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Powerful winds uproot 100-foot tree, prompt evacuations

December 22, 2011 | 12:30 pm

A woman walks past a 100-foot pine tree that was uprooted during high winds Thursday in North Glendale on Burritt Way.

Strong wind gusts swept into Southern California on Thursday, uprooting a large pine tree in north Glendale that damaged gas lines and forced the temporary evacuation of four homes, officials said.

No injuries were reported in the incident, which occurred in the 3300 block of Burritt Way near New York Avenue. Residents were allowed to return to their homes early Thursday afternoon as public works crews assessed the 100-foot tree, which was blocking the street, a city officials said.

The street may be closed until Friday as crews remove the tree and repair damaged infrastructure.

Southern California Edison warned customers of continued high winds and told residents to take precautions and to stay away from any power lines should they fall.

The National Weather Service said winds could reach 65 mph in mountain areas and 40 mph in the valleys through Friday afternoon.

A high-wind warning for large swaths of those areas, as well as for cities like Anaheim and Oxnard, was issued about 4 a.m. Thursday and was to remain in effect until 2 p.m. Friday, said weather specialist Bonnie Bartling.

“Strong north to northeast winds will develop this morning,” the weather service advised Thursday on its website. “The strongest winds will affect the Ventura and Los Angeles County mountains,” including the Santa Monica Mountains and the Santa Clarita Valley.

Forecasters said the Santa Ana winds will increase through Thursday morning, decrease slightly in the afternoon and evening and pick back up again Friday morning.

The weather service said the winds were the result of a high-pressure system building over the Great Basin and that sustained winds of at least 40 mph or gusts of 58 mph or higher can lead to property damage.


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-- Britany Levine and Jason Wells, Times Community News, and Ari Bloomekatz

Photo: A woman walks past a 100-foot pine tree that was uprooted by high winds Thursday in Glendale. Credit: Raul Roa / Times Community News