Utility Company Shuts Off Power to 75,000 Californians on Thanksgiving Due to High Winds

Utility company Southern California Edison (SCE) shut off upwards of 75,000 Californians’ power on Thanksgiving Day as strong winds threatened to spark wildfires.

Strong winds whipped through the southern portion of the Golden State from Wednesday night through Thursday, prompting the SCE to shut down power Thanksgiving morning to avoid wildfires, the LA Times reported.

The utility company shut off power to “63,835 homes and businesses in Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino and Ventura counties as of 10:36 a.m.,” per Al Jazeera.

By the afternoon, more than 75,000 customers’ power had been shut off, and another 168,000 were facing shut-offs, the LA Times reported.

As of midday Friday, 38,706 residents were still without power in the five counties, per the SCE. Another 122,838 faced shut-offs in the counties.

Winds gusted at 67 miles-per-hour (mph) in North Hollywood and registered between 50-60 mph throughout San Fernando Valley, the LA Times reported. A high of 89 mph was documented at Browns Canyon early Thursday morning.

SCE Spokeswoman Gabriella Ornelas explained that crews began venturing out into the affected counties on Thursday afternoon, following the worst of the winds, to examine power lines in an effort to begin restoring power, the LA Times reports. 

A “Red Flag” warning became effective for substantial portions of Ventura County and Los Angeles County. The warning will remain in effect until 6:00 p.m. on Friday. 

The wind did spark a fire in the San Diego suburb of Santee. Mayor of Santee John W. Minto said the fire seemed to scorch 18 acres, but authorities were able to neutralize the spread, per the LA Times.

The blaze prompted the county’s sheriff’s office to issue a “temporary evacuation. ”

A similar incident occurred last year as SCE cut off power to southern Californians on Thanksgiving due to strong winds. By Black Friday of 2020, over 16,000 customers were still without power, while roughly another 100,000 faced shut-offs, Breitbart News reported.

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