L.A. County faces critical fire danger, possible power cuts as Santa Ana winds blow in – Los Angeles Times

L.A. County faces critical fire danger, possible power cuts as Santa Ana winds blow in - Los Angeles Times
Santa Ana winds prompt notice of possible power outages, red flag warning, high wind advisory
LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — A red flag warning is now in effect through Friday evening for much of Southern California as strong Santa Ana winds and low humidity combine to create perfect conditions for potential wildfires.

Peak wind gusts are expected to happen between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. Thursday with gusts up to 75 mph in the Santa Monica and Los Angeles County mountains and the Angeles National Forest. Gusts of up to 55 mph are expected in the San Fernando and Santa Clarita valleys and in the Ventura County mountains and coasts.

Gusts of up to 50 mph are expected in the San Gabriel Valley and Los Angeles coastal plains — including downtown L.A. — the Inland Empire, San Bernardino and Riverside County mountains.

“Its strong around 9 a.m. (Thursday), and thats when we could see 50 mph wind gusts, some isolated 60 mph wind in those highest peaks,” said NBC4 forecaster Shanna Mendiola. “We still have a red flag warning. Were going to see this Thursday morning through Friday evening. That, in combination with some dry air and dry fuel on the ground, is going to raise that fire threat for us.”

Officials with Southern California Edison and area fire departments prepared overnight as winds moved into the area. Workers with SCE monitored the need for potential public safety power shutoffs that could impact more than 170,000 residents as fire departments dispatched strike teams to the most fire prone areas of the region — including Malibu, which just last year was devastated by the Woolsey fire, Calabasas and Santa Clarita.

An initial notification is sent out about two days before a possible shutoff to warn customers. A second notification will be sent a day before, then notifications are sent when power is shut off and when its restored. Restoration is based on when weather conditions are deemed safe. 

Los Angeles police encouraged homeless residents living in fire prone encampments to leave in order to reduce the risk of fires starting and will begin enforcement of red flag parking restrictions later in the morning to ensure roads are clear for emergency crews and possible evacuations.

Santa Clarita Red Flag Warning To Be In Effect This Week, Raising Fire Conditions To Critical

In Ventura County, Fillmore Unified School District canceled classes and school activities for Thursday and Friday and moved its football game against Hueneme High to Saturday at Flashes Field. In LA County’s Santa Clarita Valley, minimum day schedules will be in effect for all schools in the Sulphur School District and for several schools in the William S. Hart School District.

The fire-whipping winds are produced by surface high pressure over the Great Basin squeezing air down through canyons and passes in Southern Californias mountain ranges. Theyre common in the fall and have a long history of fanning destructive wildfires in the region. 

SoCal Under Red Flag Warning Due to Santa Ana Winds

About 65 residents in Kern County remained without power overnight after SCE determined the fire risk was high enough in the area to shut off the power. Communities impacted included Horse Canyon and Bird Spring Canyon

If conditions warrant, the utility will shut off power in high-risk areas. Customers can receive notifications about outages in their area through emails, text or phone calls. The utility will alert first responders, local governments and customers of power shutoff. 

LOS ANGELES (CNS) – Fierce Santa Ana winds blew across the Southland today amid very low humidity, raising fears of wildfires.

 Meteorologists and other SoCal Edison staff members use high-resolution weather data maps and other tools to monitor extreme fire weather. SoCal Edison also uses weather stations, historical data and fire monitoring cameras to determine fire potential. 

Firefighters prepare for extreme fire danger as Santa Ana winds blow through Southern California

A red flag warning issued by the National Weather Service and denoting critical fire weather conditions went into effect at 3 a.m. today in the Santa Monica Mountain Recreational Area, the San Gabriel Mountains, the Angeles National Forest, the San Fernando, San Gabriel and Santa Clarita valleys, Los Angeles, including the coast, metropolitan L.A., Downtown L.A. and the Hollywood Hills, and much of Ventura county.

In the mountains, northeast winds blew at sustained speeds of 25-45 miles per hour, gusting at 75 miles per hour, according to the NWS. In the San Fernando and Santa Clarita valleys, northeast winds blew at speeds of 20-35 mph, along with 55-mph gusts. And in Los Angeles and the San Gabriel Valley, northeast winds of 20-30 mph were reported, along with 50-mph gusts.

With the Santa Ana winds expected to come in Thursday morning, authorities are asking residents to prepare for critical fire weather conditions and preventative power outages. Kim Tobin reports for NBC4 News at 11 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 9, 2019.

The strongest winds were expected from mid-morning to mid-afternoon today, and again Friday morning, amid humidity levels of 3-10 percent and very dry vegetation providing potential wildfire fuel, the NWS reported, adding it may be necessary to extend the red flag warning into Saturday.

So far this year, Southern California has not seen the large fires that devastated parts of the state last year, largely due to above-average soil moisture and an active monsoon season that followed a winter of steady rain.

If fire ignition occurs, conditions will be favorable for extreme fire behavior, which would threaten life and property, the NWS warned.

Most of the deadly California fires over the past several decades, including the fire that destroyed the town of Paradise in Northern California, have been the result of power lines in high-wind situations.

Damaging winds may blow down trees and power lines. Widespread power outages are possible. Travel will be difficult, especially for high profile vehicles, the NWS warned. Use extra caution when driving, especially if operating a high-profile vehicle. Secure outdoor objects.

It could soon be lights out across Southern California as Southern California Edison monitors the weather for proactive power shutoffs. Kim Tobin reports for NBC4 News at 11 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 8, 2019.

Additionally, people should avoid being outside in forested areas and around trees and branches. If possible, remain in the lower levels of your home during the windstorm, and avoid windows. Use caution if you must drive.

Through September, CALFIRE reported 4,460 wildfires that burned about 40,400 acres. Last year at that time, the agency reported 4,800 fires that burned a staggering 627,600 acres.

In the Antelope Valley, a freeze watch will be in force from late tonight through Friday morning, with temperatures as low as 28 degrees expected.

The NWS forecast sunny skies in L.A. County today and highs of 63 on Mount Wilson; 69 in Palmdale; 70 in Lancaster; 73 in Saugus; 76 in Avalon; 79 at LAX; 80 in Burbank and San Gabriel; 82 in Pasadena, Woodland Hills and Downtown L.A.; and 83 in Long Beach. Temperatures will rise three or four degrees Friday before reverting to todays levels on Saturday.

Sunny skies and windy conditions were forecast in Orange County, along with highs of 59 on Santiago Peak; 71 on Ortega highway at 2,600 feet; 78 in Fremont Canyon and Trabuco Canyon; 81 in Newport Beach, Laguna Beach and San Clemente; 82 in Mission Viejo; 83 in Yorba Linda and Fullerton; and 84 in Irvine and Anaheim. Temperatures will mostly dip slightly Friday and Saturday and drop a few degrees more on Sunday.

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