Last updated: 12:49 PM ET, Sun July 19 2015

Airliner Struck by Lightning, Beaches Close Amid Intense Southern California Storms

Impacting Travel | Michael Isenbek | July 19, 2015

Airliner Struck by Lightning, Beaches Close Amid Intense Southern California Storms

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Tropical Storm Dolores lurking off Baja California has made for some hairy weather conditions in Southern Calif. this weekend, closing beaches and causing a commercial jet to be struck by lightning.

The Los Angeles Times reported that Alaska Airlines Flight 006 took off from Los Angeles International Airport Saturday afternoon en route to Ronald Reagan National Airport in Washington, D.C., but quickly returned after an apparent shock.

“The pilot noticed that (the plane) was likely struck by lightning, and out of an abundance of caution (decided) to turn around and land,” Alaska Airlines spokeswoman Bobbie Egan said.

Airport spokesman Marshall Lowe told the Times that the Boeing 737 landed safely and taxied to the gate, and Egan said the 159 passengers and six crew disembarked without incident.

The flight was canceled and maintence crews examined the aircraft, while passengers were flown to the D.C. area via other flights on Sunday, Egan told the Times.

Egan said to the Times that she had not talked to the pilot about what happened, but lightning was in the area, and the pilot may have felt something.

“Lightning strikes do happen; when they do, the plane is designed to withstand a lightning strike,” Egan said.

The Times did cite the tropical storm-affected weather as a cause for the lightning.

These weather conditions also shuttered large stretches of the area’s popular beaches.

The Associated Press reported that the threat of lightning strikes caused authorities to close 70 miles of Los Angeles County beaches. Santa Monica Pier and surrounding stretches of sand were also shut down.

Lightning strikes have proven deadly at these beaches in the past. Last summer, a man was killed and a dozen injured when a bolt hit at Venice Beach.

The various electric companies across the region reported tens of thousands without power, the AP said.

There is good news. The AP said Friday’s wildfires that plagued the region are being doused by what is calling record-setting rains that will last until Monday.

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