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Windstorm prompts massive power outage, school closures in Southern Calif.


10:19, December 02, 2011

LOS ANGELES, Dec. 1 (Xinhua) -- A strong windstorm lashed Southern California, the United States, overnight, leaving some 300,000 residents without power and forcing many schools to close while the region is still recovering from the hit Thursday morning.

The violent offshore windstorm, dubbed "Santa Ana wind," occasionally gusted to near 100 miles (160 km) per hour as one of the fiercest winds in recent memory. It knocked down trees, utility poles and power lines, sparked fires, left tens of thousands of residents in the dark and caused a number of flights to divert to other airports.

In some areas, the risk of traffic accident was rising as most traffic lights were out of work. Many shops and gas stations were closed due to power shortage.

The City of Pasadena declared a local emergency and urged residents to stay home and keep their children out of school to avoid roads strewn with downed limbs and power lines.

"We want to encourage residents to stay home as much as possible today, and for parents to keep kids home from school, due to the many impassible roads from thousands of downed tree limbs, downed power lines and fires," said Lisa Derderian, Emergency Management Coordinator for the City of Pasadena.

Weather forecasters said a high wind warning remains in effect until noon on Thursday, which will affect the Los Angeles County coast including downtown Los Angeles city.

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