Gusty winds and dry conditions prompt red flag warnings in SoCal


Santa Ana winds will continue to lash parts of Southern California, raising concerns about possible wildfires and precautionary power outages in particularly wind-prone areas.

Forecasters said humidity levels will drop sharply by Thursday morning, combining with gusty conditions to raise the fire danger and prompting the National Weather Service to issue a red flag warning of critical fire danger that will be in effect for much of the day Thursday.

“Gusty Santa Ana winds and low humidity will impact portions of Los Angeles and Ventura counties through Thursday,” according to the NWS.

The current north to northeast winds will shift to more northeasterly and peak later tonight into Thursday morning, then gradually decrease Thursday afternoon through Friday. Humidity levels will gradually lower as well.

As a result, the chance of reaching six or more hours of low humidity and gusty wind combinations is 20% for today but 70% for tonight through Thursday.”

The NWS issued a red flag warning that will be in effect from 3 a.m. to 6 p.m. Thursday for the Santa Monica Mountains Recreational Area, the San Gabriel Mountains, the 5 and 14 freeway corridors, the Malibu Coast, Calabasas and the San Fernando and Santa Clarita valleys.

Forecasters said mountain areas could see winds of 20 to 30 mph, gusting up to 50 mph. Other areas will likely experience winds of 15 to 30 mph, gusting to 40 mph, with isolated gusts up to 50 mph.

Humidity levels in all areas are expected to fall to 8% to 15% during the warning period, forecasters said.

“A red flag warning means that critical fire weather conditions are either occurring now, or will shortly,” forecasters said. “Use extreme caution with anything that can spark a wildfire. Residents near wild land interfaces should be prepared to evacuate if a wildfire breaks out.”

Most areas of the Southland will have above-normal temperatures Thursday, and while the winds are expected to die down, the warmer conditions are anticipated to last through Sunday thanks to continued offshore flow, according to the NWS. Coastal and valley areas should see high temperatures in the mid-70s to lower 80s over the weekend.

A shift in the weather is expected by early next week, with a possibility of rain in the area by mid-week, according to the NWS.

Meanwhile, the dry and windy conditions prompted reminders from Southern California Edison that it may employee Public Safety Power Shutoffs in some areas, cutting power in areas being impacted by winds that could damage power lines and potential spark wildfires.



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