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High winds blew down 400 trees in Griffith Park

December 2, 2011 |  1:13 pm

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This post has been corrected. See details below.

Los Angeles city crews on Friday were working to clean up debris and some 400 downed trees in shuttered Griffith Park, many of which had fallen on Roosevelt Municipal Golf Course. They said the park would likely be open by sunrise Saturday.

Officials said two other parks in Northeast L.A. -- Ernest E. Debs and Elysian Park -- also had damage including hundreds of downed trees but were not closed. Other parks across the city were mostly spared, they said.

"If this kind of damage had occurred throughout every park in the city, we'd really be in trouble," said Kevin Regan of the parks department. "But fortunately it's manageable," he said.

PHOTOS: Santa Ana winds | Submit your photos

In an interesting twist, Regan and other officials said native California trees fared better during the winds than foreign trees such as eucalyptus that are more susceptible to root fungus.

"Trees that are native to the area are better suited to handle harsher environmental conditions," Regan said.

Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa even gave a nod to native trees at a news conference in Griffith Park early Friday morning, admiring a sycamore tree above his head.

Officials said power was restored to 27,000 people since early Friday morning, bringing the total number of those still in the dark to 67,000.

Across the region, more than 100,000 homes are without power.

Officials with the Department of Water and Power said 134 crews of at least two workers were currently spread out across the city repairing downed wires, poles and traffic lights. Power has already been restored to some 145,000 of 1.4 million customers and officials said those still without can expect repairs within 24 to 48 hours of their blackout, officials said. 

"They're working on repairing transformers, cross arms on poles, repairing poles that may have fallen," and wires to individual and groups of homes, said DWP spokesman Joe Ramallo.

Crews were also working to restore a large receiving station in Northeast L.A. that serves as a power hub, Ramallo said. A similar outage at another receiving station Wednesday night affected the airport but was quickly restored, he said.

Ramallo said there were at least 1,000 separate power incidents affecting various swaths of residents across the city since the strong winds began. Crews initially worked on restoring power to two hospitals as well as on some fire stations.

Transportation officials said that early this morning there were 22 traffic signals in the city that were flashing red and an additional 180 that they did not have any communication with, meaning they could be working correctly, flashing red or totally out.

In Pasadena, Temple City, San Marino and surrounding communities hard hit by the winds, Friday was cleanup day as officials and residents tried to remove felled trees and assess damage.

[For the Record, 2:30 p.m. Dec. 2: An earlier version of this post stated that power had been restored to several hospitals running on backup generators. City officials amended that number to two.]


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Photo: Griffith Park area shown in a photo taken before the windstorm Wednesday night. Credit: Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times