May be Friday before power back in Maine, Mich.


LITCHFIELD, Maine (AP) — Snow was falling this morning in places still hustling to get power back on after a weekend ice storm that turned out the lights from Michigan to Maine and into Canada.

Southeast and parts of interior Maine that have been without electricity since Sunday were anticipating from 3 to 7 inches of snow tonight. Utilities worried that the additional weight on branches and transmission lines could cause setbacks in around-the-clock efforts to restore power.

“We don’t think it’s going to help us much, that’s for sure,” said Susan Faloon, a spokeswoman for Bangor Hydro Electric in Maine. “There was some concern expressed over the last couple of days about that storm coming because obviously we still have lot of stuff weighing down trees and lines.

In Michigan, where about half a million people lost power at the peak of the weekend storm, an inch or so of snow was expected. Utilities there reported 105,000 customers without power this morning, while those in Maine reported more than 36,000. There were more than 101,000 without power in three Canadian provinces — Quebec, Ontario and New Brunswick — including 54,000 in the city of Toronto.

Southern Californians have that warm feeling over Christmas

LOS ANGELES — As temperatures hovered around freezing across much of the United States on Christmas Day, Southern California basked in unseasonably warm weather as Santa Ana winds pushed hot, dry air across the region.

In Long Beach, the mercury hit 85 degrees, beating the 1972 high of 81 degrees.

In downtown Los Angeles, temperatures reached 82 degrees, making it the second warmest Christmas Day since records began in 1877 and well above the seasonal average of 67 degrees. The record was set in 1980 with a high of 85 downtown.

The hot air was being pushed offshore on winds generated by a high pressure system lingering over the Great Basin and the High Desert, said Bonnie Bartling of the National Weather Service.

A wind advisory remained in place through today for Los Angeles County mountains, and a red flag warning was in effect for much of Los Angeles and Ventura counties as the combination of low humidity and gusty winds raised concerns about fire dangers.

“If fire ignition occurs, there would be the potential for rapid spread,” Bartling said.

A major power outage in Simi Valley on Wednesday morning left thousands of residents without electricity and affected traffic signals at intersections in the area.

Southern California Edison attributed the power outage to the winds.

The outage occurred at 9:10 a.m.

and mainly affected two circuits, said Southern California Edison spokesman Robert Villegas.

The winds are likely to weaken by late Thursday, but the above average temperatures will continue through the weekend and into next week, Bartling said.

Hot holiday seasons are not uncommon.

“There are many years where I can remember wearing shorts and a tank top on Christmas,” Bartling said. “When you have these Santa Ana events, it just warms up.”

But this season has been noteworthy for the sudden shifts from hot to cold temperatures.

“We’ve been flip-flopping a lot this winter,” Bartling said.

This current hot spell could break more records before it’s through. The forecast for Burbank on Thursday is 82 degrees, one degree short of the record high set in 1947.

Missing from the forecast is any sign of rain. That puts Southern California on track for a very dry year.

There has been less than an inch of rain since July 1, Bartling said. Normally the area would have close to four inches of rain by now. Last year, a dry year, about 2 1/2 inches had fallen by Christmas Day.


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