Some people are calling them “late summer storms”, but we call them disasters that take residents and business owners by surprise, and can cause quite a bit of damage.
The storms are dumping a lot of rain in a short amount of time across the Southland, exceeding 2 inches per hour in some areas, including Los Angeles, San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara and Ventura Counties. For instance, torrential rains caused an enormous amount of damage to roads in Joshua Tree National Park.
But there’s another danger, too: lightning. It’s something we don’t see very often in this area, but it can be as devastating, destructive and dangerous as the flash floods. In fact, three U.S. Forest Service firefighters were injured when lightning struck just 50 feet away from them as they were standing near the border of Kern and Ventura counties, according to Andrew Masden, forestry spokesperson. While they weren’t seriously hurt, the firefighters did report that they felt very disoriented and complained of ringing in their ears, and one was held overnight for observation.
In what was a fast-moving storm, lightning strikes set palm trees ablaze near Palm Springs as it passed through. Luckily, the heavy rains that accompanied the storm helped firefighters get the fires under control quickly. There were actually 11 lightning-related calls to the Palm Springs fire department in the small hours of Tuesday morning within a span of just 2.5 hours.
And don’t forget the danger to children and pets, as well. Many pets get frightened by the sounds and bright flashes of a thunder and lightning storm, so please try to keep them indoors in a comfortable area, perhaps with their favorite bed or toy. Children can also be frightened or, more worryingly, be attracted to nature’s show and decide to go outside to investigate. This happened to a family in Lake Arrowhead, when their 8-year-old autistic son went missing for more than 24 hours, during which the storm rolled through. Luckily the boy was found, safe and uninjured, although missing his t-shirt.
Are you prepared for sudden storms, flash flooding and the damage that water can inflict in a very short time? The weather this year has been unpredictable, to say the least, and severe. Don’t be caught out when disaster strikes! Keep Paul Davis Inland Empire’s number close by in case of emergency: (877) 732-8471.