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Wind breaks trees; shuts down turbines

The city of Tehachapi deployed all its dump trucks, bulldozers and chain saws early Monday, Oct. 25, to clear up trees that were broken or felled by strong overnight winds.

No major damage or injuries were reported, said Tehachapi City Manager Greg Garrett.

With fall trees still loaded with leaves, the wind carried more punch than if the trees had lost their leaves.

“The wind was blustery but with the leaves still on the trees it creates a lot of drag, more than it would in a winter storm when the branches are bare,” Garrett said.

He said the city crews were working with Southern California Edison crews.

“We are combing the streets and alleys and cutting trees that pose a safety hazard,” he said.

The wind blew two large poplars at Airport Park completely over, Garrett said.

The city is waiting until Tuesday to clear those up, as they do not pose a safety hazard.

The wind reached a peak of 45 miles per hour at 2:30 a.m. at Oak Knolls, according to readings at MountainBase.com.

Also according to the MountainBase.com web site, the high wind at 12 noon was 23 mph.

The wind during the morning averaged from 13 to 16 mph.

The temperature was 47.5 degrees F and the wind chill factor was 39.5 degrees F.

Weather Underground reported gusts of 21 mph, a temperature of 48.3 degrees F and a windchill of 44 degrees F.

By midday as the wind dropped, wind turbines on the hills between Tehachapi and Mojave were running, but earlier high winds had triggered automatic shutdowns.

“Right now there are not any shut down,” said Michael Burns, director of mechanical systems at Oak Creek Energy Systems.

“Earlier this morning many turbines were shut off.”

For a turbine to stop automatically, he said, the wind has to average 55 mph for 10 minutes straight.

A gust of 65 mph “doesn’t do it,” he said.

The turbines go back on automatically when the wind has dropped below 55 mph for 10 minutes straight.

Burns said that Monday morning, the wind in the resource area was “probably a lot higher than that (55 mph).”

Sgt. Richard Wood of the Kern County Sheriffs Tehachapi Substation said four dogs were found wandering on Woodford Tehachapi Road after fences apparently blew down.

An owner picked up two of the dogs from the Substation. Kern County Animal Control picked up the other two and is attempting to locate the owners.

Wood said that the wind blew a tree onto Cameron Canyon Road at 5:21 a.m. Monday and another one onto lower Cummings Valley Road at 2 p.m.