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Wintry Winds : Temperatures--and a Tree--Fall on Blustery Sunday; Cold Santa Anas Also Bring Outages

December 07, 1998|ANDREW BLANKSTEIN and IRENE GARCIA | TIMES STAFF WRITERS

Powerful winds that drove down temperatures and contributed to minor damage across the San Fernando Valley on Sunday should continue to blow late into the week, according to forecasters.

The winds kicked up Sunday following a swift-moving storm that dumped as much as a quarter-inch of rain on parts of the Valley.

The blustery conditions caused sporadic power outages in the Valley, the largest of which affected 600 customers in Woodland Hills, said Marie Lemelle, a spokeswoman for the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power.

Winds also made for a gardener's nightmare, strewing leaves and other material across lawns and, in one case, severely damaging a car.

Marci Marcus was walking her dog on Ben Avenue in Valley Village on Sunday afternoon when a large tree was uprooted by the wind and landed on a parked car.

"I just stood there in shock," she said. "I was only about a car's length from it, and it's a giant tree."

Called "cold Santa Anas," the winds were the result of a strong jet stream out of the northwest and high pressure building into the Great Basin, which includes eastern California, Nevada and western Utah.

Unlike its warmer cousin, air from the cold Santa Ana does not heat up as it normally does while flowing through mountain passes and canyons toward the coast of Southern California, said Jeff House of WeatherData Inc., which provides forecasts for The Times.

But that should gradually change in the next few days.

"On Sunday, Southern California did not benefit from what is normally a warm wind," House said. "However, the Santa Ana winds will persist and warm things up."

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Wind gusts might reach 20 to 30 mph this week, he added.

From daytime highs that hit the mid-60s Sunday, temperatures should reach the mid-70s by Tuesday in Burbank, Chatsworth, Van Nuys and Woodland Hills, remaining that way through week's end. Overnight lows will range between the upper 30s and low 40s.

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