Nightly News | December 03, 2011
LESTER HOLT, anchor: Now to windswept Southern California , where tonight there are warnings of high fire danger and more than 100,000 homes and businesses are still without power as the big cleanup kicks into high gear . NBC 's George Lewis has this report.
GEORGE LEWIS reporting: Thousands of people in Southern California woke up to the sound of chain saws this morning, crews cutting up the trees brought down by near hurricane-force winds, one of them landing in Rob Stafford 's backyard.
Mr. ROB STAFFORD (Pasadena Resident): It was pretty scary. You know, the winds were howling pretty good and the house was whistling. And then when it crashed.
LEWIS: Across the West , the unusually high winds that started Wednesday night have left a trail of destruction in their wake. Trees tumbling into homes, parts of roofs ripped off, power lines downed, affecting hundreds of thousands of customers. The question on the minds of a lot of people in these neighborhoods is, when will this mess be cleaned up? That's a hard one to answer, especially because there's more high wind in the forecast. And that's the last thing they need around here. One big concern is the risk of brushfires whipped up by the winds. To head off problems, extra crews have been moved into fire-prone areas.
Mr. ALEX WALLACE (The Weather Channel): As we head into late Sunday, overnight Monday, we'll find another round of some strong gusty winds coming right back on into Southern California , Nevada , even into portions of Arizona .
LEWIS: On the California - Nevada border, these surfers took advantage of the wind to ride the waves in normally placid Lake Tahoe . The folks in this Altadena , California , neighborhood say the winds bonded them closer together.
Mr. JIM CARDELLO (Altadena Resident): Everyone's kind of helping each other out. That's the name of the game .
LEWIS: And in the midst of the destruction, many are counting their blessings...
Mr. REGGIE WILKINS (Altadena Resident): It could be so much worse, right? I mean, the roof didn't get touched. We have a tree that could have easily come down on the house.
LEWIS: ...as the around the clock cleanup effort continues this weekend. George Lewis , NBC News, Pasadena, California .