Lightning continued to put on an aerial light show in parts of the Southland overnight and into the morning hours, but forecasters said generally calmer weather was on tap Thursday, following a volatile day that turned deadly when a 52-year-old woman was fatally struck by lightning in Pico Rivera.
According to the National Weather Service, a “slight chance” of thunderstorms will linger in the Los Angeles County mountains and the Antelope Valley Thursday afternoon.
“Otherwise, mostly clear skies can be expected today through Wednesday, except for some night and morning coastal low clouds and fog,” according to the NWS. “Continued inland heat is expected during the period, with slightly cooler temperatures at the coast.”
Temperatures will continue to be warm, at least away from the coast, with some areas seeing highs 4 to 10 degrees above normal. Some valley areas will reach the 90s, pushing 100, while coastal areas will be in the 70s and 80s, forecasters said.
All that follows Wednesday’s volatile weather, which took a tragic turn around 8:50 a.m. in Pico Rivera as a woman and her two dogs were fatally struck by lightning as they walked along the San Gabriel River near Mines and Rimbank avenues. The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department said all three died at the scene.
The coroner’s office identified the woman as Antonia Mendoza Chavez, 52, of Pico Rivera. An autopsy was pending, but authorities on the scene said her death was consistent with a lightning strike.
The woman’s landlord, Gloria Colocho, told reporters the dogs were named Chubby and Luna, and she said Chavez would walk them every morning. According to ABC7, video from Colocho’s home Nest camera showed Chavez walking in the area Wednesday morning.
“I called her and I texted her and she didn’t answer, and the message was not delivered to the cell phone,” Colocho told ABC7. “I called her and it went straight to voicemail, and from there, I had this feeling that it was her. I checked my camera … she left around 7:30 a.m. and I see her with her two dogs, and she left the house and she hasn’t come back at all.”
Following the woman’s death, the city of Pico Rivera instructed all of its city crews to work indoors for the rest of the day.
“Additionally, the city is sending out a notification to residents to provide them with a warning to be careful,” according to a statement from the city. “Today’s incident is a strong reminder that people and organizations must exercise extreme caution and stay indoors as mush as possible during a thunderstorm. While lightning strikes are rare in Southern California, they occurred frequently overnight with over 3,700 lightning strikes recorded in the region.”
Wednesday’s storms also sparked some small fires and prompted beach closures in Newport Beach, Laguna Beach and Long Beach due to lightning strikes.
There were scattered reports of power outages around the Southland on Wednesday morning as the isolated storms erupted.
Some rainfall records fell on Wednesday.
At Long Beach Airport, 0.11 inches of rain was recorded, breaking the record for the date of a trace set in 1967. In Lancaster, 0.51 inches of rain was recorded, setting the record. Previously, zero inches of rain was recorded. At Palmdale Airport, 0.3 inches of rain was recorded, setting the record. The previous record was zero inches.