Thunderstorms light up the Puget Sound skies

Lightning strike over Anacortes by Tony D. Locke Photography

Wow, what a day Thursday. It began with thunderstorms around Seattle, took a break for the middle of the day with even a little bit of sunshine, and then came back stronger than ever Thursday night with thousands of lightning strikes and record amounts of rainfall.

The National Weather Service said at the storm's peak Thursday night, lightning strikes were occurring at the rate of 500 strikes per hour.

But aside from the constant rumbles of thunder and brilliant flashes of light, drenching rains covered much of the region. Seattle reported 1.73" of rain in the 24 hour period ending Friday morning -- 1.09" was the total before midnight, good for the 9th wettest September day in Seattle history and obliterating the daily rainfall record of 0.36". (Friday's daily rainfall record of 0.38" has already been nearly doubled before sunrise.)

Rainfall total across the rest of the region generally ranged from 1-2 inches with a few spots in southwestern Washington getting much more. Winlock reported 4.19 inches of rain, while 3.10 inches was reported in Olympia and 2.5 inches was recorded in Yelm and Auburn.

The rainfall caused some localized flooding. Auburn Way South was closed for much of the night until crews could clear some storm drains. Bickford Avenue in Snohomish was also closed for much of the night due to flooding.

In Burien, a sinkhole about 20 feet across and 4 feet deep opened up on S. 96th Street and 8th Ave. South. While in Puyallup, classes at Ferrucci Junior High were closed Friday after water inundated 12 classrooms.

Up in the mountains, an 8-foot deep mudslide wiped out a part of SR-410 20 miles west of Naches. DOT crews were working to clean up the mess.

Hail the size of half-dollars (1.25 inches in diameter) were reported in Centralia while half-inch size hail was observed a few miles northeast of Bellevue.

Some Thursday evening also spent some time in the dark, as 1,800 customers lost power in Mason County while much of Gig Harbor suffered an outage after seven of Tacoma Power's eight transformers failed.

And a 59-year-old Tenino man is still recovering at Harborview Medical Center in Seattle after being struck by lightning while riding his motorcycle in I-5 in Chehalis Thursday morning.

But it was the non-stop lightning that got the most attention with the storm. Greg Johnson, who runs had his dual time-lapse cameras rolling toward Whidbey Island when an hours-long thunderstorm rolled through there.

His cameras captured several lightning strikes, which make for quite the dramatic presentation when put into time lapse:

And here are both cameras seamed together:

The bulk of the storms have passed and some lingering rain Friday morning will taper off, leaving sunnier weather for the weekend and next week.