Santa Ana winds continued battering parts of the Southland Friday, coupling with low humidity to increase the danger of wildfires.
A red flag warning of critical fire danger conditions took effect at 4 p.m. Thursday for the Santa Monica Mountains Recreational Area, Los Angeles County mountains, Angeles National Forest and the Santa Clarita and San Fernando valleys, along with inland Orange County and the Santa Ana mountains.
The warning had been scheduled to expire at 4 p.m. Friday, but the National Weather Service extended it until 4 p.m. Saturday, but indicated it could be stretched into Sunday.
“Strong high pressure aloft and moderate offshore pressure gradients will create periods of critical fire weather conditions through Saturday and possibly into Sunday,” according to the NWS. “The highest fire weather risk will be today (Friday) across Los Angeles and Ventura Counties. Winds are expected to drop off later this afternoon through the overnight hours, however the latest computer models indicate low humidities will continue through Saturday with winds increasing again early Saturday morning through afternoon.
“Some areas on Saturday may not quite reach the duration for red flag but most areas will have at least three to six hours of red flag conditions and for this reason the warning has been extended until 4 p.m. Saturday.”
Wind gusts of 30 to 50 mph are anticipated across much of the affected areas, with humidity dropping to between 8% and 15%, forecasters said.
According to the NWS, dry conditions will persist into Sunday, but wind speeds will likely drop below 25 mph, except for some isolated gusts. But windier conditions are expected to return early next week.
“A strong north to northeast wind event is likely sometime between Monday and Wednesday, mostly likely strongest Tuesday and Tuesday night with wind gusts as high as 80 mph or possibly even higher in some areas,” according to the NWS. “At this time it appears humidities will be too high for red flag conditions but damaging winds are possible, especially across Los Angeles and Ventura Counties.”
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