Acting Gov. Abel Maldonado signed an executive order Thursday to waive fees and other regulations involved in recovery efforts from the rainstorms of the past 10 days in Los Angeles and Orange counties and elsewhere in California.
Among other things, officials involved in recovery efforts were ordered to cooperate with the California Resources Agency and state Environmental Protection Agency to mitigate the effects of the storms; fees were waived for the replacement of vital documents, auto registration forms and driver's licenses; the one-week waiting period for filing for unemployment for those out of a job because of the storms was dropped; and one-stop local assistance centers were created.
Maldonado's order also called for agencies to arrange for debris removal and restoration of watersheds; for regulations involving the removal and storage of hazardous materials to be limited, and for the facilitation of roadway repair.
Trees, Powerlines Down After Windy Night
Fierce winds contributed to power outages for thousands of residents across the Southland, knocked down tree limbs, and hurled tumbleweeds and other debris throughout L.A. County, utility and weather officials said Thursday.
Downed trees and debris blocked streets and freeway interchanges from north of Lancaster to downtown Los Angeles and Pacific Palisades, according to the California Highway Patrol and the Weather Service. In Whittier, a tree fell on the hood of a truck.
Some winds early Thursday were blowing at hurricane-force. A wind gust of 94 miles per hour was measured at Whitaker Peak in northwest Los Angeles County at 3:57 a.m., Curt Kaplan of the Weather Service said. Winds over 74 mph are considered "hurricane-force," Kaplan said.
Downed Powerlines Leave Thousands Without Power
Powerlines also were damaged during the night. LADWP said about 3,400 customers were without power Thursday morning. SoCal Edison said 32,000 customers were without power.
Outage-hit areas in Los Angeles County included Lancaster, Bell Gardens, Inglewood and Downey, Nyssen said. Southern California Edison serves 12 counties, Nyssen said.
In the Hollywood Hills near Universal City, a tree fell on a house and knocked down power lines.
Three Injured in Icy Truck Crash in Mountains
Things were getting back to normal on state Route 138, near the Golden State 5 Freeway corridor in the mountains of north Los Angeles County, where black ice and gusty winds caused several big rigs to crash overnight.
All lanes were reopened by late Thursday morning, according to the California Highway Patrol.
"There was some black ice on the roadway," said CHP Officer Ed Jacobs.
The problems began about 11:35 p.m. Wednesday, when a Peterbilt tractor-trailer hit a patch of ice on Lancaster Road just west of Old Ridge Route Road and east of Gorman, causing the truck to jackknife across the road.
The driver of another big rig braked to avoid the Peterbilt, causing that truck to roll onto its side, and a third trucker drove off the road to avoid the other trucks, mowing down a barbed wire fence along the shoulder.
A Los Angeles County fire captain who went to the scene in a Ford F-550 pickup truck saw a Cadillac Escalade headed straight toward him, so he puck the pickup into reverse to avoid the SUV, which still sideswiped the Ford.
A passenger in the Escalade and the drivers of the jackknifed and overturned big rig were taken to a hospital with minor to moderate injuries, said CHP Officer Ed Jacobs. No one was arrested.
Storm Damage Could Mean Tax Relief
Property owners who have suffered $10,000 or more in damage from the recent storms could be eligible for tax relief, the county Assessor's Office reminded residents Wednesday.
"State law allows home and business owners to qualify for temporary reduction in assessed value," Assessor John R. Noguez said. "The law also covers mobile homes and business and personal property. Reassessment could mean a lower tax bill for the period between damage and repair or rebuilding."
Residents who have suffered property damage were urged to contact the Assessor's Office as soon as possible.
Misfortune/calamity forms are available on the assessor's webpage at assessor.lacounty.gov, then clicking the "Forms" link and selected ADS- 820/829.2 to print and submit by mail.
Noguez said application forms must be submitted within one year of the damage.
Additional information is available by calling the main assessor's office at 213-974-8658, or branch offices in Sylmar, 818-833-6000; Signal Hill, 562-256-1701; Culver City, 310-665-5300; South El Monte, 626-258- 6001; or Lancaster, 661-940-6700.