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Beaches closed over lightning risk are reopened

Los Angeles County beaches have reopened after officials briefly closed them due to lightning storms striking off the coast of Southern California on Tuesday afternoon.

Rain, thunder and lightning were reported along beaches from San Diego north to Los Angeles. As of 5 p.m., the storm was producing 40- to 50-mph wind gusts, the National Weather Service said.

"Beachgoers in L.A. County should move indoors," the National Weather Service said in an advisory. "Frequent lightning observed from Long Beach to South Bay."

The beaches have been reopened, officials said around 6:30 p.m. 

The beaches were closed as a precaution, and no injuries were reported, L.A. County Fire Department Supervisor Robert Diaz said. 

There were also reports of lightning strikes further inland in San Diego and Riverside counties.

Lightning storms at the beach can be deadly. Last July, one person was killed and 13 injured at Venice Beach during a freak storm. 

Also on Tuesday, California officials are asking residents statewide to reduce their energy consumption between 2 p.m. and 9 p.m. through Wednesday after a wave of triple-digit temperatures was forecast this week.

The California Independent System Operator issued the Flex Alert on Tuesday, calling for voluntary conservation efforts, because the state’s power will probably be under demand through Wednesday.

Daytime temperatures are expected to range between 105 and 115 degrees in Northern California, according to the National Weather Service.

A ridge of high pressures building over the western United States will push temperatures up Tuesday and Wednesday. Temperatures are expected to peak Wednesday in the Sacramento, San Francisco, East Bay and Salinas Valley communities.

Officials urged residents to stay indoors, to keep cool and to drink plenty of water.

The extreme heat is expected to pick up again Friday. But so far, the California Independent System Operator, funded by investor-owned utilities and authorized by the California Public Utilities Commission, has not issued a Flex Alert for Friday.

State officials, however, are asking residents to continue to conserve energy.

Residents should turn off any unnecessary lights, keep appliances off until 9 p.m. and set air conditioning at 78 degrees.

Times staff writer Ryan Parker contributed to this report. 

For breaking news in California, follow @VeronicaRochaLA on Twitter.

Copyright © 2016, Los Angeles Times

UPDATES

7 p.m.: This story has been updated with information that the beaches have reopened. 

6:35 p.m.: This story has been updated with background information on a 2014 storm.

5:50 p.m.: This story has been updated with additional information from the L.A. County Fire Department.

5:27 p.m.: This story has been updated with the information that beaches were closed due to lightning strikes. 

This story was originally published at 1:41 p.m. 

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