Damaging Winds Down Trees, Snap Power Lines

Gusts up to 70 and 80 mph are possible in some mountain areas

Thousands of customers were without power Monday after strong winds knocked down power lines and trees, including one that landed across several neighbors' yards in the Mid-Wilshire area.

Damaging gusts are possible into the afternoon with the strongest winds sweeping through the mountains, the Antelope and Santa Clarita valleys, and parts of Ventura County, generating damaging gusts of 70 mph and even 80 mph in some mountain areas. Gusts of between 45 and 60 mph are possible in the San Fernando and San Gabriel valleys and the L.A. coastal zone, which includes beach cities, metropolitan Los Angeles, the downtown area and the Hollywood Hills.

In the Mid-Wilshire area, a 75-foot tall tree fell onto several structures. Homeowner Sergio Ceccarini said he heard a "swoosh" sound and went outside to inspect damage. That's when part of the tree, about eight feet in diameter, fell on him, he said.

"In one second, I was under a tree," said resident Sergio Ceccarini.

His wife helped pull Ceccarini from under the tree. He suffered a few scratches, but said he felt fine -- and lucky. The tree ended up on his garage and some neighboring homes.

Details regarding damage were not immediately available after the tree toppled in the 700 block of South Citrus Avenue.

In South Los Angeles, a large tree fell on an occupied car and across the 2600 block of Broadway Street. Firefighters rescued a person trapped in the vehicle.

Another downed tree fell (pictured, right) on a car in Altadena in the 1700 block of Allen Avenue.

The winds damaged power poles throughout the city, leaving more than 17,900 LADWP customers without power at midday. Thousands were without power in the Koreatown, Vermont-Slauson, Westchester and Larchmont areas. About 1,500 customers were without power in East Hollywood and 1,600 in Harvard Heights.

Power to 15,550 customers has been restored by 2 p.m.

As of 10:30 p.m., LADWP had 4800 customers without power in their entire coverage area. Officials said they would be working through the night. 

In the San Gabriel Mountains in both Los Angeles and Ventura counties, a winter weather advisory will be in effect through Monday morning. Showers will persist in the northern San Gabriel Mountains and the snow level will fall to between 3,000 and 4,000 feet, with between three and seven inches of accumulation likely, with the greatest accumulation expected above 4,500 feet.

Icy roads and between one and three inches of accumulated snow are possible on the Grapevine section of the 5 Freeway north of Los Angeles. A winter weather advisory will be in effect in the San Gabriels until 10 a.m., and a gale warning will be on effect in Southern California's coastal waters until 9 p.m.

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