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Strong winds knock out power and topple trees across Southern California

Strong winds knock out power and topple trees across Southern California
Crews from the Los Angeles Department of Public Works assess a tree that was blown into an apartment building at 520 Kelton Ave. in L.A. (Al Seib / Los Angeles Times)

Thousands of Angelenos remained without power Wednesday after strong winds whipped through Southern California overnight, toppling trees and power lines and leaving streets littered with debris.

About 33,000 customers in the Hollywood Hills, South L.A., Koreatown, Mid-Wilshire, Fairfax, Silver Lake, Los Feliz, Mar Vista, Wilmington and several other neighborhoods were still without electricity Wednesday morning. The number of outages peaked overnight at 42,000 amid strong winds, according to the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power.

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Customers affected by the outages should plan to be without power for a day, according to the department.

“Some will take less time to restore, while others could take longer due to complexity of repairs and high number of outages,” the department wrote on Twitter. “We have crews working around the clock to get your power restored.”

Southern California Edison reported that 6,700 customers were without power late Wednesday morning in Los Angeles, Ventura, Orange and San Bernardino counties.

Northerly winds that blew into the region Tuesday morning and gained strength through the afternoon are expected to calm by Wednesday afternoon, said Lisa Phillips, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service.

“What tends to happen is your strongest winds will peak in the late afternoon hours, and overnight they die down,” she said. “However, the winds overnight will sometimes be more variable with a period of light winds and then some really strong gusts.”

Gusts overnight sent patio umbrellas flying, tore shingles off the roofs of homes and littered streets with palm fronds. A fallen tree blocked a few westbound lanes of the 10 Freeway east of Crenshaw Boulevard for about two hours. In Long Beach, a toppled tree blocked traffic near Long Beach Boulevard off the 710 Freeway, and another tree fell on a parked car.

A massive palm tree that cracked and toppled blocked a portion of Midvale Avenue in West Los Angeles overnight. On Wednesday, crews worked to remove a large tree that blew over and was leaning against a five-story apartment building in Westwood.

The wind is the result of a low-pressure system known as an inside slider that’s moving over the inland portion of the state, according to the weather service.

That system is expected to bring some moisture to Southern California, but most of the region is not expected to get much — if any — precipitation. However, the system did result in some unusually strong wind gusts in Los Angeles County.

Foothill and mountain areas experienced the strongest wind in the county. Camp 9 near Sylmar saw gusts of 74 mph shortly before 1 a.m., while Henninger Flats, which sits near Eaton Canyon Falls, saw peak wind gusts of 71 mph shortly before midnight.

Beverly Hills saw gusts Tuesday night of 58 mph, while Long Beach had 53 mph gusts, according to the weather service.

Using #LAWind, some residents reminisced on social media about scenes from the 1939 film “The Wizard of Oz,” feeling like their homes, shaken by the wind, might blow away. Even actor John Stamos of “Full House” fame weighed in:

Times staff writer Jaclyn Cosgrove contributed to this report.

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