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Thanksgiving brings strong winds, power cuts, fire danger

Southern California was rocked by gusts of wind in Santa Ana on Thanksgiving Day, creating a fire hazard and leaving tens of thousands of people without power.

Wind gusts reached 70 mph overnight Wednesday in parts of the mountains and hills, causing trees to fall.

The forecasts

A red flag warning went into effect Wednesday at 10 a.m. for much of Los Angeles and Ventura counties. It will last until 6 p.m. Friday, as gusty northeast winds and dry air bring the potential for critical weather conditions for fires to the region, according to the National Weather Service.

Authorities predict that relative humidity will drop to as low as 2% to 8% by Thursday and Friday, along with “very poor recoveries overnight, especially in mountain areas,” according to the warning. Winds are expected to ease by Friday, but the low humidity and occasional strong gusts will keep the fire danger high throughout the afternoon, according to the warning.

Temperatures in coastal areas and valleys are expected to hover in the mid-1970s through Thanksgiving before warming slightly on Friday and through the weekend, said Ryan Kittell, a meteorologist at the Weather Service’s Oxnard station.

The beaches could see the warm temperatures on Thursday, he said. “This is generally the case with Santa Anas,” Kittell said, explaining that the air warms up as it drops in altitude.

Shutdown

Southern California Edison said customers could be affected by public safety power outages to reduce the risk of blasting blown utility lines.

As of Thursday morning, electricity was cut for about 60,000 Edison customers. 156,000 other customers could also face cuts.

Here is Edison’s site for information on the power outage.

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