LOS ANGELES (AP) — Power was being restored Sunday to tens of thousands of people who lost electricity in Southern California after fierce Santa Ana winds gusting as much as 89 mph toppled trees and power poles.
The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power said Saturday's outages affected more than 54,000 customers — mostly in the San Fernando Valley area of Los Angeles.
Spokeswoman Terry Schneider said crews worked through the night to restore power, leaving only about 1,500 without power Sunday morning.
The Santa Ana winds downed numerous trees and power poles across the region. The damage included a large billboard that blew down in Burbank, while a big tree fell into the kitchen of a house in Van Nuys.
Scattered outages also left 1,700 Southern California Edison customers without power in Fontana and Ontario east of Los Angeles.
Also in Ontario, the winds helped fuel a fire at a green waste recycling facility.
Ontario deputy fire chief Mike Pelletier said crews were working through the night to ensure that the blaze was contained to the property.
No one was injured and just a barn and two sheds were damaged. Pelletier said no homes were immediately threatened. Crews hoped to have the blaze knocked down by dawn.
The National Weather Service says a gauge in the mountains near Julian in San Diego County registered a gust of 89 mph at 7:30 a.m. An 82 mph wind gust was recorded in the Malibu hills Saturday afternoon.
The winds kicked up Friday night and were expected to continue Sunday, though they were expected to be somewhat weaker, the National Weather Service said.
The Santa Ana winds are generated during cooler months when westward currents reach fierce speeds as they squeeze through Southern California mountain ranges and buffet coastal areas. The winds lower humidity and making vegetation susceptible to fire.
Meanwhile, a high-surf advisory warning of up to 11-foot-high surf was in effect through Sunday.
Authorities said the winds blew two kayakers out to sea off the coast of Malibu. They were reported missing for about an hour before Los Angeles County Fire Department lifeguards helped them paddle back to shore.