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Climate and Environment

High Winds Continue Saturday With Downed Trees And Power Outages Reported

]A person in a hoodie pulled over their head stands on a downed tree that has crushed a white sedan parked on the street.
A fallen tree sits on top of a vehicle in Upland on Saturday after strong winds downed trees across the region.
(Ringo H.W. Chiu
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The Santa Ana winds have knocked out power to more than 18,000 SoCal Edison customers, about 15,000 in L.A. County, as of about 11:30 a.m. Saturday. The number of outages for Los Angeles DWP customers was less clear. A map of outages on the DWP website shows them scattered throughout the area. The utility says it could take 4 to 12 hours, and possibly longer, to restore service.

Those highs winds, which started Friday, have continued into Saturday. The National Weather Service reports wind gusts as high as 78 mph this morning in the Santa Monica Mountains. High wind warnings are in effect until 3 p.m. Saturday and forecasters say the winds will gradually subside as the day goes on.

The National Weather Service also says this is the most significant wind event to hit the San Gabriel foothill communities in a decade.

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Just a few of the incidents reported: In Ontario, a large tree fell and smashed a home Friday night. Another landed on cars in a parking lot in Upland and a semi was blown over on I-15 near Fontana.

High winds prompted the cancellation of a planned closure of the westbound 91 Freeway in Corona. Construction crews were scheduled to place support structures for the 15/91 Express Lanes Connector Project, but the Riverside County officials put off the work until next month, citing safety concerns.

Wind gusts have been even higher in other parts of the state.

The L.A. office of the National Weather Service did a call-out on social media, asking for photos and reports of damage.

Downed power lines remain a concern.

Safety tips from Southern California Edison
    • Watch for traffic signals that may be out. Approach those intersections as four-way stops.
    • Make sure you have a battery-operated radio and flashlights. Check the batteries to make sure they are fresh. Use flashlights for lighting during a power outage; do not use candles because they may pose a significant fire hazard.
    • If you’re in a vehicle with a fallen power line on it, stay in the vehicle and remain calm until help arrives. It is OK to use your cellphone to call 911. If you must leave the vehicle, remember to exit away from downed power lines and exit by jumping from the vehicle and landing with both feet together. You must not touch the vehicle and the ground at the same time. Then proceed away from the vehicle by shuffling and not picking up your feet until you are several yards away. 
    • Water and electricity don’t mix. Water is an excellent conductor of electricity. Do not step in or enter any water that a downed power line may be touching.
    • Do not use any equipment inside that is designed for outdoor heating or cooking. Such equipment can emit carbon monoxide and other toxic gases.
    • If you use a generator, place it outdoors and plug individual appliances directly into it, using a heavy-duty extension cord. Connecting generators directly to household circuits creates “backfeed,” which is dangerous to repair crews.
    • Leave the doors of your refrigerator and freezer closed to keep food as fresh as possible. Place blocks of ice inside to help keep food cold. Check food carefully for signs of spoilage. 
    • Check on your neighbors to make sure everyone is safe.
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Sharon McNary and LAist staff contributed to this report.

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