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California winds of up to 70 mph could bring damage

Winds were expected to increase in Southern California Thursday, about three weeks after a windstorm that scattered debris and snapped trees and power poles.
/ Source: msnbc.com staff and news service reports

Wind gusts of up to 70 mph were are forecast for parts of Southern California Thursday, bringing fears of damage to trees and power lines weakened by similar Santa Ana wind storms late last month.

The northeast winds could reach 65 mph in many mountain areas and 40 mph in the valleys, the National Weather Service warned.

High wind warnings are in effect from 1 a.m. PT Thursday to 1 p.m. PT Friday in Orange, Riverside and San Bernardino counties, it said.

"Isolated gusts greater than 70 mph possible below the Cajon and Banning passes" in the Santa Ana Mountains, it added.

"The winds will make driving difficult, especially for motorists with high profile vehicles ... watch for broken tree limbs and downed power lines," it said.

In a Nov. 30 windstorm that spawned gusts approaching 100 mph, trees were toppled, power poles snapped, homes were damaged and electricity was cut to nearly 650,000 homes and business.

Southern California Edison on Wednesday night alerted customers to take precautions because of powerful winds that are expected to blow across Southern California, the LA Times reported.

The utility reminded customers to be prepared for power outages and to stay clear of downed power lines. People should use flashlights if their power dies and not rely on candles, Edison said.