Strong Santa Ana winds continued to roar in Riverside County Saturday, knocking down power lines, trees and even a freeway sign.
The National Weather Service posted a high-wind warning that began at 3 p.m. Friday and runs until 6 p.m. Saturday.
“Northeast winds will begin to develop over the northern mountains and Inland Empire late Friday afternoon,” the NWS said. “Winds will be strongest on the coastal mountain slopes of the San Bernardino mountains, where gusts in excess of 70 mph are expected. For the Inland Empire and inland Orange County, expect widespread gusts of 40 to 60 mph.”
Forecasters warned the public that the “damaging winds” could knock loose power lines, snap trees and create driving hazards for high-profile vehicles.
In Anza, a 120-foot pine tree was brought down by the winds, blocking the roadway on Morris Ranch Road on Saturday morning, according to the California Highway Patrol.
At around 9:25 a.m., the NWS reported that a tree knocked down by heavy gusts was blocking the roadway near C and Fifth streets in Hemet.
Power lines came down near the intersection of Gibbs Gully and Hotei Lane in the mountain community of Pine Cove, the CHP reported.
Meanwhile, the CHP also reported that a large traffic sign fell on the 60 Freeway and was blocking lanes in Jurupa Valley at around 2 p.m.
“Winds will diminish late Saturday into Sunday as the surface high pressure relaxes,” according to the NWS.
A windblown dust advisory was in effect through noon Sunday in the entire South Coast basin, including Riverside, San Bernardino, Los Angeles and Orange counties. The most severe effects were expected in the Inland Empire and the Coachella Valley.
The upside in the forecast is that the high pressure dominating the region during the Santa Anas will keep the skies clear, meaning sunshine through the weekend.
Daytime temps will range in the low- to mid-70s in the Riverside metropolitan area until Sunday, with lows in the mid-40s, according to the weather service.
In the Coachella Valley, highs will crest in the mid-70s, with lows in the low 50s, and in the Temecula Valley, high temperatures will remain in the upper 60s, with lows in the low 40s.