Power Outages, Black Ice, Unruly Trees And Tumbleweeds Wreak Havoc On Los Angeles

Just because the puddles are gone this morning doesn't mean Mother Nature is done having her fun with SUV nation.

In the mad dash from our living room to our car this morning, we couldn't help but notice that it's, um, ridiculously cold outside -- 40-something degrees and blustery as all hell. We can still feel it in our toes.

But mercury levels are just the beginning. Roaring winds are being reported as hurricane- and gale-force, or, capable of closing freeways and making all sorts of trees fall on all sorts of houses. And how about those tumbleweeds:

Thousands of Angelenos were out of power all night -- an estimated 6,000 by 4 a.m., to be exact. Damn you, DWP! We know it's probably not your fault, but it's always easier to blame you for everything.

In addition, power provider Southern California Edison -- which services all SoCal residents outside L.A. -- saw 32,260 homes and businesses lose electricity due to the cold winds. In Los Angeles County, that meant Lancaster, Bell Gardens, Inglewood and Downey.

For all you leaving or arriving to L.A. through its northernmost entry point, keep in mind that wind speeds are reaching 94 MPH along the Grapevine corridor of the 5 freeway. Either squeeze between two semis for a cozy big-rig sandwich, or get ready to struggle through a serious sideways drift. Oh, BTW -- snow could fall as low as 2,000 feet, what with all this unbearable coldness. So good luck with that.

Even the sheltered San Gabriel Valley is being bowled over by gusts as strong as 60 MPH this morning.

Winds like these make for an invisible, "Wizard of Oz"-style war between air and debris: Trees and other crap in the roadway are blocking many freeway interchanges from north of Lancaster to downtown L.A., and over to the Pacific Coast Highway. According to City News Service, there are partial closures on the 710, 10 and 5 freeways -- check this live CBS traffic map for at least a rough idea of where not to drive.

A big rig that crashed into another big rig and some passenger vehicles just after 11 p.m. last night is still struggling toward achieving an upright position with the help of tow trucks on the 138 near the 5. According to the California Highway Patrol, we have black ice to blame for that one. Three people involved in the crash were rushed to the hospital; no word on their condition.

One tree also decided to crush a house in the Hollywood Hills, taking some power lines down along with it. There's probably tons more houses in the same predicament, but the Hollywood Hills catastrophe is the one fire officials are reporting, of course.

OK, fine, we'll tell you about the tumbleweeds. Actually just tumbleweed, singular. It was spotted on the 405 North where it connects to the 710 North in Long

Beach last night. But rumor is, there are tons more out there -- were you lucky enough to spot one during your morning commute?

With reporting from City News Service.


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