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Strong Santa Anas are on the way

Forecasters expect another round of strong winds to hit the region as work crews try to restore power in hard-hit areas.

December 04, 2011|By Abby Sewell and Carol J. Williams, Los Angeles Times
  • "Bless you all for being out here," Sierra Madre resident Wendy Strong said to the Edison employees who were handing out flashlights, water and ice to those who still have no power.
"Bless you all for being out here," Sierra Madre resident Wendy… (Arkasha Stevenson, Los…)

Utility repair crews took advantage of Sunday's relatively mild weather to restore power to many customers as weather forecasters warned of another blast of high winds expected early Monday.

Meanwhile, thousands of residents who had remained without power after more than three days hunkered down for another chilly night without electricity to power their TVs and computers.

Southern California Edison reported Sunday that about 38,445 customers remained without power, down from more than 200,000 on Thursday. San Gabriel Valley cities were the hardest hit.

Photos: Santa Ana winds

Some had prepared for the outage with generators. Jack and Sarah Green of Altadena brought in small solar-powered lights from their yard to light the house.

Others had a more trying time.

Michael Fung, 49, of Temple City said he and his wife kept extra water and supplies in their garage but found themselves unable to get to them — or their second car — because without electricity, the garage door wouldn't open. After three days of no power, their house was cold, and their 8-year-old twins were stir crazy.

But the city opened up Live Oak Park Community Center, across the street from their house, so those without power could warm up, charge their phones and watch TV. Fung was watching the football game between the New York Giants and Green Bay Packers there Sunday afternoon while his son played games on a laptop.

"I realize Edison is working 24/7, and they have brought in multiple crews, and they're doing the best they can, but this is obviously too long now," Fung said.

Edison said Sunday that it expected to restore service to the remaining customers by 8 p.m. Monday. L.A.'s Department of Water and Power had restored power Sunday to all but two dozen customers, and Pasadena Water and Power had restored power to about 95% of its customers, with about 300 remaining.

More than 500 utility workers were deployed across the service area to assess outages, clear and trim trees, and repair downed lines and damaged equipment, said Edison spokesman Gil Alexander. The utility brought in temporary workers to help.

Edison officials said the effort was slowed by downed trees and debris blocking access to equipment and by safety concerns.

The company set up distribution centers over the weekend in some of the hardest-hit communities — Altadena, Arcadia, La Cañada Flintridge, San Gabriel, Sierra Madre and Temple City, where staff handed out water, ice and flashlights. Customer service agents also went door-to-door in some of the cities to provide safety information, Alexander said.

Another round of strong gusts beginning Sunday night — although not as strong as Wednesday night's blast — was expected to increase fire risks in fire-prone areas. The threat prompted the L.A. County Fire Department to dispatch nearly 300 firefighters and fleets of equipment to Malibu, Calabasas and other western areas of the county.

Photos: Santa Ana winds

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