Powerful Santa Ana Winds Wreak Havoc on Southern California’s Power Grid, Boost Fire Risk

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Power outages affected more than 90,000 Southern California Edison customers Monday as strong Santa Ana winds gusted through the Southland, according to the utility.

Nearly 29,000 SCE customers remained without power as of 10:00 p.m., including roughly 8,900 in Los Angeles County, 9,100 in Orange County and 5,100 in Riverside County, according to company spokesperson Susan Cox. The utility's outage database showed others remained without electricity in San Bernardino and Ventura counties.

The foothill communities of the San Gabriel Valley along the 210 Freeway corridor were hit hard. Earlier in the day, outages had affected more than 13,000 customers in the Altadena area, more than 9,000 in the Sierra Madre area and more than 5,000 in the Monrovia area.

The majority of homes and businesses along the foothills had their power restored by late-morning.

In Glendora, Citrus College announced that the campus was closing 2:30 p.m. Monday due to a power outage.

The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power reported outages for 1,760 customers as of late Monday night. Vermont-Slauson was the most affected neighborhood, LADWP said.

In Northern California, tens of thousands of Pacific Gas and Electric customers have lost power as the utility shut off electricity as a safety measure to help prevent fires.

The same tactic is being considered in Southern California, but has not been used yet, officials said.

"SCE has started exploring the possibility of a proactive power shutoff in high fire risk areas as red flag warnings are issued for Sunday through Tuesday," the company said in a written statement.

"The power will only be shut off after the weather data, confirmed by SCE personnel in the field, show there is an imminent danger of objects such as tree limbs, palm fronds or other vegetation blowing into power lines," the statement added. "The shutoff will be done in consultation with local officials and emergency response personnel such as local fire departments."

The National Weather Service recorded gusts of up to 62 mph in Malibu on Monday morning, along with 56 mph winds in Warm Springs and 48 mph winds in Burbank.

The strong gusts, paired with low humidity, are expected to continue through Tuesday, prompting the National Weather Service to issue a red flag warning for L.A., Ventura and Santa Barbara counties.

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Data pix.

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