Near midnight yesterday (Thursday at 11:58 PM), lightning was apparent in one of my favorite weather cams (skunkbayweather)--see the image below. A classic with all kinds of forking of the lightning channel in a series of discrete steps.
Less than 15 minutes later, the unimaginable happened: lightning nearly struck the cam, apparently hitting the water a few dozen feet away. Amazingly you can see the undulations of the lightning channel.
You are looking at something that is hotter than the surface of the sun; the core of lightning channels reach roughly 50,000 K (Kelvin), with the surface of the sun only around 6000 K. The huge currents associated with lightning converts atmospheric gases into plasma, with the electrons stripped off the nuclei. A pressure shock radiates from the superheated channel: thunder.
There were many other amazing lightning pictures taken this morning, such as this stunning picture on Whidbey Island (Coupeville, Camp Casey) by Ron Newberry.
Lightning detection networks picked up the storms on Thursday night--here is the 24h lightning strikes ending 1 AM Friday. Lots of lightning over the Olympics, with some moving over Whidbey. A lot more lightning over the Cascades. Fortunately, there was substantial rain over the Cascades and the ground is still relatively moist: thus, few fires are expected.
The storms and rain are over now, with the next week being warm and dry.