Last night between midnight and 1AM we experienced almost constant lightning, at least 200 to 300 flashes per minute. Around 12:30 the wind started and built up to a crescendo making us get up and close windows. Trees were shedding leaves which were swirling around and hitting the house, along with small twigs. Then the banging started! No tree has enough falling twigs to make the noise we heard—it was hail! I opened the front door to see hail stones bouncing across the front porch, stones that were the size of nickels. The noise was deafening! Thunder was a constant roar and the incessant crashing of hail stones made for a time when conversation was impossible without shouting. I turned on a radio to an AM station and heard what sounded like frying bacon, with loud pops accompanying a steady background sizzle.
I know, I know, you’ve either experienced or heard about storms that produced baseball-size hail, or lightning that was constant, making the night look like arc-light daytime, but that’s Texas stuff. Here in central California we usually get silky zephyrs, sweet honey-drizzle-gentle precipitation and faraway lightning. I doubt that anyone in our valley slept through any of this.
Then around six o’clock it started again, only closer. The lightning strikes were fewer, but they were flash-boom close. We have hundreds of feet of buried pipes here, for water, gas and electricity, and they were acting like a huge antenna bringing even farther-away strikes up close and personal. When this storm is over, I am going to take apart an electrical outlet in the bedroom that snapped loudly at each lightning strike. Its ground wire must be loose. It was like having a cap pistol (remember those?) snapping only a few feet away with every flash of lightning.
When the sun is up, I will take some pictures of all the tree parts now on the ground. Stay tuned.