Thunderstorms and more than 3,000 lightning strikes roared through Southern California deserts Thursday afternoon from the high badlands in Antelope Valley to the low deserts in Riverside and San Diego Counties.
For a short period of time it looked like one needed a snorkel to drive the streets in Palmdale. Sheets of water created afternoon havoc for drivers, as streets were flooded at multiple intersections.
The sounds of thunder were heard over hundreds of miles of Southern California real estate.
Winds howled as rain pushed through neighborhoods. 30 power poles were knocked down in Palmdale and a trampoline was lifted into the air and slammed into the side of a car.
The National Weather Service proclaimed "hail up to one-half inch in diameter is expected to fall...strong wind gusts to 50 mph can be expected." A spokesman for the service said 2.75 inches of rain fell in Palmdale during a two-hour period.
At 10 p.m. 900 Antelope Valley customers were without power and the energy company that serves the area said the outages will continue "for quite some time" due to the severity of storm damage.
Before it turned dark there was fierce lightning storm that started small brush fires in the eastern portion of the Antelope Valley. No structures burned.
The Inland Empire fell victim to the same storm as the Antelope Valley and was slapped around by a wicked series of afternoon lightning strikes that started several fires.
While there was virtually no rain wild winds and crazed lightning danced over huge swaths of Riverside County making life miserable for folks as temperatures hit triple digits.
At least four major fires started in the Inland Empire Thursday afternoon and were deemed big enough to give names.
The most dramatic fire was dubbed the "Don Juan Incident" in the city of Lake Elsinore. Lightning hit the ground and started a small grass fire, which quickly spread to a travel trailer. Lucky for the handicapped woman inside deputies listened to a young girl and pulled her out just before her home burst into flames destroying the RV.
The "Cactus Fire" in Sage, south of Hemet, burned 375 acres and was only 10 percent contained at 10 p.m. Then there was the 70-acre "Saddle Fire", also south of Hemet, that was contained at time of this writing. No Structures were burned in either fire.
The fourth fire of note was coined the "Skinner Incident" and was located north of Temecula just south of Winchester. It ate up 450 acres of scrub brush and was only partially contained at 10 p.m.
And not to be outdone there was a pretty good rainstorm in the San Bernardino Mountains. Images showed sheets of rain falling on the main drag in Big Bear.
Late Thursday night the two National Weather Service offices serving Southern California reported there were more than 3,000 lightning strikes this afternoon.