A rare October thunderstorm brought thunder and lightning to the Malibu coast on Monday evening and, although little rain accumulated in the Malibu area, showers were reported from Santa Catalina Island to Santa Barbara.
LA County Lifeguards closed beaches from San Pedro to Malibu beginning around 4 p.m. on Monday due to lightning.
“We are experiencing numerous lightning strikes across the greater Los Angeles area. For your safety, we advise residents to seek shelter and remain inside until this lightning activity subsides,” a social media post from the lifeguards read at 5:16 p.m. Monday.
Amid the storm, a small, quarter-acre fire was reported burning in the Calabasas Highlands neighborhood just inland from the Malibu Hills on Monday evening, Oct. 4, with the call coming in at 8:23 p.m. There were no injuries reported due to the fire and no structures were threatened.
There was also no confirmation that lightning caused the blaze, according to LA County Fire Public Information Officer Henry Narvaez.
According to Narvaez, who described the incident report on Tuesday afternoon following the fire, the incident “doesn’t look suspicious, malicious or anything out of the norm,” and therefore fire department did not send an investigator to the site to determine its cause.
Lightning strikes were the reported cause of other small fires on Monday night, including in San Diego, Newport Beach and Long Beach, according to various media reports.
When asked whether the rainy weather helped firefighters beat back the flames, Narvaez said he was not aware of how much rain fell in the area.
“It [the 9-1-1 call] came in at eight o’clock at night, right around the time it was raining, but I don’t know if that area had gotten wet or how much had fallen there,” Narvaez said. “I can just simply go off of what the coastal area received last night … I couldn’t tell you if it was dry or wet at the time.”
According to the National Weather Service (NWS), Calabasas received just .06 inches of rain in the Monday storm—though Stunt Ranch in Calabasas saw twice as much, at .13 inches accumulated.
Leo Carrillo in Malibu saw even less precipitation—just .01 inches—while Topanga got a comparative onslaught at .12 inches. The highest rain totals in the area came to Channel Islands Harbor in Ventura County, which saw .31 inches of rain, and Santa Monica Airport, which recorded .27 inches.
No significant rockslides or mudflows were reported due to the rain on Monday.
More rain could be on the way, according to predictions from the NWS. According to weather reports, Malibu had a 30 percent chance of showers on Thursday night and a 40 percent chance on Friday morning.