Power was restored to Santa Anita’s barn area at about 2 p.m. Dec. 2 following the severe windstorm that hit the area from late night Nov 30 into the early hours of Dec. 1. Cleanup and assessment of the damage continued, with training and simulcasting resuming after a day’s cancellation.
Nearly every barn at the track sustained some damage to their roofs, three of them substantial, said George Haines, president of Santa Anita. One of those three barns did not have horses in it. A minor portion of the Santa Anita grandstand also was damaged. No human or equine injuries have been reported.
“It’s amazing that nobody was hurt,” said Haines. “Our first concern, of course, was for safety, and our crews worked overnight to clean up debris. Trees fell across the hillside turf course, and that has been cleaned up. The rail on the main track was damaged, and that was replaced before we opened for training this morning.”
Winds in the area were so severe that they knocked over trees not only at Santa Anita but also throughout the area. Arcadia, Pasadena, and Monrovia were especially hard hit. Monrovia’s 50-foot evergreen tree used annually as the city’s Christmas tree toppled. It had already been decorated with lights in anticipation of the town’s tree-lighting ceremony and Christmas parade Dec. 1, which had to be canceled.
By midday Dec. 2, many traffic lights near Santa Anita were still out, and just about every street had debris from felled trees, several of which also crushed cars. At least three dozen houses, mostly in Pasadena, had so much damage that they were red-tagged as uninhabitable. About 400 trees were reported down in Los Angeles’ Griffith Park.
Haines said that Santa Anita officials and insurance adjusters had not yet been able to estimate the cost of the damage to the track.
“We keep finding more damage,” he said. “But all in all we were very lucky that everybody is safe and no one was hurt.”
Southern California Edison has constructed an emergency operations center in Santa Anita’s south parking lot consisting of emergency vehicles, equipment, RVs, tents, and 44 emergency relief crews.
“This is basically a mobile command center,” said Marvin Jackson, regional manager for public affairs at Southern California Edison. “Ordinarily, our crews would be able to operate out of a local service center, but in this situation, with so much damage, it’s nice to be centrally located near some of the most heavily damaged areas.”
Many homes and businesses remain without power, he said.
“Right now, we have no idea how long it’s going to take to get power fully restored. In so many cases, the power lines are on top of and entangled with downed debris and that’s really making things difficult. The fact that we’re able to base here at Santa Anita, in one location, is very helpful in terms of logistics,” he added.
“Our neighbors were hit hard and we want to help everyone get life back to normal as soon as possible,” Haines said. “We’re fortunate to have our power back on and we know how important it is to facilitate Edison’s efforts in our community. We’re glad to be in a position to assist them.”