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More than 100,000 still without power after winds lash California

Powerful winds are hammering the West once again, with California bearing the brunt of the damage. NBC's Miguel Almaguer reports.

 

Updated 6 a.m. ET: Ferocious winds that have brought down trees and power lines across California and western states are forecast to move east and hit Oklahoma, Missouri and Indiana on Friday, The Associated Press reported.

The violent winds eased during Thursday but strong gusts still blew through the region, at times reaching 60 mph in some California mountains that had seen gusts of up to 150mph late on Wednesday.

The windy weather is expected to eventually diminish, forecasters say.


In Steamboat Springs, Colo., the roof of a four-story condominium complex was blown off and about 100 trees were knocked over, some landing on homes. A ski area shut down its lifts after a gust of 123 mph.

In Nevada, weather officials warned that blowing dust was creating visibility problems on a highway between Reno and Las Vegas.

The winds were fanning fires in northern California. The Sacramento Bee reported that as of Thursday evening, seven fires had burned more than 130 acres in El Dorado County. Five fires had also burned more than 250 acres in Tuolumne and Calaveras counties.

Even some weather experts were surprised by the wind's force. "It's one of the strongest events that I can remember," said Brian Edwards, a meteorologist with Accuweather. "It's rather rare."

Updated 5:30 a.m. ET: Approximately 102,000 of the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP)'s 1.4 million electric customers are without power as high winds continue to cause outages in several neighborhoods, NBC Los Angeles reported. 

These customers are almost exlusively located in the Los Angeles Metro Area with a few customers remaining in the San Fernando Valley. Power has already been restored to more than 114,000 customers since the wind storm began on Wednesday night.

 

The National Weather Service called California's winds a once-in-a-decade event — and it's not over.

Winds were expected to pick up again Thursday night and race through the mountains, where gusts of 65 mph were expected through Friday evening and 50 mph was forecast for the valleys. 

The last time that Southern California was battered by such intense winds was in January 2007 when similarly high gusts toppled trees and made a mess. 

High wind warnings and advisories were also issued for Utah, Nevada, Wyoming, Arizona and New Mexico. The blustery weather is also expected to slam Oklahoma, Missouri and Indiana.

Here are the strongest gusts recorded, according to Greg Forbes, a severe weather expert for The Weather Channel:

  • In California, 150 mph winds at Mammoth Mountain
  • In Colorado, 123 mph winds at Steamboat Springs Ski Resort
  • In Utah, 102 mph at Centerville
  • In Nevada, 94 mph southeast of Pahrump in Nye County
  • In New Mexico, 88 mph at Sandia Park in Bernalillo County

The Associated Press contribued to this report.

Earlier: Winds cause 'extensive damage' in California

 

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