HOLLISTER, Calif. (KRON) — Storm chaser William Justo recorded an amazing video in Hollister of a rainbow shining and lightning bolts flashing, all in the same moment.

Mother Nature’s stunning electrical show happened just as the sun was setting over the horizon Wednesday.

Justo was at home in San Jose closely watching the radar Wednesday afternoon when he decided to jump in his car and head to Hollister. The radar looked promising for lightning strikes as monsoonal moisture blew in from the south.

“The storm started to fire-up,” he told KRON4. Summer storms are rare in California and Justo didn’t want to miss his chance.

As soon as Justo arrived in San Benito County, he pulled out his phone and Nikon camera to record the storm’s dramatic display. Between 6-9 p.m., he witnessed nearly 80 cloud-to-ground bolts and hundreds of cloud-to-cloud lightning.

Justo said the rainbow formed thanks to perfect timing with the sunset.

“I was looking toward the east and there were clear skies toward the west. The sun beamed below the clouds, so it was perfecting timing and angle. I’ve seen pictures of lightning and rainbows, and I was dreaming that one day I’d actually capture it. It was a surreal experience,” Justo told KRON4.

Rainbow and lightning
Rainbow and lightning (Image courtesy William Justo)

The summer storm was unusual for June in California.

The North American Lightning Detection Network reported thousands of lightning strikes between Tuesday and Wednesday as the thunderstorm blew from Southern California up through inland areas of Central California.

Weather watcher Chris Vagasky wrote, “Between (midnight) UTC June 22 and (1 p.m.) UTC this morning, NLDN detected 66,897 total lightning events. 45,129 were in-cloud, 21,768 were cloud-to-ground. This is a bigger event than the August 2020 event.”

Climate scientist Daniel Swain wrote, “This was, by any quantitative measure, an extraordinary (and meteorologically extreme) lightning event.”

Inland areas of the Central Coast experienced hail, lightning, and gusty winds before the storm moved north to the Sierra Nevada.

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