By CBSLA Staff

SIMI VALLEY (CBSLA) – Several schools in the Simi Valley Unified School District were forced to close their campuses Wednesday due to the strong winds which rattled the region and left thousands of homes and businesses without power.

A car drives under a tree toppled by wind in Ventura, Calif., on Jan. 19, 2021, on Highway 126. (Getty Images)

A powerful Santa Ana wind event pummeled the Southland Tuesday and early Wednesday morning, with winds of over 70 miles per hour.

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Southern California Edison was forced to shut off power to thousands of customers in an effort to prevent downed power lines and trees from sparking wildfires. Huge swaths of Simi Valley were left in the dark for hours as a result of the precautionary power shutoffs.

As of Wednesday morning, 36,293 SCE customers were still without power, including 24,081 in Ventura County.

Another 165,133 were still at risk of seeing power shutoffs as well.

At the height of the wind event Tuesday, over 67,000 customers were without power.

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Several wildfires broke out across the region Tuesday, in Sylmar, Ventura, San Dimas and Newhall.

Winds from the Sylmar fire pushed embers across the 210 Freeway, forcing California Highway Patrol to shut it down for several hours Tuesday night. The fire also got close to nearby condos, but crews were able to get it under control and no homes were damaged.

The National Weather Service reported that the winds were expected to continue Wednesday, but would not be as damaging as they were on Tuesday, when they were so strong that they felled a large tree in Santa Clarita splitting the roof of a condominium. No one was hurt.

The Federal Aviation Administration on Tuesday directed planes Los Angeles International Airport to take off and land in reverse, from the east instead of the west, with the easterly Santa Ana winds blowing through the area.

Meanwhile, the following Simi Valley Unified schools would be in virtual learning format only Wednesday:

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  • Apollo High
  • Crestview Elementary
  • Hillside Middle
  • Hollow Hills Elementary
  • Garden Grove Elementary
  • Royal High
  • Simi Institute for Careers & Education
  • Sycamore Elementary
  • Vista Elementary
  • White Oak Elementary
  • Wood Ranch Elementary

After being closed for more than eight months because of the coronavirus pandemic, Simi Valley Unified began resuming in-person classes for some schools in November.