Critical fire weather conditions will return to the Southland Wednesday, with two days of hot, dry weather followed by the first truly cold days of autumn, forecasters said Tuesday.

“Big swings in the weather this week, going from near normal temps, to much above normal, to well below normal all in the span of about four days,” the National Weather Service predicted.

Temperatures are expected to warm up to the 90s in many valley areas Wednesday and Thursday, accompanied by west-to-northwest Santa Ana winds of 20 to 40 mph, with 35- to 55-mph gusts, especially Friday night into Saturday.

The heat, wind and low relative humidity will increase fire danger, prompting the NWS to warn residents to use extreme caution with potential fire sources.

The weather service is also warning of dangerous sea and surf conditions, with gales of 30-40 knots and 10-20 foot steep seas.

A sharp cooling trend will arrive on Friday and continue into the weekend with a chance of light showers at times. Forecasters said the mountains and eastern L.A. County have the best chances for rain, but it shouldn’t be more than a tenth of inch.

Downtown Los Angeles will see highs of 84 degrees on Wednesday and 89 on Thursday, dropping to 72 Friday and 66 by Saturday, according to NWS projections. Van Nuys and Pasadena will also see highs of 66 on Saturday.

The predicted high in Northridge is 92 on Wednesday and 94 on Thursday, dropping to 74 and 69 Friday and Saturday.

Nighttime lows will begin dropping below 50 degrees across much of L.A. County on Friday and Saturday.

The Antelope Valley, which will see highs in the 80s Wednesday and Thursday, will drop into the upper 50s Friday and Saturday. Lows will dip into the 30s beginning Friday.

In Orange County, Anaheim is expected to reach 91 degrees Thursday before dropping to 73 Friday and 64 on Saturday, while the chillier coastal area of Newport Beach will see its high drop all the way to 60 on Saturday.

The NWS said “a very cold upper low will drop south along the West Coast Friday and usher in a much colder air mass that will stick around for the next several days.”

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