“Dry  lightning” prompts warning to stay out of ocean, lakes in Southern California – Press Telegram

“Dry lightning” prompts warning to stay out of ocean, lakes in Southern California – Press Telegram

The National Weather Service issued a beach hazard statement to warn people in Southern California to stay out of the water due to “dry lightning” concerns.

The statement, issued at 9:17 a.m. by the NWS, was sent out because of the possibility off isolated thunderstorms along the beaches, but the warning also extends into lakes or rivers in the mountain regions, said Casey Oswant,  meteorologist for NWS in San Diego, which covers the Orange County and San Bernardino Mountain areas.

“In a thunderstorm, there’s thunder, lighting and rain. Rain usually reaches the ground. But on a day like today, when there’s a lot of moisture in mid and upper levels, but dry at the surface, all those things are happening, but the rain is not making it to the ground,” she said. “We see the lightning, but we don’t see the rain or precipitation associated with it, usually.”

The lightning was seen on satellites, both in Orange County, as well as the Inland Empire and San Bernardino Mountains.

“Just stay away from water, just case,” she said.

That may be a hard sell with local surfers who are out in droves as the season’s first south swell hits the coast, bringing sizable waves to south-facing beaches.

The coastline occasionally has lightning storms close to shore and has to implement closures, but so far none have been shut down with the latest storm.

In 2014, a man was killed in Venice Beach, with 13 others injured, when a lightning storm hit the region. Just a few weeks ago, a professional surfer was killed in El Salvador during a freak storm, the sky sunny and no storms in sight before she was struck and killed.

The low-pressure system causing the disturbance in Southern California is coming from a tropical region.

“It’s keeping it warmer and bringing some of those tropical feelings to the atmosphere,” she said.

The unstable weather should be gone by later this evening and the thunderstorm threat will go to zero around 4 p.m., she said.

Los Angeles NWS meteorologist David Sweet said the Los Angeles County Fire Department Lifeguards were notified about the small thunderstorm cells, warning of “an outside chance of a lightning strike at the beach.”

The warning also extends to boaters from San Mateo point to the Mexican border.

“Isolated thunderstorms are expected over the coastal waters this morning,” the NWS warning reads. “Thunderstorm threats include hail, gusty erratic, winds, brief heavy rain, choppy seas and a waterspout. If thunderstorms occur over the coastal waters, mariners should move to safe harbor to avoid these conditions, or remain in safe harbor until the thunderstorms dissipate.”

Newport Beach Marine Safety Chief Mike Halphide said no closures have been issued as of noontime and they were monitoring lightning maps. The only lightning detected in the past 24 hours was outside of San Clemente Island and in San Bernardino, he said.

In Los Angeles County, lifeguards are in constant contact with the National Weather Service, said spokesman Pono Barnes.

“If there’s anything serious, we seek their recommendation and we follow the lead of the experts in the weather world,” Barnes said. “If there was anything substantial, where we can see a potential for real lighting, they would notify us with ample time to clear the beaches. Our ears are perked up and prepared should the National Weather Service gives us a call.”

This content was originally published here.

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: