Communities across widespread swaths of eastern and northern San Diego County could be subject to precautionary power shut-offs this week due to the prospect of critical fire hazards amid a several-day spell of dry and windy weather, utility officials advised Wednesday.
The imminent onset of moderately strong Santa Ana conditions prompted the National Weather Service to issue a “red flag” wildfire warning for the local valleys and mountains, effective from noon Thursday to 6 p.m. Friday.
In response, San Diego Gas & Electric has alerted about 30,000 of its customers that it may suspend their electrical service at times over the period to reduce combustion hazards posed by power lines, the utility company reported.
SDG&E advised that it plans to provide updated notifications to customers within 24 hours of an anticipated power-down, and again within one to four hours of a shut-off, if possible.
Among areas that could be affected are Alpine, Banner Grade, Boulevard, Descanso, Fallbrook, Julian, Mesa Grande, Mount Laguna, Palomar Mountain, Pine Valley, Potrero, Ramona, Rancho Santa Fe, Rincon, Santa Ysabel, Valley Center, Viejas and Wynola.
SDG&E advises those who have received the notification to be prepared, making sure they have such emergency supplies as water, food, flashlights, extra batteries and cellphone battery packs.
Should any precautionary power shut-off last for more than 24 hours, the utility plans to open temporary aid centers where customers can get water and snacks, charge their cellphones, and get updates.
The strongest winds over the period are expected Thursday night through Friday morning. Daytime humidity levels are likely to fall to 5-10% Thursday and remain at the lower end of that spectrum on Friday, according to the weather service.
Combustion hazards are expected to be “marginal” Thursday and “moderate” Friday, according to the Santa Ana Wildfire Threat Index.