Kern County man survived a lightning strike

A Kern County man was struck by lightning while walking his dog and pushing a child into a stroller early Wednesday, the same day a woman and her two dogs were killed after being struck by lightning in Pico Rivera, authorities said.

The unidentified man was struck by lightning while walking through his neighborhood in Ridgecrest, east of Bakersfield, according to the Ridgecrest Police Department. Police said the man survived and the child and dog were unharmed.

When police arrived at the scene around 7:40 a.m., they found someone performing CPR on the unconscious man, according to Ridgecrest Police Chief Jed McLaughlin. The man was eventually revived and taken to a local hospital.

His condition was not immediately known.

Less than two hours later, 150 miles south, authorities said, 52-year-old Antonia Mendoza Chavez and her two dogs were struck by lightning in Pico Rivera. She was pronounced dead at the scene.

Chavez was walking a trail along the San Gabriel River when she was struck by lightning just before 9 a.m. Wednesday, authorities said. A passerby alerted emergency officials first after noticing Chavez was on the ground, but first responders were unable to revive her when she arrived. Authorities identified several holes dug deforming the asphalt driveway where the light strike occurred.

According to the National Lightning Safety Council, Chavez’s death was the first recorded death in the country this year. Fatal strikes are still rare, but they have occurred between 11 and 40 times a year over the past decade, according to the group.

Wednesday’s thunderstorms arrived before the usual monsoon season in Southern California, meteorologist David Sweet of the National Weather Service in Oxnard said.

“Yesterday’s thunderstorms were much higher than the normal amount one would see in California this time of year,” Sweet said.

Usually, the monsoon season does not arrive until mid-July, when thunderstorms and lightning strikes can be experienced.

“We have this advice, a kind of rhyme that people should remember: ‘If thunder roars, go inside. “We’re talking about a good, sturdy building or even a car that could be a safe place in a thunderstorm,” Sweet said.

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