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Strong winds down Southland trees and leave thousands without power

About 18,000 customers were without power Thursday evening as powerful winds caused outages and downed trees, officials said.

Crews were working to restore power in 34 neighborhoods, including Fairfax, Los Feliz, Exposition Park, Brentwood and Hyde Park, said Deborah Hong, a spokeswoman for the Department of Water and Power.

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"The high winds are causing the outages," she said, later adding: "We're going to be working all night."

Amy Bastman, a spokeswoman with the Los Angeles Fire Department, reminded the public to stay away from downed power lines and call 911 if you see them.

"Drivers should use extreme caution when approaching darkened traffic signals," Bastman said.

According to the National Weather Service, strong northerly winds began mostly in the mountains and high desert Thursday and spread to the valleys and coastal areas.

UCLA logged among the highest wind speeds in the region, with gusts of 52 mph, said David Gomberg, a meteorologist with the weather service. The winds traveled down to Los Angeles International Airport, which saw 40 mph gusts.

"That's impactful just because they have a north crosswind that impacts their air traffic," he said.

The San Gabriel Valley, which doesn't usually see a lot of wind, also saw strong gusts between 40 to 50 mph, he said.

Twitter: @AleneTchek

UPDATES:

10:55 p.m.: This article was updated to reflect that the number of outages grew.

This article was originally published at 10 p.m.

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