Pacific Storm Andreas Produces Biggest Light Show In Southern California’s Recent Memory; What Now?



Pacific Storm Andreas, a category three Pacific Storm system produced the strongest lightning show in over 10 years across the Southern California region, seen by all corners of the forecast area near and far.  Over 100,000 lightning strikes hit.  The storm system is not done yet for some of you … so read on for the details.

Andreas slammed the Martin Storm Diamond’s northern end on Wednesday, Overnight on Wednesday, and through Sunrise Thursday morning.  An all night light show happened as forecast for the region back on October 6th.  Having had this hit 9 days later would be a medium to long range forecast … and the member section long range forecast center did very well in keeping people up to date daily on the % confidence of the system as we went from 10% back on 10/6 to 100% a few days ago.   The long range forecast center is working extremely well.

Why wasn’t this a category six out of the 1-6 scale?  Be realistic, this was a great show but it didn’t have the damaging wind potential along a massive front like category 6s can do.  We had isolated severe storms with heavy rainfall/large hail … a 9 scale divided by 3 on our formula and you get a solid category 3.


Here is the image showing the lightning strike zones from 11:00am Wednesday to 11:00am today (Thursday) –  The image clearly shows Downtown SD and the OC regions largely left out … as well as the Metro Ventura County areas on the main image above.

Compared this with the SCWF watches issued for the event, each one issued before storms crossed the area.  Here were the watches issued for convective (thunderstorm) ;
SCWF Thunderstorm Watch 1
SCWF Thunderstorm Watch 2
SCWF Thunderstorm Watch 3
SCWF Severe Thunderstorm Watch 1
SCWF Severe Thunderstorm Watch 2

Overall the forecast for locations was nearly 95% and for a cutoff low system that is very well done.

As of now, the storm system has nudged north of the storm diamond and this means that it would produce storms around the outer edges of the forecast region … mainly from the low/high desert into the Kern County areas … the edge in an arc of storm activity through today.   Storms are ongoing in the Eastern Forecast areas of Imperial County, north to the Riverside Deserts around Desert Center and will continue north through there today …

The hottest areas for convection today will be the Kern County areas where explosive thunderstorm activity is likely again … giving them two straight days of thunderstorm activity since they are on the strong upper divergent section of Pacific Storm Andreas.

Elsewhere, do think we’ll continue some shower/thunderstorm activity for the San Diego,  Riverside, San Bernardino Mountains, north into the High Desert zones through today … Some mid-level capping this morning is keeping these on a lower risk but it is showing signs of breaking soon.  Storm flow is out of the north today … which clearly means that storms will not push outflow into most Inland Empire areas and unless a stray forms on the Elsinore Convergence Zone, the dryslot will limit potential in the IE today … of course no storms will hit OC/SD again with that same dryslot hovering in the area.

There is the southern end of the upper divergence and slightly better moisture in the Northwest LA Valley zones from Downtown North along the I-5 through the SCV … and if anything wants to form metro today … it’ll be in that general zone.

Lightning show zones tonight?  Eastern Deserts of the forecast region along and east of the Riverside/San Diego/San Bernardino Mountains, centering Desert Center and stretching to the Colorado River Valley.  Soundings indicate tops to be similar to last night, around 40,000 feet and higher and given the nature of the flow, this could drift north-northwest toward the Daggett forecast areas through Friday morning … This will include the Blythe forecast areas, north to Needles as well .. .and travels east toward Western Arizona …



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