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Photos: See LA’s night sky electrified by phenomenal lightning show

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There were thousands of lightning strikes

Lightning strikes in Santa Monica.
Photo by David Solomon

Lightning dazzled Los Angeles last night, with nearly 6,000 lightning strikes recorded over Southern California.

Earth Networks, a company that uses sensors to detect lightning, observed 5,923 lighting strikes and 14,326 lightning pulses (that’s when the lightning is in a cloud and doesn’t hit the ground) from 6 p.m. to midnight.

Steve Prinzivalli, a meteorologist at Earth Networks, tells Curbed that those numbers are “pretty incredible,” and climate scientist Daniel Swain on Twitter described it as the “most spectacular winter lightning display in recent memory.”

The lightning was accompanied by booming bursts of thunder and a steady stream of rain.

“A jet streak raced through the area last night and set off a convective outburst with plenty of lightning,” reports the National Weather Service in Oxnard.

Weather Service meteorologist Kristen Stewart says that jet stream mixed with an atmospheric river and a low pressure system; they all “crunched together, making the atmosphere unstable.”

The lightning was another rare spectacle during an unusually wet winter that also brought a dusting of snow earlier this month to elevations as low as 700 feet.

From the Manhattan Beach Pier to the San Fernando Valley, awestruck residents documented the electrifying show.

“Twelve years in LA, and I’ve never seen a storm like this, where lightning is striking things left and right and causing car alarms to go off,” says resident Joshua Fanning, who captured photos of lightning bolts over apartment building rooftops in West LA.

Below are some of the best images:

Lightning strikes over apartment buildings at Sawtelle and Pico in West LA.
Photo by Joshua Fanning