Thousands Without Power As High Winds Blow Across Southern California

Thursday, December 27th 2007, 6:44 am
By: News On 6

LOS ANGELES (AP) _ Thousands of Southern California residents were without power Thursday as strong winds knocked down power lines and blew blinding dust across desert roadways.

More than 19,000 customers from the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power were without electricity following winds that blew in the 50-60 mph range. The outrages stretched from the San Fernando Valley to southern Los Angeles, said agency spokeswoman Carol Tucker.

Forecasters said the winds should subside by late Thursday after making for a blustery holiday in Southern California. High winds on Christmas Day blew down power lines and transformers, and utility crews were placed on standby in anticipation for more strong gusts.

Early Thursday, The National Weather Service issued high wind warnings for southwest California, where winds of 35-45 mph were predicted through the morning. Wind gusts of up to 80 mph were possible.

Unlike last month's hot, dry Santa Ana winds, the latest gusts were coming from the north and were cold and moist, weather service meteorologist Jamie Meier said.

Traffic was backed up for two miles Wednesday afternoon as the California Highway Patrol shut a section of State Route 58 in Mojave in San Bernardino County to the Kern County line because of zero visibility. A section of Highway 14 in the Antelope Valley also was closed because of blowing dust.