PASADENA, Calif., Dec. 2 (UPI) -- Southern California began assessing damage and cleaning up Friday as the wind that scoured the region this week calmed somewhat.
Pasadena was especially hard hit, with more than 400 trees down, the Los Angeles Times reported. City officials declared a state of emergency, and schools remained closed Friday.
In San Marino, 11 houses were damaged, including three declared unfit for occupancy until repairs are done. Much of Live Oak Avenue in Temple City was impassible because of downed power lines and poles.
"We heard the first one snap," Bill Nunez, a project manager at Caltech, told the Times as he drank coffee in his front yard. "I can't even get out to go to work."
The National Weather Service predicted gusty winds in the Los Angeles area for much of the weekend. But forecasters said Friday night would be calm and wind speeds would top out at about 45 mph Saturday.
The wind storm that began late Wednesday had the strength of a hurricane. On Mammoth Mountain, the top speed was at least 150 mph.
Los Angeles County declared a state of emergency Thursday and officials urged residents to stay off the roads, where there was a risk of being crushed by branches and debris. Many motorists ignored pleas and battled gridlock caused by broken traffic signals and blowing debris, the Times reported.
The storm, which produced some of the strongest wind gusts in the region in more than a decade, was caused by a highly unusual weather system. In some places, winds suddenly shifted from 10 mph or 20 mph to more than 80 mph, making trees, power lines and roofs vulnerable, the Times said.
The blustery conditions extended across the U.S. Southwest, including Utah, Nevada, Wyoming, Arizona and New Mexico.