UPDATED: Heavy winds sweep the AV, other parts of SoCal

Heavy winds Wednesday night snapped this dry tree like a twig, says the landscaper of this home near 30th Street West and Avenue L-8 in Lancaster.

LANCASTER – Heavy winds blasted the Antelope Valley late Wednesday, producing clouds of blowing dust and sand and sending leaves, tumbleweeds and other debris flying across the roadways.

According to the National Weather Service, a strong and widespread wind event has begun in the Antelope Valley and other parts of Southern California and will persist through Saturday.

The combination of strong offshore flow and good upper-level wind support should produce damaging wind gusts to 80 mph or higher through the Los Angeles, Ventura, and Santa Barbara county mountains with gusts as high as 60 mph across the wind prone adjacent valleys and coastal areas. Impacts include downed trees and power lines as well as the potential for high fire danger with rapid fire growth due to the strong offshore winds and low humidity values.

Driving conditions will be hazardous for high profile vehicles and blowing dust and sand could lower visibilities to near zero in some areas.

Pasadena, Sierra Madre and other foothill communities of the San Gabriel Valley were the hardest hit by the windstorm last night, which left more than 300,000 homes without power.

The LA Times has posted a gallery highlighting areas hit the hardest by the windstorm Wednesday. View it here.

UPDATED 2:25 p.m. 12/1/11: The City of Lancaster has cancelled Thursday’s Farmer’s Market, due to inclement weather.

UPDATED 3:52 p.m. 12/1/11: Antonovich declares state of emergency in Los Angeles County.

To ensure that state and federal financial resources are available to serve county residents impacted by the windstorms, County Mayor Michael D. Antonovich has declared a state of emergency in Los Angeles County.

In a press release issued just moments ago, Antonovich said the windstorms that began last evening have resulted in widespread damage with the heaviest in the San Gabriel Valley. The cities of Pasadena, Sierra Madre and Monrovia have declared local emergencies.  Windstorms have caused downed power lines, fallen trees, outages and extensive damage to private property, Antonovich said. The National Weather Service is forecasting strong winds in the Los Angeles County region through Friday.

UPDATED 6:30 p.m. 12/1/11: abc7 reports the following streets in Palmdale were closed Thursday due to damaging winds:

  • Avenue E closed between 50th Street East and 60th Street East due to an unsafe utility pole.
  • Avenue N closed between 50th Street East and 70th Street East due to wind damage.
  • 50th Street East closed from Avenue N and Avenue M due to wind damage.