The first big Santa Anas of the season will arrive overnight, with the potential to blast Southern California with hot air and dry winds gusting up to 70 miles per hour in some places, National Weather Service forecasters said Sunday.
Red Flag Warnings were set to go up at 3 a.m. Monday in the inland mountains of Los Angeles and Ventura counties, and 6 a.m. Monday in the Los Angeles-area valleys and the mountains between Dodger Stadium and Malibu.
The Santa Ana Mountains, including Anaheim canyon, were added to the affected are as well, with winds predicted to arrive around 3 a.m., spreading to coastal Orange County by 6.
Los Angeles County firefighters said last week that the vegetation in the Santa Monica Mountains has crossed the threshold, and now has critically-low levels of moisture.
“A moderate to strong offshore event is forecast from late Sunday through Monday, with offshore winds likely diminishing by early Tuesday,” said forecasters at the National Weather Service in Oxnard.
“The strongest winds are likely to peak Monday morning, especially across western Los Angeles and eastern Ventura counties.”
Gusts up to 55 miles an hour in the Hollywood Hills and Santa Monica Mountains, and up to to mph in the mountains near Malibu, were forecast.
A Red Flag Warning means that critical fire weather conditions are expected, as dry and hot winds blast across very dry trees and brush.
The warning will also be in effect from 6 a.m. Monday to 10 a.m. Tuesday in Riverside County for areas below the Cajon Pass, including the Santa Ana Mountains, the NWS said.
Forecasters expect gusts of up to 55 mph on Monday and up to 35 mph on Tuesday.
“Any fires that develop will likely spread rapidly with extreme behavior,” the agency said, and discouraged any type of outdoor burning.
The conditions could also sweep debris onto roadways and cause hazardous cross-winds for high-profile vehicles.
The NWS expects the humidity level to pick up Tuesday night into Wednesday. Temperatures will remain mild, however, with highs in the 80s all week in Riverside, occasionally reaching the low 90s in the valleys.
–City News Service