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Thousands Lose Power On Thanksgiving As Strong Santa Ana Winds Raise Fire Risk

A palm tree is shown blowing hard in strong wind. The tree is on the right side of the frame. Blue sky and several sparse white clouds are behind it.
A palm tree blows in the wind.
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Hold onto your turkey hats.

Strong Santa Ana winds with gusts in excess of 50mph are pummeling communities across Southern California, and prompting the National Weather Service to issue a Red Flag warning that will stay in place until 6PM Saturday.

Southern California Edison has already started performing public safety power shutoffs because of the increased fire risk, cutting electricity to nearly 5000 customers as of 1pm on Thanksgiving day. That number could grow to nearly 107,000 according their website.

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Agua Dulce, a community in the canyons north east of Santa Clarita, has lost power in parts.

“For us up here, the thing is when you shut off the power you’re not just shutting off our power, you’re shutting off our water,” said Elisa Mortimer, a resident who’s helping the Sweetwater Restaurant and Saloon cook and pack up meals for those in the area in need.

She said that they’re still dependent on well water, so when the power goes out so do their pumps.

“It’s cold now. We’ve got a lot of seniors in this area,” she said “They’re not at an age to be able to start a generator or anything like that. Our seniors are without water, power and heat.”

If power goes out, she said the restaurant would have to shut down until the hot water comes back.

The strongest of the winds are expected to start to die down by Friday afternoon, but some offshore flow will stick around through the weekend as temperatures rise to the mid-70s by Sunday.

Southern California is approaching the peak of Santa Ana wind season, however without any rain in sight, fire risk will remain high until we get strong storms to moisten things up. Until then, big fires will remain a possibility.