Wind-storm cancellations, debris

UPDATE 4:00 p.m. Sunday (Dec. 4):

Highland Oaks and Longley Way elementary schools will remain closed on Monday, Dec. 5, according to the Arcadia School District. All other schools will open Monday for the first time since a wind storm late Wednesday/early Thursday knocked power out to most of Arcadia.

So far, Arcadia Public Works has received reports of the following:
• 475 – 500 trees down
• 129 downed wires
• 61 structures damaged
• 28 vehicles damaged

On Sunday, Southern California Edison set up a Customer Assistance Center in the parking lot of the County’s Arcadia Park on Santa Anita Avenue at Diamond Street from 11 a.m. – 4 p.m. today, Sunday, Dec. 4. Customers could pick up supplies, including flashlights, water and ice. For more information, please contact Edison at (800) 655-4555.

Edison says power has been restored to most of Arcadia and that most of the remaining outages should be restored by 8 p.m. Sunday night, with some lasting until Monday, Dec. 5.

The City of Arcadia reports all but nine signalized intersections have been restored and that temporary stop signs have been placed at the signalized intersections that are not currently working. Late Sunday the City said all roads were substantially cleared for travel except Colorado Blvd. from Michillinda through to Santa Anita.
Mutual Aid has been requested from Los Angeles County to assist with the clearance/clean up efforts.
The City reminds property owners that while the City is responsible for downed trees in the right-of-way, property owners are responsible for removing and cleaning up trees on their own property.
All non-emergency calls or request for service calls should be directed to Public Works Services Department at (626) 256-6554 or (626) 256-6650. For evening hours, please contact the Police Department Dispatch at (626) 574-5123.

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In what looked like a military maneuver, a battalion of more than 40 Edison utility trucks gathered after dark Thursday in the parking lot of Santa Anita Park near the main Gate 3 entrance. It is a Southern California Edison staging area and command center for a mobilization of a full-scale attack on the clean-up of downed trees and ongoing power outages on Friday, Dec. 2 (read story on this and see photos here).

Wind gusts in the San Gabriel Valley overnight Wednesday said to have reached more than 145 mph caused widespread damage throughout Arcadia, primarily limited to trees being knocked down, as well as a few business windows being broken out (see all pictures below — click each one to enlarge).
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To see dozens more photos from all over Arcadia, visit the ArcadiasBestNews Facebook page and be sure to click “Like” at the top of the page so that you will always be alerted about events in Arcadia.
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But the big problem was lack of power to most of the city all day Thursday and continuing without any sign of being restored. At 5 p.m. Thursday more than 200,000 Southern California Edison customers remained without power in the Valley, with Arcadia among the hardest hit cities, according to SCE. Power began being restored slowly over the next several days but many remained without power late Friday. (Southern California Edison web site :

Uprooted trees creating walls of dirt nearly 8-feet high.

Arcadia joined Pasadena and other neighboring cities in declaring a state of local emergency. Power was restored at Arcadia High School late Thursday but all school and City recreation and senior activities, including all before-and-after-school programs, were canceled for Thursday and Friday due to continued power outages and challenges navigating streets and anticipation of predicted additional winds tonight and extending until mid-day Friday.

Updates can be found at this specific Arcadia School District web site ( and at the City of Arcadia‘s web site (, and at police department Twitter @ArcadiaPD or Nixle police alerts via e-mail and text:

Christmas tree sales tent at Santa Anita parking lot near Westfield.

Westfield Santa Anita kept the mall closed all day Thursday awaiting the restoration of power, though Nordtrom was open until 5 p.m. and Dave & Buster’s was to open at 6:30 p.m. About half the power was restored Thursday evening, including power on the Promenade.
The mall regained 100% of its power Friday afternoon and the holiday event scheduled for 4 p.m. – 9 p.m. Friday, Dec. 2, outdoors at the Promenade, including snow shows and entertainment next to the 45-foot tree being lit for the first time, and an Arcadia Chamber of Commerce holiday business mixer, went on as scheduled.

Circus Vargas canceled Thursday’s performance, and Methodist Hospital canceled a VIP ribbon-cutting for a new Oxygen Center scheduled for late Thursday.

The Arcadia Public Library, Museum, County Arboretum and Wilderness Park were also closed Thursday, Friday, and Saturday and will all remain closed until further notice.

The trees knocked down power lines that affected the majority of the City well into Thursday afternoon with no sign of power being restored anytime soon. Numerous streets blocked or partially blocked by fallen trees and traffic signal lights not working caused major traffic snarls, especially during rush hour Thursday morning when traffic had to treat most intersections as four-way stops, adding as much as an hour to some commutes.

Eleven intesections were without power late Thursday. The City received more than 400 tree-related calls alone on Thursday.

Remarkably, no windstorm-related injuries were reported. The City said seven buildings have been “red tagged” and evacuated. Four additional buildings have damage.

One of dozens of downed trees at Arcadia Park

The following streets remained closed late Sunday:

• W/B Colorado at Santa Anita
• Longden closed between Holly and Baldwin
• Colorado Place between Colorado Bl and Huntington (north bound only)
• The 1100 blk. S. 5th
• La Cadena between Huntington and Fairview

It appeared that no neighborhood was spared, with trees and limbs down on almost every street in town, but the County's Arcadia Park and Arboretum seemed to be hardest hit, with so many trees down that it looked like a hurricane hit. (Video and photos of Arboretum devastation.)

Also hit hard was the business district of Baldwin Avenue, particularly north and south of Duarte. A line of trees along the curb on the west side of the street fell like dominoes.

In many cases around town, including Huntington Drive along the parking lots of Santa Anita Park and Westfield Santa Anita, large trees were completely uprooted, raising several feet of dirt and grass, and sometimes sidewalks. The same was true with big trees in front of the Arcadia police station.

The glass storefront windows of the Firestone shop at Camino Real on Baldwin Avenue and a hair salon on First Avenue were broken out.

The big top tent of Circus Vargas on the parking lot of Santa Anita Park was intact and officials said there was no damage and their portable power was not knocked out. But there was lots of debris surrounding the big top tent and a spokesman for Circus Vargas told that the show would be canceled tonight as a precaution.

Other problems caused by the power outage included reports that Sprint cell phone service was out all day due to back-up power supplies to cell towers going down.

The City’s “Breakfast with Santa and Snow Festival” will take place Saturday at the Community Center as scheduled.

— By Scott Hettrick


  1. Lloyd Slaght says

    An excellent article covering the storm damage, Scott. Also, terrific pictures of the downed trees. Not being from Arcadia, but having family living in Arcadia, we were especially interested in reading about the storm and wind, and to read that there were no major injuries to people. Thank you for getting this put together and posted so quickly. We hope your area can now get power quickly restored. Your storm made national news all day, but the comments and pictures on national news were so brief, that we really thank you for posting a much more extensive explanation of what took place.