“It was one of those hot dry [winds] that come down through the mountain passes and curl your hair and make your nerves jump and your skin itch. On nights like that every booze party ends in a fight. Meek little wives feel the edge of the carving knife and study their husbands' necks. Anything can happen.”
That’s Raymond Carver, describing the Santa Ana winds in his short story “Red Wind.” There’s a reason Carver and other authors, like Janet Fitch in “White Oleander” or Joan Didion in “The Los Angeles Notebook,” write about the Santa Anas the way they do. The winds are terrifying. And Thursday, some of the most powerful Santa Ana winds in years tore through Southern California, toppling trees and knocking out power with 80 mph gusts.
One gust of 97 mph was even recorded Wednesday night, at Whitaker Peak in Los Angeles County, according to the National Weather Service.
Playa Del Rey, Del Rey, Westchester, Venice, Hollywood, Beverly Grove, Van Nuys and Encino have all been left in the dark.
And it’s been tough to escape the winds: Twenty-three flights have been diverted and others delayed at the Los Angeles International airport.
Even officials such as Federal Aviation Administration spokesman Ian Gregor are cautious about saying anything definitive about the winds.“[We] are cautiously optimistic the worst wind conditions are behind us,” he said. “For now.”