LOS ANGELES — An atmospheric river storm that pummeled California with record amounts of rain knocked out power for a record number of Californians.
The storm, which dumped more than a foot of rain in some parts of Los Angeles County since Sunday, also damaged electrical equipment, resulting in the highest number of outages of Pacific Gas & Electric customers from a single storm in at least 30 years, according to the utility.
At least one of the nine deaths attributed to the latest storm systems resulted from a power outage.
About 1.4 million PG&E customers statewide lost power during the storm. The bulk of the outages have affected Northern California, where powerful wind gusts toppled trees, sending them crashing onto electrical equipment and into homes.
About 30,000 PG&E customers remained without power as of Thursday morning, according to the utility that serves much of Northern California, the Central Valley and a swath of the Central Coast.
"The storm and the intensity of the winds came in much higher than any of the models forecasted. The damage has been very, very significant," PG&E Chief Operating Officer Sumeet Singh said in a video posted on the utility's website. Singh added that some areas recorded wind speeds that surpassed 90 mph.
At their peak, the outages statewide affected around 875,000 people, Brian Ferguson, spokesperson for the governor's Office of Emergency Services told the Los Angeles Times this week.
On Monday, a 90-year-old woman who was dependent on oxygen died after the power went out in her Los Osos home, according to San Luis Obispo County Sheriff's spokesperson Tony Cipolla.
Customers in Sonoma, Santa Cruz, Monterey, Mendocino and Santa Clara counties have been hardest hit, with between 3,000 and 6,000 customers affected. Officials anticipate most customers' power will be restored by the end of the day Friday.
The storm damaged more than 2,500 spans of power lines, 866 power poles and 327 transformers, according to PG&E.
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