Large swaths of California had no electricity Monday as utilities tried to prevent the chance of their equipment sparking wildfires while the fire-weary state was buffeted by powerful winds and dangerously dry weather conditions.
About 300,000 power customers, more than 1 million people, were in the dark as officials issued warnings for what could be the strongest winds for California this year.
North of San Francisco, a Mount St. Helena weather station recorded a hurricane-force gust of 89 mph late Sunday and sustained winds of 76 mph.
Winds had calmed slightly by Monday morning but still topped 60 mph, the National Weather Service said.
“While this is less than what we saw earlier, these winds are still strong and dry conditions prevail,” the agency said on Twitter.
Winds reached 50 mph early Monday at lower elevations across the San Francisco Bay Area, where tens of thousands had their electricity turned off. Officials extended a red flag extreme fire danger warning through 5 p.m. Tuesday for the region’s eastern and northern mountainous areas.
A second round of strong gusts is predicted to sweep through the same areas Monday night, forecasters warned.