Woman dies from lightning as more than 50K strikes hit California

Woman dies from lightning as more than 50K strikes hit California

LATEST June 22, 9 p.m. Chris Vagasky, a meteorologist with the company Vaisala that maps lightning strikes around in the world, said on Twitter on Wednesday evening that total of 54,329 lightning events were detected across California for UTC day June 22.

“The most in a single day since September 8, 2017, when 56,059 were detected,” Vagasky said. “This is the 6th highest daily total since 2015.”

June 22, 11:50 am A push of monsoonal moisture that moved into Southern California, the Central Valley and the southern Sierra Nevada on Wednesday morning triggered thunderstorms that threw tens of thousands of lightning strikes and caused one death and one injury. Meteorologists said the weather event is unusual for June in California.

Chris Vagasky, a meteorologist with the company Vaisala, which maps lightning strikes around in the world, said on Twitter the North American Lightning Detection Network detected 25,000 strikes between Tuesday night and Wednesday morning.

Vagasky said this number puts the event in the top 2% of daily California lightning totals.

Of the total strikes, Vagasky told SFGATE that 9,427 were cloud to ground, while the others were in-cloud pulses and didn’t reach the ground.

“This is an anomalous event for June,” Vagasky said. “California’s most active period for lightning is usually from July to September once the monsoon has really established itself.”

The National Weather Service reported thunderstorms and lightning strikes across Southern California and the southern Central Valley on Tuesday night into Wednesday morning. More than an inch of rain fell over Los Angeles and Ventura County across 12 hours, and there were reports of some pea-size hail. fire fighters responded to a fire that was likely started by lightning in Ventura County.

“There were a number of very small fires but it’s hard to confirm if they were started by lightning,” said Ryan Kittell, a forecaster with the Los Angeles weather service office. “There was a small fire in Glendale. Everything has been really small. There hasn’t been anything that has gotten very large. Even that one in Ventura stayed small.”


A woman and her dogs were reportedly struck and killed by lightning Wednesday morning in Pico Rivera, a city about 15 miles southeast of downtown Los Angeles, multiple media outlets reported.

This marks the first death by lightning in California in 2022 and the third in the past three years, the Lightning Safety Council said.

The city of Pico Rivera called on residents to cancel all outdoor activities because of the inclement weather.

About a 160 miles northeast of Pico Rivera, a man was struck by lightning in Ridgecrest at about 7:30 am while pushing a baby in a stroller and walking a dog, said Ridgecrest Police Department Capt. Aaron Tucker.

“When officers arrived, they located a person suffering from a lightning strike, and person was providing CPR,” said Tucker. “The victim regained consciousness. He was later transported to a hospital.”

Tucker said the dog and the baby were not harmed.

The thunderstorms covered a large swath of California as moisture west of the Channel Islands drifted inland.

“This is creating southerly flow from the Pacific into southern California, bringing sufficient moisture and instability into the region for thunderstorm development, when the air begins to interact with the California terrain,” Vagasky said. “As that system moves over California and into Nevada over the next day or two, the moisture supply will go away and so will the chance of storms.”

The monsoonal moisture is expected to reach the San Francisco Bay Area on Wednesday afternoon, but the system will likely lose a lot of its strength and carry less moisture as it pushes east to west from the Central Valley toward the coast. While the thunderstorms in Southern California delivered some downpours of rain, the storm activity is expected to deliver less rain in the north.

“I’d say for the most part, we’re looking at scattered high-based showers with potentially an isolated thunderstorm or two,” said Drew Peterson, a forecaster with the Bay Area’s weather service office. “The most likely areas for this are pretty much from Hollister northward to about Benicia, including all of Santa Clara County, Contra Costa County, Alameda County, Solano County and Napa County, with the highest possibility on the eastern side of those counties.”

Data produced by North American Lightning Detection Network is monitored nonstop and validated against rocket-triggered lightning, lightning to tall towers, and other lightning references.

“The network detects more than 95% of cloud-to-ground flashes with 100-meter accuracy,” Vagasky told SFGATE for a previous story.

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