Lightning show lights up South Delta
A spectacular show from mother nature rolled over Ladner, Tsawwassen and many other parts of the Lower Mainland Tuesday evening (Aug. 7), with lightning forks zigzagging across the sky and thunder booming a warning to stay indoors.
Those who looked out their window got a pretty clear view of the sky since the storm showed up without very much wind or rain.
Tsawwassen resident and radio voice of Vancouver Whitecaps FC, Peter Schaad, tweeted, "Amazing. It was fun watching it come in, then it swirled around Boundary Bay for hours. The cat is still hiding!"
The storm started to roll in from over the water around 7 p.m. with lightning strikes causing pockets of power outages throughout the region.
Jennifer Young, a spokeswoman for BC Hydro, said complaints of outages started coming in around midnight, resulting in 400 homes in Delta without power, but they were mainly west of Hwy. 91.
There was a minor power outage on Ladner Trunk Road just past 104th Street, while Tsawwassen and Ladner were left unscathed.
"At the peak there were about 15,000 customers out in the Lower Mainland," she said.
Young said essentially what happened is the transformers hit by lightning strikes were overloaded and lost power. But she said a wind storm can be worse, especially if a tree comes down and takes out a power line.
A BC Ferries spokesperson said the 9 p.m. ferry unloading at Tsawwassen was delayed by 15 minutes to allow the storm to pass over, but otherwise things went smoothly.
Trevor Smith, a meteorologist with Environment Canada, says although the Lower Mainland does see lightning occasionally, it's more unusual here than east of the coast mountain range.
There were 1,600 lightning strikes in a geographical area measured west to east between Nanaimo to Hope and north to south between Whistler to Puget Sound according to Environment Canada's lightning detection system that tallied the strikes between 7 p.m. and midnight.
The likely cause of the freak storm was a cold front moving through the hot, humid air of the lower atmosphere that's been hanging over the Lower Mainland, causing atmospheric destabilization and lightning.
"It was like a little trigger this cold front gave to kind of set those thunder storms off," Smith said, adding it was also unusual it was so focused over the Lower Mainland.
The reason we don't see as much lightning on the coast is the cooler marine air, which usually maintains more stable temperatures, he added.
"It was more a lightning show. It was a visual spectacle more than anything," he said.