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SoCal wild weather continues with windstorm

Strong gusts toppled a huge 2-ton sign onto three parked cars in a parking lot in Santa Ana on Friday.

December 16, 2011 12:00:00 AM PST
Another windstorm is rolling through Southern California Friday with gusts reaching 30 to 70 mph in some communities.

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The wind event wasn't expected to be as strong as the one that hit the area several weeks ago, but high wind warnings were issued for local mountain areas until Saturday afternoon.

The powerful gusts that are expected also triggered brush fire concerns and dangerous driving conditions for high-profile vehicles.

Utility crews were on standby in the San Gabriel Valley, which was hit hard by the previous windstorm.

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The high winds are roaring in on the heels of a strong and fast-moving storm.

Several areas, such as South Gate, were rocked Thursday by thunder, lightning, rain and even hail.

The winds really picked up Friday in the Inland Empire, with gusts swaying trees throughout the foothills of Rancho Cucamonga and Fontana. Strong winds kicked up overnight, keeping residents like Nancy Jacks from getting restful sleep.

"It was so windy last night. You could just hear it. I was up all night," Jacks said.

As of Friday midday, the gusty conditions did not produce any of the damage like the last wind event when strong winds toppled trees and a few high-profile vehicles. Still, drivers are taking precautions.

"You just have to be attentive. Watch out for the big trucks. Don't hug them too close," said Fontana resident Robert Rochelle.

With winds of up to 25 to 35 mph expected Friday, business owner Greg Phillips said he will be using another set of hands to help man his barbeque smoker.

"The wind and fire, ashes could come out of there and start a fire so you have to be very careful," said Phillips.

Though there was no real wind damage reported in the I.E., that wasn't the case for Orange County, where high winds toppled a huge sign onto three parked cars in Santa Ana.

While no one was injured in the incident, the cars suffered significant damage. One car was able to drive away with some damage to the back window, but the other two cars were heavily impacted from the downed sign.

The owner of one of the cars said he recently put a lot of money into his car, complete with a new windshield.

The owner of the other car said she arrived to work 15 minutes before the sign crashed onto her car. She said she was very thankful that her sister and kids were not in the car at the time of the incident and that no one was hurt.

It was estimated that the sign weighs about 2 tons. Crews were on scene trying to figure out a way to lift the sign off of the cars with the help of a crane.

See photos of the wild weather that hit Southern California on Thursday, Dec. 15, 2011.

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