Clean-up efforts are underway after strong winds swept across southern California on Monday night, toppling trees, stoking dust storms and causing power outages for thousands of people.
On Tuesday, Pacific Gas and Electric warned 29,000 other Californians that they could have their electricity cut as of Thursday morning. In the second wind-related “public safety power outage” this week, the utility warned 19 counties in northern and central California could be affected to reduce the risk of forest fires from live power lines.
Pacific Gas and Electric began reporting an “all is clear” weather in some locations after Monday’s shutdown, which affected about 24,000 customers in parts of 23 counties, from northern Santa Barbara County to Shasta County. Some of the areas most affected by the closures were Butte County, where winds reached 55 mph, Shasta County and Tehama County, where winds reached 52 mph and 47 mph respectively. The utility is also monitoring a weather forecast that could bring more dry winds to its service area from Wednesday evening, which could lead to more power outages.
PG&E began opening dozens of community resource centers for customers to charge medical supplies and electronics, use the internet, and search for air conditioning and heating.
Wind advisories in the mountainous communities of Ventura and Los Angeles County were canceled Tuesday afternoon after winds decreased below warning levels, according to a spokesperson for the National Weather Service Office at Oxnard . The high winds the day before brought dust storms to the area, which reduced visibility to almost zero and closed portions of the 14 Freeway and State Route 138 in Lancaster for several hours.
Several areas of the state have suffered damage from trees blown down by high winds.
In a southern LA neighborhood, several parked cars were damaged by giant trees toppled over overnight. Local residents told KABC7 they have been complaining about the trees for years, saying the trees are old and could cause damage.
In Van Nuys, a tree fell on an SUV as a woman and her two sons were driving down Erwin Street on Monday. The woman told KTLA5 reporters that she was scratched, but no one was seriously injured in the incident.
North of Sacramento, trees damaged cars and homes. In one incident, a tree fell on a car while a mother and daughter were inside. The two escaped unharmed, but the car was severely damaged, they told KABC10.
Wind advisories are currently in place in San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara counties and are expected to last until Wednesday morning. The warning warns of gusty winds that can throw unsecured objects and make driving difficult, especially for high-traffic vehicles.
In Los Angeles County, Santa Ana winds are expected to pick up late Thursday night through Friday morning with gusts between 30 and 45 mph. “With high temperatures and low humidity… there will be a significant fire hazard,” the spokesperson said. A fire weather watch is in effect for much of Los Angeles and Ventura counties due to very dry conditions from Friday morning to Friday evening.
A red flag warning in Monterey County warns of strong northerly winds and low humidity that can result in critical weather conditions for the fires until Tuesday afternoon.
In contrast, the first snowfall of the season hit the San Bernardino Mountains last night. Video captured by OnScene.TV shows snow accumulated at various locations around Running Springs and Arrowbear Lake. A frost advisory in the neighboring Apple and Lucerne valleys in effect until midnight warns of temperatures as low as 28 degrees.