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By Miriam Raftery 

October 4, 2021 (La Mesa) – Lightning from tonight’s storm sparked several fires across East County tonight, including this one in the Casa de Oro/Mt. Helix area.  Dawn Hough Sebaugh captured a series of dramatic images showing lightning striking vegetation with an explosive force, sending a shower of sparks swirling up into the night sky.

“It sounded like a bomb went off!” Sebaugh posted, noting that she thought a lightning bolt had struck a home.


Pulse Point indicates the strike was on Calavo just north of Louisa. A dispatcher at Heartland Fire & Rescue confirms that fortunately, the lightning did not strike a structure, but instead ignited a grove of palm trees.

This fire and others were swiftly doused by firefighters, with help from Mother Nature as rainfall pelted the area.  


See how much rain fell in your area by 7:30 p.m. tonight at this tweet from the National Weather Service in San Diego:


Of note, many people on social media tonight posted images and videos of lightning. While some shot images from the safety of inside homes, garages or vehicles, others ventured outside to get the shots.  But that can be dangerous.


During a thunderstorm, stay indoors until the lightning has moved 10 miles away for at least 30 minutes, since lighting can travel 10 miles, even if the skies above you are clear and blue. 


Lighting can travel through electrical lines and send a high voltage shock, so residents are advised to stay off of land lines, computers, or other electrical appliances when lightning is close at hand.  Also remove headphones.


If outdoors and moving inside is not possible, stay away from water and anything metal, such as fences or tent poles. A metal camera tripod can act like a lightning rod. Lightning tends to strike high ground, so find a low point and crouch down if there’s no safe place to take shelter.


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