Gusty winds lash Southern California


Strong winds whipped through the Southland overnight, shaking trees and mussing hairdos throughout the region.

Powerful gusts toppled at least one large tree in Los Angeles, crushing a van on Fulton Avenue near Victory Boulevard in the Valley Glen neighborhood, KTLA-TV reported.

Wind gusts topped 60 mph at La Cumbre Peak in the Santa Ynez Mountains north of Santa Barbara and at Refugio State Beach. Winds exceeded 70 mph at Whitaker Peak in the Angeles National Forest and the Montecito Hills, according to the National Weather Service.


“We definitely did get some stronger gusts, especially in the mountains,” said Lisa Phillips, a meteorologist with the weather service in Oxnard.

In Riverside, firefighters were busy Wednesday responding to about a dozen wind-related damage calls, the majority of which were branches falling on power lines or on sidewalks, said Capt. Brian Guzzetta, of the Riverside Fire Department.

About noon, a 100-foot pine tree was toppled by high winds in the 7100 block of Orchard Street, crushing two passenger vehicles parked in front of a home. No one was injured.

About four hours later, another 100-foot pine fell into a house, igniting a fire inside the home.

Guzzetta said the electricity inside the home likely started the fire, as utilities in the newer area of the city are underground, and thus the fire wouldn’t have been started by power lines.


The people inside got out of the home unharmed before part of the house collapsed.

By early evening, the winds in Riverside had died down, he said.

Further to the south in California, high winds knocked down several panels of a border fence under construction, landing in Mexican territory across the border from Calexico, Calif.

Breezy conditions are expected to stick around for at least the next day or so, Phillips said. The weather service has issued a wind warning until 3 p.m. Thursday for the mountains of Los Angeles and Ventura counties and until noon Friday for the Santa Ana Mountains and foothills, the San Gorgonio Pass near Banning and other mountainous areas of San Bernardino and Riverside counties.

Potentially damaging winds could fell trees and power lines, and forecasters warn that drivers of high-profile vehicles such as big rigs should be cautious when traveling through high-elevation areas.