El Niño Storms Drench Southern California
The much-anticipated El Niño storms have finally made their appearance in Southern California.
Weather forecasts are predicting rain from San Diego to Los Angeles through Monday as well as wind gusts of up to 55 mph in some areas. Heavy snow is also expected to fall in the Sierra Nevada mountains.
Southern California Edison has crews at the ready in anticipation of possible repair outages and cautions customers to stay away from downed power lines, especially in the rain.
“We remind our customers to never approach or touch a downed power line, even if it does not appear to be live, and call 911 immediately,” said Paul Jeske, SCE’s director of Corporate Health and Safety. “If you are in a car accident and there is a downed wire nearby, do not get out of your car and call 911 for help.”
This is expected to be the first real deluge in the Los Angeles area since mid-February and is expected to put a small dent in the state’s drought. Weather forecasters are also warning that there could be mudslides in areas previously damaged by fires.
SCE has spent the past several months getting ready for these El Niño storms. In addition to preparing facilities and crews, the utility has been educating customers on how they can stay safe during continuous days of rain.
The utility’s preparations include a stepped-up trimming program for trees and vegetation that might threaten power lines plus increasing its stock of transformers and utility poles.
SCE’s No. 1 priority is the safety of its customers and employees. Here are a few safety tips to keep in mind during these storms:
- Downed trees and mudslides may have damaged electrical lines. If you come across any downed wires, stay away and call 911.
- Wet yards with puddles on cement and grass can carry electricity. If a line is down in your yard, remain indoors and call 911 immediately.
- Make sure you have a battery-operated radio and flashlights. Check the batteries to make sure they’re fresh. Use flashlights for lighting during a power outage. Do not use candles because they pose a significant fire hazard.
- If you use a generator, place it outdoors and plug individual appliances directly into it, using heavy-duty extension cords. Connecting generators directly to household circuits creates “backfeed,” which is dangerous to repair crews.
- When power is out, traffic signals may be out so approach those intersections as four-way stops.