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Warnings remain as winds cut power

Gusts of up to 102 mph cause outages to thousands and heighten wildfire concerns. A watch will remain in effect in some areas until Thursday.

December 26, 2007|Molly Hennessy-Fiske and Larry Gordon | Times Staff Writers

Gusty winds are expected to return today to the region's mountains, valleys and coasts, but to a lesser extent than the warm, dry Santa Anas that downed power lines and marred some Christmas celebrations.

The National Weather Service issued a high wind watch from this afternoon until Thursday, saying northerly winds could reach 15 to 20 mph from Hollywood to Leo Carrillo State Beach.

The watch includes portions of Los Angeles, Ventura and Santa Barbara counties, said weather service spokesman Bill Hoffer.

Winds gusted up to 102 mph Monday night and early Tuesday morning atop Whitaker Peak, and 78 mph in Malibu Hills, prompting high wind and red flag warnings across Southern California. Those warnings expired Tuesday night.

Downed power lines left more than 13,000 households and businesses without power for stretches of time -- many in the western San Fernando Valley and the Inland Empire.

Parts of North Hills, Porter Ranch and Northridge lost power around 2 a.m. Tuesday, and outages affecting about 4,000 customers continued through the morning, according to Kim Hughes, a spokeswoman for the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power.

The affected area traditionally takes the brunt of winds blowing forcefully through the Santa Susana Pass, she said.

About 2,000 DWP customers were without power in late afternoon, including 1,200 in the Crenshaw area who were affected by a circuit outage, another spokesman said.

Southern California Edison, which covers most of the rest of the region, reported early Tuesday that about 9,000 customers were without power, mainly in Fontana, San Bernardino and Redlands.

That number was reduced to about 1,600 later in the day, according to company spokesman Paul Klein.

More than 100,000 homes and businesses in areas from San Diego to Santa Barbara experienced brief blackouts, but most of those lasted less than 30 seconds, he said.

molly.hennessy-fiske@latimes.com

larry.gordon@latimes.com

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Staff writer Charles Ornstein contributed to this report.

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