What makes the Santa Ana winds blow? – Los Angeles Times

What makes the Santa Ana winds blow? - Los Angeles Times
National Weather Service says Santa Ana winds could trigger wildfires in multiple areas
LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) – Nearly 50,000 Southern California Edison customers could potentially experience power service disruption as an extreme wind event is headed for the Southland.

And it was all hands on deck overnight at the SCE Command Center in Irwindale as utility workers monitored the strength and location of the winds. Workers used high-definition cameras in high-risk fire areas to measure wind speed in proximity to circuits along with knowledge of the brush below to help decide whether or not to shut off power to more than 173,000 households across the region.

Video: SCE Customers Brace for Possible Power Outages in Midst of California Wildfire Season

Southern California Edison said more than 173,000 people could be without power as an extreme wind event made its way through the area over the next few days. (CBSLA)

The Fillmore Unified School District said school and extra-curricular activities would be canceled Thursday and Friday due to the possible power shutoff. 

SDG&E is Prepared for Incoming Santa Ana Winds | SDGE

In Malibu, where the devastating Woolsey fire destroyed 1,500 homes and killed three people is still fresh on people’s minds, some said they were nervous about what’s to come.

“It’s traumatizing as the Woolsey fire has barely been a year ago,” Brianna Willis, a Pepperdine student, said. “I don’t know what’s going to happen to everyone who’s not going to have power or how they’re going to contact people if the fire does come this way.”

SCE is implementing a plan to turn off electricity in certain high-risk areas due to the risk of wildfires cause by their electrical system. 

SCE spokesperson Phil Herrington said deciding when and where it’s too dangerous to keep the power on during red flag conditions was a delicate balance.

Southern California Edison customers throughout Ventura County could be without power due to a Red Flag fire warning throughout the area. 

“We understand this puts our customers into some inconvenience,” he said. “This is about keeping the public safe.”

As of Wednesday evening, SCE customers in Southern Santa Barbara County are not considered to be under advisory.

As of Wednesday night, the utility company had deployed 500 weather stations to help them make those close calls while local fire crews were staffing up and sending out strike teams to fire prone areas like Malibu. The Los Angeles Police Department encouraged homeless people to leave hillside encampments and was enforcing red flag parking in the hills.

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“The thing that we’re really concerned about with these conditions are objects blowing into our lines,” Herrington said.

Thom Porter, Cal Fire’s director, said the increased staffing levels are an effort to be prepared as October and November has been a time when fire activity increases. Last year, the Woolsey fire and the deadly Camp fire — two of the most destructive fires in state history — started on the same day in November.

Edison warned its 49,024 customers across Los Angeles County and another 120,000 across the region could face power outages similar to those affecting residents in Northern and Central California after PG&E shut off power to 500,000 customers in what’s being called the largest planned power shutoff ever in California.

Strong winds have also been a concern for utility companies, whose equipment can be damaged or produce sparks in gusty conditions. Utilities across the state warned they could shut off power to hundreds of thousands in the coming days if winds start to threaten power lines.

A message posted Wednesday evening to the SoCal Edison website indicated some customer were experience what SCE called “intermittent issues preventing visitors from logging in, making payments, or completing requests.”

“You will definitely notice drier air moving in, depending on where you are,” said Lisa Phillips, a meteorologist with the NWS in Los Angeles. “Any area that tends to be more humid, you will notice that drying out immediately.”

Altadena Lancaster Palmdale La Canada Flintridge 1, La Canada Flintridge 2, La Canada Flintridge 3, La Canada Flintridge 4 La Crescenta/Montrose Malibu Chatsworth San Fernando Santa Clarita Sun Village

And powerful wind gusts also can be problematic, NWS said. In LA County, it’s possible that there will be gusts as strong as 70 mph on Thursday, according to NWS. In Orange County and the Inland Empire, strong gusts will likely be near 50 mph.

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Currently, no Public Safety Power Shutoffs have taken place in our region due to the Red Flag Warning.

Our team of five meteorologists continue to closely monitor weather conditions throughout our region.

We encourage everyone to visit sdgeweather.com for the latest updates on temperature, wind speed, and humidity. Information is available by community.

The hot, dry Santa Ana winds send temperatures soaring and humidity levels dropping – the recipe for destructive wildfires. NWS meteorologists said they also expect the gusty conditions to bring warmer temperatures.

