At least 33,000 Los Angeles Department of Water and Power customers across the city were without power Wednesday morning, and another 2,739 Southern California Edison customers in communities outside Los Angeles were in the dark as a result of a windstorm that has been wreaking havoc in Southern California, downing power lines.
At the peak of the outage, 42,000 LADWP customers were without power, the utility said. As of about 6 a.m., the number of customers offline was around 33,000.
“Our electrical distribution system was hit hard by damaging winds and there are over 15 locations with wires down,” the DWP tweeted Wednesday morning. “Please be careful near downed power lines. Treat every line as (if) it is live and call 911.”
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, the Fairfax district, Mar Vista, Wilmington, 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. “Crews will work until every single customer is restored.”
Customers were advised 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.
DWP representative Sylvia Beltran said that it was crucial for repair crews to determine the cause of an outage affecting a particular circuit before attempting to restore electrical service. For example, Beltran said, when a crew encounters a downed power line, the parameters of that repair are self-evident.
However, circuits can shut down for various other reasons, and the cause must be diagnosed before a crew can re-energize the circuit safely in order to prevent creating further damage, Beltran said.
Crews also worked Wednesday morning on a downed tree affecting power on Lookout Mountain Avenue between Laurel Canyon Boulevard and Horseshoe Canyon Road, CBS2 reported. In Westwood, a tree fell onto an apartment building in the 500 block of Felton Avenue in Westwood, damaging the roof of the building, but not forcing any residents to evacuate, according to NBC4.
A high wind warning scheduled to be in effect in the San Gabriel Mountains until 3 a.m. Wednesday 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. Wednesday 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 Wednesday morning, forecasters said. A beach hazards statement, which is less serious than a high surf advisory, will be in effect until 7 Wednesday 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.
The NWS forecast sunny skies in L-A County Wednesday and highs of 59 degrees on Mount Wilson; 66 in Palmdale and Lancaster; 68 in Avalon; 73 at LAX; 76 in Downtown L.A., Burbank and Woodland Hills; and 77 in Long Beach and San Gabriel; and 78 in Pasadena. Temperatures will remain about the same through Saturday before dipping a few degrees.
Sunny skies were also forecast in Orange County, along with highs of 53 on Santiago Peak; 65 on Ortega Highway at 2,600 feet; 66 in San Clemente; 67 in Laguna Beach; 70 in Newport Beach; 72 in Fremont and Santiago Canyons; 74 in Mission Viejo; 77 in Irvine and Yorba Linda; and 79 in Fullerton and Anaheim. Temperatures will remain roughly the same through Saturday.