Power is shut off on windy Thanksgiving Day in parts of Riverside County – San Bernardino Sun

Gusty Santa Ana winds that whipped through Southern California on Thanksgiving day, leaving some communities without power and increasing the threat of possible wildfires, are expected to ease by late Friday morning.

Wind advisories and red flag warnings alerting residents to a higher risk of wild land blazes in portions of Southern California complicated holiday’s travel and kept fire crews on edge on Thanksgiving, but were expected to end by late Friday morning.

Windy weather was forecast to ease in most of Southern California on Friday, and temperatures were expected to cool a bit. But the potential danger in particularly fire prone areas could still rise at times over the weekend, forecasters cautioned.

On Thursday, warm weather, gusty winds and low humidity had forecasters urging residents in particularly fire-prone areas to keep an eye out for possible blazes.

As a precaution, Southern California Edison early Thursday shut off power for thousands of of customers in Riverside County — including portions of Hemet, Homeland and two nearby unincorporated areas. Power in Hemet was restored by 5 p.m. on Thursday, according to the SCE website, but restoration times for the other areas had yet to be determined as of Thursday evening, when more than 4,200 customers were still without power.

As of late Thursday, power officials were considering shutoffs for more than 7,500 customers in Los Angeles County. Wind speeds and low humidity were the major factors in helping SCE determine which areas to consider for precautionary shutoffs, officials said.

The windy weather complicated commutes for holiday travelers. At one point tumbleweeds were even reported on the 91 Freeway near State College Boulevard in Anaheim.

Wind gusts reached up to 76 mph in the Riverside County mountains, 68 mph in the San Bernardino County mountains, 43 mph in Orange County, 64 mph in the valleys of Los Angeles County and 73 mph in Los Angeles County’s mountain regions, according to the National Weather Service.

Despite the elevated danger, no significant wildfires were reported in Los Angeles, Orange, San Bernardino or Riverside counties.

Crews took no chances when it came to smaller fires, including a blaze in a building in the 400 block of Carl Karcher Way in Anaheim that was quickly declared a 3-alarm fire, allowing units from the Anaheim, Brea and Fullerton fire departments to keep it from spreading and knocking it down within an hour.

In Orange County and the Inland Empire, the Santa Ana winds were expected to peak mid Thursday, though the gusts were forecast to continue through Thursday night before beginning to gradually taper off early Friday. According to the National Weather Service San Diego office, temperatures in the area were expected to cool by a few degrees going into the weekend.

In Los Angeles County, warm and dry conditions are forecast to stick around through Friday, before beginning to cool over the weekend, according to the National Weather Service’s Los Angeles Office. But forecasters still warned that periods of critical fire conditions are still expected due to gusty winds and low humidity on Friday and Saturday.

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