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Windstorm could have been worse

Winds howl, trees fall

but overall, damage throughout the city is light.

December 04, 2011|By Daniel Siegal, daniel.siegal@latimes.com
  • A tree fell across the front yard at 4916 Indianola in La Canada Flintridge on Thursday, December 1, 2011. Strong winds caused damage throughout the area. (Raul Roa/Staff Photographer)
A tree fell across the front yard at 4916 Indianola in La…

When Coco Kleinert drifted asleep to the sound of howling winds at about 2 a.m. Thursday, she was still expecting the upcoming workday to unfold as usual. But when she awoke four hours later, she realized she would not be going to her office that morning, as a massive tree uprooted by the storm had fallen across the road, blocking the only exit from her cozy neighborhood.

“My roommate thought she heard [the tree fall] at 5, but there was constant noise all night,” Kleinert said. “We didn’t hear a big boom.”

Before coming to rest on La Taza Drive, the tree knocked over a telephone pole across the street. The pole, in turn, landed on the roof of a house.

Kleinert had an unexpected day off of work, as the tree prevented anyone living on the La Taza Drive-Tocaloma Lane cul-de-sac from driving anywhere until 5:30 p.m. Thursday, when city crews arrived to begin clearing the roadway.

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Kleinert’s neighbor, George Dietrich, said that although he never felt the storm was really dangerous, the downed tree definitely got his attention.

“I couldn’t believe it, we were totally stuck,” said Dietrich, whose home is on Tocaloma Lane. “But it was just an inconvenience.”

City workers were able to cut a section of the tree to clear half of the street, but Kleinert said they told her clearing the entire trunk could take several days.

The completely blocked neighborhood was the exception rather than the rule in La Cañada, where Wednesday night’s 80-mile-per-hour winds left the city strewn with fallen trees and many homes without power. Still, the city was relatively unscathed, compared to neighboring Pasadena.

While 45 homes were condemned in Pasadena, the extent of the damage in La Cañada was limited to debris-cluttered streets and spoiled food in powerless refrigerators, according to Sgt. Booker Hollis of the Crescenta Valley Sheriff’s Station.

“Nothing has been reported as far as damage or any kind of injuries,” Hollis said Friday afternoon. “Right now it’s still in the process of trying to get all the power restored.”

Hollis said the damage in La Cañada was practically a best-case scenario for a storm of that intensity.

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