After months of bone-dry conditions, parts of Southern California were hit by bursts of intense rain Monday afternoon, prompting officials to close beaches in many parts of Los Angeles County due to concerns over lightning.
Downpours were reported in parts of Orange County as well as Long Beach and parts of southeast Los Angeles County. L.A. County closed beaches from San Pedro to Malibu because of lightning. There were several lightning strikes around the region, including reports at least one sparked a fire near SoFi Stadium in Inglewood.
By 4:30 p.m., the storm cell had rolled into the L.A. County beaches and the San Gabriel Valley, where ominous thunder signaled the coming rain.
Earlier in the day, showers had begun to develop over coastal waters, with squalls moving north from San Diego. Rain was reported in Laguna Beach, where evidence of the weekend's oil spill washed ashore Monday. The storm also brought lightning and thunder to Laguna Beach, which had already closed its beaches because of the oil spill.
The best chance for measurable rain in the area will be Monday afternoon into Tuesday morning, officials said, as a low-pressure system is moving northeast from the Baja Coast and bringing scattered showers, isolated thunderstorms and the potential for lightning.
The National Weather Service issued a beach hazard alert through 8 a.m. Tuesday, warning residents that thunderstorms with cloud-to-beach lightning strikes could pose a deadly risk.
Officials said lightning, rain and swelling tides could hamper oil spill cleanup efforts and create dangerous conditions for workers through at least Tuesday morning.
"We are expecting a chance of thunderstorms," said Casey Oswant, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in San Diego, which oversees the Orange County area.
"If thunderstorms develop over the coastal waters or wherever they're doing their [oil spill] operation cleanup, if it's outside, they're going to have to stop operations for safety," she said.
Times staff writer Jaclyn Cosgrove contributed to this report.
This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.