California woman dies in ‘one in a million’ lightning strike


A woman in Southern California died after being struck by lightning as a summer storm hit the area, local media reported.

The incident took place Wednesday, June 22, when she and her two dogs – Luna and Chubby – were walking along a riverbed path in Pico Rivera, a city located in southeastern Los Angeles County, according to the Los Angeles Times report quoting local police.

Authorities said the victim was 52-year-old Antonia Mendoza Chavez, a mother of two.

“There’s a one-in-a-million chance of something like this happening and it happened,” LA County Sheriff’s Sgt. Patrick Morey was quoted as saying by the newspaper.

Mendoza Chavez was walking her two dogs just before 9 a.m. on a path near a riverbed at Mines and Rimbank avenues in the community about 15 miles southeast of downtown Los Angeles.

NBC Los Angeles, a local affiliate, said her landlord suspected something was horribly wrong after a failed early morning text. “I called her and I texted her, and the message was not delivered,” the victim’s landlord Gloria Colocho told NBC Los Angeles. “It usually says it’s delivered, and I called her and it went straight to voicemail. And, from there, I had this feeling it was her.”

Colocho said the morning walks with her dogs, Luna and Chubby, were part of Mendoza Chavez’s daily routine.

“She would always go walking,” Colocho told NBC. “She told me she would walk them in the morning and when she got back from work.”

“There were markings on the floor to indicate that some kind of powerful entity did strike the asphalt,” said Morgan Arteaga, of the sheriff’s department. “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.”

Meanwhile, Pico Rivera officials said they have announced cancellation of some outdoor activities such as field trips and farmers markets.

Officials in some Southern California areas urged local residents to stay indoors during the unstable weather.

Multiple beaches in Southern California were closed by local authorities due to dangerous weather conditions.