Thanksgiving darkens in southern California when Edison cuts off power

California is at risk of frequent power outages due to battery shortages

Photographer: Bing Guan / Bloomberg

Strong winds increase the risk of fires, Edison International has begun cutting power supplies to some homes and businesses in Southern California, obscuring the Thanksgiving holidays that have already been overshadowed by the state’s worsening corona virus wave.

The power outage began Thursday morning and could eventually affect more than 100,000 customers, or about 300,000 people in six counties. It affected about 5,000 customers at 2:30 p.m., local time.

The closures occur when the Santa Ana windstorm rakes the region and is projected to reach gusts of 80 miles (80 kilometers) per hour. California public utilities cut power supplies in the event of a major wind after power lines triggered a series of fatal fires.

Outages can spread as the windstorm travels south across the state. Sempra Energy’s San Diego division has warned it is considering unplugging 2,700 homes or businesses, or about 8,000 people, from early Friday.

Outages strike during difficult times. California persists The worst wave of coronavirus infections to date, with more than 18,000 new cases and 106 new deaths reported on Wednesday alone. State officials asked residents to cancel family reunions with great Thanksgiving and stay home.

At the same time, almost all of California remains abnormally dry or drought United States Drought monitoring website. Winter rains began in Northern California, but barely affected the southern direction, making grass, shrubs, and trees vulnerable to fires. The state’s record-breaking fires have already scorched 4.2 million acres and killed 31 people this year. One of the deadliest flames in California history was triggered by electrical wires falling or tangled with tree branches during windstorms.

(Updates the number of omissions in the second paragraph.)