The risk of new wildfire outbreaks again threatened Los Angeles and Orange County Tuesday amid high winds, very low humidity and an abundance of bone-dry vegetation.
“The combination of a strong offshore pressure gradient, strong upper-level wind support, and significant cold air advection is producing the strongest Santa Ana wind event we have seen so far this season, with the most dangerous fire weather conditions we have seen since October 2019,” the National Weather Service said in a statement, although Tuesday’s winds were forecast to be lighter than Monday’s.
Two wildfires broke out in Orange County on Monday after a red flag warning had been issued.
A red flag warning — signifying a high risk of wildfire — will be in force until 6 p.m. Tuesday in the San Gabriel Mountains in Los Angeles County amid northeast winds of 30-45 mph with gusts of up to 75 mph. It will also be in force until 6 p.m. in the Santa Monica Mountains, inland Orange County and the San Fernando, Santa Clarita and San Gabriel valleys amid winds of 25-40 mph and gusts of up to 65 mph.
The weather service tweeted Monday night that the day’s strongest wind gust had been 96 miles per hour at the Magic Mountain Truck Trail in Santa Clarita and that strong Santa Ana winds would persist through Tuesday morning, but the winds would not be as strong as Monday.
A hard freeze warning in the Antelope Valley expired at 9 a.m. Tuesday. The weather service had urged Antelope Valley residents to “protect tender plants from the cold.” It said that to prevent freezing and possible bursting of outdoor water pipes, pipes should be wrapped, drained, or allowed to drip slowly. “Those that have in-ground sprinkler systems should drain them and cover above-ground pipes to protect them from freezing.”
A high wind warning will be in effect until 3 p.m. in the San Gabriel Mountains amid winds of 30 to 45 miles per hour and 65-mph gusts, with the strongest winds swirling around the Interstate 5 and Highway 14 corridors.
“Damaging winds will blow down large objects such as trees, power lines and temporary structures. Power outages are expected. Travel will be difficult, especially for high-profile vehicles,” warned the NWS.
In the L.A. County coastal zone — beach cities, metropolitan L.A., the Hollywood Hills — a less serious wind advisory scheduled to be in effect until Tuesday afternoon was canceled early Tuesday morning when the wind proved weaker than forecasters expected. But the advisory remained in force until 3 p.m. in the Santa Monica Mountains and the San Fernando, Santa Clarita and San Gabriel valleys.
On Monday, recorded gusts were in the range of 60 to 90 mph in the mountains and foothills, according to the NWS, which said one gust was clocked at 96 mph in the San Gabriel Mountains south of Santa Clarita.
Nearly 3,500 Southern California Edison customers in Los Angeles County and 1,271 in Orange County had their power cut Tuesday morning to guard against the possibility of downed power lines causing a fire.
The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power was also responding to power outages across the city. An LADWP official said outages were reduced to fewer than 300 customers as of 11 a.m. Tuesday in the areas of Panorama City, Chatsworth, Woodland Hills, Studio City, Lakeview Terrace and Van Nuys.
Sunny skies were forecast in L.A. County Tuesday, with highs in the 70s. Most Orange County communities were forecast to have smoky skies as a result of the fires.
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