A windstorm accompanied by frigid temperatures attacked Southern California Monday, generating unusually powerful winds in LA County, including gusts of around 80 miles per hour in the San Gabriel Mountains.
"Winds are howling this morning,'' said NBCLA meteorologist Anthony Yanez. "A cold front moved through last night bringing the winds, cold air and even a sprinkle of rain."
The high winds will begin to decrease by mid-morning. In the meantime, strong winds will blow across a wide are of L.A County -- an "inside slider" stemming from a combination of upper-level lows in Nevada and high pressure over Central California.
The Antelope Valley was being assaulted by a double-whammy this morning -- high winds and freezing temperatures. A high wind warning will be in effect in the Antelope Valley until noon today, and a hard freeze watch will be in force from tonight through Tuesday morning, and again from Tuesday evening through Wednesday morning.
The NWS issued a high wind warning in the Antelope Valley, reflecting the presence of winds of 30 to 45 mph, with gusts of 65 mph, while the hard freeze watch was issued as a result of expectations of temperatures in the teens, according to the NWS.
"Damaging winds will blow down large objects such as trees and power lines. Power outages are likely. Areas of blowing dust and sand could reduce visibilities locally under one quarter mile or less. High-profile vehicles, including big rigs, could be blown over by the powerful winds. This will likely be the coldest night we have seen so far this season. Hard freeze conditions could kill crops, other sensitive vegetation and cause uprotected pipes to burst,'' warned the NWS in discussing conditions in the Antelope Valley and other sections of LA County.
Local news from across Southern California
The strongest winds will blow Sunday night and Monday morning across western portions of the Antelope Valley, according to the NWS. "Major roadways that could be impacted by the powerful winds and wind damage include Highways 14 (the Antelope Valley Freeway) and 138 (Pearblossom Highway)."
The NWS said at 5 a.m. that powerful gusts were reported in the previous 11 hours, including 80 mph at Warm Springs in the San Gabriels; 59 mph in Palmdale in the Antelope Valley; 57 mph at Saugus in the Santa Clarita Valley; 55 mph at Saddle Peak in the Santa Monicas; 53 mph in Van Nuys in the San Fernando Valley; 49 mph at Franklin Canyon along the coast; 39 mph in Catalina; and 38 mph at Eaton Canyon in the San Gabriel Valley.
Forecasters urged area residents to avoid being outside in forested areas and around trees and branches.
"If possible, remain in the lower levels of your home during the windstorm, and avoid windows. Use caution if you must drive."
To guard against the cold, area residents were urged to "take steps now to protect tender plants from the cold. Plan for extra time to defrost vehicle windshields."
A high wind warning was also in effect Monday morning in both the San Gabriel and Santa Monica mountains and the San Fernando and Santa Clarita valleys.
North winds of 25 to 40 mph were blowing in the San Fernando and Santa Clarita valleys accompanied by gusts of up to 60 mph, while winds of 25-40 mph with gusts of up to 55 mph were recorded in the Santa Monicas. Even more severe conditions were reported in the San Gabriels -- northwest winds 30 to 50 mph with gusts of up to 70 mph, and isolated gusts 80 to 90 mph in the hills around the Interstate 5 corridor. Tonight, the wind will change direction, and Santa Anas will begin buffeting the region.
Not surprisingly, power outages were reported Monday around the Los Angeles area overnight. The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power reported 15 outages in Hollywood, the Hollywood Hills, Mid-Wilshire, Pacific Palisades, Valley Village and Mission Hills. Repair crews were dispatched with instructions to restore power.
Additionally, the California Highway Patrol issued a SigAlert shortly before 2 Monday morning for lanes 4 and 5 of the westbound Ronald Reagan Freeway in Porter Ranch after tree branches fell into lanes and a car was rendered unmovable after hitting them.
In the mountains, only light snow was reported along the I-5 corridor Sunday night, and none this morning.
Along the coast, a high surf advisory will be in effect in LA County until 5 this morning and a slightly less serious beach hazards statement will be in force through early Tuesday morning in Orange County. Rough, breaking waves of 5 to 8 feet, along with "dangerous rip currents," are forecast in LA County, while surf of 3-5 feet, with occasional sets of up to 6 feet are expected in Orange County.
The Los Angeles County health officer, meanwhile, responded to the conditions by issuing cold weather alerts for the Antelope and Santa Clarita valleys, mountain areas, Woodland Hills and Pomona due to wind-chill temperatures expected to dip below 32 degrees. The alerts for the Antelope Valley and mountain areas were issued for Monday through Wednesday; from Tuesday through Wednesday for Woodland Hills and the Santa Clarita Valley; and for Wednesday in Pomona.
"Children, the elderly, and people with disabilities or special medical needs are especially vulnerable during cold weather. Extra precaution should be taken to ensure they don't get too cold when they are outside,'' said Dr. Muntu Davis. "There are places where people can go to stay warm, such as shelters or other public facilities. We also want to remind people not to use stoves, barbecues or ovens to heat their homes due to the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning."
The NWS forecast sunny skies in LA County during daytime hours today and -- in sharp contrast to Friday, when temperatures reached the low 80s in some LA County communities -- highs of 40 degrees on Mount Wilson; 49 in Palmdale; 50 in Lancaster; 55 in Saugus; 58 in Avalon; 60 in Burbank; 61 in Pasadena, San Gabriel and Woodland Hills; 62 in Long Beach; 63 at LAX; and 64 in Downtown LA. Highs will be about the same Tuesday but begin warming up slowly on Wednesday.
The NWF forecast sunny skies in Orange County and highs of 36 on Santiago Peak; 50 on Ortega Highway at 2,600 feet; 55 in Fremont Canyon; 56 in Trabuco Canyon; 59 in Yorba Linda; 60 in Laguna Beach and Mission Viejo; 61 in Newport Beach, Anaheim and San Clemente; and 62 in Irvine and Fullerton. As in LA County, temperatures will be about the same Tuesday, then rise slightly Wednesday.
NBCLA's Anthony Yanez contributed to this report.