Calif. recovering from winds but new gusts on way

PASADENA, Calif. (AP) - December 5, 2011

The National Weather Service warnings are in effect through Tuesday afternoon for gusts of up to 60 mph below mountain passes and in canyons. Some coastal and inland desert areas could see 50 mph gusts.

There also are red flag warnings in some areas because of high fire danger from gusty, dry weather.

However, the winds won't be as strong as last week, when gusts of nearly 100 mph were recorded. Those winds toppled power lines and trees and fanned small fires.

Some 300,000 people lost power. Some remain blacked out, but Southern California Edison said "99.9 percent" of customers who lost electricity will have it back Monday.

Utility crews took advantage of calm weather Sunday and worked to restore power to about 42,000 customers who remained without power in the afternoon, spokesman Charles Coleman said in a statement.

Some of the still powerless were skeptical.

"We've heard everywhere from tomorrow to Wednesday to next week," Kristine Aguirre of Temple City told KABC-TV.

Coleman said the areas hardest hit were cities in the Pasadena area east of Los Angeles like Temple City, Arcadia, Monrovia and Alhambra.

"It was horrible," said AnnMarie Trudeau, whose Monrovia condominium was without power for four days. "I ended up staying at my parents' because I'm wimpy."

Some took matters into their own hands.

Pasadena city spokeswoman Ann Erdman said she had received reports that some residents were opening pole boxes at the base of street lights and stringing wire to their homes, a move she said is both illegal and extremely dangerous.

"The voltage in most boxes in much too high for individual homes," Erdman said in a statement.

The Wednesday windstorm toppled trees and power lines, blocked roads and destroyed at least four homes.

To the north, about 1,000 PG&E customers in the Santa Cruz Mountains still had no electricity early Sunday afternoon, but work in getting the power turned on was expected to be finished later in the day, said utility spokesman J.D. Guidi.

In the Sierra Nevada, crews were also working on restoring service to about 1,700 people in Tuolumne County.

Guidi said at the height of the windstorms last week, service had been knocked out to about 545,000 homes and businesses in PG&E's service area.

The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power said in a statement that all service in the city was restored Sunday.

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