LOS ANGELES (CNS) – Gusty Santa Ana winds and arid conditions are expected to return in Southland tonight, prompting forecasters to issue a warning of critical forest fires that will last through Friday.
The alert will take effect today at 10 p.m. and will last until 6 p.m. Friday in the Santa Monica Mountains Recreation Area, Los Angeles County Mountains, Angeles National Forest, the coastal area that extends into downtown Los Angeles, and the Santa Clarita, San Fernando and San Gabriel Valleys.
“The northeast wind will pick up shortly after sunrise on Wednesday and then peak late Wednesday afternoon through Thursday morning,” said the National Weather Service.
“ The wind will gradually weaker until Saturday, but sometimes stay gusty. Peak wind gusts between 35 and 55 miles per hour are expected, with occasional gusts between 60 and 70 miles per hour. ”
Wind alerts will be available from 6 a.m. today through 3 a.m. Thursday in the Los Angeles County Mountains, Santa Monica Mountains Recreational Area, and Santa Clarita Valley. A wind alert is issued today from 6:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Thursday in the San Fernando Valley and Thursday from 3:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. in the coastal area, including downtown Los Angeles.
Forecasters said the humidity will drop this afternoon and drop to 2 to 8% by Thursday, creating arid conditions that can dramatically increase the risk of dangerous forest fires.
“The combination of very gusty winds and very low relative humidity for a sufficient period of time will trigger red flags in most Los Angeles and Ventura boroughs, mostly Wednesday through Thanksgiving,” the NWS said.
“ Although the wind will be weaker on Friday, the very low humidity combined with the occasional gusty northeast winds will make these critical conditions last until Friday afternoon. ”
Orange County has an inland warning and the Santa Ana Mountains at the same time. Forecasters said these areas could see wind gusts of 40 to 80 miles per hour that could occasionally reach 60 miles per hour in mountain canyons. The humidity could drop to around 5% on Thursday, according to the National Weather Service.
As is typical of major wind events, Edison officials in Southern California warned that the utility could impose public safety power cuts to cut power in areas particularly prone to wind to reduce the risk of forest fires from wind-damaged electrified power lines.
Residents can visit SCE’s website at https://www.sce.com/wildfire/psps to see if their area is being considered for potential power outages.