During a flurry of lightning strikes in the Los Angeles area on Wednesday, the victim became the country’s first victim of a lightning-related death in 2018.
Authorities in Southern California say a woman and her two dogs were struck and killed by lightning while out for a walk on Wednesday morning. As far as anyone knows, this is the first American death caused by lightning this year.
Sgt. Jonathan Branham of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department said the lightning strike occurred along the San Gabriel River in the community of Pico Rivera, which is about 10 miles southeast of downtown Los Angeles.
According to ABC7, the woman and her two dogs, Luna and Chubby, have been identified as 52-year-old Antonia Mendoza Chavez.
In an interview with KABC on Wednesday, a Pico Rivera Sheriff’s Department detective said, “We don’t see lightning kills like this, it’s rare.”
Gloria Colocho, Chavez’s landlord, told FOX11 that she saw Chavez taking her dogs for daily walks on the trail. As soon as Colocho learned that a woman and her two dogs had been struck by lightning, she feared the worst.
In an interview with A, Colocho said, “I tried to call her, and she didn’t respond, and I tried to text her, and the message was not sent to the cell phone.”
On Wednesday, BC7 gave an interview. As soon as I dialed her number, I had a gut feeling that it had been her voicemail. When I went to check my camera, I saw that she had gone around 7:30 a.m. with her two dogs, and she hasn’t returned at all.”
Compared to other parts of the country, lightning strikes on the West Coast are rare, according to AccuWeather Meteorologist Brian Thompson. If you live near the seaside, you may be more vulnerable to lightning strikes because lightning occurs so infrequently in this area.
- Housing Affordability Continues To Plunge in California
- California High-Speed Rail Finalizes Plans for Segment from San Francisco to San Jose
Thunderstorms swept across the Southern California region on Wednesday and spawned multiple lightning strikes, however not all of their rain fell to the ground.
From late Tuesday into Wednesday, Southern California had over 5,000 lightning strikes, according to Thompson. As of 8 am Wednesday, more than 500 strikes had been registered.
To prepare for the storm, city workers and summer camps were sent indoors, while events like a farmer’s market were postponed, as reported by the Associated Press (AP).
An upper level low migrating westward coupled with some monsoon moisture to produce thunderstorms near the coast, says Thompson.
According to John Jensenius, a lightning safety specialist with the National Lightning Safety Council, this is the first recorded lightning fatality in the United States this year, and it came significantly later than the first lightning-related death that generally occurs in the United States.
Jensenius stated in an email that “based on the past 10 years, the U.S. averages six lightning deaths by June 22.” “The first death due to lightning occurred at the end of the year. In the past, the most recent deadline was set for June 9, 2021.”
In 2021, there were a total of 11 lightning deaths in the United States.
It was reported to AccuWeather earlier this year that two fathers and daughter were terrified after being struck by lightning outside a spring training game in Tampa, Florida After the game was called off due to thunderstorms, they were walking to their car and the area was under a severe thunderstorm warning.
John Moberg and his daughter Ashley were discharged from the hospital after two days.
The weather and anyone else’s warnings should be heeded “because you never assume something is going to happen to you,” Moberg said to AccuWeather.