Jan 11, 2023 - News

Unusual hail, thunderstorms rock San Francisco

Lightning over sutro tower

Lightning strikes Sutro Tower on Jan. 10. Photo: Courtesy of Jessica Almendarez

The barrage of storms continued Tuesday across California, bringing unusual thunderstorms, lightning and hail to San Francisco.

Details: Heavy rain prompted the National Weather Service to issue a flash flood warning in San Francisco about noon Tuesday. The city received around 0.8 inches of precipitation between 8am and 2pm, per the NWS.

  • Hailstorms accompanied the downpours and thunderstorms (not to be mistaken for a Blue Angels airshow) rocked the city.
  • A large tree fell on top of a Muni bus near Union Square, while Sutro Tower was struck by lightning just before noon.

Zoom out: Tuesday's storm hit Central and Southern California particularly hard, with over 16 inches of rain falling in the mountains of Santa Barbara and Ventura counties and as much as 7 inches in Los Angeles County.

  • Gov. Gavin Newsom visited Santa Cruz, a city ravaged by flooding this past week.
  • "We're soaked. This place is soaked," Newsom said, warning that even modest, upcoming storms could have major impacts across California.

What's next: The southern half of the state is expected to receive a break Wednesday, while rain continues in the north.

  • In San Francisco, the NWS estimates we could see 1 to 1.5 inches, adding to our already historic totals for January.

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