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Santa Ana Winds Prompt Power Shutoffs, Red Flag Alert in Southern California

Santa Ana Winds Prompt Power Shutoffs, Red Flag Alert in Southern California

A wildfire burns in Silverado Canyon, Calif., on Dec. 3, 2020. (John Fredricks/The Epoch Times)

City News Service

City News Service

10/29/2023

Updated: 10/29/2023

LOS ANGELES—Strong Santa Ana winds prompted officials to shut off power in some areas of Southern California on Oct. 29, while the Los Angeles Fire Department declared a citywide Red Flag Alert with temporary street parking restrictions in designated areas.
The windy conditions are expected to primarily affect the northern portion of Los Angeles County, enveloping the San Fernando, Santa Clarita and San Gabriel valleys, along with the Malibu coast, Santa Monica Mountains, Calabasas, the San Gabriel Mountains and the Golden State (5) and Antelope Valley (14) freeway corridors.
Red flag warnings indicating critical fire danger conditions were in place for those areas from 3 a.m. Sunday through 10 p.m. Monday.
“The onset of Santa Ana winds will bring rapid drying to the region late Saturday night, with widespread single-digit humidities Sunday into Monday,” according to the National Weather Service.
“The strongest Santa Ana winds are expected Sunday, when gusts of 35 to 50 mph will be common, except gusts of 50 to 65 mph likely in the Los Angeles county mountains, Santa Susana mountains, western Santa Monicas, and wind-prone foothills. Dry and breezy offshore flow conditions will persist into Tuesday which may extend critical fire weather conditions across portions of Los Angeles and Ventura counties.”
The weather service reported a peak gust of 82 mph Sunday morning at Magic Mountain Truck Trail.
Wind-prone coastal and valley areas were expected to experience winds ranging from 20 to 30 mph, with gusts up to 45 mph.
Southern California Edison officials said the utility was reaching out to customers and public safety agencies about the possibility of Public Safety Power Shutoffs, in which power is cut in areas being battered by heavy winds that could damage electrical lines or equipment and spark wildfires.
According to SCE, roughly 150,240 of the utility’s 5 million customers were being notified that they are within areas that could potentially be impacted by the power cuts.
SCE’s website showed precautionary Public Safety Power Shutoffs were in effect for 1,159 customers in Los Angeles County and 2,173 in Orange County as of 11:15 a.m., with shutoffs being considered for another 48,072 customers in Los Angeles County and 20,686 in Orange County.
Calabasas officials said SCE might activate a shutoff for virtually all circuits in Calabasas due to the strong winds, and Malibu officials said SCE started a PSPS on the Serra, Cuthbert and Nicholas circuits.
The Red Flag Alert and enforcement of special parking rules began at 8 a.m. Sunday and will remain in effect for at least 24 hours, according to LAFD spokesman Brian Humphrey.
A list featuring the real-time status of temporary street parking restrictions and addresses affected is at LAFD.org/RedFlag.
All vehicles parked illegally in posted locations within the Very High Fire Hazard Severity Zone will be towed by the city, Humphrey said. The LAFD will reevaluate weather conditions Sunday to determine if the alert will be extended.
In Orange County, high wind warnings were in place through 10 p.m. Monday in the Santa Ana Mountains and foothills and inland areas, with 20 to 30 mph winds anticipated and isolated gusts of up to 70 mph. OC coastal areas will be under a less-severe wind advisory, with winds gusting up to 45 mph.
The combination of gusting winds and dry conditions across most of Los Angeles County will raise the risk of wildfires.
“If fire ignition occurs, there could be rapid spread of wildfire that would lead to a threat of life and property,” according to the NWS.
Firefighters asked residents and visitors to:
  • Report immediately to 911 any smoke or flames without firefighters present
  • Use extreme caution when operating any spark, flame or heat producing equipment in grass or brush areas
  • Access real-time LAFD alerts and subscribe to the free NotifyLA system to assure they receive official messaging
  • Have an evacuation plan that includes at least two exit routes from your area
  • Report any suspicious or criminal activity to law enforcement
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