Lightning, Rain Hit Parts of Southland

Times Staff Writer

A storm pushed northward from Mexico through Orange County late Monday, bringing bolts of lightning that burned trees and caused scattered power outages, as well as thunder that jolted buildings and set off car alarms, but overall did little damage.

“I feel like I’m in the Midwest,” said Sgt. Greg Brower of the Fullerton Police Department. “We’re getting lots of car alarms set off by the shaking.”

Noel Isla, a forecaster for the National Weather Service, said the weather was caused by a hurricane, Max, which originated about 1,000 miles south of San Diego.

Its effects were expected to reach downtown Los Angeles by late Monday night.


In addition to scattered rain, he said, “there’ve been lots of reports of cloud-to-ground lightning.”

As well as causing the light show and bringing rain to some areas, the storm’s lightning left several palm trees smoldering in Costa Mesa, Garden Grove, Orange and Fountain Valley, authorities said.

“They’re the tallest things around,” said Michael Simpson, a spokesman for MetroNet Fire Dispatch, which serves seven Orange County cities.

The storm also slowed traffic in some areas; knocked out transformers, power lines and computers; caused burglar alarms to go off; and halted the operation of several traffic signals around the county.


“We had the lights flicker off here for a few seconds,” said Santa Ana Police Lt. Carlos Rojas, “but then they came back on.”

The storm was expected to continue bringing rain, thunder and lightning to the region through today, with a slow tapering off beginning in the afternoon and continuing through evening as the disturbance moves to the north.