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'Strong to damaging' winds to batter L.A. through Wednesday morning; cable snaps on Bay Bridge [Updated]

October 27, 2009 |  6:39 pm

 The National Weather Service issued an alert this evening warning of “strong to damaging" northerly winds in Southern California that will continue through Wednesday morning.

[Updated at 7:40 p.m.: Strong winds this evening forced one flight heading to Los Angeles International Airport to be diverted to another airfield,  said Allen Kenitzer, spokesman for the Federal Aviation Administration. He said the winds, gusting up to 35 knots, forced two other flights to use "missed approach" procedures, meaning each had to make two attempts to land.]

Wind gusts topping 50 mph swept into Los Angeles County  this afternoon, causing scattered power outages from downed power lines in the San Fernando and San Gabriel valleys.

In the Bay Area, a cable snapped on the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge, hitting three vehicles. According to the San Francisco Chronicle, the cable was on a newly built span of the bridge's upper deck. Caltrans engineers were checking the structural integrity of the bridge, according to the newspaper.

[Updated at 8:08 p.m.: Authorities ordered that both directions of the Bay Bridge be closed tonight. California Highway Patrol Officer Peter Van Eckhardt said the bridge was expected to be closed for at least 24 hours so that crews could repair the damage.]

TV footage showed that wind knocked down a large sign at a Jack in the Box restaurant in North Hollywood, and that police had blocked off part of Saticoy Street because of downed power lines.

According to the weather service, strong gusts hit Malibu, Van Nuys, Lancaster and other areas this afternoon.

Warnings were issued to boaters, and firefighters were placed on alert because the winds bring new fire dangers. There was a small fire this afternoon in the Sepulveda Pass that firefighters quickly contained.

In areas burned in the recent Station fire, the wind blew up large amounts of dust and debris.

[Updated at 8:26 p.m.: Strong winds in Eaton Canyon blew down a tree in Altadena, blocking a private road off Pinecrest Drive. A car was hit by the falling tree, authorities said.]

-- Shelby Grad, Rong-Gong Lin II, Andrew Blankstein