We were expecting thunderstorms to come along with the warm weather this week, but this storm was a doozy. After a day of sun and warmth, the weather promptly turned in the afternoon with a barrage of lightning, thunder, wind, and rain.
According to the National Weather Service’s Seattle office, if the number of flashes you saw in the sky seemed unusually high, you’d be correct. Their data shows 2,500 cloud-to-ground lightning strikes during the storm from Lewis County up through the Canadian border.
Why so much lightning? Popular local weatherperson Cliff Mass says it could be for a couple of reasons.
A ton of atmospheric moisture had been building up over the last couple of days, which Mass says is “like ‘fuel’ for thunderstorms.”
Mass says that the storm also reached twice as high as they usually do for the region. Usually they come from 15,000 to 20,000 feet, he says, but this time the storms were rising to 40,000 feet in the air.
Naturally, the stormy weather and frequent lightning led to some stunning photos and videos.
Xbox Live Director of Programming Larry Hryb captured an incredible GIF of the lightning striking around everyone’s favorite Seattle lightning target, the Space Needle.
Thunder and lighting just rolled in to the Seattle area. And I love it. pic.twitter.com/wTj17121j7— Larry Hryb (@majornelson) May 4, 2017
Twitter user @King_Timmay captured this slow-motion clip of lightning strikes over Renton.
@NWSSeattle a cool slow motion clip I got of some lightning over Renton earlier pic.twitter.com/WtHh79MuQ3— DuMbLe MAn (@king_timmay) May 5, 2017
Chris LaCroix took this photo in Lake Stevens, shared with KIRO 7.
Of course, as it is wont to do here, the stormy weather led to some not-so-inclement sunbreaks with some gorgeous rainbows. Torrin Maynard shared this gorgeous shot of a rainbow above the Space Needle on Instagram.