Woman and Two Dogs Killed by a Lightning Strike in South California

A lady and two dogs were killed by lightning Wednesday morning in a location where over 500 lightning strikes were reported in one hour.

(Photo : Photo by GUILLAUME SOUVANT/AFP via Getty Images)

An Unfortunate Casualty

Authorities claimed that a woman and two dogs were killed by lightning while on Wednesday morning on a stroll in Southern California. The woman’s death was the first reported lightning-related death in the United States this year.

Just before 9 a.m., a lightning strike was recorded along the San Gabriel River in Pico Rivera, a community about 10 miles southeast of downtown Los Angeles. The Associated Press spoke with Sgt. Jonathan Branham of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.

The lady was not immediately named, but officials told KTLA she was in her 50s.

Lightning Assault

Thunderstorms

(Photo : Photo by FEDERICO PARRA/AFP via Getty Images)

“Lightning strikes are less common along the West Coast than everywhere else in the continental United States,” AccuWeather Meteorologist Brian Thompson said. “Because lightning strikes so seldom in this area, particularly along the ocean, it is easier to be caught off guard by lightning.”

Regardless, the Southern California area was assaulted with lightning strikes on Wednesday as many thunderstorms passed over the region, albeit not all of the precipitation fell to the ground.

“From Tuesday to Wednesday, almost 5,000 lightning strikes were reported over Southern California,” Thompson added. “Over 500 strikes were registered in the 8 a.m. hour alone on Wednesday.”

As a result of the storm, the city ordered its construction teams and summer programs to stay indoors and canceled outside events, including a farmer’s market, according to the Associated Press.

Also Read: Dry Thunderstorms in California may Spark More Wildfires  

Thunderstorms in South California

Thunderstorms along the coast were caused by an upper-level low sliding in from the west and some monsoonal moisture, according to Thompson.

According to John Jensenius, a lightning safety specialist with the National Lightning Safety Council, this is the first reported lightning fatality in the United States this year. It occurred far later than the first lightning-related mortality in the United States.

“Over the last ten years, the United States has averaged six lightning deaths by June 22,” Jensenius wrote in an email. “This is the latest day in the year for the first lightning death; before, the latest date was June 9, 2021.”

Previous Incidents

In 2021, 11 people were killed by lightning in the United States.

A father and daughter who were struck by lightning outdoors of a spring training game in Tampa, Florida, told AccuWeather about their terrifying encounter earlier this year. They were heading to their car after the game had been canceled due to thunderstorms, and the region had been under a severe thunderstorm warning.

After two days, John Moberg and his daughter, Ashley, were released from the hospital.

“You never assume something bad would happen to you,” Moberg told AccuWeather, “and you should follow the weather and anyone else’s advice on what to do and what not to do.”

Related Article: Exposure to Major Disasters Can Cause Long-Term Mental Health Problems  

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