December 4, 2011 in Nation/World

L.A. area still reeling from powerful wind

Nearly 74,000 without electricity days after storm
Hector Becerra Los Angeles Times
Associated Press photo

Theresa Reyes, left, Antjuan Roy and his mother, Diane Johnson, stand in front of Roy and Johnson’s home in Temple City, Calif., on Saturday.
(Full-size photo)

LOS ANGELES – Los Angeles County’s most potent windstorm in recent years continued to dole out complications Saturday, depriving around 80,000 homes and businesses of power for a third day and sapping pre-holiday spirit in some foothill communities.

Nearly 74,000 Southern California Edison customers remained without power as of early afternoon Saturday in about a dozen San Gabriel Valley communities, including Pasadena, Temple City, San Marino and Arcadia. Utility workers handed out flashlights, ice and bottled water to affected residents.

The storm – a meteorological mutation of typical Santa Ana winds – blasted the region with cold northerly winds instead of warm seasonal gusts, and it bowled over myriad trees and snapped power lines. At the wind event’s peak, more than 400,000 customers throughout Los Angeles County lost power, about 235,000 of them in San Gabriel Valley cities.

At night, large stretches of normally bustling commercial thoroughfares like Valley Boulevard were dim as cars crawled past dark traffic signals and closed gas stations, supermarkets and restaurants.

“This is probably the most severe windstorm event in terms of impact on the power grid in the last decade,” said Gil Alexander, a Southern California Edison spokesman. “Looking at our history, this is one of the more significant ones.”

Alexander said the utility hoped to return power to most homes by the end of today, but he said crews were having problems reaching affected neighborhoods because of downed trees. Although the windstorm had moved away, he said it was possible that traditional Santa Ana winds could swoop in and aggravate the situation.

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