Fierce Santa Ana winds battered much of the region Thursday, prompting a weather warning at San Diego International Airport, making driving treacherous for big rigs and toppling a tree that fell on a woman in Balboa Park.
Forecasts called for peak gusts of 30 to 40 mph along the coast, but gusts of up to 70 mph were expected to continue into the afternoon in the mountains, with some higher wind speeds possible in passes and canyons.
According to the National Weather Service, some mountains and passes saw winds topping 80 mph Thursday morning, with Riverside County recording at least one gust of 92 mph.
“There have been numerous reports of overturned high profile vehicles through the mountain pass highways, as well as uprooted trees,” the weather service said, advising caution for motorists, particularly on Interstate 8 in the San Diego County mountains.
“Winds will be strong and widespread across SoCal, even outside of the typically windy locations,” forecasters said.
Around 8 a.m., the winds toppled a eucalyptus tree in Balboa Park, pinning a woman on the ground. The woman had to be treated at a hospital for non-life-threatening injuries.
By midday, authorities were actively clearing people out of the park due to the danger of more trees being felled by the wind.
Portions of Interstate 8 also had to be closed between Campo and Alpine after at least two big rigs overturned.
Forecasters said the winds “will drop off rather quickly this evening and tonight,” but breezy conditions will stretch into Friday morning, when temperatures should warm slightly.
Updated at 12:15 p.m. Jan. 26, 2023
City News Service contributed to this article.