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More than 100,000 customers in Southern California face power cuts

by Kristina Bravo, KTLA-TV |

As forecast of Santa Ana winds drew near, Southern California Edison expanded its power shutoff watch to more than 106,000 customers across the region.
As of Tuesday morning, the utility said it could cut electricity in the following counties in an effort to avert wildfires (see SoCal Edison’s website for maps and the latest updates): Los Angeles County (about 30,773 customers), Ventura County (about 1,589), San Bernardino County (about 27,630), Riverside County (about 19,434), Mono County (about 13,963), Inyo County (about 538), Kern County (about 12,076) and Tulare County (about 253).

The National Weather Service warned of Santa Ana winds blowing northeast to east with gusts about 35 to 60 mph in the  inland regions of Orange County, the Coachella Valley and communities in the mountains and inland valleys.

In L.A. and Ventura counties, gusts could reach 70 mph in the mountains and 55 mph on the coast and in the valleys. Forecasters expect peak winds on Thursday between 10 a.m. and 8 p.m.

Humidity could drop to 5 to 10 percent, according to the National Weather Service.

“The gusty NE winds along with warm and very dry conditions will lead to a potential for critical fire danger and rapid fire growth,” the agency said.

SoCal Edison’s power shutoff watch only included 12,000 customers early Monday, mostly in Mono and Kern counties. The company in late September cut service for dozens of homes in the unincorporated areas between Beaumont and Banning in Riverside County for nearly six hours.

Meanwhile, Pacific Gas & Electric issued a wider warning in Northern and Central California this week, where nearly 30 counties were notified of a possible electricity cut.
PG&E power lines ignited some of the most devastating fires in California over the past two years. In May, state regulators approved a rule that allows utility companies to preemptively turn off service to avoid blazes.