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L.A. battered by strong winds; trees, power lines down

December 18, 2012 | 10:12 pm

Southern California was battered by strong winds and cold temperatures Tuesday night, causing downed trees and power outages. Snow levels were expected to drop to about 3,000 feet.

The National Weather Service issued an alert about heavy winds across the region, particularly in the mountains and passes. Top winds in some of those regions could exceed 65 mph, with gusts of 35 mph in some valleys.

Winds were clocked at 45 mph in Beverly Hills and 48 in Malibu.

"Strong and potentially damaging northwest winds will develop today and continue through early Wednesday. The strongest winds are expected across the mountains of Santa Barbara, Ventura and Los Angeles counties where wind gusts up to 65 MPH are likely," the weather service said. "Elsewhere widespread wind gusts between 30 and 50 mph are expected. The winds are expected to peak in strength this evening."

There have already been scattered reports of trees down in some areas.

About 2,000 residents lost power in South Los Angeles and an additional 600 in Encino were in the dark early Tuesday evening, according to officials with the city's Department of Water and Power.

The first outage in Encino was at about 5 p.m., following reports of downed power lines, said DWP spokesperson Carol Tucker.

"We have crews that are there and they'll be working on it," Tucker said. "We just got a call about downed power lines, and that could be caused by a number of different things."

The outage in South L.A. began about 6:20 p.m., Tucker said. "Not clear what happened there," Tucker said, adding that there was currently no timeline for when power would be restored to customers in either area.

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-- Ari Bloomekatz and Shelby Grad

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