Strong winds knock out power to more than 54,000 DWP customers

DWP customers across the Southland lost power after 3 am Saturday; most had power restored by the afternoon

Tens of thousands of Los Angeles County residents were without power early Saturday after Santa Ana winds as high as 70 mph knocked down trees and power lines and temporarily closed part of a freeway.

More than 54,000 customers — mostly in the San Fernando Valley — lost power shortly after 3 a.m., according to the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power. Crews worked through continuing winds and had restored power to all but about 9,000 customers by  Saturday night.

The strongest winds hit the mountain regions, such as the Malibu Hills, the Topanga area and the foothills of the San Gabriel Mountains, said Curt Kaplan of the National Weather Service in Oxnard.

“They got hit pretty hard,” he said.

The winds started Friday evening and calmed down briefly Saturday afternoon. Gusts are expected to pick up again Saturday night and continue into Sunday.

The winds should die down by Sunday afternoon, Kaplan said. “The strongest winds have already happened.”

Winds faster than 60 mph also blew through Ventura, Orange and San Diego counties on Saturday. Gusts as high as 89 mph were reported in the San Diego County mountains. In Ventura, metal roofing of an auto repair shop was flipped over and ended up on top of an adjacent building, fire officials said.

Two kayakers were blown out to sea off Latigo Point in Malibu and were reported missing for about an hour. Lifeguards located the kayakers and helped them get safely back to shore.

“With these high Santa Ana winds, especially with winds up in the 40s, we never want people to kayak,” Los Angeles County Fire Inspector Randall Wright said.

Meanwhile, there is a 30% to 40% chance of rain in L.A. and Ventura counties Monday night through Tuesday evening, said Scott Sukup of the National Weather Service. Another shower could pass through Thursday night.

But for the drought-conscious, the forecast isn’t promising.

“Doesn’t look like it’s going to be a major rain producer at this point,” Sukup said. 

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