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LOCAL : Santa Ana Winds Lash Southland

From Times Wire Services

Powerful Santa Ana winds whipped through Southern California early today, knocking down power lines that spawned scattered electrical outages, traffic problems and at least one fire.

As winds gusted up to 60 m.p.h., 13 power poles snapped in the northeast San Fernando Valley, the Department of Water and Power said, leaving an estimated 4,000 customers without electricity in the Sylmar and Pacoima areas.

In Malibu, the Los Angeles County Fire Department reported that winds turned a small fire into a five-acre blaze before it was contained. The fire began after a car crashed into a telephone pole in Malibu Canyon.

Wind also blew down fencing along the center divider in several sections of Interstate 15 in Riverside County, according to the California Highway Patrol, but traffic was not impeded. However, waves of wind-borne dust and debris caused motorists on Interstate 10 between Ontario and San Bernardino to slow to speeds of 5 m.p.h.

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