frightening lightning in puerto rico
While holed up during a particularly noisy thunderstorm in San Antonio, Holly and I spoke reassuring words of comfort to our boys: “At least we won’t have to deal with lightning in Puerto Rico”.
Boy were we ever wrong! Holly lived in Hawaii (Oahu) for 7 years growing up and can’t remember a single thunderstorm the whole time she lived there. We incorrectly assumed that since Puerto Rico is also a tropical island, thunderstorms would be virtually nonexistent events here as well. I can tell you however, that I have NEVER experienced scarier lightning than I have experienced here.
Lightning in Puerto Rico
One time we went to the local public beach, Pico de Piedra, with friends. There was not a single cloud above us, although there were some in the distance. Before we even had a chance to get into the water, there was a bright flash over the ocean followed almost instantly by an ear-piercing clap of thunder. Even though it was sunny without a drop of rain, our crew had completely lost interest in staying at the beach. The boys tell me it was a type of lightning called bolt from the blue.
Our friends who live in the hills of Rincón have told us stories of storm clouds floating right through the open windows of their home and literally losing their hearing for a couple of minutes after a lightning bolt struck the wrought iron of their house. I have seen lightning strike a tree out of the corner of my eye just a few hundred feet from our condo. It’s crazy and something I totally didn’t expect.
In San Antonio, most thunderstorms hit while I was at the office away from any windows, or overnight. I’m sure being asleep with the windows closed and the central A/C on would mute the sounds somewhat. The storms here typically form in the afternoon when we are wide awake with the windows open. When a thunderstorm hits, we are acutely aware of the bright flashes of light closely followed by deafening sonic booms. Whatever the reason, here on the west side of the island at least, the storms certainly seem more frightening than what we experienced back in San Antonio.
Not only do the storms strikes us as scarier, but they also happen more frequently than what we are used to. During rainy season, which we are currently in the thick of, they can happen multiple times a week in the afternoon heat. That said, the storms don’t usually last very long and it’s nice that everything is super green now.
The silver lining
The closest and loudest thunderstorms freak Holly out, but truthfully, I actually kind of enjoy the thrill of a noisy storm. One thing we both enjoy is when these thunderstorms move out to sea in the evening. Since lightning bolts are visible at distances of up to 100 miles while the range of thunder is less than 15 miles, we can often enjoy a beautiful, silent flickering light show over the ocean after these storms pass. When this happens, it sometimes looks as though the frenetic camera flashes of paparazzi at the red carpet are going off right outside our window when we turn off the lights to go to bed.