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LAX cleared for flights, but about 14,000 without power in area

November 30, 2011 |  9:47 pm

Toppled tree
Flights at Los Angeles International Airport were being allowed to land Wednesday night after being diverted earlier because of powerful winds, officials said.

The winds knocked out power to about 14,000 customers in areas served by Southern California Edison, the utility said Wednesday night.

At LAX, all four runways were operational, said Ian Gregor, a Federal Aviation Administration spokesman. Earlier, two runways on the south side of the airport had been closed because of debris blown by the winds.

The strong winds knocked out power in areas including El Segundo, La Cañada Flintridge, Venice and Westchester.

In La Cañada Flintridge, all westbound lanes on the 210 Freeway were closed because of a toppled tree near Berkshire Place, the California Highway Patrol said.

The blackout and a brush fire forced officials to shut down the Metro Green Line between the Redondo Beach and El Segundo stations, officials said. Service was later restored, and the brush fire was knocked down.

Inoperable traffic signals on the Westside snarled traffic in Marina del Rey and other areas.

Los Angeles Unified School District Supt. John Deasy, who lives near LAX, said he was without power for hours Wednesday evening.

"This is unreal," he said in an interview on his fading cellphone. "I’ve lived in California for 10 years and these are the worst Santa Anas I’ve ever seen.  I lived on the East Coast and I’ve never seen winds like these. This is a hurricane -- without the rain," Deasy said.

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-- Andrew Blankstein, Robert J. Lopez and Sandy Banks

Photo: A large tree was toppled by the gusty winds.

Credit: KTLA-TV Channel 5

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