Thursday PM Update: Malibu Avoids Both Strong Santa Anas, and Blackouts

Written by on October 10, 2019

Santa Anas avoided the Santa Monica Mountains and Malibu this afternoon.

Still no blackouts.

And Malibu public schools WILL be in session tomorrow.

Three small fire ignitions in the Santa Monica Mountains today.

NOT related … firefighters say.

All put out quickly.

One of the fires … was just north of Mulholland Highway at the trailhead … west of Las Virgenes Road.

That fire started for unknown reasons … it burned a half acre of grass before a swarm of firefighters attacked it.

It’s hot and dry … but winds have been blowing off the ocean on the beaches … and up at the highest elevations …  the peak wind gusts forecast have now edged back down  … to only 65 miles per hour.

On the beaches … 50 mile per hour gusts are anticipated.

It’s fair to say that the National Weather Service missed with its forecast today.

The predicted 75 mile hour wind gusts never materialized in the mountains.

The weather service was surprised by a strong marine layer this morning … which never really disappeared.

And that layer of comparatively cool coastal air pushed the Santa Anas up and over the coastal air.

The National Weather Service still says the winds will arrive tonight.

And that’s what Southern California Edison says.

And this is significant.

Only the westernmost part of Malibu has been warned to expect blackouts … and that warning has not escalated overnight from maybe … to for sure.

The mountains above Malibu are -not- in the potential blackout warning area.

Nor is the portion of Malibu east of Heathercliff … on Point Dume.

As for the danger …. Southern California Edison is staging crews in the local area … in case wires fall.

L A County fire has moved five engine companies into the command post … at station 89 in Agoura Hills.

The camp crews and other support equipment crews are also on alert.

Statewide … A\about 800,000 customers were expected to lose power Wednesday, leaving more than 2 million people without lights, air conditioning, computers and refrigerators.

The big question circulating through darkened homes and stores was whether cutting power is even a good way to stop wildfires.

The state’s fire protection agency has not studied whether power cutoffs have had any effect on the number of wildfires in California.

And no government agency is part of the decision-making process when a utility considers such a drastic measure.

The decision is solely up to the investor-owned Southern California Edison Company … and its risk avoidance officers.


– No, the city is not going to be providing generators.
– Neither is SCE.
– Malibu High School is NOT cancelled for tomorrow.
– Water in the tanks and pipes will not be affected by the PSPS – according to the plan.

My best estimate right now is that SCE will not turn the power off. They have not expanded the warning area, nor have they changed the warning from a “maybe” to a “will happen.” That is an informed estimate.

Midday winds:

NAS Mugu 32 mph
Boney Peak 30
Lower Decker 21
Leo Carrillo 7
KBUU Trancas 11
Paradise Cove 13
Upper Las Flores 20
Big Rock 5
Malibu Cyn 26
Saddlerock 26
Topanga Cyn 10
Inland areas:
Chesebro 35 mph
Woolsey Cyn 42
Newhall Pass 45
Above Sylmar 46
Acton Cyn 38
Chilao 23
Castaic 40
Sandburg 48

[There are no radio stations in the database]