Santa Ana winds whipped up southern California at more than 70 mph Wednesday night, bringing down trees and power lines and prompting outages that left thousands of homes without power on Thanksgiving morning.
Residents of Los Angeles, Orange, San Bernardino and Riverside counties shared photos on social media in the early hours of Thursday, November 25, showing car hoods smashed by branches and signs dropped by powerful gusts. According to the National Weather Service, Wednesday night winds were 74 mph near Irvine Regional Park, 76 mph in Arrowhead Springs and 79 mph in the mountains east of Santa Clarita.
A tree fell on at least one house in North Hollywood. Electric poles were seen hanging sideways on a set of train tracks along Ball Road in Anaheim, suspended only by power lines attached to them. In Westminster, there were reports of wires and embers falling from burning cypress trees, causing a fire in a shed near the intersection of Emerald Avenue and Magnolia Street.
Strong winds from a down powerline likely sparked wildfires, prompting Southern California Edison to cut power to thousands of customers on Thanksgiving morning as a precaution. Los Angeles County had 15,556 customers, Orange County had 4,127 customers. According to the utility’s website, there were 20,322 in Riverside County and 8,843 in San Bernardino County that were without service as of Thursday morning.
These interruptions last through Thursday afternoon and evening – or sometime tomorrow – depending on when the winds begin to settle.
“There was so much wind that the backyard gate opened and my dog, Lila, came out,” said Santa Ana resident Diana Sashenka Santa Cruz. “It was around 1.30 am. Luckily a neighbor called me to pick him up.”
In the Redlands, firefighters respond to reports of a fire in a travel trailer on San Bernardino Avenue and Tennessee Street late Wednesday. The strong winds caused the surrounding vegetation to catch fire, the largest of which is about 10 acres. And in Riverside, dispatchers received a large amount of home alarm activation calls due to the winds, said Officer Ryan Relsbach, a spokesman for the Riverside Police Department.
“We kindly ask people with home alarm systems who will be away from family today, please be sure to answer the phone when the alarm company calls that your system was activated,” Railsback said.
According to the forecasters, the strong winds would continue till Thursday amid dry conditions. According to the National Weather Service, a combination of high winds and low humidity prompted officials to issue a red-flag warning, which will remain in effect for the Inland Empire and the hills, valleys and valleys of Los Angeles County until 6 p.m. Friday.