updated 12/27/2007 8:21:31 AM ET 2007-12-27T13:21:31

Thousands of Southern California residents were without power Thursday as strong winds knocked down power lines and blew blinding dust across desert roadways.

About 9,900 customers of the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power were without electricity, mainly in Hollywood, Silver Lake and West Los Angeles, said agency spokeswoman Carol Tucker.

By midmorning, winds were still blowing at 20-35 mph in many areas, with gusts as high as 65 mph possible in deserts, mountains and canyons.

The winds first started Wednesday, knocking out power to 19,000 L.A.-area customers.

Forecasters said the winds should subside by late Thursday after making for a blustery holiday in Southern California. High winds on Christmas Day blew down power lines and transformers, and utility crews were placed on standby in anticipation for more strong gusts.

Unlike last month’s hot, dry Santa Ana winds, the latest gusts were coming from the north and were cold and moist, weather service meteorologist Jamie Meier said.

Traffic was backed up for two miles Wednesday afternoon as the California Highway Patrol shut a section of State Route 58 in Mojave in San Bernardino County to the Kern County line because of zero visibility. A section of Highway 14 in the Antelope Valley also was closed because of blowing dust.

Copyright 2007 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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