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Thursday, December 7, 2023

Winds create some havoc for OC, briefly closing John Wayne Airport, and the Inland Empire – Orange County Register

High winds prompted a brief closure of John Wayne Airport on Monday, Nov. 20, pushed a couple of fires about, apparently toppled at least two trucks and created other hazards for people in Southern California — including visitors at Disneyland.

A high-wind warning will be in place through 10 a.m. Tuesday for winds from the northeast of 30 to 40 mph with gusts to 75 for the San Bernardino and Riverside county valleys, San Bernardino County mountains, Santa Ana mountains and foothills, the San Gorgonio Pass near Banning and inland Orange County, the National Weather Service said.

John Wayne Airport was closed for a half-hour after a gust, shortly before 9 a.m., flipped a Cessna that had just landed, airport spokeswoman AnnaSophia Servin said. Both runways were closed while firefighters dragged the airplane from the runway. No injury was reported.

Ten flights were diverted, and eight departures and eight arrivals were delayed, Servin said.

At Disneyland, several guests were injured when a lamppost on Main Street U.S.A. fell onto a walkway near the entrance to the theme park during high winds, Anaheim Fire & Rescue said. One woman was hit in the head and was taken away on a stretcher.

A brush fire Monday morning near Lake Mathews in Riverside County prompted evacuations in a sparsely populated area south of Riverside. Strong Santa Ana winds pushed the flames along in the area of Tin Mine Road and La Sierra Avenue. The fire consumed about 50 acres before airdrops slowed the spread, which was stopped just after noon.

In Riverside, a power line came in contact with a tree, the Fire Department said, sparking a fire that raced through two backyards on Robinson Avenue around 4:20 a.m. before firefighters extinguished the flames.  One storage shed and one vehicle burned, but no injuries were reported.

In Jurupa Valley, the connector from the southbound 15 Freeway to the eastbound 60 was closed for at least five hours after a semitruck overturned around 9:15 a.m., apparently from wind.  Less than 45 minutes later, the driver of a second big rig told the CHP that wind toppled his truck while going from the eastbound 60 to the northbound 15.

Cal Fire/Riverside County Fire Department said a couple of residents of a Jurupa Valley neighborhood were staying inside their homes after energized power lines fell on their properties. But Southern California Edison spokesman Jeff Monford said its crews were not busy chasing downed power lines.

“We hope everyone knows to stay away from those lines and report them, but we are not seeing a lot of situations where there are lines down,” said Monford, who attributed downed lines to debris falling on them.

In an unincorporated area outside of Tustin, a large tree fell onto a Lucero Way house’s garage and damaged its eaves around 10 a.m., Orange County Fire Authority Capt. Sean Doran said. No injuries were reported. Other trees fell in Tustin, including one that uprooted onto a car.

Staff Writer Brady MacDonald contributed to this report.

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