SAN DIEGO (CNS) - Seven rural school districts as well as two campuses in San Diego County were closed Wednesday as the region remained under a Red Flag warning denoting a strong risk of wildfire and around 16,400 utility customers remained without power.
The National Weather Service issued a Red Flag warning for the county mountains, valleys and coastal areas that remains in effect until 5 p.m. Wednesday.
Winds were expected to blow east to northeast at between 25 to 35 mph with gusts near 60 mph possible near the coastal mountain slopes, according to the NWS.
Humidity levels will drop to around 5 percent Wednesday in the valleys, inland coastal areas and coastal mountain slopes.
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As of 9 a.m. Wednesday, around 16,400 San Diego Gas & Electric customers remained without power either because of planned safety outages or unplanned outages due to high winds, according to SDG&E.
In a statement sent to 10News late Tuesday evening, SDG&E officials said:
"Before nightfall (Tuesday), we worked to expedite the process to begin restoring power to some customers impacted by today’s strong weather event. SDG&E crews and contract firefighters helped patrol power lines to ensure they were safe and free of debris, so we could begin safely restoring power. This same process will begin at daylight (Wednesday), starting with areas of the county that are not expected to see high wind speeds (on Wednesday).”
At its peak Tuesday, around 30,000 customers in the Boulevard, Descanso, Campo, Julian, Ramona, Buckman Springs, Lake Wohlford, Pine Valley, Santa Ysabel, Olivenhain, Valley Center, Rancho Santa Fe, Encinitas, Escondido, San Marcos and Rancho Bernardo areas were without power, according to SDG&E.
Campuses closed for Wednesday because of the precautionary power-down:
- Jamul-Dulzura School District
- Julian Union School District
- Julian Union High School District
- Mountain Empire Unified School District
- Rancho Santa Fe School District
- Spencer Valley School District
- Valley Center-Pauma Unified School District
- Del Lago Academy in the Escondido Union High School District
- Solana Santa Fe School in the Solana Beach School District
Six resource centers are open from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. for residents affected by the outages.
Residents can get water and snacks, charge their phones and get updated information on outages at the resources center located at:
- Mountain Empire High School Gymnasium, 3305 Buckman Springs Road, Campo
- Potrero Resource Center, 24550 Highway 94, Potrero
- Camp Oliver Lodge, 8761 Riverside Drive, Descanso
- Golden Acorn Casino & Travel Center, 1800 Golden Acorn Way, Campo
- Whispering Winds Catholic Camp, 17606 Harrison Park Road, Julian
- Dulzura Community Center, 1136 Community Building Road, Dulzura
Water trucks will be sent to the locations in Mountain Empire, Dulzura, Descanso and Julian to provide water for residents with livestock.
High temperatures were forecast at 72 to 78 degrees near the coast and inland, 76 to 81 degrees in the western valleys, 69 to 74 near the foothills, 57 to 65 in the mountains and 70 to 75 in the deserts.
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Vegetation across the county is extremely dry, creating the potential for fast-moving wildfires that will be difficult to control, according to the Santa Ana Wildfire Threat Index.
With the heightened fire danger, authorities recommended that residents avoid outdoor burning and have emergency preparedness kits in order.
In Los Angeles and Ventura counties, the Woolsey Fire has scorched 97,114 acres since it broke out Thursday and was 40 percent contained as of Wednesday morning. The fire has destroyed at least 453 structures and Cal Fire projected full containment of the blaze won't come until Sunday.
Areas of strong and gusty Santa Ana winds will continue into the afternoon, but the winds are expected to weaken Wednesday night, NWS forecasters said.