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7:48 AM: Holy cow, how about that thunder and lightning this morning? One moment I’m dreaming I’m helping Angel catch baby alligators in a crowded sports bar, next thing you know it’s BOOM then CRACK. Strangely, the pets, who complain about everything, did not seem to notice (did yours?).

So what’s going on? The National Weather Service released a “Hazardous Weather Outlook Short Term Forecast” this morning, warning that their Doppler radar and “spotter” reports “Indicated numerous thunderstorms from the South Bay northward to Napa and Sonoma Counties. Some of these storms have small hail and frequent cloud to ground lightning. Expect additional showers and thunderstorms through 8 AM.”

It’s been suggested by some that some of this lightning was responsible for knocking out power to over 34,000 SF PG&E customers this morning, but we haven’t received confirmation that that’s the case.

Cal Fire has already responded to several lightning-caused grass fires in the Bay Area this morning, and the National Weather Service is also saying that the possibility of lightning strikes in northern Bay Area counties will remain until at least 5 p.m. today.

So why is this weird weather happening? Because if this is the rapture, we suspect we’re shit out of luck. However, God-hating meteorologists dispute the end of days theory, instead saying that Hurricane Linda, as she became a tropical storm, “broke apart” and sent a hefty dose of moisture our way, which when combined with current conditions here caused the thunder, lightning, and hail we saw (or, mostly, heard) this morning.

While we’re expected to dry out somewhat as the day progresses, forecasters warn that we could have these extreme (for San Francisco) storms strike again tomorrow.

9:04 AM: Bay City News is reporting that “Cal Fire crews are battling between 15 and 20 fires,” all said the be the result of lightning (hey, LibertyHiller, they misspelled it “lightening” too! It’s an epidemic!).

These fires are spread out through the central area of the Diablo Mountain Range, between Interstate Highway 580 and state Highway 152. Meteorologists are saying that these types of fires are unlikely to strike San Francisco. The person I was able to reach at the NWS said that “since San Francisco is not as dry as these outlying areas, conditions aren’t supportive of those types of incidents.”

pge.jpg9:56 AM: PG&E’s got their hands full, too: no sooner did they restore power from one outage rumored to be caused by this morning’s lightning, A tipster tells us that, “Lightning struck this transformer at like 8:30 this morning. It is at the corner of Grove and Octavia. It shook my house at Fulton and Lyon.”

This tipster also says that the PG&E representative to whom they spoke said “when the transformer got hit, it tripped a circuit wide transformer” continuing “they expect to have the transformer replaced by noon” He says he was told that the power feed for this afternoon’s Power to the Peaceful festival is based off this transformer, and that until it’s replaced, the concert will be on hold.

Bay City News also notes a power outage in the “Pacific Heights and Cow Hollow neighborhoods, caused when lightning struck a transformer near California and Broderick streets. That outage affected about 4,060 residents at its peak, Ehlers said. As of 8:30 a.m., 500 homes remained without power.”

the author

Eve Batey is the editor and publisher of the San Francisco Appeal. She used to be the San Francisco Chronicle's Deputy Managing Editor for Online, and started at the Chronicle as their blogging and interactive editor. Before that, she was a co-founding writer and the lead editor of SFist. She's been in the city since 1997, presently living in the Outer Sunset with her husband, cat, and dog. You can reach Eve at

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