Washington: Local utility company in US Southern California cut off power to almost 20,000 customers and warned more outage on Tuesday in order to reduce the risk that the equipment might start a wildfire as strong winds are hitting the region.
According to Southern California Edison, which supplies power service to 5 million customers in the area, besides the residents suffering blackout, another 116,000 customers could be turned off power later.
“When there is a high risk for a wildfire, we may temporarily shut off power to your neighbourhood to prevent our electric system from becoming the source of an ignition,” the company said on its official website.
The outages are officially known as public safety power shutoffs, designed for utilities in California to shut off parts of their grids to reduce the risk of deadly wildfires which were ignited by electrical equipment often.
The outage came as the National Weather Service (NWS) warned that Southern California could see sustained Santa Ana winds of 30 to 40 mph (48.2 to 64.3 kph) Monday, however the NWS recorded 96 mph (154.4 kph) gust in the place about 30 kilometres east of Los Angeles downtown.
“GUST TO 96 MPH!!! Here is an aerial look at the strongest gusts. Now up to 90 MPH in the mountains just south of Santa Clarita in the San Gabriel Mountains,” the NWS Los Angeles tweeted Monday morning.
Moreover, pictures from local ABC7 News showed there were at least five big tractor trailers flipped onto their sides on highway due to strong winds.
The Santa Ana winds are strong, extremely dry down-slope winds that originate inland and affect coastal Southern California in fall and winter. It is known as “devil winds” for propagating regional wildfires.