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Thousands remain in dark since windstorm

December 5, 2011 12:00:00 AM PST
Patience is wearing thin for the thousands people left in the dark since last week's powerful windstorm.

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More than 500 Southern California Edison crews are fanned out across the San Gabriel Valley trying to get the lights back on after hurricane-force winds uprooted hundreds of trees and snapped utility poles in half.

SCE expected to have power back to all its customers by 8 p.m. Monday, but they didn't meet that mark. SCE officials said their efforts are being hampered by the large amounts of trees that are tangled in the downed power lines.

By Monday night, more than 16,000 were still without electricity.

All of DWP's customers had power restored on Sunday.

Flash lights, lots of batteries and a generator is the only way David Headwall and his family have been able to stay inside their Temple City home without electricity for five days.

So while the Headwall family has been able to turn on their refrigerator, microwaves and lights, the one thing the generator doesn't provide is heat.

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"It's 49 degrees inside the house, so you have to stay bundled up," said Fernando Vizcarra of Temple City. "It's very uncomfortable. In fact, my wife finally got sick."

While a lot of residents chose to check into a hotel, others headed to Home Depot. At the Home Depot in El Monte, supplies have been flying off the shelves and customers are waiting for new shipments to come in.

"We've been living off of a generator for the last five days," said Rebecca Ferrari of Temple City.

See safety tips to follow in case of a power outage.

There are reports that even if power is restored to all customers, there might be some individual home damage that prevents certain customers from receiving power.

Customers without power can call SCE customer service at (800) 655-4555. SCE is offering help to families in need during the widespread outages.

Several distribution centers were opened to give out free basic supplies such as flashlights, water and ice.

Center locations:

Community Center
730 East Altadena Dr.

Los Angeles County Regional Park
405 South Santa Anita Ave.
Arcadia, CA 91006

La Canada Flintridge
Community Park
1327 Foothill Blvd.
La Canada Flintridge, CA 91011

San Gabriel
Fire Station 51
1303 South Del Mar Ave.
San Gabriel, CA 91776

Sierra Madre
222 West Sierra Madre Blvd.
Sierra Madre, CA 91024

Temple City (2 locations)
City Hall
9701 Los Tunas Dr.
Temple City, CA 91780

Live Oak Park Community Center
10144 Bogue St.
Temple City, CA 91780

Temple City Mayor Tom Chavez said residents are being patient and are willing to help.

"Many people in our city, what they've done is stepped up," he said. "They've even called in to ask how they can help. I got an email last night from a boy scout, said he had 45 of his boy scouts ready to come and help."

Trees are stacked along streets and crews worked all weekend to pick up the mess.

Athens Services, which handles cleanup in several foothill cities, has picked up 220 tons of debris in three days. They said they will be turning the wood into mulch at their organic composting facility.

See photos of wind damage across Southern California.

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