Calmer Weather in Southland Forecast after Volatile — and Tragic — Storms

LOS ANGELES (CNS) – Calmer weather was in the forecast for the Southland Thursday — one day after thunderstorms and lightning strikes buffeted the region, killing a woman and her two dogs by a strike in Pico Rivera and leading to beach closures and scattered power outages.

Mostly sunny skies were expected Thursday — though there was a small chance of some isolated showers due to lingering moisture.

Temperatures will continue to be warm, at least away from the coast, with some areas seeing highs 8 to 12 degrees above normal.

Thursday’s lingering rains were not expected to be accompanied by lightning, according to the National Weather Service.

Friday and Saturday are shaping up to feature what the NWS labeled “benign” conditions, with increased onshore flow bringing a thicker marine layer. A slight cooling trend along the coasts and in the valleys was expected, while inland areas were expected to warm up.

The Friday/Saturday outlook called for temperatures in the upper 70s to mid-80s in the L.A. Metro area and mountains, and ranging from the upper 80s to mid-90s in the valleys.

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. The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department said all three died at the scene.

“There’s a one-in-a-million chance of something like this happening, and it happened,” sheriff’s Sgt. Patrick Morey told the Los Angeles Times.

According to the county fire department, the woman was struck near Mines and Rimbank avenues.

Wednesday morning was also peppered by scattered thunderstorms that made for a damp commute in some areas, sparked at least one small brush fire and caused lighting strikes that forced temporary closures of Orange County beaches in Newport Beach and Laguna Beach. All beaches in Long Beach were closed late Wednesday morning due to a “significant lightning strike within the breakwall,” according to the city Fire Department.

The Pasadena Fire Department reported several “lightning-related palm tree fires” Wednesday morning, and by mid-morning was responding to a blaze above Eaton Canyon.

Pico Rivera city officials, responding the death of the woman and two dogs, said all city crews were instructed to work indoors for the remainder 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.”

There were scattered reports of power outages around the Southland on Wednesday morning as the isolated storms erupted. At least one small brush fire in the Sunland area was believed to have been sparked by a lightning strike.

The weather service reported lightning strikes and thunderstorms Wednesday morning over Mount Wilson, with the system moving northwest over Monrovia, Angeles Crest Highway between Mount Wilson and Mount Waterman, Sierra Madre, Arcadia and Duarte. The NWS recorded wind gusts reaching 51 mph on Mount Wilson, and up to 66 mph in the Lake Hughes area.

According to the NWS, the main storm front over Los Angeles County stretched from Long Beach through the Antelope Valley, with isolated storm cells developing and dissipating along the front, dropping roughly a quarter- inch of rain at a time and even some small hail. One area in the San Gabriel Mountains received just under an inch of rain.

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