Palm fronds blamed for power outage

NEWPORT BEACH — High winds generated by Wednesday's storms blew palm fronds into power lines, knocking out electricity for about 4,500 customers in Costa Mesa and Newport Beach for almost four hours, according to Southern California Edison officials.

Paul Klein, a spokesman from the electrical company headquarters in Rosemead, said the power went out at 4:12 p.m. and wasn't fully restored until 8:11 p.m. In all, 4,468 customers lost power.

"Leaves, branches, palm fronds, wires blowing together and touching one another — these are the sorts of things that are creating power outages across Southern California," he said.

Newport Beach police started parking their squad cars at various intersections where the traffic lights didn't work to warn motorists to drive with caution, according to police officers.

The outage stretched from 17th Street in Costa Mesa in the north, Channel Road in the east, Ocean Front in the south and Prospect Street in the west, Klein said.

Wind gusts reached as high as 40 mph at the lifeguard station on the Balboa Peninsula, said Newport Beach lifeguard captain Jim Turner.

"And that's a pretty good clip," Turner said. "That's a stiff wind."

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