napa county california news

Parts of California face Thanksgiving Day blackouts

Fire season is now year-round in California.

Dry, blustery conditions in the forecast for Southern California Thursday and Friday will heighten the risk for fallen or damaged power lines to spark wildfires.

Edison International is preparing to potentially cut power to 70,000 customers on Thanksgiving Day, mainly in the mountains of Kern, Los Angeles, Riverside, San Bernardino and Ventura counties, according to the power company’s website.

Southern California Edison spokeswoman Taelor Bakewell told Bloomberg News power would likely be out until Friday evening.

Power shutoffs aren’t forecast for Central or Northern California.

Strong northeasterly winds, a.k.a. the Santa Ana winds, are expected to kick up Thanksgiving Day and persist into late Friday evening across much of Los Angeles and Ventura counties.

Winds will reach peak speeds Thursday night into Friday morning, with gusts up to 60 mph in the mountains, up to 50 mph in the valleys and up to 45 mph along the coast.

Humidity levels will drop down to 10-25% Thursday and some local spots on Friday could dip into the single digits.

Meanwhile, dry, mild weather is in the forecast for Northern California, including the Bay Area, with widespread 60s expected Thursday afternoon.

A handful of storms have passed over California in recent weeks, delivering healthy amounts of rain to the far reaches of Northern California and piling up snow in the northern Sierra Nevada range. But the systems haven’t delivered the widespread rain the state desperately needs to dampen the landscape and curb wildfire risk.

“In the wettest locations, that precipitation may well be considered ‘fire season ending’ — and rains elsewhere have significantly dampened wildfire risk,” Daniel Swain, a climate scientist at UC Los Angeles, wrote on his Weather West blog. “But true season-ending rains have still not yet arrived across some parts of NorCal, and certainly not yet across most of SoCal.”

Swain noted that fall 2020 is on track to be among the top-five driest on record across much of California.

“This comes immediately following the warmest August-October period on record in California,” Swain wrote.

In short, wildfire season is not over.