26 years of living in the Central Valley, and never have I seen a thunderstorm here like the one that rolled through late last night and early this morning.
There were flashes as early as 8 p.m., but nothing that spoke of the fire show to come.
Starting at 11:45 p.m., I watched as the cloudy southern night sky lit up every few seconds, with the flashes growing brighter and brighter over the next half-hour, until low, rumbling thunder reached Tracy. That's when I decided a spa in an exposed backyard was not the safest place to watch one of nature's most powerful displays. So, logically, I moved to the roof.
By 12:45 a.m. Thursday, the storm broke on Tracy.
Finally, not just the clouds lit up as white and gray sheets — arcs of purple-white lightning raced from cloud to cloud, illuminating the city in brief bursts of daylight. Time to get off the roof. Quickly.
That's when the hail and pelting rain released from the towering thunderheads above, and the smell of a summer storm wafted up from the streets into my windows.
It was truly a spectacular show, one that Valley residents don't often see. Even Sam Matthews, the Tracy Press publisher emeritus who has spent a long lifetime in the Tracy area, can't recall a similar outburst. (I've seen light shows like this in Los Angeles and Montana, but never in our flatlands.)
So file this one away, alert readers. That was a once-in-a-lifetime storm.
Unless, of course, those predictions for a Thursday night encore come true...