by: Alison Grande Updated:PUGET SOUND —
North sounders told KIRO-7, they thought Thursday night’s intense thunderstorm was a once-in-a-lifetime event. In a single hour, KIRO-7’s lightning tracker computer registered 430 lightning strikes in Northern Snohomish County. At times, the bolts brightened the sky almost continually.
Mike Bruscas said it was like a never-ending fireworks show. “It’s like nothing I’ve seen before ever, and I’ve lived in Arlington my entire life,” he said.
Sources told KIRO 7 there were scattered reports of trees and homes struck by lightning. No significant damage was reported as of one a.m. “I just hope I’m safe in my car,” said Marissa Morse, who counted 35 bolts of lightning as she exiting I-5 in Arlington. “It scares me. It seems really dangerous.”
Tyson Anderson was one of many trying to capture the lightning on his cell phone camera. “It’s really unusual for this area,” he said, while shrugging off the danger to get his coveted picture. “It’s beautiful.”
The electrical spectacle between Everett and Mount Vernon was even more unusual because for several hours, the lightning was not accompanied by heavy rain or wind.
“It’s like something you’d see in the Midwest somewhere,” said Blain Nelson. “This never happens around here.”
Severe weather moved through the South Sound as well. Lightning strikes took down trees, thunder shook homes. Residents ran outside to see the damage.
In Shelton a lightning strike shattered a tree and sent it into David Hults’ front yard.
“The explosion was so loud it shook the house, knocked the power out. I was like uh oh,” said Hults. He was relieved to see the tree had just missed his house.
At the Fairmont Cove Apartments nearby, a tree did hit the roof. Carroll Wilson is the apartment manager, “It was earth-shattering. It shook the building. After the bolt I heard the crack and it was frightening.” Four residents had to find somewhere else to stay Thursday night while repairs are made.
A man who lives in Shelton was taken to the hospital to be checked out after experiencing some kind of power surge. His sister, Julie Sattgast, described what happened, ”The entire sky lit up. We had a big lightning strike over the house and everything flickered for a bit.” Then Sattgast said her brother was hurt, “He came running out that his feet and legs were sore and had these weird markings on his knee.” She says he was burned by some current surge through the house.
In Gig Harbor the storm forced residents into the dark for about two and half hours. Lightning hit a transmission line that feeds power to Tacoma Power and on to Gig Harbor.
With that line down 24,000 Gig Harbor residents lost power. Peninsula Power said last time Gig Harbor had an outage like this was in February of 2010. Gig Harbor resident John Campbell joked, “(It’s) unusual, but when it happens it happens big.”