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Winds Knock Out Power Across County

Outages are reported in Costa Mesa and Santa Ana. Gusts reaching 75 mph race through dry canyons--but no fires break out.


Santa Ana winds toppled trees and knocked out electrical power across Orange County on Tuesday, and fire departments braced for blazes in tinder-dry canyon areas.

Gusts as strong as 75 mph were registered in some areas of the county. Average winds were clocked between 35 and 45 mph, with coastal areas reporting 25 to 35 mph, said Brad Doyle, a forecaster for the National Weather Service based in San Diego.

As a result, a high-wind warning was in effect for much of Tuesday in Orange County, although the winds were expected to wane late in the day. A high-wind warning is issued when sustained winds reach 40 mph with stronger gusts. A wind advisory is issued when sustained winds reach 30 mph.

Doyle said the 75-mph winds were recorded in the passes and canyons.

"Wind this strong can down trees," he said. "If the trees fall on power lines, they can cause [outages or] damage to vehicles if they happen to be in the wrong place at the wrong time."

Southern California Edison reported outages in Orange County on Tuesday.

"Whenever the wind kicks up, we typically get momentary circuit interruptions with wires slapping together, trees brushing up against our poles or debris blowing up into our lines," said Tom Boyd, spokesman for Southern California Edison headquarters in Rosemead.

The largest outage occurred about 8:45 a.m., when more than 4,000 customers in Costa Mesa suffered a power loss after wires were blown down. There was also an outage for almost 1,200 Santa Ana customers about 10:30 a.m. when a tree fell into power lines.

Boyd said that 66 Santa Ana customers were without power until late in the afternoon. Fewer than a dozen in Costa Mesa were without power in the evening.

By late Tuesday afternoon, the Orange County Fire Authority reported that there had been no fire emergencies due to the winds.

There was a minor tree fire in Costa Mesa at Placentia and Adams avenues when a snapped power line blew into a tree, said Sgt. Bob Durham of the Costa Mesa Police Department. No injuries were reported.

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