LOS ANGELES, Calif. – Los Angeles County has announced a state of emergency as southern California woke up to widespread damage, power outages, school closures and outdoor activity cancellations by one of the fiercest windstorms in recent years.
Michael Antonovich, chair of the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors, made the declaration Thursday afternoon as the County Operational Area Emergency Operations Center (CEOC) was activated to Level 1 Modified in order for the county to respond to the aftermath, the county said in statement posted on its webpage.
The county also encouraged residents to review their emergency survival procedures and make use of resources to seek help and prepare for the next disaster, the county said.
Before the county made its move, other nearby cities including Pasadena, Monrovia and Temple City also declared emergencies.
The violent offshore windstorm, dubbed “Santa Ana wind,” occasionally gusted to nearly 100 miles (160 km) per hour. It knocked down trees, utility poles and power lines, sparked fires and left tens of thousands of residents in the dark.
A power outage at Los Angeles International Airport forced over twenty inbound commercial flights to divert to other airports.
Flight delays lingered even after electricity was restored about an hour later, LAX spokeswoman Nancy Castles said.
In some areas, the traffic accident risk was high as most traffic lights were out of service and the roads and streets were blocked by fallen trees and branches.
Many shops and gas stations were closed due to the power shortage. Several veteran Pasadena firefighters said it was the strongest windstorm they could recall in at least 30 years.
Pasadena, the city which suffered the severest damage from the windstorm, had “red-tagged” 42 residences — houses and individual apartments — as being unsafe for occupancy, according to the Pasadena Fire Department. Two hundred buildings in the city were damaged by powerful gusts, according to authorities.
Throughout the city, 450 public streets were either closed down or damaged.
In nearby Temple city, more than 150 trees were downed overnight, and an estimated 75 percent of residents were left without power. A number of roads remain blocked by debris as of late afternoon.