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Lightning Storm Strikes Fallbrook and the Temecula Valley

Posted February 24, 2005, 7:49 PM.

A thunder and lightning storm has moved quickly southwest across the Temecula Valley tonight into the Fallbrook area, quickly dumping 0.18" of rain in an already soggy south Temecula and another 0.83" in Fallbrook.

The lightning spectacle was visible from all over southwest Riverside County and northern San Diego County. Loud thunder could be heard throughout the region. Lightning strikes were dangerously close to homes and struck power lines in some areas.

Michael Mojarro of Temecula reported that a lightning strike took out power for 15 minutes near Calle Medusa in the northeastern part of town. Dime-sized hail fell there for a few minutes, he said, and he witnessed lightning hitting a power pole in the neighborhood, sending sparks across his car.

A report from central Temecula had rainfall from the thunderstorm at 0.67". Rainfall of 0.40" was reported southeast of Temecula in the Temecula Valley wine country.

In Fallbrook, a lightning strike near Green Canyon Road and Pheasant Lane knocked out power.

Robert Gonsett of Fallbrook called the storm "The most spectacular lightning storm I've seen in Fallbrook in fifteen years." At one point, lightning bolts were seen every five to ten seconds. Lightning could be seen arcing from cloud to cloud. "The thunder rattled our bones," he said.

The thunderstorm formed over Agua Tibia mountain which straddles Riverside and San Diego Counties. Unstable air in the wake of the recent storms led to its formation. The rain and hail hit Temecula in the 6 o'clock hour and Fallbrook in the 7 o'clock hour.

Thunderstorms were also reported north of the Hemet area. The National Weather Service short term forecast predicted thunderstorm activity would end around 8:30pm tonight.

WeatherCurrents' Lake Elsinore weather station also received a small amount of rainfall tonight.

Emailed reports from Tom Chester, Michael Mojarro, Robert Gonsett, Keith Newman, Jim Sappington and Bryce Nakatani contributed to this story.

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