Santa Ana winds to raise SoCal fire danger; possible power shutoffs through Thanksgiving

Red flag warnings for fire danger will be in effect from Wednesday morning through Friday afternoon.
LOS ANGELES -- Thousands of Southern California electrical customers had their power cut Wednesday and more than 200,000 others faced the same prospect as utility companies sought to prevent wildfires as Santa Ana winds developed.

Red flag warnings were posted at late morning and were expected to remain in effect through much of Friday due to predicted strong gusts and very low relative humidity, the National Weather Service said.

The strongest and potentially damaging gusts were expected from Wednesday night through Thanksgiving morning. Gusts to 75 mph (121 kph) were expected near and below Cajon Pass and near the coastal foothills of the Santa Ana Mountains.

"Fire danger will rapidly escalate during the night," forecasters said.

Ventura County could see power outages on Thanksgiving because of fire danger
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Ventura County residents may see power outages on Thanksgiving because of the increased risk of fire from Santa Ana winds.

The Santa Anas brought the prospect of public safety power shutoffs in high-risk areas to prevent wildfires from being sparked if the winds were to damage power equipment or blow debris into power lines.

Southern California Edison said power was cut to more than 8,000 customers in Los Angeles, Riverside and San Bernardino counties as of Wednesday night and shutoffs were possible for more than 170,000 customers in six counties.

READ ALSO | Red flag warning: Santa Ana winds batter Southern California amid fears of increased wildfire risk

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Gusty Santa Ana winds were buffeting Southern California on Sunday, reaching as high as 69 mph in the Santa Clarita Valley.

San Diego Gas & Electric was considering shutting off electricity to more than 53,000 customers.

Forecasters also warned of a possible overnight hard freeze in the Antelope Valley north of Los Angeles.

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