Lightning prompts evacuation, closure of beaches in Santa Monica, Malibu

SANTA MONICA, Calif. (KABC) -- Lightning prompted the evacuation of all beach areas in Santa Monica and the closure of Malibu beaches on Wednesday.

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.

In 2014, a rare lightning strike on nearby Venice Beach killed a college student and injured a dozen other people.

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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.

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.

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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501 people have been killed by lightning in Florida since 1959.

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