By Mary Slosson
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Tens of thousands of Southern California residents remained without power on Sunday as officials warned that dangerously high winds would return to the region in the evening.
Power company Southern California Edison still had 49,874 customers without power as of Sunday morning due to the "near hurricane force winds" of recent days, according to spokeswoman Mashi Nyssen.
Wind gusts up to 70 miles per hour through area mountain passes and canyons were expected to begin again late Sunday and last through early Tuesday, the National Weather Service said.
The winds will create "critical" conditions that will pose an "extreme fire danger" to the area, the NWS said.
Unusually powerful winds first began striking the Los Angeles region on Wednesday in a storm that raised concern about potential wildfires igniting and spreading at lightening speed.
Wind gusts of up to 45 miles per hour were reported close to the metropolis over the weekend.
In the city of Los Angeles, power had been restored to "nearly all" customers who suffered outages in the wind storms, according to the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power.
The dry, seasonal gusts that have hit Southern California in recent days are known locally as the Santa Ana winds.
(Editing by Ellen Wulfhorst)