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VENTURA COUNTY NEWS

Strong Winds Uproot Trees, Knock Down Power Lines

April 04, 1999|FRED ALVAREZ | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Hold onto your Easter bonnets.

Powerful northwest winds that pummeled Ventura County on Saturday were expected to continue at least through this morning, making for blustery sunrise services and Easter egg hunts.

"Pretty much wherever you are it's going to be windy," said Bruce Rockwell, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Oxnard. "We're getting payback for having such a mild winter."

Payback on Saturday came in the form of gusts of up to 50 mph that pushed over trees, set off burglar alarms and knocked down power lines from Ventura to Thousand Oaks.

A downed power line sparked a small house fire in the 100 block of Fir Street in Camarillo on Saturday evening. Firefighters put out the blaze in a few minutes.

About 1,100 Southern California Edison customers, mostly in Camarillo and on the Oxnard Plain, were without electricity anywhere from a few minutes to a couple of hours.

Power was restored to most customers by 6 p.m., said Mike Montoya, Edison's regional manager. But he worried that the worst was yet to come.

"As a matter of fact, it's even supposed to be intensifying," Montoya said. "It looks like we're going to be busy for a while."

While the wind caused no major problems, law enforcement officers kept busy much of the day clearing trees from roadways and responding to a flurry of false alarms at homes and businesses.

At the county's harbors in Ventura and Oxnard, harbor patrol officers were keeping an especially close eye on the weather, cruising the waters to make sure no boaters were in trouble.

"We're hoping everybody is going to be OK," said Jim Chase, a deputy with the Ventura Harbor Patrol. "When the weather's that rough, it can get very, very dangerous."

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