Wooden jungle gym

A young boy climbs through a fallen tree on Dec. 1 on Green Street in Pasadena, Calif., after his school was closed due to violent Santa Ana Winds that caused the worst local wind damage in decades. As many as 270,000 people were left without power from the downed trees, prompting the city to close schools and declare a state of emergency. (Photo: David McNew/Getty Images)

 

A young boy climbs fallen trees on Green Street after his school was closed due to violent Santa Ana Winds that have caused the worst local wind damage in decades in Pasadena, Calif. on Dec. 1.

 

Once-in-a-decade storm
Workers remove a fallen tree that crushed a gas station after violent Santa Ana Winds hammered the area. Santa Ana winds, which can sometimes reach hurricane speeds, sweep through the region every fall and winter. This particularly robust round of gusts was considered a once-in-a-decade occurence caused by the collision of a strong, high-pressure system and a cold, low-pressure system. (Photo: David McNew/Getty Images)

 

Workers remove a fallen tree that crushed a gas station after violent Santa Ana Winds hammered Pasadena, California on Dec. 1.

 

Gust-induced municipal headaches
People walk past fallen trees along Green Street in Pasadena after the strong winds rolled through. Because the winds are so dry, they have been known to literally fan the flames of wildfires. Hundreds of acres of land have succumbed to wildfires in Eldorado, Tuolumne and Calaveras counties in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada mountains. (Photo: David McNew/Getty Images)

 

People walk past fallen trees along Green Street in Pasadena after strong Santa Ana Winds rolled through southern California on Dec. 1.

 

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Catie Leary ( @catieleary ) writes about science, travel, animals and the arts.