Kern County man survives lightning strike

A Kern County man was injured by lightning while walking his dog and pushing a baby in a stroller early Wednesday, the same day a woman and her two dogs were killed after being struck by lightning in Pico Rivera, authorities said.

The unidentified man was struck by lightning while walking in his neighborhood of Ridgecrest, east of Bakersfield, according to the Ridgecrest Police Department. The man survived and the baby and dog are unharmed, police said.

When police arrived at the scene around 7:40 a.m., they found an individual performing CPR on the unconscious man, according to Ridgecrest Police Chief Jed McLaughlin. The man was eventually resuscitated and transported to a local hospital.

His condition was not immediately known.

Less than two hours later and 240 km to the south, Antonia Mendoza Chavez, 52, and her two dogs were struck and killed by lightning in Pico Rivera, authorities said. She was pronounced dead at the scene.

Chavez was walking on a trail along the San Gabriel River when it was struck by lightning just before 9 a.m. Wednesday, authorities said. A passerby first alerted emergency services after noticing Chavez on the ground and a series of scorched holes marring an asphalt lane where the lightning strike had occurred.

Chavez’s death was the first recorded lightning death in the country this year, according to the National Lightning Safety Council. Fatal strikes are still fairly rare, but have occurred between 11 and 40 times a year over the past decade, according to the group.

Wednesday’s thunderstorms arrived earlier than the typical monsoon season in Southern California, National Weather Service meteorologist David Sweet said in Oxnard.

“Yesterday’s thunderstorms were well above the normal amount you would see in California at this time of year,” Sweet said.

Typically, the monsoon season doesn’t arrive until mid-July, which can see thunderstorms and lightning.

“We have this little piece of advice, a kind of rhyme that people need to remember: ‘If thunder is rumbling, go inside.’ We’re talking about a good, sturdy building or even a car can be a safe place in a thunderstorm,” Sweet said.

Los Angeles Times

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