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Blustery Conditions Topple Trees, Cause Power Outages Across Southern California

LOS ANGELES ( — Strong winds toppled several trees across the Southland, including one that trapped a person inside a vehicle in South Los Angeles.

Firefighters were sent to the 2600 block of South Broadway about 7:30 a.m. Monday and quickly freed the occupant, who was taken to a hospital for examination, said Erik Scott of the Los Angeles Fire Department.

In Hancock Park, a large tree fell and damaged the garage of Lucille Ceccarini's home.

"It's a howling sound," said Ceccarini, whose husband went outside of their home to check for damage, but soon became a victim of the relentless gusts.

"And I heard a loud bang. I came to the back door and it was the tree and my husband. I couldn't find my husband, calling him, I couldn't find [him]. Finally he said, 'I'm under the tree,' " Ceccarini said.

Ceccarini helped pull her husband from under a pile of heavy, eucalyptus branches. Ceccarini said he sustained bruises on his head, hands and ears.

Hancock Park tree
(credit: CBS)

But all across the Southland, gusty winds toppled trees like bowling pins of which the drought was possibly to blame.

"It weakens trees and it kills roots of trees and when you have forces of wind contributing, that's when you get breakage," said Nick Mook, a certified arborist.

He says he was busy all day with calls.

CBS2 Chief Meteorologist Josh Rubenstein took to social media to report a tree down on Coldwater Canyon just past Mulholland Drive.

DWP crews also responded to a downed tree in the backyard of a Azusa home on Citrus Avenue that took out three power poles, according to KNX 1070's Pete Demetriou. No injuries were reported.

In Castaic, winds knocked over a light pole in a Wendy's drive-thru.

Power was knocked out to about 24,000 customers throughout Los Angeles County, including about 18,000 in the city of Los Angeles, officials said.

In the city of Los Angeles, the affected areas had included Hollywood, Mid-Wilshire, Studio City, South Los Angeles and Koreatown, according to the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power. Most of the outages were wind-related.

It was unclear as of 11 p.m. whether power had been fully restored.

The wind also knocked over a radio antenna that is connected to some live wires in Hollywood. The 6400 block of Hollywood was closed to traffic while crews worked to remove the fallen debris.

Winds continued through Monday night with the strongest gusts sweeping the mountains.

The Antelope and Santa Clarita valleys, and parts of Ventura County, could see wind gusts of 70 miles per hour, and even 80 mph in some mountain areas.

Damaging gusts of between 45 and 60 miles per hour could also be seen in the San Fernando and San Gabriel valleys and the L.A. coastal zone, which includes beach cities, metropolitan Los Angeles, the downtown area and the Hollywood Hills.

(©2015 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Wire services contributed to this report.)

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