LOS ANGELES — A woman and her two dogs were fatally struck by lightning in Pico Rivera Wednesday as a storm front pushed across the Southland and led to power outages and beach closures.
The lightning strike in Pico Rivera occurred around 8:50 a.m. when the woman was walking along the San Gabriel River, according to the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department. The woman and her dogs both died at the scene.
"There's a one-in-a-million chance of something like this happening, and it happened," Los Angeles County 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.
It was a tragic turn in morning peppered by scattered thunderstorms that made for a damp morning 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 monring, and by mid-morning was responding to a blaze above Eaton Canyon.
"Please try to stay indoors during this unstable weather and have your disaster supplies ready if you lose power," the fire department warned residents.
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."