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Strong winds and cold blast L.A., but sunny skies are on the way

December 19, 2012 |  6:04 am

Los Angeles area residents woke up to wind and cold weather Wednesday morning, but forecasters said sunny skies and warmer temperatures would soon return to Southern California.

Strong winds battered the Southland overnight, knocking down tree branches and power lines across parts of the region. Those gusts -- hitting up to 45 mph in the mountains and up to 35 mph in valley areas -- should subside by Wednesday afternoon, said meteorologist Andrew Rorke with the National Weather Service in Oxnard.

Temperatures are expected to reach the mid-60s, only slightly below normal.

"When the sun comes up, it will start warming up pretty nicely," Rorke said.

But temperatures are expected to plummet Wednesday night to "the coldest they've been in many months," Rorke said. Valley areas could see temperatures hovering around freezing levels, with some parts of the Antelope Valley dipping down into the teens, Rorke said.

Rorke said forecasters would likely issue frost and freeze warnings later in the day, and advised people to bring their animals and plants inside.

The rest of Thursday, he said, should "warm up quite nicely." Temperatures are expected to hit the upper 60s during the remainder of the week.

Thousands of Department of Water and Power customers lost power Tuesday evening as winds downed power lines. About 2,000 residents lost power in South Los Angeles and an additional 600 in Encino were in the dark early Tuesday evening, the agency reported.

As of Wednesday morning, the DWP's website still showed scattered outages across the city.

There were also several reports of tree branches knocked onto roadways and parked cars.

Did you see any wind damage in your neighborhood? Send us your pictures -- or look at others -- here.

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-- Kate Mather

Follow Kate Mather on Twitter or Google+.

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