Santa Paula Times

Winds: Row of telephone poles fall to Santa Ana winds

November 04, 2011
Santa Paula News

A 60-foot tall Christmas tree was snapped off at the base Wednesday at a Simi Valley shopping center, but that didn’t compare to the Santa Ana wind gust that felled a row of telephone poles on Cummings Road in the unincorporated area just west of Santa Paula.

According Fire Chief Rick Araiza, also the city’s Building and Safety director, the winds that buffeted Ventura County early Wednesday and then tapered off during the day caused “some little things, but nothing real spectacular... except out in the county area” on Cummings Road, near Limoneira Ranch, where “a whole role of telephone poles went down like a domino effect.” Araiza said responding public safety personnel searched nearby orchards to see if perhaps a vehicle had struck a pole, causing the rest to fall, but “didn’t find anything.”

There were reports of small fires, downed power lines and trees - including the Christmas tree that snapped off at the base at the Simi Valley Town Center - and the winds reached 70 mph in some areas. With the low humidity, the combination of strong winds and dry air prompted the National Weather Service to issue red flag warnings about critical fire weather.

Araiza said in Santa Paula there was a report of electrical wires down at 8th and Ventura streets, but responding police and fire could not locate an incident; and fire alarms went off in various locations, false alarms believed to be caused by wind gusts. A tree was reported to have fallen on the west side of the city, but other than a few minor incidents, “It was kind of quiet overall.”

In Oxnard a compost fire was reported at Agromin, and the gusty winds and power failures led CSU Channel Islands in Camarillo and Moorpark College to cancel classes. Nearly 29,000 Southern California Edison customers in Ventura County lost power briefly from suspected wind-related outages, according to SCE officials, with about 1,445 without electricity through Wednesday evening. No major damage or injuries were reported, and the wind had turned mostly to breezes by late Wednesday evening.