San Gabriel Valley Hit Hardest by Winds
Several cities in the San Gabriel Valley, including Pasadena and Temple City, and Los Angeles County have declared a local state of emergency Thursday due to the almost hurricane-like winds.
Winds reached a high of 97 miles per hour at Whittier Peak in the San Gabriel mountains and close to the 80s in Pasadena Wednesday night, destroying homes and taking down trees. The Pasadena Fire Department reports of the 200 buildings damaged by the wind, 42 individual homes and apartments have been "red-tagged" for unsafe occupancy. Thirty-six residents are staying at a temporary shelter at Robinson Park Center.
"My husband and I were up until about one thirty because we have this tall pine tree that's been here for a hundred years," Pasadena resident Cecile Aquino said. "We were afraid that with these high winds, the tree would topple."
"I woke up because I heard a bang," Pasadena resident Dalen Guiton said. "And then my grandma went outside to check it out and we saw the tree was down."
The Pasadena Unified School District and San Gabriel Unified School District closed all schools Thursday and announced that schools will be closed again on Friday. Schools are scheduled to reopen on Monday.
"We've asked that if you don't have to go out, if you don't have to travel out for work or school or to do any day-to-day business, to not go out," Lt. Phlunte Riddle of the Pasadena Police Department said.
On the corner of Colorado Boulevard and South San Gabriel Boulevard in Pasadena, a Shell gas station was severely damaged. The manager hopes to start getting it fixed Friday.
"Thank God nobody got injured," Roger Farraj, the manager of the gas station, said. "Now we're just trying to get this cleand up mess done and hopefully everything will be ok."
Several events scheduled for Thursday, including the Zero Waste Strategic Plan workshops and the World AIDS Day event, were canceled.
According to Southern California Edison as of 1 p.m., 226,053 customers are without power. SCE warns the high winds expected Thursday night may cause more black outs.
Los Angeles County CEO Bill Fujioka tweeted, "Wow. LA County Fire has responded to over 460 downed power lines in the past 24 hours from all of the wind damage."
The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power also announced that 130,000 of their 1.4 million customers are without power. If a downed power line is encountered, LADWP recommends calling them immediately at 1-800-DIAL-DWP (1-800-342-5397).
In order to stay safe during a power outage, SCE recommends using flashlights, leaving the doors to refrigerators and freezers closed to preserve food and not to use equipment indoors that is designed for outdoor cooking.