California Wind Storm Causes Damage, Power Outages [PHOTOS]

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on December 01 2011 6:24 PM
  • Christmas Ruined
    A skateboarder passes a Christmas tree lot damaged during a high wind storm in Pasadena, Cali. REUTERS
  • Gas Station Drops
    A man walks past a gasoline station that was damaged during a high wind storm in Pasadena, Cali. REUTERS
  • Blocked Road
    People walk by an uprooted tree following a wind storm in Pasadena. REUTERS
  • Crushed Car
    A car is pictured under a tree branch that had broken off following a wind storm. REUTERS
  • Chopped Trees
    Workers cut apart a tree that damaged a gasoline station during a high wind storm. REUTERS
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Sustained, hurricane-force winds have been pounding California to Nevada, causing all manner of destruction, delaying flights and causing power outages.

The gusts top out at around 140 mph along the Sierra Crest mountain ridge, according to the National Weather Service, while the Santa Ana wind in Southern California has seen gusts of 80 mph.

This is forecast to be the strongest easterly wind event in the past several years, NWS said, adding it creates a significant fire threat. The agency has issued high-wind warning for broad chunks of California, Nevada and Utah. The damaging winds have made life out west rather daunting.

Shortly after noon, several power companies reported a total of about 339,000 customers without power across California, including Los Angeles International Airport. The hub saw some delays carrying over from Wednesday night, with 23 inbound flights diverted.

Some of the high wind warnings last through Friday morning.

The Santa Ana winds are a common occurrence in California, but scientists say this level is a once in a decade event.

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