SCE Prepares for Weekend Storms
SCE Prepares for Weekend Storms
Southern California’s weather has given new meaning to the term “dry January” this winter as storm after storm has gone through the Pacific Northwest but failed to deliver significant rain to the Southland. That’s about to change.
“We’ll see a brief but drastic shift in the weather pattern here as we get toward the weekend, where we’ll have potential moisture surges as well as a couple of rounds of rain,” said SCE meteorologist Harrison Prieto. “The big day looks like Monday when we have a chance for substantial rainfall across the region.”
Monday, SCE’s weather team expects 1 to 2 inches of rain in areas including Santa Barbara, Ventura, Los Angeles, Orange County and the Inland Empire. Higher elevations could see more rain, and snow is possible at elevations above 6,500 feet. The team cautions that the forecast does not have a high degree of certainty, so the storm totals could be higher or lower.
For Tyler Long, SCE senior manager of Distribution Operations in the Santa Barbara district, preparations for the approaching storms began Wednesday.
“It starts well in advance. We’re well-versed in dealing with inclement weather up here. We’re watching the weather report like hawks,” Long said. “We’re expecting to see some outage activity, but nothing that we would consider severe.”
Heavy rain can cause trees to fall into power poles and lines, debris flows and mudslides can impact electric equipment and drivers losing control of their vehicles can lead to downed poles. Even underground power distribution infrastructure can be affected by significant rain.
To be safe, Long’s team has rescheduled planned work for Monday that is more complex, such as using cranes or contract traffic control. Repair crews have been put on notice that extended shifts may be necessary to respond to localized outages, and additional troublemen are on alert.
“We’re getting our crews into the mindset that this may not be a normal workweek,” Long said. “We’re making sure our people have prepped all their necessary PPE, like rain gear and have everything they need.”
Even in Huntington Beach, where rain rarely causes power outages, SCE teams are preparing. “We’re in a district that normally doesn’t have a whole lot of problems with rain,” said Tom Valenzuela, senior supervisor of Operations. “But we will have at least one crew ready to respond each day this weekend.”
SCE reminds customers never to touch or approach a downed wire, always stay at least 100 feet away and call 911 immediately. Here are some additional safety tips:
- Never try to remove a broken tree limb or branch that has come in contact with a power line.
- Install surge protectors to help safeguard valuable electronic equipment, such as computers and home entertainment systems.
- If you have an automatic garage door or gate, learn to open it manually (without power).
- Check your vehicle’s wiper blades and tire tread, use caution when driving and do not enter flooded areas.
- Contact your city or county emergency services offices for flood preparation and sandbag locations.
- Make a safety preparedness plan for your family that includes a list and location of emergency items such as water bottles, flashlights, first-aid kits, extra blankets, etc.
- Be prepared to meet the unique needs of infants and elderly or disabled family members. Also, plan how you will care for any pets.