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Fierce Santa Ana winds whip through Southland

February 9, 2011 12:00:00 AM PST
Santa Ana winds are ripping through Southern California again, creating hazardous driving conditions on local highways.

High winds are particularly dangerous for high-profile vehicles, motor homes and big rig trucks, especially those not carrying loads. Similarly gusty conditions last week toppled over half a dozen big rigs, causing a traffic nightmare for many Southland commuters.

Winds up to 35 to 40 miles per hour were expected Wednesday, with gusts in the canyons up to 50 miles per hour.

The California Highway Patrol urged drivers to use caution.

Trees were whipped back and forth and so were early morning commuters driving through the Cajon Pass who found themselves at the mercy of Mother Nature.

"You've just got to keep both hands on the wheel and just pay attention," said Fontana resident Oscar Orozco. "You can't just be relaxed and not pay attention. You've got to really focus when you're driving."

Officials said there were no major wind-related situations on highways, nor wind-related power outages.

A wind advisory was issued throughout Los Angeles and Ventura counties and was expected to remain active until about 3 p.m. For the local mountain ranges, the advisory was set to expire about 6 p.m.

For the Inland Empire and the Orange County coastal areas, the advisory was to last until 6 p.m. Thursday.

Even with the gusty conditions, temperatures in Los Angeles County were expected to hit the mid 70s Wednesday, spiking up to the high 70s toward the end of the work week. However, possible rain was forecasted for Sunday heading into next week with temperatures dipping into the mid 60s.