Data on the sdgeweather.com come from SDG&Es sophisticated network of weather stations strategically located throughout high fire threat areas.

Cal Fire is increasing staffing levels as the potential for a large, destructive fire is increasing with the incoming weather system and the National Weather Service issued a red-flag warning for later this week.

Last night (Oct. 8), SDG&E notified about 30,000 customers who live in high fire risk areas who could potentially be impacted by a Public Safety Power Shutoff. These notifications were made via multiple channels: outbound dialer call, text messages, and emails. Follow-up notifications were made on Oct. 9.

The effect of Santa Ana winds can be dramatic. Residents might feel humidity levels dropping from normal levels, around 50 percent, to less than 10 percent in as little as an hour, Phillips said.

Currently, no Public Safety Power Shutoffs have taken place in our region due to the Red Flag Warning. Our team of five meteorologists continue to closely monitor weather conditions throughout our region.

Wildfires move more quickly when grasses and brush have had months to dry out, providing plenty of fuel, Porter said in a statement on Tuesday. Santa Ana winds will make those conditions worse.

We encourage everyone to visit sdgeweather.com for the latest updates on temperature, wind speed, and humidity. Information is available by community.

“Wind driven fires move fast, and residents need to be ready to evacuate at a moments notice in the event of a wildfire, he said in the statement.

Data on the sdgeweather.com come from SDG&Es sophisticated network of weather stations strategically located throughout high fire threat areas.

By Tuesday afternoon, Pacific Gas & Electric said it plans to shut off power to nearly 800,000 across counties in the Bay Area and Northern California.

Moderate Santa Ana winds are expected to sweep through our region starting Thursday and peak on Friday morning, bringing elevated wildfire danger to the backcountry and the potential for Public Safety Power Shutoffs.

The National Weather Service has declared a Red Flag Warning for San Diego County valleys and mountains noon Thursday through 6 p.m. Friday.

To protect fire-prone communities in the far eastern and northern parts of San Diego County, SDG&E may need to initiate Public Safety Power Shutoffs within the next 48-72 hours as a measure of last resort to reduce fire risk.

Tonight, SDG&E made notifications to about 30,000 customers who live in high fire risk areas who could potentially be impacted by a Public Safety Power Shutoff. These notifications were made via multiple channels: outbound dialer calls, text messages, and emails.

While about 30,000 customers were notified, not all of them will have their power turned off. In the past, the actual number of customers who were affected by Public Safety Power Shutoffs was smaller than the number of customers notified.

As the weather trends firm up, SDG&E will provide updated notifications to customers within 24 hours of an anticipated Public Safety Power Shutoff, and then again within 1-4 hours of a shutoff, if possible.

Customers Urged to Take Action to PrepareBased on current weather trends, SDG&E currently projects the following communities could potentially experience Public Safety Power Shutoffs: Banner Grade, Wynola, Julian, Santa Ysabel, East Ramona, Boulevard, Potrero, Viejas, Rincon, Palomar Mountain, Descanso, East Alpine, Pine Valley, Mt Laguna, Valley Center, West Valley Center, Mesa Grande, Rancho Santa Fe, and Fallbrook. Please check out this map of the areas that may be affected.   

If you live in these communities and have received alerts from us,  please be prepared to activate your personal emergency preparedness plan and make sure you have emergency supplies on hand, including water, food, flashlights, extra batteries, and battery packs for your smart phone.

If you have not signed up for emergency alerts from SDG&E, please visit sdge.com/MyAccount to provide us with your latest contact information and indicate your preference for communications, so you can receive timely notifications about potential Public Safety Power Shutoffs.

Community Resource CentersShould a Public Safety Power Shutoff last more than 24 hours, SDG&E is prepared to open Community Resource Centers to provide support to impacted customers. At these facilities, customers can get water, snacks, charge their phone and get the latest updates.

What SDG&E Has Done to PrepareIn preparation for the extreme fire potential forecasted for our communities during the Red Flag Warning period, SDG&E has taken the following precautionary steps:

More InformationTo learn more about our wildfire safety programs, including resources on emergency preparedness and power generator safety, visit sdge.com/wildfire-safety.


Posted in Santa Ana