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Strong winds cause havoc on Southern California freeways

Strong Santa Ana winds pushed into Southern California Thursday, with triple-digit gusts in the mountains near Santa Clarita and a mess of tall tumbleweeds and overturned big rigs on freeways.

The Magic Mountain Truck Trail, east of the Santa Clarita Valley and north of the San Fernando Valley, recorded a gust at 112 mph about 9 a.m., according to data from the National Weather service.

Mountain areas across all four counties areas saw gusts at or above 70 mph, NWS data show.

In lower elevations, gusts over 60 mph in Rancho Cucamonga, Fontana, the Ontario Airport and Cal State San Bernardino, according to NWS San Diego. Others in the San Fernando Valley and Orange County registered gusts above 50 mph.

A driver said he had to quickly dodge a tumbleweed on the 57 Freeway, adding, “The ones on the northbound side of the 57 were taller than many cars.”

The winds were also causing havoc on Inland Empire freeways. A big rig overturned on the northbound 215 Freeway south of the 15 Freeway around 8:35 a.m. and another toppled around 10:15 a.m. on the 15 Freeway at the 215 Freeway connector, according to the California Highway Patrol.

Later, another truck toppled on the eastbound 60 Freeway connector to the northbound 15 Freeway.

Costa Mesa motorists had to find detours Thursday morning after a tree fell over in westbound lanes on Victoria Road near Newport Boulevard, Costa Mesa police announced just after 8 a.m.


Gusts nearing 50 mph were felt in Chatsworth, the Hollywood-Burbank Airport and Whiteman Airport in Pacoima in the San Fernando Valley, NWS data shows. Inland Orange County experienced gusts of over 50 mph in Orange, Villa Park and Santiago Canyon.

“Santa Ana winds were expected to continue Thursday afternoon, then decrease this evening,” NWS San Diego forecasters said. Weak offshore winds and mild conditions will prevail on Friday.

In Los Angeles County, the strong gusts were anticipated to taper off in the afternoon, forecasters said.

A low-pressure system will move in over the weekend, bringing marine layer clouds, lower temperatures and increased onshore flow, forecasters said. There was a chance for light rain on Sunday.

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