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Woman, 2 dogs die after being struck by lightning near Los Angeles

A woman and her two dogs were killed in a lightning strike in the Los Angeles area Wednesday morning as thunderstorms rolled through Southern California, officials said.

Antonia Mendoza Chavez, 52, was struck by lightning around 8:50 a.m. in Pico Rivera, Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department spokesman Deputy Miguel Meza said.

A police vehicle near the scene of a lightning strike death that killed a woman and her two dogs in Pico Rivera, California, on Wednesday morning.KNBC

There were no witnesses, but paramedics called to the scene determined that her injuries were caused by lightning, he said. The two dogs also did not survive.

A low off the coast of California was bringing monsoonal rain and thunderstorms to Los Angeles and Ventura counties Wednesday, the National Weather Service said in a forecast discussion.

Pico Rivera ordered city crews to work indoors Wednesday due to the weather. The city government said in a statement that 3,700 lightning strikes had been reported in Southern California, NBC Los Angeles reported.

It did not appear that there were any other reports of lightning-related injuries in the Los Angeles area from the storms.

Cerritos College, a community college in Norwalk not far from Pico Rivera, closed its campus Wednesday after a power outage caused by a lightning strike. It said on its website the campus would remain closed Thursday.

In Long Beach, a city in the southern Los Angeles area, all beaches and waterways were closed Wednesday after a “significant lightning strike within the breakwall,” the fire department there said.

In Pasadena, firefighters responded to lightning-related palm tree fires, the fire department said in a Wednesday morning tweet in which it urged people to try to stay indoors.

Lightning kills about 20 people every year in the United States, according to the National Weather Service.

From 2009 through 2021, there have been eight people killed by lightning strikes in all of California, according to weather service records.

In the Los Angeles area, a 20-year-old college student was killed in a July lightning strike at Venice Beach in 2014.

In 2009, a 40-year-old woman died after being struck by lightning in Fontana, east of Los Angeles, during a June storm.

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