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San Diego treated to rare July thunderstorms

San Diegans got a surprise over the last few days with rain showers, thunder, and even lightning. On Friday, July 25th, many people living just east of San Diego experienced loud thunder and scattered showers. On Sunday, July 27th, a large portion of San Diego County, west of the mountains, experienced thunder, lightning, and heavy rain for most of the morning. The rain wasn’t limited to the San Diego area. Orange and Riverside Counties and the Los Angeles area also experienced the same type of weather.

Clouds over Pacific Beach
Darlene Luckins

Thunderstorms in San Diego are very rare, especially at the beaches. Though it is rare to have thunder and rain in July, it’s not unheard of. From July to September, there is always a risk that monsoon moisture will drift westward from its usual location in the mountains and deserts.

It’s not unusual to have one or two days of thunder and rain on the coast during this time period. Usually this happens when the monsoonal flow is enhanced by a disintegrating hurricane or tropical storm to the south. However, the last few days’ weather wasn’t caused by any tropical activity.

Hundreds of lightning strikes were recorded throughout southern California. Reports of at least 14 people being struck or affected by lighting were reported. Most of the victims were in Los Angeles at Venice Beach where one man died. Another victim was on a golf course on Catalina Island and is said to be in stable condition. Some areas also got measurable rain. In Los Angeles, they got more rain from yesterday’s storm than they have in the last 10 Julys.

Hot weather and a possibility of rain will continue at least for another week in the San Diego area. Most of the chance of rain and thunderstorms will be in the mountains and deserts. While the monsoon season continues, there is always a risk that a stray thunderstorm will roll off the mountains into the western areas.