Strong Santa Ana winds with gusts up to 70 mph will blow through Southern California starting today and are expected to last several days before subsiding later this week.
The National Weather Service is calling this the “strongest and longest duration Santa Ana wind event we have seen so far this season” and has also issued Red Flag warnings for most counties in Southern California.
High winds can sometimes damage power lines and equipment if hit by flying and falling debris. SCE reminds its customers to never approach or touch a downed power line or dangling wire or anything in contact with them — even if it appears not to be live — and to call 911 immediately. Traffic signals may be out so approach those intersections as four-way stops.
“We will be closely monitoring the wind conditions this week and SCE has crews ready to respond in case of any additional outages or possible downed wires,” said Jim Cherrie, SCE director of Grid Operations. “We want to make sure we are ahead of this Santa Ana event.”
If power outages occur due to high winds, the extreme conditions may necessitate longer restoration times. When the National Weather Service calls for Red Flag warnings, disconnected electric circuits will not be automatically re-energized by SCE in high-fire areas. Instead, SCE will physically patrol and inspect the lines before they are re-energized.
SCE is currently reviewing scheduled maintenance outages in areas that may be affected by high winds and Red Flag warnings this week. During extreme weather, SCE looks at maintenance outages on a case-by-case basis and factors such as public safety and reliability needs are considered.
Customers may report or inquire about outages at 800-611-1911 and get the latest information using the SCE outages app at sce.com/outages. Customers can also get the latest information by visiting www.sce.com/staysafe or at twitter.com/sce and facebook.com/sce.
SCE Safety Tips in High-Wind Conditions:
- Remember to check emergency supplies to be sure you have a battery-operated radio, a flashlight and fresh batteries. Do not use candles for lighting as they pose a fire hazard.
- If you’re in a vehicle with a fallen power line on it, stay in the vehicle and remain calm until help arrives. It is OK to use your cellphone to call 911. If you must leave the vehicle, remember to exit away from downed power lines and exit by jumping from the vehicle and landing with both feet together. You must not touch the vehicle and the ground at the same time. Then proceed away from the vehicle by shuffling and not picking up your feet until you are several yards away.
- Water and electricity don’t mix. Water is an excellent conductor of electricity. Do not step in or enter any water that a downed power line may be touching.
- If you use a generator, place it outdoors and plug individual appliances directly into it, using a heavy-duty extension cord. Connecting generators directly to household circuits creates “backfeed,” which is dangerous to repair crews. Please consult the manufacturer’s manual for operating the generator.
- Do not use any equipment inside that is designed for outdoor heating or cooking. Such equipment can emit carbon monoxide and other toxic gases.