LOS ANGELES (CBS) Fierce Santa Ana winds hit Southern California on Wednesday night, causing scattered power outages and property damage.

The National Weather Service says the windstorm was expected to peak early Thursday and will last through Friday. Winds up to 80 mph were expected in some areas.

In Beverly Hills, a giant eucalyptus tree came crashing through a wall at the home of actress Rebecca Gayheart after being uprooted by a wind burst.

Neighbors said the actress and her baby were both safe.

“She’s good now,” said Erin Smith. “No one was hurt, thank God.”

Smith said she saw sparks coming from the bedroom wall where the 30-foot tall tree hit, and saw water spewing out from a busted pipe.

SoCal Edison says some 14,200 customers experienced power outages.

Power was knocked out at Sony Pictures Studios in Culver City, where employees were forced to evacuate through darkened stairwells.

At Los Angeles International Airport, lights went out in the passenger terminals and on surrounding roads for about an hour, causing both flight and road traffic delays.

The FAA says about 20 diverted flights were sent to Ontario, Calif. and two runways were closed due to strewn debris.

Around 11 p.m. Wednesday, the LADWP was reporting 45,000 customers without power in the metro area.

The CHP asked drivers to stay off roads if possible, due to countless downed trees and branches on roadways.

The LA Fire Department reported electrical wires and trees down in Eagle Rock, along with transformer explosions and vegetation fires.

The city of Pasadena tallied over 100 trees down by 1 a.m. Thursday.

The Santa Ana winds are generated during cooler months when westward flowing wind currents reach fierce speeds as they squeeze through mountain ranges.

(TM and © Copyright 2011 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

Comments (2)
  1. Corinne Anderson says:

    Poor trees!