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Winds, Rain Catch County by Surprise

SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

An unexpected ridge of high pressure moved across Ventura County on Monday, bringing chilly temperatures, thundershowers and high winds that sheared power poles and tree branches, officials said.

Dime-size hail was reported in Fillmore, where the thermometer reached only 59 degrees, the coldest in the county and 13 degrees lower than the day before. The temperature dropped 25 degrees from Sunday to Monday in Ojai, to a high of only 64.

Traffic signals were knocked out in several cities, and police, fire and public works crews spent the day cleaning up, clearing out and keeping residents out of harm’s way.

Thunder and lightning were reported Monday afternoon in Simi Valley, and rain fell for about 45 minutes. Residents of Camarillo felt drizzle and there were intermittent showers in Thousand Oaks. Dark clouds filled county skies throughout the day, but most areas escaped rainfall.

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Winds were 25 to 35 mph, with gusts to the mid-40s in some areas. Gale warnings were issued for the Santa Barbara Channel.

Fallen palm fronds created a traffic hazard along Harbor Boulevard near the Ventura Keys. “You couldn’t get down one lane until I cleared it,” said Ventura Police Services Officer Teresa Stanley.

About 2,000 Southern California Edison customers had their power knocked out due to fallen power lines, spokesman Steven Conroy said. Scattered outages that spread across the county began about noon and lasted from a few seconds to an hour or more, he said.

Some traffic signals were dark for almost 10 hours. Edison crews were brought in from Valencia to assist in Ventura County, Conroy said.

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“This is very unusual. We watch the weather reports like everyone else. We were aware the winds were coming up, but we didn’t expect it to be this high,” he said.

The unusual weather system was caused by a high-pressure system that rose to 30,000 feet above sea level. The clockwise rotation of the system picks up moisture and spins it off, resulting in precipitation.

Highs wind are expected to drop off Tuesday afternoon, and the forecast is for sunshine and breezes, said Bill Hoffer of the National Weather Service in Oxnard.

Temperatures are expected to rise today by several degrees and warm up to the 70s on Wednesday.


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