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Morning Brief: The Santa Anas, A Boyle Heights Street, And Finding Joy

A palm tree sways in the wind, with a blue sky behind it.
(Photo by Meduana
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Good morning, L.A. It’s Jan. 24.

Did you hear the winds over the weekend?

Depending on where you live, the answer is likely to be a resounding yes. The Santa Anas wreaked havoc in parts of L.A. on Friday and Saturday, leaving as many as 30,000 SoCal Edison customers without power as of Sunday morning.

Dozens of other instances of damage were reported as well: a large tree fell on a house in Ontario, another landed on cars in a parking lot in Upland, and a semi-tractor-trailer truck was blown over on I-15 near Fontana.

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Downed trees reportedly blocked roads in areas from Altadena to Malibu to Claremont, and winds as high as 78 mph blew through the Santa Monica Mountains.

On the other side of town, the weekend’s gusts were the most significant wind event to hit the San Gabriel foothill communities in a decade, according to the National Weather Service. Further south, in Corona, officials canceled a planned closure of the westbound 91 Freeway, where crews were scheduled to work on the 15/91 Express Lanes Connector Project.

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The winds’ damage lent yet another ominous layer to the already strange feeling of this new year, with omicron raging just when we thought we might turn a corner in the pandemic. As the late Joan Didion wrote in her essay “Los Angeles Notebook,” which appeared in the 1968 book Slouching Towards Bethlehem: “Los Angeles weather is the weather of catastrophe, of apocalypse … the violence and the unpredictability of the Santa Ana affect the entire quality of life in Los Angeles, accentuate its impermanence, its unreliability. The wind shows us how close to the edge we are.”

Keep reading for more on what’s happening in L.A., and stay safe out there.

What Else You Need To Know Today

  • The family of Tioni Theus, a 16-year-old girl found dead on Jan. 8 near the 110 freeway, is demanding the state step up efforts to find her killer.
  • Four people were killed and one was wounded when gunmen opened fire on a birthday party in Inglewood.
  • L.A. County reported a record number of deaths among the unhoused community again in 2021.
  • A proposal to rename a street in Boyle Heights for the late Mexican singer Vicente Fernández is facing opposition from the Boyle Heights Neighborhood Council.
  • Short haul truckers who work at the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach want a union election that they hope would grant them employee status. 
  • The California State University system added caste as a protected category to its anti-discrimination policy this week, making it the largest university system in the country to do so.

Before You Go ... 12 Surprising Ways To Find Joy During The Pandemic

A young Asian child runs through a sprinkler wearing a t-shirt and jeans. He is laughing and the sunshine is bright behind him, illuminating the water.
Summer happiness

The coronavirus pandemic is lingering for much longer than many of us thought it ever would. If you’ve run through your ideas of ways to stay sane — and even happy — during this unprecedented crisis, we have some suggestions.

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