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Strong Winds to Batter Southern California through Christmas

Strong winds will buffet much of the Southland today, particularly mountain regions, and last through Christmas afternoon, raising fears of severed tree limbs and downed power lines, National Weather Service forecasters said.

A wind advisory will be in effect until 3 this afternoon in the San Fernando, San Gabriel and Santa Clarita valleys and the Los Angeles coastal zone, which includes beach cities, metropolitan Los Angeles, downtown L.A. and the Hollywood Hills. In Orange County, a wind advisory will be in force until 6 p.m. today.

NWS forecasters said the L.A. coastal zone would experience winds of between 15 and 25 miles per hour gusting to 40 mph while valley winds would blow at speeds of around 20-40 mph, gusting to 50 mph, and even 60 mph in the Santa Clarita valleys.

In both the San Gabriel and Santa Monica mountains, a wind advisory will be in force until 3 p.m. today, followed by a more serious high wind watch, which will be in effect from Wednesday night through Thursday afternoon. The high wind watch, heralding winds of 58 mph or greater, will also include the Santa Clarita valley.

Forecasters said north-to-northwest wind of between 25 and 35 mph would blow through mountain passes and canyons through mid-afternoon today, gusting to 50 mph and even 60 mph at times. In fact, a 74-mph gust was recorded at Whitaker Peak in the L.A. County portion of the San Gabriel Mountains this morning, and a 44-mph gust was recorded in the Topanga Hills.

On Wednesday evening, north winds of 25 to 40 mph possibly gusting to 65 mph will develop in the mountains and the Santa Clarita valley and persist through Christmas afternoon, forecasters said.

The winds may affect travel on the Hollywood (101), Ventura (101), Ronald Reagan (118), Foothill (210), San Diego (405), Glendale (2), Antelope Valley (14) and Orange (57) freeways as well as Interstate 5 in a number of locations.

" Winds this strong will be capable of downing tree limbs and causing power outages," warned an NWS statement."Winds this strong can make driving difficult, especially for high-profile vehicles. ... Use extra caution. Be prepared for sudden gusty cross winds."


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