Strong Winds Knock Out Power to Thousands of LADWP Customers

Strong Winds Knock Out Power to Thousands of LADWP Customers

LOS ANGELES (CNS) - More than 15,000 of the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power's 1.5 million customers and another 2,500 Southern California Edison customers in L.A. County communities outside Los Angeles were without power this morning as a result of a windstorm that has been wreaking havoc in Southern California, downing power lines.

As of 1 a.m., nearly 15,500 DWP customers were offline, according to the utility's online outage map. That number was down from an estimated 35,000 customers as of 11 p.m. Tuesday.

Power outages were reported over a vast and far-flung area, including parts of Bel Air, Encino, the Hollywood Hills, Koreatown, Mid-Wilshire, Silver Lake, South Los Angeles and other communities, according to a statement from the DWP. Most affected neighborhoods are south of the Hollywood Hills.

“LADWP crews are currently working in difficult, high-wind conditions and will work throughout (Tuesday) night and (Wednesday) to restore power as quickly and safely as possible to affected customers,” according to a statement issued by the utility.

Customers were told to expect to be without power for between 12 to 24 hours. Some outages could be restored much quicker, while others may take longer, the DWP said.

A high wind warning scheduled to be in effect in the San Gabriel Mountains until 3 a.m. today was extended and is now due to expire at 11 a.m. The warning, which denotes an expectation of 58-mile-per-hour gusts, will be immediately followed by a less serious wind advisory, which indicates winds of 35 mph and will last until 11 a.m. Thursday

Northwest winds of 25 to 40 mph are whipping across the San Gabriels, accompanied by 70-mph gusts, according to the National Weather Service. Those winds will give way to north-to-northwest winds of 20-30 mph with gusts of up to 50 mph Through Thursday morning, the weather service said.

“Winds this strong may down trees and power lines, causing property damage or power outages. Cross winds can make driving difficult, especially for drivers of high-profile vehicles and vehicles towing trailers,” it said, adding that the strongest winds in the San Gabriels are blowing through the Interstate 5 corridor. “When driving, use extra caution. Be prepared for sudden gusty cross winds.”

Slightly tamer winds were blowing across much of the rest of L.A. County. A wind advisory was scheduled to be in effect until 3 a.m. today in the Santa Monica Mountain Recreational Area, Santa Catalina Island, L.A. County beach cities, metropolitan L.A., the Hollywood Hills, and the San Fernando, Santa Clarita, San Gabriel and Antelope Valleys. The wind in most of the wind advisory zone was recorded at 20-30 mph with 45-mph gusts, although it was gusting at 55 mph in the Antelope Valley.

Outside Los Angeles, a total of 2,556 Edison customers in L.A. County were without power as of 2 a.m., with at least 1,000 customers knocked offline due to the wind, falling trees striking power lines or metallic balloons floating into equipment, according to utility's online outage map. Other outages were attributed to equipment upgrades or the cause was unclear.

Another 87 customers in Orange County were without power, but those outages were not reported as wind-related.

Powerful gusts were reported Tuesday night, according to the NWS. These included 66 mph in Sandberg in the San Gabriel Mountains, 52 mph on San Clemente Island, 49 mph in Malibu, 48 mph in the San Gabriel and San Fernando valleys, 47 mph in Castaic, 46 mph in the Antelope Valley, and 36 mph in the Malibu Hills.

The high winds will generate high surf through this morning, forecasters said. A beach hazards statement, which is less serious than a high surf advisory, will be in effect until 7 this morning in Orange County, where forecasters expect surf of 5-7 feet. Like a high surf advisory, the hazards statement heralds strong rip currents and elevated surf.

In L.A County, where surf of 4-7 feet is also expected, a high surf advisory will be in force until 7 a.m.

Photo: Getty Images

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