris Vagasky with Vaisala. Another 2,200 strikes were noted inside the storm clouds.
One of those strikes hit a boat on Puget Sound, according to officials with South King Fire & Rescue. Firefighters reached the boat to find the electronics had been fried, but luckily no one was injured. The boat was towed back to shore.
A lightning strike hit a radio transmitter, temporarily knocking a local sports radio station off the air.
The storms passed through by early afternoon and much calmer weather returned for the rest of the week and weekend.