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Storm hits Southern California, with lightning closing beaches and striking a plane

Afternoon rain in Glendale on Saturday, July 18, 2015.
Afternoon rain in Glendale on Saturday, July 18, 2015.
Afternoon rain in Glendale on Saturday, July 18, 2015.
Saturday rain in Atwater Village on Saturday, July 18, 2015.
@boofregoso on Twitter
Afternoon rain in Glendale on Saturday, July 18, 2015.
Kids playing in the rain in Pasadena on Saturday, July 18, 2015.
Melody Lumpkin via Facebook
Afternoon rain in Glendale on Saturday, July 18, 2015.
A stormy day at Big Bear Lake on Saturday, July 18, 2015.
Patricia Pangelinan via Facebook
Afternoon rain in Glendale on Saturday, July 18, 2015.
Clouds in Monterey Hills on Saturday, July 18, 2015.
Mary Kathryn Campbell via Facebook


Thunder rolled into Southern California, setting off car alarms and ushering in heavy, sporadic rain, which is expected into Monday. Almost 10,000 LADWP customers were left without power. Local beaches were cleared because of the threat of lightning. A plane was also struck by lightning.

Updates

Update 3:25 p.m. Almost 10,000 LADWP customers without power due to lightning

There are close to 10,000 Los Angeles Department of Water and Power customers without power, DWP spokesperson Kim Hughes tells KPCC. The outages are mostly lightning-related.

There are about 3,000 customers without service in the Vermont-Slauson area, 2,400 in South Los Angeles, 2,000 in Lincoln Heights, 1,700 in the Westlake area and 1,000 in University Park, Hughes said. There are also other scattered homes without power, according to Hughes.

Mike Roe/KPCC

Update 2:53 p.m. Lightning strikes plane shortly after takeoff from LAX

An Alaska plane was struck by lightning Saturday amidst thunderstorms rolling through Southern California.

The flight left from LAX for Reagan National Airport, but was struck by lightning shortly after takeoff, Bobby Egan with Alaska Airlines tells KPCC. The plane returned at about 1:33 p.m.

The aircraft was being inspected by technicians to see if there was any damage that would take the plane out of service, Egan said.

"Lightning strikes don't do any major damage to the electrical system, but it may have lightning damage outside of the aircraft —I mean like very small burn marks or something else. Depending on the maintenance technician's view, we'll either cancel the flight or get people back on board," Egan said.

The plane had 159 passengers on board, along with six crew members, Egan said.

No flights have been grounded, but LAX has doubled the wait time between planes taking off, according to LAX spokesperson Marshall Lowe. While planes normally take off roughly every 15 to 20 minutes, because of the weather they'll be taking off every 37 minutes — which is causing delays.

KPCC staff

2:20 p.m. Los Angeles County beaches closed once again due to lightning

Los Angeles County beaches were closed again Saturday afternoon. They were reopened after a morning closure, but closed again due to lightning strikes off the coast, according to L.A. County lifeguards.

Lifeguard tweet

They also announced that, due to information from the National Weather Service, L.A. County beaches would remain closed until at least 4:30 p.m.

Lifeguard tweet 2

Lifeguards said they were starting with clearing the water, before clearing L.A. County beaches and piers.

Lifeguard photo tweet

KPCC staff

Update 1:57 p.m. Long Beach beaches closed due to lightning strikes nearby

Long Beach beaches were closed Saturday afternoon due to lightning strikes in the area as a thunderstorm rolled into Southern California. Lightning was spotted over the water.

LBFD tweet

People were ordered out of the water, with the beaches closed until further notice, according to the Long Beach Fire Department.

Lightning Saturday triggered a Severe Thunderstorm Warning for San Bernardino and Riverside counties.

KPCC staff

Update 11:56 a.m.  Moisture starts affecting SoCal ahead of Tropical Storm Dolores

Moisture started to move into Southern California on Saturday morning, though Tropical Storm Dolores itself remained to the south off the coast of Baja California midday Saturday, according to Scott Sukup with the National Weather Service.

There were scattered showers and thunder storms expected in SoCal into Monday, Sukup said, with almost all of Los Angeles County already affected and moisture starting to move into Ventura County.

There was also the possibility of brief heavy downpours, Sukup said, with reports so far up to half an inch in an hour. He said that it's possible to get heavy rain with any of these thunderstorms, especially on Sunday and Monday when the storms won't be quite as fast-moving.

Winds Saturday morning were light, though thunderstorms could bring gusty winds, Sukup said. There were no current flash flood watches, but there was a beach hazard statement due to high surf and strong rip currents associated with the tropical storm. Sukup said that may later be elevated to a high surf advisory.

"It's probably a good idea to stay away from the beaches for the next couple days, because there is a possibility of lightning at the beaches, and also because we have a strong rip current. So if people are at the beach and they aren't experienced swimmers, they should probably stay out of the water," Sukup said.

Take that "Jaws"-esque warning with you this weekend, but this one's due to the weather rather than sharks.

KPCC staff

11:12 a.m. Storm hits Southern California, briefly closes Los Angeles beaches

About 70 miles of Los Angeles County beaches have reopened after lightning forced them to close for about two hours.

The beaches were closed around 8 a.m. Saturday during a thunderstorm and reopened just before 10 a.m.

Supervisor Bernard Peters with the Los Angeles County Fire Department says several strikes were reported along the coastline, including at popular Manhattan Beach.

Lifeguards say beachgoers should be prepared to evacuate at moment's notice.

Last summer, a lightning strike killed a man at Venice Beach and injured about a dozen people.

Meteorologists are also warning of dangerous ocean conditions, including rip currents and 8-foot waves.

The thunderstorm brought rain and thunder throughout parched Los Angeles and beyond. Meteorologists are warning that local flooding could be possible, but Peters says none has been reported.

Listen to the sound of thunder on Saturday morning in Pasadena, which even set off a nearby car alarm, recorded by KPCC's Sharon McNary:

Sound of thunder

If you take pictures of rain or lightning this weekend, please send them to us on social media at @KPCC on Twitter or Instagram with #LArain, or post them on our Facebook page.

AP with KPCC

This story has been updated.

Correction: An earlier versions of this story misspelled the name of Tropical Storm Dolores. KPCC regrets the error.