Wind to keep howling; cold will warm the hearts of float decorators

Wind to keep howling; cold will warm the hearts of float decorators
High winds toppled a massive tree onto an SUV across westbound lanes in the 13000 block of Chandler Avenue in Sherman Oaks on Friday morning. (Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times)

While high winds with gusts up to 55 mph could create more havoc overnight, bone-chilling temperatures linger through New Year's Day and make conditions prime for Rose Parade float decorating.

High offshore winds, which toppled trees overnight in Sherman Oaks and knocked out power to thousands of residents, will likely continue Friday night and Saturday in Los Angeles and Ventura counties, with strong northeast gusts, according to the National Weather Service. Forecasters warned of the possibility of downed power lines and trees as well as hazardous driving conditions.

The high winds will come and go. But frosty air from an upper low-pressure system will stick around for several days.

"It's going to get colder before it gets warmer," said Meteorologist Stuart Seto of the National Weather Service.


Los Angeles County temperatures could drop to the 40s. Even more frigid temperatures are expected for the mountains.

With the cold comes the possibility of rain. But so far, Seto said, the chance of rain is 20% for Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.

Regardless, Seto is certain that it's going to be cold.

And for that, volunteers are rejoicing as they prepare massive floats laden with mounds of flowers and seeds, which, in a few days, will slowly trek down Colorado Boulevard during the 2015 Rose Parade in Pasadena.

The chilly conditions will help keep thousands of flowers fresh throughout the decorating process.

The scene was much different two years ago, when decorators were using spray bottles and paper towels to shield their magnificent flower displays from the heat, said Brian Dancel, spokesman for Phoenix Decorating Co.

As they prepped for the parade back then, temperatures escalated to 77 degrees by 7 a.m.

Decorators who design floats for several organizations as well as Los Angeles County cities, watched their creations wilt and succumb to the heat as the floats rolled along the parade route, he said.

Cold weather is good news for floral designer Scott Lamb, who also plans to pile flowers on floats for Azusa-based Artistic Entertainment Services.

The flowers may not bloom as quickly due to the colder temperatures. But the thousands of roses, mums and other plants will remain "nice and fresh" in the chilly weather, which will not be much different than the inside of the refrigerator systems used to store the flowers.

"The flowers love it," he said. "The flowers are like, giddy-up."

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