The night skies over Southern California were studded with an atypical number of flashes. The North American Lightning Detection Network logged 25,000 strikes between Tuesday night and Wednesday morning, which meteorologist Chris Vagasky says falls in the top 2% of daily California lightning totals; about a third were close to ground. SF Gate spoke with Vagasky, who described it as "anomalous " as "California’s most active period for lightning is usually from July to September once the monsoon has really established itself."
One of those strikes ended up being deadly. The Los Angeles Times reports a woman and her two dogs were killed by a lightning strike Wednesday morning; they were walking along a riverbed in Pico Rivera—that's about 15 miles southeast of LA—around 9am when the storm moved in. It marked the first lightning fatality in the state this year. NBC Los Angeles cites National Weather Service Storm Data that shows the US averaged 27 lightning fatalities a year between 2009 and 2019, with about 10% of people who are struck dying as a result. (Read more lightning stories.)