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High winds to continue into the night

Lesser winds will blow in some areas until Wednesday evening.

December 23, 2009|By Robert Faturechi
  • Visitors to the beach at Belmont Shore find the view almost obscured by sand kicked up by the strong winds blowing across Southern California.
Visitors to the beach at Belmont Shore find the view almost obscured by sand… (Mark Boster / Los Angeles…)

Winds will continue to blow through much of Los Angeles County and surrounding areas, but the gusts should die down well before Christmas Eve, according to forecasters.

High-wind warnings issued by the National Weather Service in the mountains and the Antelope and Santa Clarita valleys were to have remained in effect until about 3 a.m. today.

Less serious wind advisories were to remain in place until 9 p.m. in the Santa Monica Mountains and along the Los Angeles County coast.

Strong winds are gusts of 60 to 70 mph and are powerful enough to cause property damage.

"You could have trees and tree limbs breaking. You might even get shingles off of roofs," said meteorologist Eric Boldt of the weather service.

The lesser winds are predicted to blow at about 35 mph, and Boldt described them as "kind of just at the nuisance level. You might get some jostlings left on the freeway. Your car would be buffeted by winds sometimes."

Boldt said he had not heard of any major damage caused by winds Tuesday.

A strong low-pressure system moving through California and into Arizona set up the pressure gradient that caused the winds. But the winds are forecast to die down before the holiday.

"We're not expecting much wind through Christmas," he said.

The Grapevine, a key-north south route, was closed this morning because of snow stuck to the pavement. But the California Highway Patrol said roads were reopened and expected to stay open.

Despite the winds, officials said air quality remained moderate.

Still, Tina Cherry, a spokeswoman for the South Coast Air Quality Management District, said residents near areas affected by the Station fire should watch out for dust and ash. If they get stirred up significantly, she recommended that older adults, people with respiratory problems and young children limit their time outside.

"We're continuing to monitor it," Cherry said. "If the levels do change, we could put out a dust advisory."

robert.faturechi@latimes.com

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