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Heavy Rains in Southland Bring Debris Flow, Mudslides

SCE crews and personnel are at the ready as they work to restore power in the affected areas.

UPDATED Jan. 11, 8 a.m.

A heavy deluge of rain swept though many parts of the Southland overnight and into this morning, causing flooding, debris flow and mudslides in some areas, including Montecito in Santa Barbara County.

The rain, sometimes as much as four inches, has been accompanied by winds up to 45 mph in some areas. The National Weather Service is forecasting more heavy rains and thunderstorms this afternoon for Santa Barbara before moving into the L.A. Basin and the Inland Empire.

Southern California Edison continues to have crews and personnel at the ready and is working to restore power in the affected areas. Customers served by infrastructure that runs through these vulnerable areas may experience power outages 

“A significant amount of scheduled work for today has been postponed, canceled or is being rescheduled due to the heavy rainstorms,” said Jim Cherrie, SCE director of Grid Operations. “SCE’s No. 1 priority is the safety of its customers and employees. If you see a downed power line or dangling wire, never approach or touch it and call 911 immediately.”

SCE's Montecito Substation is not damaged, but the power lines that feed the substation were impacted by the storms. As of 8 a.m. on Jan. 11, approximately 750  customers in Montecito are without power and should be prepared for extended outages, likely for the remainder of the week.

The weather service is forecasting several inches of snow — some as high as 18 inches — in the highest elevations of the San Bernardino and San Gabriel mountains. Snow is also forecast for San Jacinto and for the highest elevations in Ventura County.

SCE is staffing extra crews and personnel in the areas experiencing heavy rainstorms. In anticipation of the storms, SCE staged a helicopter to monitor the system, which allows the utility to expedite damage assessments and accelerate recovery plans.

For the past week, the utility has been reinforcing its structures, staging equipment for potential repairs and developing a robust plan, including backup equipment such as generators, for possible power outages. 

Customers can report or inquire about outages at 800-611-1911 and get the latest information using the SCE outages app at sce.com/outages. They can also stay informed by visiting sce.com/staysafetwitter.com/sce and facebook.com/sce.

Storm Safety Tips:

  • Downed trees and mudslides may have damaged electrical lines. If you come across any downed wires, stay away and call 911.
  • Beware during flooding. Just six inches of moving water can knock you down and two feet can sweep your vehicle away.
  • Wet yards with puddles on cement or grass can carry electricity. If a line is down in your yard, remain indoors and call 911 immediately.
  • Never try to remove a broken tree limb or branch that has come in contact with a power line.
  • Make sure you have 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 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.

A video and fact sheet about power-line safety is available at: www.SCE.com/staysafe. The information is also available in Spanish