RIALTO, Calif. (KABC) -- Dry and windy conditions prompted warnings from Southern California Edison that the utility may decide to initiate Public Safety Power Shutoffs in some areas -- cutting power, as a precaution, in areas being impacted by strong winds that could damage power lines and potential spark wildfires.
As of Wednesday morning, none of Edison's customers were being impacted by such cuts, but more than 68,000 customers in Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino and Ventura counties were in areas being monitored for possible shutoffs if conditions worsen.
"Public Safety Power Shutoffs are a tool that we use," said Kathleen Dunleavy, an Edison spokeswoman. "They are a tool of last resort."
If the utility does decide to cut off power, Dunleavy said, it might not just be for a couple of hours -- but might last until weather conditions improve. And even when they do improve, it might take up to 8 hours to restore power to all customers.
A map showed that the areas under consideration for the possible shutoffs included locations south of the Cajon Pass, areas near the Banning Pass, parts of northeast Orange County, and parts of Los Angeles County such as Azusa and Glendora.
"You may also want to prepare an outage kit so that you have things that you might need -- a flashlight, your medication, some games to stay busy," Dunleavy suggested. "All of these things plus more will be essential if the power does go out."
The National Weather Service issued a red flag warning that will be in effect from 3 a.m. to 6 p.m. Thursday for the Santa Monica Mountains Recreational Area, the San Gabriel Mountains, the 5 and 14 freeway corridors, the Malibu Coast, Calabasas and the San Fernando and Santa Clarita valleys.
Forecasters said mountain areas could see winds of 20 to 30 mph, gusting up to 50 mph. Other areas will likely experience winds of 15 to 30 mph, gusting to 40 mph, with isolated gusts up to 50 mph.
Humidity levels in all areas are expected to fall to 8% to 15% during the warning period, forecasters said.
City News Service contributed to this report.