Windstorm: 200,000 Still Without Power, Cities Declare State of Emergency

More than 200,000 people in Southern California and some parts of Utah are still without power after this week’s windstorm, which reported shocking peak gusts of up to 101 mph.

Damaging homes, knocking out power lines, and toppling trees, the violent winds that blasted through Los Angeles early Thursday through Friday morning blew out the electricity to more than 350,000 customers in California, while an additional 55,000 residents in Utah also reported power outages, Reuters reported.

Mayor Michael D. Antonovich declared a state of emergency in Los Angeles County as a result of the violent gusts, “to ensure that state and federal financial resources [were] available to serve county residents impacted by the storm.”

The cities of Pasadena, Sierra Madre, San Gabriel, Temple City, Glendora, Arcadia, Alhambra, San Marino and Monrovia also declared local emergencies as well. More than 75 percent of residents in Temple City and San Marino were estimated to have been without electricity at one point.

Authorities believe that electricity may not be restored for several days in hard-hit areas like San Gabriel Valley and Temple City, where 50 percent of residents in the latter city still remain without power.

In Pasadena, however, another area severely impaired by the storm, power has been restored to 99 percent of affected customers. All but 400 electric customers and 150 water customers have received restored service.

Based on the city’s assessments through Friday, 325 miles of streets were impacted by storm debris and more than 600 street trees fell due to the winds. Currently, 100 percent of arterial streets are accessible while 90 percent of secondary streets are also in the clear.

City staff and contractors have been working around the clock to repair the city and ensure the safety of the community, clearing streets, restoring utilities, and investigating incidents as quickly and efficiently as possible.

“Despite some continued challenges, Pasadena is returning to normal,” city manager Michael J. Beck said in a statement. “City resources will remain devoted to restoring services, parks and parkways to the high standards our community expects and deserves.”

Public schools in Pasadena and dozens of schools across Southern California were also closed for repair till Friday.

The University of California offered possible extensions to last-minute applicants affected by the blackouts, according to the Los Angeles Times. The deadline to submit college applications for fall 2012 was Nov. 30, the night of the first windstorms.

Though the total cost of damage is yet to be assessed, millions are being estimated.

The city of San Gabriel alone approximated preliminary damages of up to $1.67 million for destruction to residential structures, vehicles, buildings, streets, sidewalks, streetlights, signs and trees.

The damage may not be finished yet, with winds of up to 60 mph making their way into the Los Angeles and Ventura counties again Friday to Saturday night, though not in the same magnitude as the earlier storms, The National Weather Service warned.

Areas most susceptible to the winds will be Santa Clarita Valley, western San Fernando Valley and Santa Clara River Valley. Hollywood Hills and Santa Monica Mountains will also see some gusty winds.

Fire weather alerts are active across the areas due to low humidity levels and high winds.

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