The passing weather system came in with a very jarring thunderstorm Sunday, just before midnight.
Many residents were awoken suddenly as the thunder cracked with a sound that was so loud one person thought it was a plane crash.
A series of lightning strikes in the sky ended up hitting a palm tree, setting it alight on the corner of Laguna and De La Guerra Street in downtown Santa Barbara.
City firefighters arrived and found the tree burning next to parked cars and housing units.
The tree fire was quickly extinguished and no other serious issues or fires were reported.