Overnight Winds In LA Will Be Extremely Dangerous. How To Prep For Power Outages

Weather officials are warning winds overnight Tuesday into Thursday may be some of the strongest all year. (weather.gov/sandiego)

Authorities are warning Southern Californians to get ready for extremely dangerous Santa Ana winds beginning at 11 p.m. Tuesday and lasting into Thursday evening. Some of the worst gusts — forecast to be as high as 55 to 80 mph in wind-prone areas — are expected to start about 3 a.m. Wednesday.

National Weather Service meteorologists say sustained winds may reach 25 to 35 mph. Whether you live in the hills, mountains, passes or the valleys, you're likely feel the power of these winds.

With high winds come downed power lines. That's very worrisome because downed power lines have sparked deadly and destructive fires in recent years.

Tuesday evening L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti said the Getty Fire, which forced thousands from their homes and destroyed at least 12 structures, was caused by a broken tree branch that was thrown by the high winds onto power lines.

That means power companies including Southern California Edison are warning tens of thousands of customers that "public safety power shutoffs" may take place to reduce the risk of fire. In Northern California, more than a million customers of PG&E have lost power in recent days, with hundreds of thousands facing new outages Tuesday.

Get a list of areas under consideration for PSPS in Southern California >>

Here's a checklist for getting ready now, in case you do lose power:

  • Build or restock your emergency preparedness kit, including a flashlight, batteries, cash, and first aid supplies.
  • Charge cell phones and any battery powered devices.
  • Fuel up or charge up your vehicle.
  • Purchase ice or freeze water-filled plastic containers to help keep food cold during a temporary power outage.

Once you lose power, follow these guidelines:

  • NO open flames. They are dangerous during a power outage. Only use flashlights.
  • Keep your refrigerator and freezer doors closed. [Note: Most food requiring refrigeration can be kept safely in a closed refrigerator for several hours. An unopened refrigerator will keep food cold for about 4 hours.]
  • Turn off or disconnect appliances and other equipment in case of a momentary power "surge" that can damage computers and other devices.
  • If you don't already have them, consider adding surge protectors, now.

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STAY IN THE KNOW:

L.A. City officials recommend you subscribe to the following systems to make sure you get emergency alerts.

NotifyLA - Create an account to receive urgent notifications about local emergencies by phone, email, and/or text message. The system allows you to subscribe to alerts for your neighborhood, schools, businesses, media, and other interest areas.

Nixle - Text your zip code to 888777 to opt-in or sign up online to receive email, text or voice messages with alerts and advisories from local law enforcement. This will sign you up to receive alerts from all agencies using Nixle in your zip code.

Here's a look at forecast wind speeds in the next couple of days:

Strong offshore winds will develop starting Tuesday night and continuing into Thursday afternoon. (weather.gov/sandiego)

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Senior Newscast Producer Rebecca Nieto contributed to this report.

UPDATES:

4:57 p.m.: This article was updated with the cause of the Getty Fire.

This article was originally published at 4:41 p.m.