Intense Santa Ana winds buffeted the San Diego area amid summer-like heat today, downing utility poles, toppling trees and exacerbating vegetation fires.
The powerful air currents out of the east, which exceeded 100 mph in at least one instance, were strongest in the morning and early afternoon, according to the National Weather Service. They were expected to weaken overnight, then pick up again somewhat Thursday, the agency reported.
The stiff winds sent dust, debris and unsecured furniture flying, and downed trees in numerous areas, including the Mission Bay onramp to northbound Interstate 5, Torrey Pines Road at Coast Walk in La Jolla -- where a light standard simultaneously came down onto traffic lanes -- and the 4300 block of Jutland Drive. The latter mishap sent a pedestrian to a hospital with apparently minor impact injuries, authorities said.
The blustery conditions also dangerously stoked several fires amid temperatures in the 90s -- one in the bed of the San Diego River near Carlton Oaks Country Club in Santee, and the other in palm trees near SeaWorld.
The winds also contributed to power outages that left thousands of homes and businesses without electricity at various times over the morning and afternoon, mostly in East County and North County locales.
The weather service recorded some powerful gusts around the county, including ones that reached 101 mph at Sill Hill, northwest of Cuyamaca Peak; 87 mph in Buckman Springs; 75 mph in Campo and Santa Ysabel; and 69 along a stretch of the Sunrise Highway. Along the coast, winds howled at up to nearly 50 mph in areas.
—City News Service