Olivenhain, Rancho Santa Fe face power cuts as Santa Ana whips San Diego


Sun, wind, trees. (Photo by Franck V via Unsplash)

North Coast Current

Power has been cut to some areas of north coastal San Diego County, including Olivenhain in Encinitas, as Santa Ana winds hit historic speeds in the region Dec. 3, according to local weather and power authorities.

As of noon Thursday, 69,096 San Diego Gas & Electric customers were without power as the utility cut service as a precautionary measure during the high winds.

Affected communities include Olivenhain in Encinitas, Rancho Santa Fe, San Marcos and Escondido, according to SDG&E’s power shutoff website. Oceanside residents were advised to prepare for possible outages as well.

Wind gusts hit 51 mph at 10 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 2, ahead of stronger winds that hit the county overnight, according to a National Weather Service list of peak winds for the Santa Ana event.

“Record-breaking wind speeds, some of the highest since we began installing our network of weather stations nearly a decade ago, made it necessary to shut off power for public safety and to reduce wildfire risk,” SDG&E stated in its update. “So far, 17 weather stations have seen all-time record wind gusts, with a peak of 94 mph. This decision is a last resort and we’ll begin work to restore power as soon as conditions are safe to do so.”

Gusts hit 95 mph at Big Black Mountain north of Ramona (not the open-space preserve in Rancho Peñasquitos) at 2:15 a.m. Thursday, according to the National Weather Service. Sill Hill, also in East County, hit a top speed of 93 mph at 1:30 a.m. Black Mountain in Rancho Peñasquitos hit 50 to 56 mph in the first two hours of Thursday.

Closer to the coast, the San Dieguito region saw wind gusts up to 51 mph by 3:30 this morning while Rancho Santa Fe and Elfin Forest hit 47 mph between 4 and 5 a.m.

Wind speeds are collected from a mix of official and volunteer sites working with the National Weather Service.

The Santa Ana, predicted to last through the weekend, is on the cool side temperature-wise with coastal highs in the low 70s, according to forecasters. Humidity levels have been in the single digits to teens.

In Rancho San Diego, one home was destroyed and six others were damaged in a brushfire that broke out late Wednesday.

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