Originally uploaded by Claydo NYC.
We definitely get lightning, and parts of the state get intense lightning.
When I was little, in Shasta County, the grid wasn't as robust as it is now. We'd get days where the temperature would be 100, then 105, then 110, and sticky humid, unlike what we're used to in parts of California that aren't the northwestern corner. Then kaboom, the angels would start bowling, as Mom described it, and we'd have a huge storm, and the rain would pour. The power would go out, and we'd eat hot dogs cooked on unbent metal hangars in the fireplace, and pop popcorn in my mom's old campfire popping basket, and toast marshmallows, and sing. We were a girlscouty sort of family like that. Then we'd go to bed, and at some point the next morning, the power would come back on, usually just in time to power our tiny air conditioning unit in the living room so that as the temperatures rose back up into the 90s, we could lie in front of it and read. If the gutters were still running, we'd go block off the storm drain with detritus and walk around in our boots or pretend to fish.
There are other parts of the state that get lightning storms. But for the most part, we don't get big thunderboomers in California, the storms slide on overhead and aren't terribly dramatic.
We worry a bit when they come over, sometimes, as our summers tend to be dry, and a dry lightning storm can be troublesome. But lightning doesn't terrify me the way it can people in, say, Florida, where death by lightning is generally understood as one of the ways to go.