Woman AND Her 2 Dogs Killed In ‘Rare’ SoCal Lightning Strike On Morning Walk

A woman and her two dogs were found dead as a result of a lightning strike in Southern California.

The poor pet owner, who has since been identified as Antonia Mendoza Chavez, was walking her pups along the San Gabriel River in Pico Rivera when the three ultimately met their untimely fates. According to authorities, the 52-year-old and her two dogs were found dead Wednesday at the scene once police arrived at 8:50 a.m. While there were no witnesses, paramedics at the scene were easily able to determine cause of death from her injuries.

Morgan Arteaga, of the sheriff’s department, explained:

“There were markings on the floor to indicate that some kind of powerful entity did strike the asphalt. Obviously, this is a very rare occasion, but when the weather is kind of unpredictable, we always caution to stay inside where we know that it is safe, until the weather clears up.”

Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Sergeant Jonathan Branham confirmed later in a statement:

“It was a female Hispanic adult who had been struck by lightning and did not survive her injuries. She was walking two dogs and the dogs were also deceased.”

What a grim ending for someone who was just planning on going for a quick walk with her canine companions — the same walk she took every morning.

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Pico Rivera City Manager Steve Carmona cautioned local residents in light of the shocking death: 

“Today’s incident is a strong reminder that people and organizations must exercise extreme caution and stay indoors as much as possible during a thunderstorm.”

It’s so scary and humbling to realize you really can’t ensure your safety anywhere you go…

He continued:

“While lightning strikes are rare in Southern California, they occurred frequently overnight with over 3,700 lightning strikes recorded in the region.”

That’s a lot of lightning strikes!! Why so many??

Well according to the National Weather Service, monsoonal rain and thunderstorms, which originated in Baja, were headed for Los Angeles and Ventura counties on Wednesday. The Pico Rivera city government had even issued city crews to work indoors on Wednesday in preparation for the incoming storms! And it seems that accommodations were made all across SoCal as Long Beach reportedly closed its beaches and waterways on Wednesday, also in preparation for the storm.

That’s how you know it’s serious!

Disturbingly, the storms brought lightning but only scattered showers — so it’s possible it wasn’t even raining where Chavez and her pups were walking. However, neighbors did tell NBC4 they heard thunder and saw lightning flashes throughout the morning.

Thankfully, there were no other reports of lightning-related injuries or deaths in the area — the last reported death from lightning in Southern California was in 2014 when a 20-year-old college student was struck and killed. About 43 people in the US are killed by lightning strikes each year — but surprisingly only 10% of strikes are lethal. 

Pico Rivera City Manager Steve Carmona concluded his statement on Antonia’s death by once more cautioning local residents:

“This is a tragic incident. But again, we just caution the residents just to be careful.”

R.I.P.

What are your thoughts on the tragedy, Perezcious readers? Share your support for Antonia’s family in the comments below.

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