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High Winds Howl Through SCV

Posted: March 3, 2008 2:24 a.m.
Updated: May 4, 2008 5:02 a.m.

High winds whip the flags on Magic Mountain Parkway and San Fernando Road. Wind gusts topped 50 miles per hour in the Santa Clarita Valley on Sunday.

Santa Ana winds topped 50 miles per hour in the Santa Clarita Valley on Sunday, sending fire danger screaming into the red zone while knocking down power lines.

Several fires were reported throughout the day in the Santa Clarita Valley, but none escaped firefighters despite the wind, Fire Department officials said.

Downed power lines caused a small power outage and ignited a brush fire that erupted about 11:30 a.m. Sunday, leaving some residents in the dark near Sierra Highway and Placerita Canyon Road.

Although the ridgeline blaze was only an eighth of an acre in size, it took firefighters about 30 minutes to extinguish it, according to Captain George Cruz of Department 73 of the Los Angeles County Fire Department. The cause of the downed power lines was not certain, though wind may have played a role.

Another brush fire was reported near Quigley Canyon Road and Oak Orchard Road, though there was no damage. It was immediately put out. Power lines and high winds also played a role in that fire, officials said.

Southern California Edison Co. officials said they were able to restore power to residents of the Placerita Canyon/Newhall area by the afternoon. But pockets of outage occurred throughout the afternoon due to the high winds.

"We got several calls about power outages in the Newhall area but nothing much happened," said Jane Brown, Edison's public affairs regional manager. "The wind definitely caused some momentary outages."

Brown said about 915 customers were affected by outages reported throughout the day.

According to the National Weather Service, winds hit top speeds of 59 miles per hour in the Newhall Pass. Saugus had winds at 53 miles per hour, while gusts hit 50 miles per hour in Acton.

Still, the Santa Clarita Valley fared better than the Antelope Valley, where 23,000 customers lost power Sunday morning, and where one truck blew over on the Antelope Valley Freeway between Palmdale and Rosamond.

California Highway Patrol officers escorted motorists on the freeway, where visibility was zero at times.

An advisory was issued for trucks and other high-profile vehicles throughout much of California's southwestern deserts.

Strong winds were expected to continue through today but diminish tonight. National Weather Service officials warned that the winds can be damaging at times. Highs will be around 70 today and remain in the low 70s throughout the week, with plenty of sunshine.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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