Lightning Knocks Out Power for More Than 47,000 in Orange County

Thunderstorms knocked out power Friday for more than 47,000 Southern California Edison customers throughout Orange County, and prompted the closure of Fullerton Community College.
As of 4:08 p.m., lightning strikes were blamed for outages affecting 47,278 Edison customers in the county, said Edison spokesman Paul Klein.
Hardest hit was Fullerton, where 14,749 customers lost their electricity, Klein said.
In Garden Grove, 5,096 customers lost power, while 2,695 lost power in Brea and 2,597 in Buena Park. Smaller outages were reported in Santa Ana, Huntington Beach, and Cypress.
Lightning downed power lines at Carbon Canyon Park in Brea, Edison spokesman Steve Conroy said earlier.
Fullerton Community College was closed for the day because of an outage apparently caused by lightning, which struck the campus about 10 a.m., said school spokeswoman Andrea Hanstin. Power was also out in the surrounding neighborhood, she said.
As a thunderstorm moved north through the county, lightning reports began coming in between 9 a.m. and 9:30 a.m., said Noel Isla of the National Weather Service.
``The frequency (of the lightning strikes) is pretty rare, but the thunderstorms can occur this time of the year,'' Isla said.
Indeed, more storms are possible Saturday, said National Weather Service forecaster Tina Stall.
``It might be like today, but a little less,'' Stall said. ``We get kind of a break overnight, but fire back up when the sun comes up.''
The fast-moving squall rolled into northern Orange County this morning, hammering Brea, Fullerton and Placentia before it weakened and headed into San Bernardino County, Isla said.
``It looks like it's off in San Bernardino now,'' Stall said this afternoon. ``Other than a chance for light showers, I don't see much more
chance for thunderstorms in Orange County today.''
Fullerton reported .06 inches of rain today, Stall said.
Fullerton Police spokesman Sgt. Andrew Goodrich said he had the day off, but that changed when the storm hit.
``I was driving my convertible and the rain came down -- now it's a swimming pool,'' Goodrich said with a chuckle.
Lightning struck trees at 100 W. Brookdale Place near Harbor Boulevard and they caught fire, Goodrich said.
``For 15 minutes it was really bad,'' Goodrich said, adding there were reports of several car crashes, but no serious injuries.
Conroy stressed it was important that Edison customers try to conserve energy so the county can avoid more power outages.
``We're reminding customers to be careful and of the importance of conservation, especially today,'' Conroy said.
Thermostats should be set no lower than 78 degrees, fans are preferable to air conditioning and customers should stagger the times they use big
appliances such as dish washers and washing machines, Conroy said.

Copyright CNS - City News Service
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