With Santa Ana winds continuing to blast the Southland, a red flag warning of critical fire danger was extended into the weekend Friday for much of the region, with forecasters warning of continued dry weather exacerbating conditions in the already fire-plagued area.
The red flag warning will be in effect until 6 p.m. Saturday in the Santa Monica Mountains Recreational Area, Los Angeles County mountains, Angeles National Forest, and the Santa Clarita and San Fernando valleys.
“Another surge of gusty Santa Ana winds is occurring this morning, with gusts between 35 and 50 mph across wind-prone coastal and valley areas of Ventura and Los Angeles counties, and 50 to 60 mph across the mountains,” according to the National Weather Service. “These gusty winds combined with widespread single-digit humidities — as low as 1% — and warmer temperatures will continue to bring very dangerous fire weather conditions today (Friday).”
Forecasters had originally extended the warning for the Los Angeles coastal area stretching to downtown and the San Gabriel Valley, but thanks to diminishing winds, the NWS lifted the warning in those areas at 6 p.m. Friday.
“The Santa Ana winds will continue be weaken tonight through Saturday morning. However, wind gusts of 20 to 30 mph are still expected across the mountains of Los Angeles and Ventura counties as well as the Ventura County valleys, Santa Clarita Valley, and northern/western portions of the San Fernando Valley,” according to the NWS. “These winds combined with widespread single digit humidities has prompted the extension of the Red Flag Warnings in these areas through Saturday.”
Forecasters noted that the Santa Ana winds that began battering the region Thursday will shift to an onshore pattern Saturday afternoon across coastal/valley areas, “extending into some of the mountain areas later in the afternoon.”
“Widespread single digit humidities and warm temperatures are expected to continue for inland areas away from the ocean on Saturday,” according to the NWS.
The red flag warning, which initially took effect at 8 a.m. Thursday, had originally been expected to expire in all areas by 6 p.m. Friday.
The gusting wind conditions prompted Southern California Edison to cut power to about 21,000 customers in Los Angeles, Riverside, Kern, Ventura and San Bernardino counties Friday morning, although that number was reduced to 17,252 by Friday evening. The precautionary power cuts are aimed at de-energizing power lines that could be damaged in high winds and spark wildfires.
In Los Angeles County, SCE cut power to 4,557 customers in the areas of Palmdale, Agua Dulce, Acton, Boiling Point, White Heather, Fern Ann Falls, Twin Lakes, Deer Lake Highlands, Chatsworth Lake Manor and Santa Susana Knolls.
According to Edison, more than 110,000 customers across its service area are under consideration for precautionary power cuts.