Hands sore from gripping the wheel

Never in my life have I driven through more ferocious winds than I did last night in Los Angeles. I was hearing reports of 80mph gusts with 40mph sustained in the LA basin and hurricane force in canyons and passes. I nixed the idea of taking the high road through any foothills or Pasadena in favor of the 10 east. It was a fight to hold the wheel steady.

From Thurs morning all through the night my CB crackled with seasoned truckers who were actually scared. The high winds toppled some big rigs earlier on the inland freeways. Los Ang called it a one-in-ten-years wind event.

Heavy precip the night before had me contemplating whether or not to even attempt the Tejon Pass (the Golden State freeway and main connection between Southern and Northern California that goes into the mountains). I had driven from Sacramento. I went for it anyway, but slogged through mushy snow, heavy rain and extreme gusts. Just as the LA basin came within view, I got a room in the little mountain town of Castaic just before they shut the freeway down until 10:45am yesterday. I was amazed at the speed of the clouds whirring over me.

I fought the freakish wind all day driving east on the Santa Monica freeway. I went to the beach looking for high seas. Turns out that the extreme ocean behavior that kept even surfers away and closed piers took place already, when I was up on the pass fighting snow. Rancho Palos Verdes was out of power along with 210,000 other customers. I have relatives in PV and I imagine they were in the dark awhile.

I fought a 3-hour backup from Venice Beach to San Bernardino on my way to the deserts. A gigantic windpower field exists in the canyon near Palm Springs. There must be hundreds of industrial-sized windmill power stations there. Some of the blades are staggering in size, looking to be about 5 houses wide at least. They were spinning at a comical rate.

As tired as I was, the day's apex of insanely high wind still lay ahead. The Chiriaco Summit, a desert mountain that climbs out of Palm Springs was keeping even the truckers away. I waited at the cafe & fuel stop for an hour just to take a rest from wheel-gripping. Motorists talked about nothing else and wondered if they would make it home. The truckers were very nervous, most decided they had enough and pulled off. The laminar clouds above Chiriaco were so highly sheared they looked like boomerangs.

I'm exhausted. Through it all, I was treated to a very strange sight. The Hollywood sign was crystal clear in a smogless sky, even from the Santa Monica freeway. Eerie. I'm tired. I'm going to bed and will sleep really hard.
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Being the weather geek that I am, sometimes, I get so jealous of the weather in Los Angeles (compared to down here in San Diego) that I want to scream. They get more rainstorms, thunderstorms, everything. The wind this year has been howling, probably due to the progressive nature of the pattern that leads to a strong high over the Great Basin every week. But, man, when I saw that High Wind Warning in coastal LA, I was flabergasted. The winds were from the north, so it was simply the vector (an easterly wind provides stronger downsloping here). Of course, a northerly wind provides the strongest Santa Anas in LA due to the San Gabriel Mtns to the north that run west-east.

OK, enough of my rant. Very interesting story and thanks for sharing. :)
The winds were howling when I made my commute into work down the 210 from Pasadena to Irwindale on Thursday morning. Lots of trash flying across the road, palm trees bending over, and so on. The funny thing is, I don't think the wind speeds were particularly high at that moment in time. Rather, in the three weeks since I had arrived in L.A., the weather had been so predictably boring that ANY weather seemed interesting. That said, I imagine it was a different story in the mountains and through the passes.

Something did fly off a tree (or so I assume) a few blocks from my office and smack my windshield, however... sounded about the same as a very hard softball size hail stone. I was worried I'd be left with a crack, but it looks like I got lucky. I never saw it coming, and was too startled to look in my rear view mirror afterwards, so I haven't a clue what it was.
I am at the coast in south Orange County and it was WINDY. I have never seen such strong winds here before. It was a steady 40 mph with gusts into the 50's. The beach was insane with enormous waves and sand was blowing like crazy!
I had to go to San Bernardino for work in September. One of the days, I was greeted by this wind funneling down the valley. It sucked so much dust with it. After about a minute in the wind and dust, all I wanted was a shower.
Yes there was a lot of horizontal blowing sand this time too, especially around the windpower farm and east of there to Coachella. Once I got up on the Chiriaco Summit the air was clearer. The wind was so strong though it was difficult just to be outside a car or building.
This happens to me when I am driving at night (when chasing lightning,ideally) usually, since I just got my drivers licence. I will grip so hard, that once I release, at a stop light, or at my abode my hands have mini sores, or blisters. Pretty much the spots just burn....probably because the foolish car company made it so that thtere are diagonal seams lining the steering wheel, so that they cut into your hands.
Relax, dude. You won't fall if you loosen your grip.

As for the story, thanks for sharing Susan. I only wish I could have been there...Los Angeles and a once-in-ten-years windstorm. Right on.