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US: Winds wreak havoc in Southern California - 200K+ without power

© KABC Photo/ Eddie Shamie
An uprooted tree on the campus of California State University, San Bernardino on Thursday, Dec. 1, 2011.
Los Angeles - Powerful Santa Ana winds sweeping through Southern California caused widespread damage overnight.

Trees and power lines were knocked down, and thousands of people were without power.

Southern California Edison said nearly 200,000 of its customers were without power Thursday morning. The company said the hardest hit area was in the San Gabriel Valley along the 210 Freeway.

Communities most affected were Altadena, Alhambra, Arcadia, La Canada, Monrovia, Pasadena, San Gabriel, Sierra Madre and Temple City. It's unknown when power was going to be restored.

The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power reported that at least 88,700 of its customers did not have power.

Pasadena declared a local emergency due to the severe conditions. Officials urged residents to stay home, if possible, in order to avoid downed trees and power lines.

Pasadena Unified School District and Arcadia Unified School District canceled classes for the day.

A large tree fell onto a house in Pasadena overnight. It was completely uprooted and damaged the house and cars.

There was also damage at a restaurant in Glendale where an awning collapsed.
© KABC Photo/ Eddie Shamie
A tree on top of a car in Los Angeles, Calif., on Wednesday, Nov. 30, 2011.

In Reseda, a power line came down on a road and a man drove over it. He was then stuck in his car and fire crews had to come and free him. There was no word on the extent of any injuries.

On Wednesday night, power was knocked out at Los Angeles International Airport and the surrounding area.

All nine terminals were without electricity for about an hour. The airport reported some delays for both arriving and departing flights.

In addition, the airport had to shut down some runways because airlines had not secured things like empty luggage containers, which blew onto the tarmacs. Twenty-three inbound flights had to be diverted because of the problems.

The extreme winds and low humidity are causing big problems for emergency crews. A red-flag warning was issued through Friday evening.

Several fires broke out overnight and the flames were fanned by the high winds. Powerful gusts whipped up a transformer fire at Occidental College in Eagle Rock.

Fire officials said residents should not be fooled by the cooler temperatures. Historically, some of the biggest fires in Los Angeles County have occurred in November and December.

Fire officials said they're preparing for the worst.

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