High winds to continue till 5 p.m. today, weather service reports

Thursday, May 1—

For the third consecutive day, strong and potentially damaging Santa Ana winds were expected to blow throughout much of San Diego County today.

The National Weather Service scheduled a high wind warning — signaling winds strong enough to cause damage — for the valleys and mountains until 5 p.m., saying isolated gusts today were likely to measure 60 to 80 miles per hour in the mountains and foothills, and 40 to 60 mph in the inland valleys.

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“The winds will subside (this) evening,’’ the agency said.

Along the coast, a less serious wind advisory was also scheduled to expire at 5 p.m.

A wind advisory is issued when winds strong enough to make driving difficult are expected or occurring.

The weather service typically issues a red flag warning — signaling a threat of wildfire — for hot, dry and windy days such as San Diego has experienced this week.

The warning was not issued this week because of the recent rains, but the blustery conditions stoked several fires amid temperatures in the 90s on Wednesday, including one in the bed of the San Diego River near Carlton Oaks Country Club in Santee, and the other in palm trees near SeaWorld.

The winds also downed utility poles and toppling trees throughout the county this week.

Some Ramonans experienced several weather-related power outages Tuesday and Wednesdays, with San Diego Gas and Electric saying that about 2,800 customers were affected by outages yesterday.

To prevent a loss of sewer service at the Ramona Municipal Water District’s Santa Maria sewer plant, the district resorted to backup generators due to the intermittent power outages, General Manager David Barnum reported.

An arcing transformer started a brush fire that burned about four acres near homes and a shopping center in Lakeside today, knocking out power to more than 8,000 addresses, authorities said.

The fire near the 7-Eleven at Lake Jennings Park Road and El Monte Road erupted shortly before 7 a.m., according to San Diego County sheriff’s Lt. Rich Williams.

Shortly after 8 a.m., crews stopped the fire at four acres, according to Cal Fire. The state firefighting agency was one of several entities that assisted Lakeside Fire in battling the blaze, which was dubbed the El Monte Fire.

No injuries were reported and no structures damaged.

San Diego Gas & Electric reported at least 8,395 of its Lakeside-area customers were without electricity at the height of the incident. As of 8:40 a.m., only 3,085 customers remained without power, according to the utility.

   
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