78,500 Households Lose Power as Strong Winds Ravage Through California

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More than 78,500 residences powered by Southern California Edison lost power on Tuesday, with 250,000 more at risk of losing electricity, after the power company shut off the grid in the region due to the threat of wildfire with powerful Santa Ana winds closing in the city.

Those included in the power outage are 17,900 households from Los Angeles County, 18,600 from Riverside County, and 28,800 from Ventura County. The other areas at risk of losing power include the Kern, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, Santa Barbara, and Tulare counties.

Massive Power Outage

Los Angeles County officials put up a red flag warning in the region that would be in effect until 10:00 p.m. on Tuesday. And on Wednesday, a wind advisory will last until 4:00 a.m. that could bring powerful winds that reach up to 70 miles per hour in the Santa Clarita and San Fernando valleys.

“Vegetation is so dry, and winds are so strong that any new fire can grow really big, really fast,” a forecaster with the National Weather Service in Oxnard, Ryan Kittell, said.

On Tuesday, the Santa Clarita Valley was hit with winds as fast as 71 miles per hour as firefighters struggled to contain a brush fire off Towsley Canyon Road. The blaze engulfed about 122 acres and was, at the time, 10% contained, said fire officials.

There were also several smaller-scale fires that burned across California, including the ones in Riverside County, Kern County, and Madera County. Kittle also said that winds of up to 86 miles per hour blew through the San Gabriel Mountains, and gusts of a maximum of 50 miles per hour were observed in the San Fernando Valley.

In a post on Twitter, the weather service said winds of up to 95 miles per hour blew in Ventura County, causing widespread power outages and fallen trees.

Due to powerful winds, the Los Angeles International Airport said one Alaska Airlines flight going to Ontario was diverted to their airport. Additionally, several cargo flights were also forced to change destinations due to the weather.

The spokesman for the Los Angeles County Fire Department, Christopher Thomas, said they increased personnel to better respond to incidents. They also deployed strike teams in Santa Clarita and North Hollywood to be ready for any disaster.

“These are the areas where we can respond the fastest with the greatest number of people,” said Thomas.

Officials anticipated the winds would peak through Tuesday evening and dramatically slow down afterward, the Los Angeles Times reported.

On Tuesday, Orange County officials announced the closure of a coronavirus vaccination site at the Disneyland Resort because of powerful winds. Authorities said the temporary shut down of the area would be until Thursday.

Danielle Joyce Ong

Danielle is a local journalist with a passion for exploring stories related to crime and politics. When Danielle isn't busy writing or reading, she is usually exploring the great outdoors and all the hiking trails in the Bay.