Cleanup efforts are underway after powerful winds swept through Southern California Monday night, toppling trees, stirring up dust storms and causing power shut-offs for thousands.
On Tuesday, Pacific Gas and Electric warned another 29,000 Californians that they could have their power shut off starting early Thursday. In the second wind-related “public safety power shut-off” this week, the utility warned that 19 counties in Northern and Central California could be affected in order to reduce the risk of wildfire from energized power lines.
Pacific Gas and Electric began issuing a weather “all clear” in some locations following Monday’s shut-off, which affected about 24,000 customers in portions of 23 counties, from Santa Barbara County north to Shasta County. Some of the areas affected the most by the shutoffs 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 into their service area beginning Wednesday night, which could lead to more power shut-offs.
PG&E began opening dozens of community resource centers for customers to charge medical equipment and electronic devices, use the internet and seek air conditioning and heating.
Wind advisories in Ventura and Los Angeles County mountain communities were cancelled Tuesday afternoon after winds diminished below advisory levels, according to a spokesperson for the National Weather Service Office in Oxnard. The high winds the day before led to dust storms in the area which dropped visibility to nearly zero and closed portions of the 14 Freeway and State Route 138 in Lancaster for several hours.
Several areas across the state saw damage from trees brought down by strong winds.
In one South L.A. neighborhood, several parked cars were damaged by giant toppled trees overnight. Local residents told KABC7 that they had complained about the trees for years, saying that the trees were old and could cause damage.
In Van Nuys, a tree fell onto an SUV as a woman and her two sons were traveling on Erwin Street on Monday. The woman told KTLA5 reporters that she was scratched, but no one was seriously hurt in the incident.
Up north in Sacramento, trees damaged cars and homes. In one incident, a tree fell on a car while a mother and daughter were inside. Both made it out safely, but the car was significantly damaged, they told KABC10.
Wind advisories are currently in place in San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara counties and are projected to last until early Wednesday. The advisory warns of gusty winds that can toss unsecured objects and make driving difficult, especially for high-profile vehicles.
In Los Angeles County, Santa Ana winds are expected to pick up late Thursday night into Friday morning with gusts between 30 and 45 mph. “Along with high temperatures and low humidity … it’s going to be some significant fire danger,” said the spokesperson. A fire weather watch is in effect for much of Los Angeles and Ventura counties due to very dry conditions from Friday morning through Friday evening.
A red flag warning in Monterey County warns of strong northerly winds and low humidity that may result in critical fire weather conditions through Tuesday afternoon.
In contrast, the first snowfall of the season hit the San Bernardino mountains last night. Video captured by OnScene.TV shows accumulated snow at various locations around Running Springs and Arrowbear Lake. A frost advisory in the nearby Apple and Lucerne valleys in effect until midnight warns of temperatures as low as 28 degrees.