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High winds topple trees in SCV

Posted: April 29, 2014 7:03 p.m.
Updated: April 29, 2014 7:03 p.m.

High winds in the Santa Clarita Valley on Tuesday ripped the front off a billboard and sent it flapping in the wind like a flag. Signal photo by Jim Holt

Severe winds knocked down at least a dozen trees and tree limbs across the Santa Clarita Valley on Tuesday, sending some crashing onto roads and created traffic hazards, city and fire officials said.

No one was reported hurt in any of the incidents.

From Stevenson Ranch to Canyon Country, Santa Clarita city and Los Angeles County workers responded throughout the day to reports of downed trees.

“This huge tree covered the entire road,” said motorist Lou Marino, who encountered a downed 70-foot pine that fell onto Placerita Canyon Road one mile east of the Placerita Canyon Nature Center.

“Some drivers were trying to drive around it, and I got out and said ‘Wait a minute; someone is going to get killed,’” he told The Signal.

Los Angeles County work crews cut up the tree within an hour.

The tree clipped wires on a 60-foot utility pole, prompting California Highway Patrol officers to notify Southern California Edison, a CHP officer at the scene said.

A high wind warning remains in effect for the Santa Clarita Valley until Wednesday at 3 p.m., said Bonnie Bartling, a weather specialist with the National Weather Service in Oxnard.

“Strong Santa Ana winds and wide-spread single-digit humidity is expected,” she said.

The winds that whipped through the SCV Tuesday were between 25 and 40 miles per hour, gusting to 60 miles per hour, Bartling said.

“A lull is expected in the wind in the late (Tuesday) afternoon, picking up again Wednesday morning,” she said.

Winds forecast for Wednesday are expected to be between 30 and 40 miles per hour, gusting to 60.

Temperatures are expected to reach the high 90s Thursday and Friday, she said.

As winds picked up early Tuesday morning, CHP officers issued a wind advisory for northbound lanes of Highway 14 near Agua Dulce Canyon Road.

They also reported a motorist who notified them about an unknown object that shattered the windshield of her car.

The incident happened shortly before 7:30 a.m. Tuesday on The Old Road, according to the CHP.

High winds also prompted the Los Angeles County Fire Department to bring in more firefighters.

“We have increased additional staffing in areas prone to brush fires,” said Fire Department Inspector Scott Miller, identifying one of those areas as the Santa Clarita Valley. “We have additional resources on hand as well, including water tankers.”

“There’s a possibility for fire with strong winds and a critically dry fuel bed,” he said.

As well, fire crews with the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection were put on high alert due to high winds, according a news release issued by the department office in Sacramento.

“With gusty dry winds forecast for Southern California, Cal Fire has increased its staffing and is urging the public to be extra cautious as fire danger heightens,” department Director Ken Pimlott said in a statement.

“The drought has set the stage for a very dry and potentially dangerous fire season,” he said. “Fire season never really ended last year in Southern California, and these strong winds will only elevate the current fire risk.”
on Twitter @jamesarthurholt




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