Stiff Santa Ana winds — including what could be the strongest gust ever recorded locally — buffeted the San Diego area Wednesday, causing widespread East County power outages and prompting school closures.
Due to the onset of the extra-blustery conditions, the National Weather Service issued a high wind warning for the region’s valleys and highlands through the afternoon, along with a less serious wind advisory effective until noon Thursday for those same locales.
Meteorologists warned that the powerful air currents could send unsecured objects flying, blow down tree and make things dicey for drivers of large vehicles traveling through mountain passes.
As of shortly before 8:30 a.m., nearly 1,800 San Diego Gas & Electric customers were without power in a number of East County communities, including the Cuyamaca, Descanso, Green Valley Falls, Guatay, Mount Laguna, Pine Valley and Viejas areas, the utility reported. Those addresses were expected to have electrical service restored by mid- to late afternoon, according to SDG&E.
Citing numerous power outages and hazardous travel conditions for buses, the county Office of Education announced Wednesday morning that all schools in the Mountain Empire Unified School District would be closed for the day.
As of late morning, the weather service had tallied gusts up to 55 mph along the coast, 77 mph in the inland valleys and 106 mph in one East County location. The triple-digit reading on Sill Hill, a 3,717-foot-high peak southwest of Julian, was ” at least close to, and maybe the highest wind gust ever measured in San Diego County,” the weather service reported.
High temperatures Thursday could reach 81 degrees near the coast, 88 inland, 89 in the western valleys, 82 near the foothills, 73 in the mountains and 82 in the deserts.
Temperatures are expected to cool slightly on Friday, then drop further on Saturday, with a storm system set to arrive as early as Saturday night to bring a chance of rain through Monday, forecasters said.
Updated at 4:15 a.m. Thursday, Feb. 27, 2020
–City News Service
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