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High winds bring fire warnings, traffic tie-ups, power outages

November 2, 2011 |  7:52 am

Red flag warning sign
Santa Ana winds, which forecasters said could reach up to 70 mph during the day, ripped through Southern California on Wednesday, sending up red-flag fire warnings, slowing motorists and potentially contributing to power outages.

Thousands of Simi Valley residents were without power Wednesday morning, according to Southern California Edison, with some areas not expected to have service restored until about 10:30 a.m.

Meanwhile, an overturned box truck forced officials to close the slow lane of the eastbound 101 Freeway just west of the 405 Freeway interchange.

The accident caused slowing as far east as Burbank and south to Skirball Center Drive, said a California Highway Patrol spokeswoman.

Officer Jennifer Connolly said the lane would remain closed until about 7:30 a.m., and two units had been deployed to the scene. The CHP has issued a sig alert.

High winds are a possible cause of the outages and the overturned vehicle, officials said.

The National Weather Service's red-flag warning of high fire danger took effect Tuesday night and will stretch through 6 p.m. Wednesday.

Winds could reach 70 mph in the mountains, 60 mph in the valleys and 50 mph across the Ventura coastal plane, forecasters said.

The Los Angeles Fire Department has issued warnings about fire safety and downed power lines.

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-- Matt Stevens

Photo: A sign warns drivers not to park on a street on red-flag days. Credit: KTLA-TV Channel 5

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