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Lightning Strikes Boy, 11; Injury Minor

Times Staff Writer

A weather system that is expected to cool down Central Valley cities plagued by more than a week of triple-digit temperatures brought thunderstorms to Southern California, where an 11-year-old Long Beach boy was struck by lightning but not seriously hurt.

The storm system, which is covering most of California south of San Francisco and Lake Tahoe, hit the Los Angeles area Monday evening.

The Long Beach boy and two of his sisters were watching the thunderstorm that night outside their home in the 600 block of West 5th Street when they heard a popping sound.

The boy collapsed, and his family took him inside the house, said Wayne Chaney, a spokesman for the Long Beach Fire Department.

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Paramedics transported the youngster to St. Mary Medical Center, where the staff found a quarter-inch puncture wound with burns around it in the center of his back, Chaney said.

The boy was treated and released.

People hit by lightning usually suffer severe internal damage if the electricity enters and then leaves the body, Chaney said. The 11-year-old boy appeared to have escaped serious injury because the electricity did not leave his body.

“He was very fortunate,” said Chaney.

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The storm produced between a trace and a few hundredths of an inch of rain around Southern California, the National Weather Service reported.

Downtown Los Angeles registered traces Tuesday morning. But those were enough to set a record, because it had not rained there July 29 since such statistics were first gathered, said Ryan Kittell of the weather service.

Sites of the most significant rainfall totals by Tuesday evening included Hawthorne with .07 of an inch and Long Beach with .02 of an inch.

“Some areas had a nice light show, but as far as precipitation is concerned it’s pretty weak,” Kittell said.

There is a 30% chance of scattered showers and thunderstorms in much of Southern California through Thursday night, Kittell said. Conditions should continue to be cloudy and humid.

In the Antelope Valley, a monsoonal system swept across the high desert, uprooting trees, flooding streets and knocking out power. “We’ve had a downpour like nothing I’ve ever seen,” said Sgt. Cory Kennedy of the Lancaster sheriff’s station.

People reported penny-size hail in the Lake Los Angeles area and 40-mph winds, said Kittell. He said the system had the potential to produce more hail, lightning and heavy rains as it traveled through the northwest part of Los Angeles County.

In the San Joaquin Valley, some hoped the cloud cover Tuesday would help end a string of 100-plus-degree days.

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But “despite the clouds and some isolated sprinkles, Bakersfield hit 105 this afternoon,” said Michael Bingham, a weather service meteorologist in Hanford.


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