Strong Santa Ana Winds are moving into parts of Southern California for today. High Wind Alerts are in effect until later this afternoon as winds gusts are expected in some areas near 75 mph.
Santa Ana Winds are dry and warm and lead to high fire danger. Santa Ana Winds this strong are likely to yield power poles to buckle which could lead to fires sparking as power lines come loose.
As a result, Southern California Edison is looking at the unprecedented step of shutting off power for today.
In recent years, power equipment has been blamed for setting off wildfires that spread quickly among the same type of dry, windy conditions expected today and overnight Monday. The company is facing lawsuits over allegations its equipment was involved in starting the massive Thomas Fire which went down as the largest in the state's history nearly one year ago this December.
According to recent reports, SoCal Edison has launched a new program called "Public Safety Power Shutoff" that allows the power company to proactively turn off power in areas where the winds could be strongest. Today could be the first time this new program is put into action.
The company has sent out alerts notifying customers in 41 cities in Southern California spread throughout four counties - Los Angeles, Orange, Ventura and San Bernardino - that power could possibly be turned off on Monday as Santa Ana Winds become very strong threatening power lines.
The company urges residents to understand that this potential power shut off is only temporary and to preemptively avoid any fires that could spark.
Meteorologist Merry Matthews