LOS ANGELES, CA — As many as 50,000 Angelenos face power shut downs as SoCal Edison braces for a Santa Ana windstorm that has raised the local fire danger to critical levels. A fire weather advisory issued by the National Weather Service remains in effect until Friday.
Across the Southland, Southern California Edison on Tuesday warned that nearly 140,000 customers face power outages this week in “Public Safety Power Shutoffs” designed to prevent wildfires that can start when wind gusts knock down power lines. Across the state hundreds of thousands of customers face outages, as utility companies turn to preemptive outages to avoid the kind of catastrophic wildfires that have raged across the state in recent years. In Los Angeles County, SoCal Edison customers in Chatsworth, Santa Clarita, Palmdale, Lancaster, San Fernando, Malibu, and Pasadena face potential outages.
Wind gusts of between 45 and 70 miles per hour are expected from mid- morning Thursday to mid-afternoon as humidity levels fall to between 3 and 10 percent, according to the NWS.
Given an abundance of dry vegetation, “critical fire weather conditions are expected,” the NWS said in a statement.
“During these events, we will proactively turn off power in high fire risk areas to reduce the threat of wildfires,” SCE officials announced. “Turning off our customers’ power is not something we take lightly, but PSPS events are one of the ways we can better ensure the safety of the public, our customers, and our employees.”
The red flag warning will be in force in the San Gabriel and Santa Monica mountains and the Angeles National Forest — areas where winds blowing at a sustained 25 to 45 mph are expected, along with 70-mph gusts and humidity levels of 3-10 percent — from 3 a.m. Thursday until 6 p.m. Friday.
The warning will also be in force at the same time in the San Fernando, Santa Clarita and San Gabriel valleys, along the L.A. County coast and in metropolitan Los Angeles, including Downtown L.A. Additionally, it will be in effect in much of Ventura County, including the Los Padres National Forest adjoining the Angeles National Forest, and in coastal Orange County from 3 a.m. Thursday until 8 a.m. Friday.
“If fire ignition occurs, conditions may be favorable for extreme fire behavior, which would threaten life and property,” according to the statement.