Mayor Antonio Villarigosa used an emergency press conference on Thursday afternoon to call upon the 140,000 Angelenos still without electricity to remain patient, as LADWP crews worked to repair damages caused by a "once in lifetime" wind storm.
"This is one of the worst storms that the city has experienced in decades," Villaraigosa said.
Neighborhoods across the city were severely affected by the storm,
Villaraigosa said that LADWP has restored power to more than 80,000 customers and the worst of the storm may over. Over the next 24 hours, the mayor said, the storm is expected to transition to a traditional Santa Ana windstorm.
He added that "after some power outages and debris issues at [Los Angeles International Airport] last night, the airport is operating normally today."
He said LADWP crews were hard at work to repair damage caused by yesterday's fierce winds.
"We have more than 100 crews out working safely and quickly to restore down power lines at more than 1,000 separate incidents," Villaraigosa said. "For customers currently experiencing outages, they need to be aware it could take some time—maybe as long as 48 hours. We hope much sooner. We're asking for your patience."
He urged Angelenos to remain vigilant when driving or walking around their neigborhoods.
"I urge Angelenos to use extreme caution around downed power lines and fallen trees," he said. "They should assume any downed power line is live, and if you see a down power line, stay as far away as possible and call 911."
Vilaraigosa said the city's 311 non-emergency line would be open 24 hours while the city recovered from the wind storm, and said residents could use the line to report less severe damages caused by the storm.
Los Angeles Fire Department Chief Brian Cummings said that crews have responded to 1,425 calls since midnight, and that the department was well on its way to doubling its typical call load for an average day.
Cummings said a red flag alert would remain in place until 8 p.m. on Friday, as high winds and low humidity still posed a high fire threat.
An additional 21 engines would be on patrol, Cummings said, along with brush patrol vehicles to handle the additional call load.
In addition to the red flag alert, Jim Featherstone, Director of the City's Emergency Operations Center, said the center activated a level 2 response stance at 9:30 a.m. on Thursday as a result of the storm's damages.
"We'll be operating through the night to handle crisis issues and to coordinate the city's response effort," Featherstone said.
This article first appeared on Highland Park-Mount Washington Patch.