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A Southern California woman and her two dogs were killed by a lightning strike Wednesday morning as thunderstorms hammered the region, authorities said.
Antonia Mendoza Chavez, 52, was identified as the woman killed in the fatal lightning strike around 8:50 a.m. near the San Gabriel River in Pico Rivera, said Los Angeles County sheriff’s Sgt. Jonathan Branham.
“It was a female Hispanic adult who had been struck by lightning and did not survive her injuries,” he said. “She was walking two dogs and the dogs were also deceased.”
Gloria Colocho, who rented Mendoza a room in Pico Rivera, told FOX11 Los Angeles that the 52-year-old was “hardworking” and had a deep love for puppies, Chubby and Luna.
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Mendoza, who worked as a housekeeper at a nearby motel, walked her dogs once a day on the trail near the river, according to Colocho. When the landlord first heard that a lightning strike killed a woman and her two dogs, she said that she immediately thought of Mendoza and her “heart dropped.”
“She was a sweet lady,” Colocho said of her friend. “She was very responsible.”
The thunderstorms were caused by a low-pressure system off the coast pulling monsoonal moisture northward into the region, meteorologists said.
While lightning strikes are rare in Southern California, city officials said that over 3,700 lightning strikes were recorded overnight during the storms.
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The city ordered its work crews and summer camps indoors, and canceled outdoor activities including a farmers market.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.