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Strong Santa Ana Winds Blow Through Southern California

Cloudy skies over the Golden Hill neighborhood in San Diego County. Nov. 7, 2...

Photo by KPBS Staff

Above: Cloudy skies over the Golden Hill neighborhood in San Diego County. Nov. 7, 2020.

Strong Santa Ana winds blew through the mountains and foothills of Southern California on Friday, bringing high danger of wildfires and power shutoffs for thousands of residents in an effort to prevent ignitions caused by sparking utility lines.

At one point Southern California Edison cut power to more than 16,000 customers and was considering cuts to an additional 96,000. By late Friday night, only about 1,000 were still without power and possible cuts were reduced to under 2,700.

The remaining shutoffs affected Los Angeles, San Bernardino and Ventura counties.

Red flag warnings for high fire danger went into effect on Thanksgiving Day as the Santa Anas picked up speed, topping 80 mph (128.7 kph) in the San Gabriel Mountains Thursday evening, the National Weather Service said.

A gust hit 79 mph (127.1 kph) at Fremont Canyon in the Santa Ana Mountains early Friday, the NWS said.

The seasonal Santa Anas heighten fire danger with the combination of powerful gusts and very dry air that reduces the moisture in vegetation and makes it easier to burn.

The winds were expected to persist into the weekend.

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