Lightning strikes tree in Solana Beach, ignites small fire


By Kristina Houck

Although summer storms brought welcome rain to San Diego County Sunday, July 27, lightning struck a palm tree in Solana Beach, igniting a small fire.

The rumbles of thunder and flashes of lightning rattled several Solana Beach residents after lightning struck the tree on Santa Olivia. Parts of the tree burned and fell on the ground, with fire crews responding to the scene.

“We’ve had lightning, but it’s never been this close,” said Torrey Pines High School senior Tim Holdsworth, who captured firefighters putting out the blaze. “When we heard the thunder and saw the lightning — it was almost instantaneous.”

There were more than 200 lightning strikes in San Diego County since Friday, with nearly 140 on Sunday, according to the National Weather Service.

Lightning struck several places in the Santa Fe Hills neighborhood in Solana Beach. In addition to the palm tree, a house on Santa Queta was hit.

“It was loud enough and intense enough that we thought our windows were going to break,” said nearby neighbor Pam Omidi. “I’ve lived here all my life and this was the worst storm I’ve ever been in.”

Thunderstorms started Sunday morning at the county’s coast and moved inland by the afternoon. Del Mar received .57 inches of rain and Solana Beach received .29 inches, according to the National Weather Service, which issued a flash flood warning for northern parts of San Diego County and southwestern Riverside County.

Solana Beach Firefighter