Powerful winds wreak havoc throughout Southern California

Powerful winds continued to sweep through Southern California on Monday, toppling trees and causing widespread power outages.

The Los Angeles Bureau of Street Services received 545 emergency requests for tree-related services from Saturday through Monday morning, said Paul Gomez, a spokesman for the city’s public works department.

“That’s definitely more than normal,” Gomez said.

A woman was rescued Monday in Burbank after being pinned by a large pine tree that fell at Clybourne Avenue and Sarah Street, said Capt. Peter Hendrickson, a spokesman for the Burbank Fire Department. At 10:43 a.m., the woman was walking to the store when she heard a loud noise; she tried to run but was pinned down, Hendrickson said.

Burbank and Los Angeles firefighters cut through branches to reach her, and she was taken to a hospital with minor to moderate injuries, Hendrickson said.

In Jefferson Park in South Los Angeles, firefighters had to use chainsaws to remove a tree that fell on a vehicle, “fortunately with no injuries,” said Erick Scott, a spokesman for the Los Angeles Fire Department. During heavy winds, he said, people should be always be aware of their surroundings and be especially cautious of fallen power lines and trees that might have brought down power lines with them.

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On Monday morning, wind gusts topped 75 mph at Whitaker Peak north of Castaic along the 5 Freeway, 51 mph at the Long Beach Airport, 44 mph in Beverly Hills and 36 mph at the Santa Barbara airport, the National Weather Service reported.

The strong gusts at ground level were accompanied by strong upper-level winds at 15,000 to 30,000 feet, said Emily Thornton, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Oxnard. The heavy winds were expected to peter out by Tuesday morning, ahead of a week of warmer temperatures and dry weather, she said.

Powerful winds challenged Los Angeles firefighters battling a massive early-morning blaze at Columbia Plastic, a commercial facility in the 3000 block of North Fierro Street in Glassell Park, officials said. Gusts up to 25 mph fueled the flames and swayed firefighters’ hose streams, according to the LAFD. It took firefighters more than an hour to extinguish the blaze.

A portion of the 5 Freeway near Grapevine Road near Lebec was briefly closed Monday morning after wind and snow cut visibility for drivers, according to the California Highway Patrol.

Drivers were diverted from Parker Road to the southbound 5 Freeway as snow stuck to the ground. The CHP escorted about 200 vehicles at a time on the freeway in both directions. The CHP warned traffic would be slow.

Southern California Edison crews were working Monday to restore power to approximately 28,000 customers because of the winds, as well as Sunday’s storms.

A rainstorm Sunday brought up to 70 mph winds and led to widespread power outages. Los Angeles Department of Water and Power restored power to 51,000 customers overnight. At least 12,000 customers remained without power Monday morning.

In San Diego, powerful winds knocked a massive tree onto a car in Pacific Beach, killing a woman inside.

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Mountains in Los Angeles and Ventura counties got the most rain. Camp Hi Hill in Los Angeles County got 4.46 inches of rain and Nordhoff Ridge in Ventura County received 3.98 inches.

By Monday, the rain had moved east toward Arizona, and snow flurries developed at the Grapevine. Three to 5 inches of snow could blanket north-facing foothills in the Antelope Valley, with some mountains getting up to 8 inches.

Forecasters warned dangerous driving conditions would continue along mountain roads.

Along the coast, forecasters advised boaters to not venture out as strong 50 mph winds sweep over the ocean and produce hazardous conditions.

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Copyright © 2016, Los Angeles Times

UPDATE

2:14 p.m.: This post was updated throughout with new details

This post was originally published at 6:56 a.m.

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