Thunderstorms, lightning halt operations at San Francisco International Airport, delay Giants-Dodgers game

Bolts of lightning are shown striking south of San Francisco.
(Jeff Chiu / Associated Press)

Thunderstorms brought dramatic lightning strikes to the Bay Area on Monday night, briefly halting operations at San Francisco International Airport, delaying the Giants-Dodgers game and causing power outages throughout the city.

Social media lit up with stunning videos and photos showing lightning striking near the airport and AT&T Park, where spectators had gathered for the game.

“We don’t typically have lightning outbreaks or lightning events in the Bay Area,” said Charles Bell, meteorologist with the National Weather Service. “So any time we have them it definitely gets everybody’s attention.”


About 1,100 cloud-to-ground lightning strikes were reported across the Bay Area, with most of the activity occurring after 6 p.m. and over the water.

“There were still quite a few over land,” Bell said.

About 9:30 p.m., a tug driver towing an aircraft on the taxiway was possibly struck by lightning, said Brian Horne, airport duty manager. Paramedics were evaluating the man, who complained only of ringing in his ears, and were trying to determine if a strike actually occurred.

Multiple flights scheduled to depart from and arrive at the airport were delayed.

The storm also caused transformer fires and power outages across the city, according to the San Francisco Fire Department. Fire officials, along with the U.S. Coast Guard, rescued a person in distress on a sailboat under the Golden Gate Bridge.

Shortly after 10 p.m., the Federal Aviation Administration lifted its ground stop, and airport operations should resume shortly.


“They’re keeping ramp crews off the ramp areas for safety, then when they determine it’s safe they’ll resume operations,” Horne said. “Now those aircraft can get ready to depart.”

A low-pressure system lingering off Big Sur pulled in subtropical moisture from Southern California, causing lightning and some rain, said Will Pi, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service.

Some areas received 0.2 inches of rain.

Another round of thunderstorms is expected to hit the Bay Area on Tuesday, Pi said.

Twitter: @AleneTchek



11:40 p.m.: This article was updated with more information about the thunderstorms and lightning.

This article was originally published at 10:30 p.m.