As Santa Ana Winds Whip SoCal, Toppled Tree Forces Evacuation of 4 Homes in Simi Valley

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A large tree fell over in Simi Valley as Santa Ana winds returned to Southern California on Monday, knocking over utility lines and forcing the evacuation of several homes in the Ventura County neighborhood.

Four residences in the 200 block of Royal Avenue had to be evacuated after the tree damaged a gas line and hit utility lines, according to the Ventura County Fire Department. The residents were allowed back in their homes by 6 p.m.

Simi Valley police said a power line was blocking the street, prompting them to close Royal Avenue between Elvado Drive and Naples Court until about 3:30 p.m.

Officials did not report any injuries.

The Fire Department believes strong winds in the area likely caused the tree to topple.

Forecasters had warned the public of probable damages from Santa Ana winds, which is predicted to bring the most powerful gusts Monday night and into Tuesday. The weather event also poses a higher risk of fires and possible power outages, the National Weather Service said.

Wind speeds could reach 45 to 55 mph in the mountain areas of Los Angeles and Ventura counties, according to the Weather Service. Meanwhile, coastal and valley communities should brace for 35 to 45 mph gusts, forecasters said.

In Orange County, mountains, valleys and inland regions could experience winds blowing up to 50 mph. Stronger gusts are even more likely in the Inland Empire communities below the Cajon and Banning passes and near the coastal slopes of the Santa Ana Mountains, according to NWS.

"The gusty winds and lowering humidities will bring elevated fire danger to the region, especially on Tuesday," the Weather Service said.

The wind advisory is in effect through 10 p.m. Tuesday.

"Use extra caution when driving, especially if operating a high-profile vehicle," the Weather Service advised. "Secure outdoor objects."

The Santa Anas come amid a cold weather alert issued by L.A. county officials for the Antelope and Santa Clarita valleys and local mountains. Wind chills could drop below 32 degrees in some areas, authorities said.

Those in need should take advantage of the L.A. Homeless Services Authority's winter shelter program, officials said.

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