Winds topping 80mph blew down people and power lines and upended enormous trees that crushed cars and houses in a freak storm that raged through Southern California and the Southwest. The craziest Santa Ana winds in more than a decade left hundreds of thousands of people without power. "In some places we've seen gusts over hurricane force, which for the Southwest is not something that usually happens," an AccuWeather meteorologist told the Los Angeles Times. Wind gusts in Utah topped 100mph, knocking over semi-trailer rigs like bowling pins.
"Nobody in our department has ever seen such widespread damage. Nobody," said the general manager of the Los Angeles Department of Recreation and Parks, referring to city parks so littered with broken branches and teetering trees that some had to be shut. All 26 blocks of hard-hit Pasadena are littered with downed wires, trees, and tree limbs. People who called about knocked-out power were told: Get flashlights and ice. And the winds aren't over yet. They're expected to pick up again before finally diminishing later today. (Read more Santa Ana winds stories.)