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Fierce winds blast Southern California; thousands without power

December 1, 2011 |  8:35 am

Click here to see more photos.After winds up to 100 mph tore through Southern California, residents awoke Thursday to downed power lines, trees and buildings, and at least two cities declared states of emergency as schools closed and officials urged residents to stay home.

Although weather officials predicted the winds would die down Thursday, the Santa Anas were expected to pick up again at night, putting fire departments throughout the region on high alert for wildfires.

Up to 300,000 homes were without power Thursday as crews worked to reconnect downed power lines and officials urged residents to conserve water affected by wind-damaged pumps.

PHOTOS: Wind wreaks havoc on Southern California

One of the hardest hit areas was the San Gabriel Valley, where Pasadena and Sierra Madre declared states of emergency and public schools were closed for the day. The city of Pasadena asked Los Angeles' Department of Public Works for assistance.

"Throughout the entire 26 square miles of the city, streets are littered with trees and tree limbs, downed power lines and wires,” Pasadena City Manager Michael Beck said. “Pasadena seemed to be the epicenter.”

A Shell station at San Gabriel and Colorado was heavily damaged when a tree fell onto a roof, which then crumpled onto the gas pumps.

Pasadena fire officials reported a fire on North Penn Street that left one person critically burned. Forty people were evacuated from an apartment building on North Hudson Street after a tree fell on it, said city spokeswoman Lisa Derderian.

At Los Angeles International Airport, at least 20 flights had to be diverted to L.A./Ontario International Airport and others were put in holding patterns Wednesday night, but by Thursday morning all flights were back on schedule, officials said.

RELATED:

Gusts near 100 mph reported; about 25,500 without power

High winds: Debris creates traffic hazards on roads, freeways

High winds: Power outages hit 300,000 Southern California homes

-- Sam Quinones and Matt Stevens

 Photo: A fallen tree crashed through this home on San Pasqual in Pasadena. Credit: Steve Stroud / Los Angeles Times

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