OMG Thunder and Lightning

Lightning over San Francisco

Lightning over San Francisco. Photo courtesy of SF Chronicle.

Waking up in the morning to a Facebook feed full of my San Francisco friends remarking on the thunder and lightning we had last night was so quaint. "OMG I heard it hailed somewhere! And did you hear that thunder?! Is was like, near by and stuff."

Personally, I find my Bay Area friends so adorable when they remark on storms because I grew up in Texas where hail storms like this were not that uncommon:

2 Comments

Hi,

Yes, the hail video was rather impressive, but I think you ought to know what you're talking about before you start calling all of us in the Bay area wimps. You'll find a piece of video at the URL linked to below that's more indicative of what happened in san francisco on the morning of Sept 12th, 2009.

click here

It gives you a much better sense of what happened than the image you posted of lightning that struck Sonoma County which is not even adjacent to San Francisco county.

I'm not trying to say that what happened here in San Francisco was as dangerous or as extreme as the hail storm in your video. Nobody has made such a claim, so there's no need for you to refute it.

People were remarking upon what happened in San Francisco most likely because it was odd .... very odd.... Note that in the video there is no lightning flash evident before the thunder.....there is a video anomaly of some sort but it's only apparent in a rectangular cross-section of the video and I do not agree with the poster's interpretation of what caused it. Any flash from lightning would have been evident over the entire video frame. In my opinion the anomaly in the video was caused by some electrical disturbance (like cross-talk) that influenced the electronics within the video camera. This was most likely a side effect of whatever happened that morning. I don't see any reason to consider it evidence of lightning. If there was no lightning though, what caused the noise? I have no idea.

There was an exploded electrical transformer in San Francisco at approximately the same time but my girlfriend lives 1/2 a block from the transformer that exploded and I can assure you that the video I link to above was recorded at a location at least 4-5 miles away. I was awake through the entire storm seated at my computer next to a window and I heard the same sound as was heard in the video. I was at my office at the time which is 1.5 miles away from the exploded transformer. I see no reason to think that what I heard was the transformer. I also don't think that the sound in the video was lightning .... thunder caused by lightning usually starts with a cracking sound .... distant thunder is the notable exception to this but I think we can all agree that the sound in the video is NOT distant thunder.

So, if lightning did not cause the sound, what did? I haven't a clue. Certainly this mysterious event is enough to cause wonder and speculation. The hail storm in your video was, I'm sure, a traumatic experience but I believe the phenomenon is at least comparatively well understood.

You need to put things in context .... not too long ago the phrase, "lighting in San Francisco" was a metaphor for things that never happened. We don't generally even have the right conditions for lightning to occur here..... nevertheless there was undoubtedly lighting occurring frequently on the morning of Sept 12th 2009. I don't know how this could be but I observed it myself and can confirm that it was quite a show. The sound in the video was the culmination of what was already an extremely odd morning. I don't claim to be able to explain it, but I can understand how people could find it worthy of note and speculation. Sure, no tangerine sized chunks of ice fell from the sky that morning but perhaps you folks in the midwest would consider cutting us some slack anyway? I would very much appreciate it. :-)

Paul Jimerson

Extraordinary response. Speechless. Thanks for the contribution.

For the record, I was born and raised in Texas, but live in Oakland. Each time there is lightning here in the Bay Area, I too am struck in awe and wonder, and then laugh to myself as I realize the absurdity of being amazed at the occurence when I grew up where "Hail Sales" at the local car dealer was a common affair.

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  • Extraordinary response. Speechless. Thanks for the contribution. For the record, I was born and raised in Texas, but live in Oakland. Each time there is lightning here in the Bay Area, I too am struck in awe and wonder...

  • Hi, Yes, the hail video was rather impressive, but I think you ought to know what you're talking about before you start calling all of us in the Bay area wimps. You'll find a piece of video at the URL linked to below t...

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