More than 73,000 Southern California Edison were without power on Thanksgiving Day as the region saw dangerous fire weather conditions with widespread strong and damaging winds.
The public safety power shutoffs are meant to prevent the electric system from sparking a wildfire that could spread fast amid the dry, windy conditions.
A small percentage of Edison’s 5 million customers were affected by the shutoffs, but that still translates to tens of thousands of Southern Californians.
As of 7:30 p.m., Los Angeles County had 16,196 customers without power, Riverside County had 26,001, Ventura County had 16,619, San Bernardino County had 8,742 and Orange County had 5,744, according to Edison’s website.
Power shutoffs were also being considered for another 169,030 customers in the region.
Edison said it will restore power as soon as the weather conditions permit, and crews have inspected the power lines.
Strong Santa Ana winds with powerful gusts, combined with low humidities, have set the stage for any fires that spark to grow quickly.
A Red Flag Warning was in effect for most of Los Angeles and Ventura counties from Wednesday through Friday evening, according to the National Weather Service.
The strongest winds were expected through Thanksgiving morning, with some residents waking up to toppled trees overnight.
A high wind warning was in effect due to damaging winds in the San Fernando Valley and L.A. County coast, mainly across the Malibu corridor, through early Thursday morning.
Powerful wind gusts of over 70 mph swept through some mountain and valley areas in L.A. and Ventura counties overnight and in the early morning, according to the Weather Service.
The winds are strong enough to bring down power lines that can fall and spark, which is why Edison began the power shutoffs.
Drivers were warned to be prepared for downed trees and power lines in the roadway.