High winds, dry weather to increase wildfire risk in the Inland Empire

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Santa Ana winds accompanied by low humidity were expected to continue across the Inland Empire this week, raising concerns about possible wildfires and precautionary power outages in some areas.

  • High winds blow plastic stuck in a tree in the...

    High winds blow plastic stuck in a tree in the parking lot at Falcon Ridge Town Center in Fontana on Wednesday, Nov. 8, 2023. (Photo by Terry Pierson, The Press-Enterprise/SCNG)

  • High winds blow the hair of shoppers and an employee...

    High winds blow the hair of shoppers and an employee outside Stater Bros at Falcon Ridge Town Center in Fontana on Wednesday, Nov. 8, 2023. (Photo by Terry Pierson, The Press-Enterprise/SCNG)

  • A construction worker deals with high winds as he works...

    A construction worker deals with high winds as he works on an entry way of a new home on Colorado Drive in Rialto on Wednesday, Nov. 8, 2023. (Photo by Terry Pierson, The Press-Enterprise/SCNG)

  • Old Glory is heavily damaged in high winds above a...

    Old Glory is heavily damaged in high winds above a church in Rialto on Wednesday, Nov. 8, 2023. (Photo by Terry Pierson, The Press-Enterprise/SCNG)

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Winds of up to 20 to 30 mph carried in from the coast were already blowing through the communities in the San Bernardino Mountains on Wednesday, Nov. 8, and were expected to continue on and off through the weekend, said National Weather Service meteorologist Casey Oswant.

Gusts reaching up to 50 mph passed through the mountains on Wednesday.

Below the mountains, cities in Riverside and San Bernardino counties will see wind speeds around 15-30 mph with gusts of up to 40 mph. The winds were expected to peak on Thursday morning, Nov. 9, and gradually slow down heading into the afternoon and into Friday, Oswant said.

The National Weather Service issued a wind advisory on Wednesday that will last until 2 p.m. on Thursday, with meteorologists advising residents to be aware of unsecured objects that could slide around and tree limbs that could be blown down.

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Temperatures across the Inland Empire were expected to linger in the mid to high 70s for the rest of the week, with temperatures peaking into the 80s on Sunday.

Humidity levels will also drop about 5% to 10% on Thursday, Oswant said.

The wind and low humidity will increase the risk of wildfires, prompting Southern California Edison to advise that around 14,000 residents in the Inland Empire have the possibility of losing power for overall safety. Public Safety Power Shutoffs involve cutting power in areas impacted by winds that could damage power lines and potentially spark a wildfire.

Heading into next week, temperatures will likely drop, with a slight possibility of rain in some areas, Oswant said.

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