Fierce Santa Ana winds blew across the Southland Thursday amid very low humidity, raising fears of wildfires.
A red flag warning issued by the National Weather Service and denoting critical fire weather conditions went into effect at 3 a.m. Thursday in the Santa Monica Mountain Recreational Area, the San Gabriel Mountains, the Angeles National Forest, the San Fernando, San Gabriel and Santa Clarita valleys, Los Angeles, including the coast, metropolitan L.A., Downtown L.A. and the Hollywood Hills, and much of Ventura county.
In the mountains, northeast winds blew at sustained speeds of 25-45 miles per hour, gusting at 75 miles per hour, according to the NWS. In the San Fernando and Santa Clarita valleys, northeast winds blew at speeds of 20-35 mph, along with 55-mph gusts. And in Los Angeles and the San Gabriel Valley, northeast winds of 20-30 mph were reported, along with 50-mph gusts.
The strongest winds were expected from mid-morning to mid-afternoon Thursday, and again Friday morning, amid humidity levels of 3-10 percent and very dry vegetation providing potential wildfire fuel, the NWS reported, adding it may be necessary to extend the red flag warning into Saturday.”
“If fire ignition occurs, conditions will be favorable for extreme fire behavior, which would threaten life and property,” the NWS warned.
Along with the red flag warning, a high wind warning was in effect until 3 p.m. Friday.
“Damaging winds may blow down trees and power lines. Widespread power outages are possible. Travel will be difficult, especially for high profile vehicles,” the NWS warned. “Use extra caution when driving, especially if operating a high-profile vehicle. Secure outdoor objects.”
Additionally, “people should avoid being outside in forested areas and around trees and branches. If possible, remain in the lower levels of your home during the windstorm, and avoid windows. Use caution if you must drive.”
In the Antelope Valley, a freeze watch will be in force from late Thursday evening through Friday morning, with temperatures as low as 28 degrees expected.
The NWS forecast sunny skies in L.A. County Thursday and highs of 63 on Mount Wilson; 69 in Palmdale; 70 in Lancaster; 73 in Saugus; 76 in Avalon; 79 at LAX; 80 in Burbank and San Gabriel; 82 in Pasadena, Woodland Hills and Downtown L.A.; and 83 in Long Beach. Temperatures will rise three or four degrees Friday before reverting to Thursday’s levels on Saturday.
Sunny skies and windy conditions were forecast in Orange County, along with highs of 59 on Santiago Peak; 71 on Ortega highway at 2,600 feet; 78 in Fremont Canyon and Trabuco Canyon; 81 in Newport Beach, Laguna Beach and San Clemente; 82 in Mission Viejo; 83 in Yorba Linda and Fullerton; and 84 in Irvine and Anaheim. Temperatures will mostly dip slightly Friday and Saturday and drop a few degrees more on Sunday.
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