Once again this year, Public Safety Power Shutoffs are possible for Thanksgiving, Southern California Edison officials said on Tuesday.
The news comes after the National Weather Service announced that the Santa Clarita Valley would be under a red flag warning, with dry conditions and high-speed winds increasing the chance of fire danger.
Three different hazardous weather conditions notifications were put out on Tuesday: a wind advisory, a high wind watch and a red flag warning.
The wind advisory is set to be in effect from Wednesday at 6 a.m. to Thursday at 3 a.m. and is expected to bring winds between 20-35 mph, with gusts upwards of 50 mph.
However, beginning at 3 a.m. on Thursday, and lasting for roughly 12 hours, will be a high winds watch, according to Richard Thompson, a meteorologist at the National Weather Service.
“The advisory is expecting gusty north winds but nothing that’s going to be potentially warning level,” said Thompson. “But then we’re issuing a high wind watch and during that time period, we’re saying there’s potential there for warning-level wind gusts across the Santa Clarita Valley.”
The high wind watch will involve northeast winds anywhere between 30-40 mph, with gusts up to 60 mph possible.
Damaging winds could blow down large objects such as trees and power lines. Power outages are possible and travel could be difficult, especially for high-profile vehicles, NWS officials said.
And due to the high-speed winds, as well as low humidity, the SCV is under a red flag warning from Wednesday at 10 a.m. to Friday at 6 p.m., Thompson said.
Due to the increased fire risk, Southern California Edison informed a number of local communities, particularly around Highway 126, as well as in Canyon Country and Agua Dulce, that they would be under a public safety power shutoff consideration.
“We understand that Public Safety Power Shutoff events significantly impact our customers’ daily lives and create hardships for them and our communities, especially during the Thanksgiving holiday,” SCE officials said in a prepared statement. “We may have to do this to keep communities safe from potential wildfires.”
Strong and gusty winds are expected to begin midday on Wednesday and continue until midday Friday,” SoCal Edison officials added. “It has been a month since the last time we had a significant rainstorm in Southern California, ground conditions are once again dry and receptive to potential wildfires – especially in areas that received little to no rain last month.”
An incident management team, according to SCE, will determine whether the weather and ground conditions determine if the power should be shut off.
“Given the expected duration of this wind event, SCE will attempt to temporarily restore power to customers if winds subside and allow for safe inspections and power restoration,” the utility company officials said. “We will provide updated information as it becomes available.”
Residents can use an online, interactive map on sce.com/PSPS, to see if their community is being monitored for a potential shutoff, or if their area is de-energized. Customers can also go to sce.com/wildfire/weather-awareness to see the five-day weather outlook for future PSPS events.