Lightning strike causes transformer to explode in Visalia

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Friday, January 6, 2023
Lightning strike causes transformer to explode in Visalia
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Workers in Visalia captured the moment that a transformer was struck by lightning, leading to an explosion.

VISALIA, Calif. (KFSN) -- As heavy rains reached southern portions of the Valley, the storm also brought lightning with it.

Workers in Visalia captured the moment that a transformer was struck by lightning, leading to an explosion.

Gilberto Raya captured a video of the explosion Thursday afternoon while at work at the CJ Hammer Pump & Machinery facility.

"We were working, I heard it was pouring. So I decided to go outside and record it. When I was recording, out of nowhere I heard the lighting. I turned my phone & recorded it."

Raya said he is not afraid of lighting because, growing up in Mexico, he is used to more powerful storms, he explained that after the explosion people ran to see what was going on rather than flee the area...

Southern California Edison crews have been tracking the latest series of storms, and as they keep coming they are putting special teams in place.

"Lightning strikes are rare against transformers but they do happen," said Paul Netter, a spokesperson for Southern California Edison.

When lightning does strike and power is affected, there are some tips to keep in mind, they sound simple but are often forgotten.

"Use flashlights, battery operated flashlights, instead of candles, candles present significant fire risk," said Netter. "Be conservative about the use of their devices, their cell phones, laptops, and preserve that power for emergencies and high priority moments."

Power was not affected after the lightning struck, but it definitely sparked a reaction.

"I was happy no one was injured. Some of my coworkers ran inside the shop," said Raya.

Southern California Edison says lightning strikes don't usually lead to power outages, it's the downed trees that are the main culprit.

We're not done with saturation quite yet, with another storm headed our way this weekend and next week.