Santa Ana winds began lashing parts of the Southland Tuesday, with the gusty conditions expected to expand to other parts of the region and continue into Wednesday, combining with low humidity levels to create a heightened risk of wildfires.
The winds took longer to develop than initially forecast, but gusts of up to 40 mph were reported in some mountain areas Tuesday morning.
A wind advisory will be in effect until 3 p.m. Wednesday for the Los Angeles County mountains and the Santa Clarita Valley. According to the National Weather Service, the wind gusts up to 45 mph were anticipated Tuesday afternoon, strengthening Wednesday to as strong as 55 mph, with isolated gusts of 65 mph possible.
Winds in the Santa Clarita Valley were forecast at 15 to 25 mph Tuesday, gusting up to 40 mph, growing slightly stronger Wednesday, with isolated gusts possibly up to 60 mph.
Forecasters said the conditions will expand as the day wears on, with wind advisories taking effect at 11 p.m. in the San Fernando and San Gabriel valleys, Santa Monica Mountains Recreational Area and the coastal region stretching into downtown Los Angeles. Those advisories will all remain in place until 3 p.m. Wednesday.
In Orange County, wind advisories were already in effect until noon Wednesday in the Santa Ana Mountains and foothills, along with county inland areas. Forecasters said those areas will see east winds of 20 to 30 mph, with gusts up to 50 mph.
As usual, forecasters warned that the winds could make driving difficult, particularly for high-profile vehicles, while also potentially knocking down tree limbs and causing power outages.
“Humidities will fall into the single digits and lower teens along with an increase in temperatures,” according to the NWS. “As a result, elevated fire weather conditions are expected, however, due to fuel moistures still being above critical levels, no fire weather watches or red flag warnings are in effect or anticipated.
“The offshore winds will weaken considerably Thursday, however, high temperatures will be warmer with highs approaching 90 degrees and it will still be very dry with some local offshore breezes, especially in the morning hours.”
Cooler conditions are anticipated by Friday and into the weekend thanks to a return of an onshore flow, however, temperatures will still be about five degrees above normal, according to the NWS.