All beach and ocean areas in Santa Monica were evacuated shortly before noon due to lightning strikes from an electrical storm.
Officials posted about the evacuation on the city's twitter account, advising everyone in the area to seek cover indoors.
SM Alert - Lightning Advisory— City of Santa Monica (@santamonicacity) July 18, 2018
An electrical storm with lightning has been reported in Santa Monica. Please evacuate all ocean and beach areas. Seek cover away from the beach and indoors on the Pier until the storm has ended. pic.twitter.com/afsEcMLqHe
In 2014, a rare lightning strike on nearby Venice Beach killed a college student and injured a dozen other people.
MORE: Southern California forecast
Lightning also prompted the closure of all beaches in Malibu. Malibu's Emergency Operation Center said on Twitter that lifeguards closed and cleared all beaches at 12:40 p.m. due to safety concerns from the lightning.
All #Malibu beaches are closed due to lightning. LA County Lifeguards closed and cleared beaches at 12:40 PM due to public safety concerns about lightning moving from Santa Monica through Malibu. Lifeguards are expected to re-open beaches later today. https://t.co/fLzBfZLw6u pic.twitter.com/SzI4QMqHNy— MalibuPublicSafety (@MalibuEOC) July 18, 2018
The EOC followed up with a tweet around 1:30 p.m. saying L.A. County lifeguards have reopened the beaches in Malibu.
The National Weather Service said showers and thunderstorms were rolling through the region, moving quickly in the west-southwest direction.
At 1220pm, showers and thunderstorms have moved west from Malibu and off the coast south of Anacapa and Santa Cruz Islands. Please wait 30 minutes after last thunder before leaving your home or car. Storms are moving quickly WSW at 30 mph. #LARain #LAWeather #CAwx pic.twitter.com/P9MxiaOjIs— NWS Los Angeles (@NWSLosAngeles) July 18, 2018
Wednesday's surprise cell moved rapidly out of the inland region and through Los Angeles, hurling lightning bolts and dropping rain. Thunderstorms hit the deserts to the east before dawn but were expected to diminish as they moved west. The National Weather Service calls an "impressive monsoon moisture surge."
MORE: Beach lightning safety tips
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