Torrent of lightning strikes rattles Puget Sound

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SEATTLE —

A line of powerful thunderstorms rained down hundreds of lightning strikes an hour as it passed through the Puget Sound area, cutting power and starting at least one fire on Friday.

 

"Over 600 lightning strikes over Puget Sound in the last hour," tweeted KIRO 7 meteorologist Sam Argier at 10 a.m.

 

The storms followed lightning, downpours and hail overnight in Kitsap County, the northern Olympic Peninsula and the San Juan Islands that left 2,000 Clallam County Utility District customers without electricity.

 

Fire crews were scrambling in the wake of the storm, battling house fires in Renton and Bellevue, video from Chopper 7 showed. Renton firefighters said the fire there was caused by lightning and that the homeowner was blown across the room.  He was taken to the hospital to be treated for smoke inhalation. 

 

In Seattle, City Light reported 69 outages late Friday morning.  The outages affected 331 customers, scattered from Queen Anne Hill to parts of North Seattle.

 

A lightning strike at a home in Ballard shook up two housekeepers who were inside, they told KIRO 7 Eyewitness News reporter Chris Legeros.

 

"We were upstairs and it was literally 5 feet above our head.  We were all frightened. The lights didn't just go out, they burst," one of them said.  "It was pretty intense. It was an incredible sound."