Wicked winds, high surf hit Southern California

A windstorm accompanied by frigid temperatures attacked The Southland Monday, generating unusually powerful winds in L.A. County, including gusts of around 80 miles per hour in the San Gabriel Mountains.

"This is a particularly strong event," said National Weather Service meteorologist Dave Bruno, asserting that the region is experiencing particularly strong winds because they're blowing both at and above the surface.

The high winds will begin to decrease by mid-morning he said. In the meantime, strong winds will blow across a wide area of L.A County -- an "inside slider" stemming from a combination of upper-level lows in Nevada and high pressure over Central California.

The Antelope Valley was being assaulted by a double-whammy this morning -- high winds and freezing temperatures. A high wind warning will be in effect in the Antelope Valley until noon Monday, and a hard freeze watch will be in force from tonight through Tuesday morning, and again from Tuesday evening through Wednesday morning.

The NWS issued a high wind warning in the Antelope Valley, reflecting the presence of winds of 30 to 45 mph, with gusts of 65 mph, while the hard freeze watch was issued as a result of expectations of temperatures in the teens, according to the NWS.

"Damaging winds will blow down large objects such as trees and power lines. Power outages are likely. Areas of blowing dust and sand could reduce visibilities locally under one- quarter mile or less. High-profile vehicles, including big rigs, could be blown over by the powerful winds. This will likely be the coldest nights we have seen so far this season. Hard freeze conditions could kill crops, other sensitive vegetation and cause unprotected pipes to burst," warned the NWS in discussing conditions in the Antelope Valley and other sections of L.A. County.

The strongest winds will blow Sunday night and Monday morning across western portions of the Antelope Valley, according to the NWS. ``Major roadways that could be impacted by the powerful winds and wind damage include Highways 14 and 138."

The NWS said at 5 a.m. that powerful gusts were reported in the previous 11 hours, including 80 mph at Warm Springs in the San Gabriels; 59 mph in Palmdale in the Antelope Valley; 57 mph at Saugus in the Santa Clarita Valley; 55 mph at Saddle Peak in the Santa Monicas; 53 mph in Van Nuys in the San Fernando Valley; 49 mph at Franklin Canyon along the coast; 39 mph in Catalina; and 38 mph at Eaton Canyon in the San Gabriel Valley.

Forecasters urged area residents to avoid being outside in forested areas and around trees and branches.

"If possible, remain in the lower levels of your home during the windstorm, and avoid windows. Use caution if you must drive."

To guard against the cold, area residents were urged to "take steps now to protect tender plants from the cold. Plan for extra time to defrost vehicle windshields.''

A high wind warning is also in effect this morning in both the San Gabriel and Santa Monica mountains and the San Fernando and Santa Clarita valleys.

North winds of 25 to 40 mph were blowing in the San Fernando and Santa Clarita valleys accompanied by gusts of up to 60 mph, while winds of 25-40 mph with gusts of up to 55 mph were recorded in the Santa Monicas. Even more severe conditions were reported in the San Gabriels -- northwest winds 30 to 50 mph with gusts of up to 70 mph, and isolated gusts 80 to 90 mph in the hills around the Interstate 5 corridor. Tonight, the wind will change direction, and Santa Anas will begin buffeting the region, Bruno said.

Not surprisingly, power outages were reported today around the Los Angeles area overnight. The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power reported 15 outages in Hollywood, the Hollywood Hills, Mid-Wilshire, Pacific Palisades, Valley Village and Mission Hills. Repair crews were dispatched with instructions to restore power.

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