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High winds topple trees onto homes, cars, keep roaring through Southern California on Saturday

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Southern California residents woke up Saturday to large, mangled trees that had crashed into cars and homes, traffic lights on the fritz and downed live wires creating a hazard in some areas as fierce winds continued to roar for most of the day.

In Ontario, a big tree crushed a duplex on Friday night, sending residents scurrying through a window to escape. The winds, which began that afternoon, left a trail of toppled trees in the San Gabriel Valley in places like Arcadia, Sierra Madre, Pasadena and Altadena. Power outages affected thousands of people.

On Saturday morning, the Green family sifted through debris at their home in the smashed Ontario duplex.

"My whole room is gone," said Jackie Green, 16. "It's just a bunch of wood from the tree and stuff from the neighbors upstairs."

But no one in the residence was seriously injured, he said.

Ellen Kutza, an Arcadia resident, told an RMG News videographer that the power had already been out in her home on Canyon Crest Drive when she heard a loud noise outside.

"We weren't sure what the heck was happening and we opened the front door to a big, giant tree across our front yard," she said.

The tree was her neighbor's, she said, and had toppled through a brick wall separating the homes and onto a car and a truck in Kutza's driveway.

In the Inland Empire, a pair of large trees damaged a home in the area of Euclid Avenue and G Street in Upland. Another tree landed on four cars in the Stoneridge Apartment complex.

Green said ordinarily, he would have been playing video games or talking on his phone in his room about the time the tree fell.

"I could have died," he said. "I'm really blessed for that."

He had just finished cleaning up the porch, moving plants to a corner and bringing chairs inside Friday night as the heavy winds kicked up.

About a half-hour later, he was sitting in a chair by the front door of the old, two-story home that had been converted to a duplex. His mother was seated on the couch. Suddenly, they heard a big bang, and Jackie Green saw dust coming from his room a few feet away.

After checking on his mother, he grabbed a hoodie and some sandals. The pair managed to escape the wreckage through a back window, he said.

We are aware that there are still multiple power outages throughout the city and that many La Verne residents remain without power. More… https://t.co/aNYPdtg5pw#sce#windstorm#wind#laverne pic.twitter.com/hDIpHzNxC2

— La Verne Police Dept (@LaVernePD) January 23, 2022


Heavy winds have caused a power outage which caused some traffic signals to go out.

If you come upon a non-lit or flashing traffic signal, please uses it as you would a stop sign 🛑

We will continue to provide updates. Drive Safely!

•••#Advisory pic.twitter.com/KbrHnKjzex

— West Covina Police (@WestCovinaPD) January 22, 2022

Elsewhere in Ontario, police were asking motorists to avoid the area of South Baker Avenue and East Riverside Drive and asked nearby residents to remain indoors due to a downed high-voltage power line. A power pole and power lines toppled in La Verne at the entrance to the Mountain Spring Estates community near Wheeler Avenue and Golden Hills Road, photos posted by city officials showed.

Power outages related to wind conditions affected nearly 11,000 customers in Los Angeles County and more than 700 in San Bernardino County, according to a Southern California Edison outage map.

More than half of those affected in Los Angeles County were in the San Gabriel Valley, with Monrovia and Duarte the most at 4,500 combined customers without power as of 10:30 a.m.

Use caution if you are in the Claremont area! Trees and powerlines down in multiple areas. Stay out of the area if you can (or at home). #SoCal #CAwx https://t.co/A4hVK6AcVD

— NWS Los Angeles (@NWSLosAngeles) January 22, 2022

In Anza, a 120-foot pine tree was brought down by the winds, blocking the roadway on Morris Ranch Road on Saturday morning, according to the California Highway Patrol.

At around 9:25 a.m., the NWS reported that a tree knocked down by heavy gusts blocked the road near C and Fifth streets in Hemet.

And the CHP reported that a large traffic sign fell on the 60 Freeway and was obstructing lanes in Jurupa Valley at around 2 p.m.

A high wind warning that took effect at 3 p.m. Friday in the Santa Monica Mountains, the Santa Clarita and San Fernando valleys and the Los Angeles County Mountains, as well as the Inland Empire and Santa Ana Mountains, expired Saturday at 6 p.m. But a high wind advisory was issued until Sunday at 2 p.m.

Wind gusts had peaked at 90 mph in Los Angeles County mountain areas, meteorologist Kristan Lund said. While forecasters said the worst was over by 3 p.m., gusting winds would still be felt into Sunday.

"All the winds are going to be decreasing over time and we're already seeing decreases now," meteorologist Brandt Maxwell said. "For (Sunday), it will be quite a bit weaker."

Areas like the Santa Ana Mountains in Orange County, the Cajon Pass and Los Angeles County mountains still could see wind gusts up to 50 mph, meteorologists said. Foothill areas and the San Fernando Valley could experience gusts up to 40 mph, Lund said.

A pair of trees were blown over by strong #santaanawinds onto a home at the corner of Euclid and G St in #Upland over night. pic.twitter.com/p7ib5yhodS

— Will Lester (@WillLesterPhoto) January 22, 2022

But most areas will experience wind speeds between 15 and 25 mph into Sunday, forecasters said.

"We should still be very careful driving around because there is a lot of damage," Lund said. "Be wary of tall vehicles getting blown over. Watch out for trees that could have been weakened and downed power lines."

Members of the Santa Ana Police Department and other city empolyees rush to grab a pop up shade canopy that high winds blew across the intersection of Willits and Sullivan Streets in Santa Ana, coming to rest against a vehicle traveling eastbound on Willits Street on Saturday, January 22, 2022. The pop up was one of many being used for the Willits & Sullivan Beautification Project celebration and sculpture unveiling event. (Photo by Mark Rightmire, Orange County Register/SCNG)

REMINDER: Active Windblown Dust Advisory continues through the weekend: https://t.co/Y158Op74tv https://t.co/aeJzav28kE

— South Coast AQMD (@SouthCoastAQMD) January 22, 2022

Offshore winds will bring relatively dry humidity Sunday, with temperatures anticipated in the 70s for lower elevation areas, forecasters said.

"The winds will still be breezy," Maxwell said, "but nothing that would cause any real hazard."

City News Service contributed to this report.

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