Santa Ana winds: More high winds expected Friday (video)
Santa Ana winds left a path of destruction through California, Utah, Nevada, Colorado and other Western states. More Santa Ana winds are expected Friday.
The wild Santa Ana winds that created havoc across Western states remain a threat in Southern California, where about 270,000 customers remain without power and some dozen school districts are closed for a second day.Skip to next paragraph
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The National Weather Service has issued more Santa Ana wind warnings and advisories in mountains and valleys for 25- to 45-mph winds, with gusts of up to 60 mph possible into Friday afternoon. Red flag warnings also are up because of the extreme fire danger caused by the winds and low humidity.
In Los Angeles, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa plans to observe cleanup efforts Friday morning at Griffith Park.
California wasn't alone in facing powerful winds - and major damage.
The powerful winds tore across several Western states Thursday and left a path of destruction that closed schools, left neighborhoods with a snarl of downed trees and power lines, and prompted some communities to declare emergencies.
The storms, described as a once-in-a-decade event, were the result of a dramatic difference in pressure between a strong, high-pressure system and a cold, low-pressure system, meteorologists said. This funnels strong winds down mountain canyons and slopes.
The violent winds eased but strong gusts still blew through the region Thursday night, at times reaching 60 mph in some California mountains. Forecasters said the winds would continue to diminish through Friday.
The winds were fanning fires in northern California.
The Sacramento Bee reported that as of Thursday evening, seven fires had burned more than 130 acres in El Dorado County. Five fires had also burned more than 250 acres in Tuolumne and Calaveras counties.
In Southern California, the storm knocked out electricity to more than 350,000 utility customers. By early Friday, 270,000 of them were still without power.
Gusts, which reached 80 mph, were blamed for toppling semitrailers and causing trees to fall on homes, apartment complexes and cars.
A state of emergency was declared in Los Angeles County, where schools in a dozen communities were closed.
In some neighborhoods, concrete light poles cracked in half. Darkened traffic signals and fallen palm tree fronds and branches snarled traffic. At a Shell station, the roof collapsed into a heap of twisted metal.