Thousands of SoCal Edison customers may see power shutoffs as fire danger increases this week

LOS ANGELES (KABC) — As a new round of Santa Ana winds returns to the Southland this week, Southern California Edison is warning thousands of customers they may lose power for fire-safety reasons.

The company has issued a Public Safety Power Shutoff Warning for sections of Southern California that total more than 73,000 customers. That warning is being issued for Wednesday and then downgraded to a slightly less serious alert on Thursday.

That means those customers, totaling about 1.5% of SCE’s total customer base of 5 million, could see their power shut off to reduce the possibility of fires starting and spreading quickly after strong winds knock down power lines.

Here’s how the PSPS Warning breaks down in terms of customers by county:

Los Angeles: 19,124.

Orange: 4,720.

Riverside: 15,116.

San Bernardino: 16,467.

Ventura: 18,124.

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The National Weather Service issued a fire weather watch that will take will take effect at 3 a.m. Thursday and remain in effect until 6 p.m. that evening in the Santa Monica Mountains Recreational Area, the San Gabriel Mountains, the Golden State (5) and Antelope Valley (14) freeway corridors, the Malibu Coast, Calabasas and the San Fernando and Santa Clarita valleys.

The fire weather watch was originally expected to take effect at noon Wednesday, however, forecasters pushed it back, saying humidity levels are not expected to drop to critical levels until early Thursday morning.

The winds are supposed to start late Tuesday night and then peak late Wednesday night, according to the NWS.

Forecasters said mountain areas will experience winds of 20 to 30 mph, gusting to 45 mph, along with potential isolated gusts reaching 55 mph.

Valleys will likely see winds of 15 to 25 mph, gusting to 35 mph, potentially reaching 45 mph, according to the NWS.

Humidity levels in all affected areas are expected between 12% and 25% Wednesday evening, falling as low as 8% Thursday.

Residents who live near high-danger areas are advised to take precautions and be prepared to evacuate on short notice.

City News Service contributed to this report.

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