Cold and Powerful Winds Batter SoCal, Toppling Trees and Triggering Power Outages

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Residents and commuters were on high alert as cold, powerful winds uprooted trees and triggered power outages across Southern California Monday.

Winds at Los Angeles County mountains gusted up to 80 mph overnight, according to the National Weather Service. On Monday morning, wind gusts up to 64 mph were recorded in the county.

In Ventura County, Sycamore Canyon saw gusts reach 91 mph at 10:45 a.m. on Monday, NWS said.

Strong winds are expected to transition into Santa Anas and continue walloping the region, with the possibility of downed trees and power lines remaining through Wednesday.

In addition to a wind advisory, forecasters issued a freeze warning effective Tuesday from 1 a.m. to 9 p.m. Record low temperatures were forecast for Long Beach, Camarillo and Santa Barbara.

An influx of cold air could cause black ice, dangerous wind chills and some snow accumulations on the 5 Freeway near the Grapevine, NWS warned.

Toppled trees, power outages and a damaged jet

Winds up to 45 mph were recorded Monday morning at the Los Angeles International Airport, where officials said a trash bin that was blown onto the runway hit the nose gear of a 747 cargo plane during takeoff at around 3 a.m.

Two tires of the aircraft were blown, according to the Los Angeles Fire Department. None of the seven people on board suffered any injuries, and the incident did not cause any fuel leak or fire, officials said.

Large debris and toppled trees have been reported from all over the San Fernando Valley, including Porter Ranch, Reseda, Panorama City and Arleta.

A car sustained damages after hitting a downed tree on the 118 Freeway near Reseda Boulevard on Feb. 3, 2020. (Credit: Onscene.tv)
A car sustained damages after hitting a downed tree on the 118 Freeway near Reseda Boulevard on Feb. 3, 2020. (Credit: Onscene.tv)

On the westbound 118 Freeway, a downed tree blocked the No. 4 and 5 lanes near Reseda Boulevard overnight.

Lyft driver Joe Hernandez said he had a passenger in the car when he struck the tree.

"It’s almost like it came out of nowhere," he said. "I was the first one to hit it, I guess. It felt like we went through a bale of hay or something."

The driver and passenger did not get hurt, but the vehicle sustained major dents and scratches.

A big tree also toppled in the 3000 block of North Beachwood Drive in Hollywood Hills.

A tree fell down in Hollywood Hills on Feb. 3, 2020. (Credit: KTLA)
A tree fell down in Hollywood Hills on Feb. 3, 2020. (Credit: KTLA)

Authorities said they received a call about the incident at 3:25 a.m. No injuries were reported, but the tree damaged the sidewalk and some stairs, officials said.

Utility crews continued to work at the scene as of 8 a.m.

In the foothills of San Gabriel Valley, in the 700 block of Fairview Avenue in Sierra Madre, another massive tree went down near a utility line. At least two cars were seen underneath, and the tree apparently damaged two homes.

Vince Difronzo, among the homeowners impacted, told KTLA winds in the neighborhood had been "pretty wild."

“It’s amazing — a tree that big and how bad the wind was howling up here this morning and last night,” he said.

Later Monday evening, a large sign fell onto a car parked outside an El Super in the Vermont Knolls area of South L.A.

At least one resident was trapped in his home due to power lines in his backyard, a family member told KTLA.

Crews were seen at the location at around 8:30 a.m. According to Southern California Edison, some 318 customers in the area could expect a power outage through 5 p.m.

So far, authorities have not reported any injuries due to the winds.

SCE reported blackouts in other areas, as well as the L.A. Department of Water and Power, which blamed outages on weather conditions.

As of 9:15 p.m., 3,800 LADWP customers remained without power, including in Glassell Park and Eagle Rock.

Customers can expect an average time of 8 to 10 hours, from the time their power went out, for repairs to be made.

The peak number of customers without power Monday was 24,000, with Palms, West Adams, Eagle Rock and El Sereno being the most affected, Paola Adler of the LADWP told KTLA.

L.A. County officials urged the public to watch out for downed power lines, trees and traffic light outages. They said road hazards should be reported by calling 1-800-675-4357.

Coldest weather yet this season

Southern California may experience the coldest conditions so far this winter through Wednesday, NWS meteorologist Kathy Hoxie said. That's after some record-heat reported in the region on Saturday.

Lows in the L.A. region have been in the mid-40s thus far this season, Hoxie said. But over the next few days, temperatures could dip in the 30s.

In San Bernardino County, mountain communities could see dangerous wind chills of 0 to -10 degrees.

"The sun may be coming out for your Monday, but it definitely won't be getting that warm" said NWS San Diego in a tweet Monday morning. "Gusty winds will be picking up as well! Think it's gonna be cold tonight? Hope you're ready for tomorrow night..."

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