California’s Venice Beach is a popular tourist destination known for its beautiful sandy beaches, fun oceanside activities and awesome weather. Sunday afternoon, July 27 however, Venice was subjected to a rare, deadly thunderstorm that left one person dead and 13 injured. The 15-minute thunderstorm struck as more than 20,000 people were in the southern portion of Venice Beach, sending them scrambling for cover.
The lightning was from the same storm that hit Catalina Island roughly 90 minutes earlier, injuring a 57 year-old man on a golf course and starting two brush fires. The Los Angeles City Fire Department sent 47 firefighters, 8 ambulances and 5 fire engines to Venice after receiving the first call for help at 2:21 pm. A triage area was set up at the southern end of the parking lot from Venice Pier.
Firefighters responded to medical complaints by 13 people and sent 8 of them to local hospitals for further examination. A 55 year-old man, who had been surfing, is in critical condition. The name of the 20 year-old victim killed was not released pending notification of relatives. Authorities said the young man was reported by a witness to be floating in the water and was not breathing when retrieved.
L.A. County Fire Captain Brian Jordan advised anyone who was in the water at the time to go see a physician, as electrical burns can sometimes have delayed effects. Our hearts and prayers are with the victims and their families. We thank and appreciate the emergency responders who helped saved lives.
The lightning strikes that hit the Southern California coast, from San Diego to Venice, are extremely rare. The West Coast has the lowest incidence of lightning strikes in the whole nation, where the odds of being hit are 1 in 7.5 million. Compare that to 1 in 600,000 in Florida, the nation’s lightning capital.
An intense high-pressure system brought an unusual mass of hot and moist air from Mexico and the Gulf of California to western coastal areas. This created unstable atmospheric conditions that produced the lightning. Under normal conditions, these air masses would travel no farther west than the high desert and mountains.
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The WeatherBug – Earth Networks Team