Beachgoers Warned to Leave Water Amid Lightning Threat

More than 100 lightning strikes were reported off the coast of San Diego Wednesday morning according to the National Weather Service

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People at the beach had a front row seat to nature's show Wednesday as lightning struck up and down the coast. But for lifeguards, this was a serious situation that forced them to close several beaches. NBC 7’s Greg Bledsoe reports. (Published Wednesday, Aug. 20, 2014)

The threat of lightning prompted warnings at several San Diego County beaches Wednesday morning.

Lifeguards at all city beaches made loud speaker announcements to swimmers, strongly urging them to leave the water and seek shelter.

“They told us we couldn’t get in the water because there had been lightning and we weren’t allowed to get into the water until it had cleared,” mom Kim Thomas said.

Although lifeguards don't have the resources to force people out of the water, warnings like this need to be taken seriously, says Lt. Andy Lerum with San Diego Lifeguards.

"There’s no way to prevent lightning. All we can do is keep people from being in vulnerable areas,” Lerum said.

The closures at city beaches were lifted at 10:30 a.m. Lifeguards also shut down the Ocean Beach pier and boardwalk.

Storm Images: Hail, Lightning, Rain in North County Storm Images: Hail, Lightning, Rain in North County

In Encinitas, a lightning strike was reported at Moonlight Beach, prompting lifeguards there to ask people to get out of the ocean. They also closed the Junior Lifeguard and Beach Kids programs and surf camps.

In July, a young man was killed on Venice Beach when he was struck by lightning along with seven others.

"Back in 2011, in Florida, a lifeguard was struck and killed," Lerum added. "Those are reminders we need to take this seriously and be aware."

The National Weather Service reported more than 120 lightning strikes off the coast Wednesday morning.

Lightning Prompts Beach Warnings Lightning Prompts Beach Warnings More than 100 lightning strikes were reported Wednesday morning, prompting rare closures at local beaches. NBC 7's Greg Bledsoe reports. (Published Wednesday, Aug. 20, 2014)

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