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Rare hurricane-strength winds batter L.A. area; more snow and ice on way

December 30, 2010 |  7:06 am

A rare blast of hurricane-strength winds was topped by a 94 mph gust measured by the National Weather Service at 3:57 a.m. Thursday at Whitaker Peak.

Forecasters said the winds in valley and mountain areas will continue at least until noon Thursday. A wind warning for the San Fernando and San Gabriel valleys is in place until then.

The weather service said in a statement that a northerly flow is producing the wind and icy conditions and "will continue to bring dangerous winter weather conditions" on Thursday, producing 1 to 2 inches of snow in some mountain passes and generating "upslope snow showers across the northern mountain slopes."

The weather service said icy conditions can be expected along Interstate 5 and other mountain passes.

The snow level plunged to 2,000 feet, closing Interstate 15. Temperatures fell to 49 degrees in downtown L.A. and 19 degrees at Mt. Wilson.

The California Highway Patrol’s traffic website reported toppled trees throughout Los Angeles County, including along the 710 Freeway, and the interchanges of the 110 and 101, and 5 and 101 freeways.

Downed power lines have left thousands without power.

Here are some strong wind gusts clocked overnight.

Whitaker Peak: 81 mph

Pyramid Lake: 61 mph

Castiac Lake: 75 mph

Warm Springs: 75 mph

San Fernando: 71 mph

Santa Clarita: 61 mph


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-- Shelby Grad

Photo: A fallen tree smashed a car windshield in Los Feliz. Credit: KTLA