Much of Greater Tehachapi continued to be without power Wednesday afternoon, as residents braced themselves from the howling winds, stocked up on supplies and kept children home with schools closed.
High winds were blowing, with gusts up to 60 mph in some areas, and the National Weather Service forecast that would continue until at least 6 p.m. Wednesday.
"It sucks. We have no power and we are on a well, so no water," said Jon Vallembois, from Keene. "Everything in our house is electric. We had to fill up water in buckets and took showers last night."
Businesswoman Stella Ward, who lives in Stallion Springs, visited the still-open Jack-in-the-Box Wednesday morning. She prepared for the outage, although she had to come into town to meet with clients.
"We have bought lanterns, batteries, and a generator," Ward said. "When there is a potential power outage I try to charge my devices, fill my vehicle's tank with gas, and have enough food for a couple of days."
People wondered when Southern California Edison would restore power.
"In terms of restoration, we have to wait for the weather event to pass and then technicians will go out and inspect the lines and equipment," said Robert Villegas, spokesman for Southern California Edison.
The areas without power as of 11 a.m. included the city of Tehachapi, Bear Valley Springs, Stallion Springs, Golden Hills, Alpine Forest, Old Towne and other areas. In the Kern County area, almost 13,000 customers are without power, said Villegas.
Traffic lights around the city were flashing, and most gas stations were closed along with some restaurants. Some people continued to visit grocery stores.
Around 10 a.m., the Kern County Sheriff's Office said it was assisting the Stallion Springs Police Department and Bear Valley Springs Police Department in evacuating homes in Stallion Springs after a structure fire spread to vegetation in the 30000 block of Cummings Court.
The mandatory and recommended evacuations were later lifted; they had been underway in the area of Percheron Place and Morgan Court, KCSO said.
KCSO had said residents were urged to evacuate in a quarter-mile radius in the area of Cummings Court. A ReadyKern Alert was sent to 285 people in the recommended evacuation area, KCSO said in its news release.
Kern County Fire Department firefighters stopped the forward progression of the fire that spread from the home in the 30000 block of Cummings Court to vegetation at about 10:43 a.m.
When firefighters first arrived about 9:30 a.m., they found a single-family home's garage was about 50 percent involved in fire. But it spread to the entire home.
Helicopter 408 was called, as was tanker 76 from Porterville.
In Downtown Tehachapi, gas-powered generators could be heard humming at businesses and residences that had them. Otherwise, the town was quiet except for the howling winds.
Throughout downtown, stop lights were flashing while the one at Tucker Road and Valley Boulevard remained operational. Some fast-food drive-thrus, such as Jack-in-the-Box and Taco Bell, remained open, while just across the street the gas station stalls were empty.
Wendy McBride, the service manager at Albertsons, said the store had just installed a new generator Wednesday morning. The store is fully operational, including taking all forms of payment. The freezer and refrigerated sections are up and running. The Starbucks inside the store was open.
Albertsons was selling a lot of bottled water, firewood, ice and non-perishable food items.
One couple said they still had power on Mesquite Drive as of 7 a.m. Wednesday; however, they left town to go to Bakersfield, and found Valley Plaza there without power.
Gabi and her husband, Ron Martin, said the drive to Bakersfield and back was not advisable due to the high winds. They encountered debris blowing across the highway as well as pallets in the middle of the highway that they had to swerve around.
The Martins said that even if they found power was out at their home, they would use their travel trailer.
Tony Chessick, a West Golden Hills resident, said he was caught by surprise by Wednesday's outage, but he was "sort of" prepared.
Another Golden Hills resident, Cindy Hayes, said she prepared for the outage. She ordered extra food, water and ice online and had it delivered. She planned to cook on her barbecue. She stocked up on batteries. To pass the time, her daughter and her family came over an played board games.
Hayes said she had to charge her cell phone in her car.
The city said Wednesday morning there were reports of a traffic signal out on Valley Boulevard and Mountain View.
"Portable STOP signs should be in place, please use caution and make sure cross traffic has stopped before proceeding through the intersection," the city wrote on its Facebook page.
Tehachapi Unified said on its website that all its schools are closed Wednesday "in the best interest of student and staff safety. We will provide updates as they become available."
The Southern California Edison website appeared not to be updated Wednesday morning, reflecting only a planned outage impacting 13 customers in the Tehachapi area.
The California Highway Patrol urges people to treat any traffic signal outages at intersections as four-way stops.
Meanwhile Adventist Health Tehachapi Valley remains open, with back-up power in place, a hospital news release said. Some outpatient services have been rescheduled.
Services available include the emergency department, with reduced imaging capability; the medical/surgical inpatient unit; imaging services; lab services; ICU; surgery for emergency situations; and medical offices in Tehachapi, California City and Mojave.
The hospital news release noted that phone lines at the Tehachapi office are down because of landline phone outages. But scheduled appointments are still taking place. You can call the Mojave office at 824-4511 if needed, and they can relay a message to the Tehachapi medical office.
— Freelance photographer Nick Smirnoff contributed to this report.