Local

Wild is the wind this week in Southern California

Palm trees in the wind.
Palm trees in the wind.
Larry & Teddy Page/Flickr via Creative Commons

Those high winds are sticking around for one more day. The strongest will be in the San Fernando Valley, where gusts could reach 40 or 50 miles per hour.

A wind advisory will remain in effect in the valley until 2 p.m. Saturday.

"Spring time can be pretty windy. It's been somewhat unusual, but not terribly unusual. April can be a windy month," David Sweet, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service, tells KPCC.

The rest of the region can expect winds between 15 and 25 miles per hour on Saturday.

During the past week, gusts of wind blowing up to 60 mph have felled trees and knocked down power lines throughout Southern California. The weather is keeping crews from local utilities busy as they work to restore power to thousands of people.

As of midday Friday, 11,887 customers of the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power lacked power due to wind-related outages, said the utility's spokesperson Ellen Cheng. Among the neighborhoods most affected were Palms, Brentwood and Echo Park.

As of Friday morning, about 1,000 Southern California Edison customers in Whittier and East Los Angeles were without power because of the wind.

You can look at outage maps from LADWP and SoCal Edison.

At the peak of the blustering winds on Thursday evening, about 22,000 LADWP customers were without power. About half of those customers had their power restored by 7 p.m. Thursday. The utility currently has 56 crews working to bring power back.

Some locals faced more crushing problems caused by the wind.

Calvin Daniels was celebrating his birthday Thursday night in Hawthorne when a tree fell on his vehicle. He told KPCC media partner NBC 4: "I said, oh s***. That's my truck! I just had it painted. Now I got to take it and have it done all over again."

NBC4 reported that some flights at Los Angeles International Aiport were grounded due to wind.

In Exposition Park, a garage fire driven by the wind severely damaged a house but was extinguished by Los Angeles Fire Department firefighters before it spread to nearby homes. 

High winds are forecast to continue through Saturday afternoon. Southern Californians can expect sustained Santa Ana winds of 25 to 35 mph with gusts reaching 50 to 60 mph. The high winds should gradually diminish through Sunday.

Stuart Seto with the National Weather Service explained what's happening with the current weather pattern:

"A large, low-pressure system, the winds around the low circulate in a counterclockwise pattern. And when it's a strong low like that, it generates a lot of wind that could be mixed down to the surface," he said.

Caroline Aoyagi with SoCal Edison urged people to be careful in gusty conditions.

"We always ask our customers to not touch or approach any wires that they see that have fallen on the streets and to call 9-1-1 immediately," she told KPCC. "So when you're driving, just be really careful if you see some stoplights out. Treat those as four-way stops and make sure you proceed with caution."