LOS ANGELES (AP) — Although lightning does strike Southern California frequently, it rarely hits the beach.
When it does, the consequences can be chaotic and deadly, as they were Sunday when a huge lightning bolt descended on Los Angeles' bohemian Venice Beach, killing 21-year-old Nick Fagnano and injuring 12 others.
Climatologist Bill Patzert says the storm that materialized did so rapidly and was so isolated that he couldn't say anyone was to blame for not seeing it coming despite lightning striking a man on a golf course on nearby Santa Catalina Island earlier in the day.
The chances of being struck by lightning in California are one in 7 to 10 million, much rarer than other parts of the country. The phenomenon is so rare that lifeguards lack an emergency warning system.