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Santa Ana winds lead to parking restrictions in Los Angeles amid fire concerns

SAN JACINTO, CA - NOVEMBER 24, 2022: Juan Star covers his face as powerful wind gusts blows sand and dirt across the intersection where he is selling flowers on Thanksgiving day on November 24, 2022 in San Jacinto, California. The power is out in the area of Highway 74 and Vista Place. The San Ana winds will continue through Friday.(Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times)
Juan Star covers his face as powerful wind gusts blow sand across the intersection where he was selling flowers last Thanksgiving Day in San Jacinto. Similar Santa Ana winds have again prompted red flag warnings in Southern California. (Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times)

Parking restrictions are in effect in parts of Los Angeles where fire officials have determined that roads need to be clear for potential evacuations — the latest precaution against possible wildfires as strong Santa Ana winds hit Southern California.

A red flag warning for Los Angeles and Ventura counties will last through at least Monday, with rapid spread expected if a fire were to start, fanned by gusts of 35 to 65 mph in some spots, according to the National Weather Service.

National Weather Services officials reported that peak winds Sunday reached 92 mph near Magic Mountain Truck Trail in the Santa Clarita area. At Boney Mountain in the Santa Monica Mountains, winds hit 70 mph.

Southern California Edison officials warned customers that precautionary power shutoffs could be necessary to prevent fires.

Calabasas officials said early Sunday that Edison, which provides power to most of the city, could implement a public safety power shutoff "for virtually ALL circuits" there because of the strong winds. "Downed power lines can ignite dry brush and cause wildfires," the city said on X, formerly Twitter. By about 9 p.m. Sunday, some residents had lost power as shutoff areas included a swath north of the 101 Freeway, affecting some residents of Calabasas and Agoura, and a strip extending south from Mulholland Highway at Las Virgenes Road into Malibu.

About 1,600 Southern California Edison customers in Los Angeles County and fewer than 100 in Orange County were affected by precautionary power shutoffs as of Sunday night.

According to the power company, a total of more than 150,000 customers have been warned that they could lose power.

In Los Angeles, vehicles may be towed in areas where parked cars could pose a problem for firefighters or for evacuees needing to get out of the city quickly, such as very narrow roads, hairpin turns, tight curves and intersections that could create "a choke point," according to the Los Angeles Fire Department.

Drivers can type an address into the Fire Department's website to see whether the red flag parking restrictions, which are in effect until at least Monday morning, apply.

In parts of the Antelope Valley, Salinas Valley and San Luis Obispo County, residents will also be dealing with cold temperatures. Those areas are under a freeze warning, with temperatures as low as 25 degrees expected Monday and Tuesday.

Weather officials advise that people facing freeze warnings bring their animals inside, protect sensitive crops and keep a windshield scraper handy.

Parts of the San Francisco Bay Area, including the San Mateo coast and Santa Clara hills, were also facing powerful winds and red flag warnings this weekend.

"People need to just be careful right now with anything that could ignite a fire, because if it gets started in the right spot, it has the potential to spread very quickly," said Rich Thompson, a meteorologist with the Los Angeles/Oxnard National Weather Service office.

Activities that should be avoided include tossing cigarettes out of moving vehicles and leaving a campfire smoldering, Thompson said.

Last fall, strong Santa Ana winds and red flag warnings downed trees and left thousands of Southern Californians without power during the Thanksgiving holiday.

"This is a very typical Santa Ana event. It's nothing unusual for this time of the year," Thompson said.

Times staff writer Paul Pringle contributed to this report.

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This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.