The National Weather Service are predicting “critical fire weather conditions” in much of Southern California from early Thursday through Friday afternoon due to wind gusts of 45 and 70 miles per hour and humidity bottoming out as low as 3 percent. Coupled with abundant, now-dry vegetation that sprang up after last winter’s record rainfall, forecasters are expecting extreme fire weather.
Which, in turn, means more announcements like this: red flag warnings have been issued by the National Weather Service for parts of Los Angeles, Orange, San Bernardino and Riverside counties. The L.A. area should expect critical fire weather conditions from late Wednesday night through early Saturday morning, as 55-70 mph Santa Ana wind gusts, temperatures in the upper 80s and relative humidity levels of 3-10% create dangerous conditions.
San Diego County residents prepare for possible outages
A red flag warning will be in effect early Thursday through 6 p.m. Friday for the San Gabriel and Santa Monica mountains and the Angeles National Forest, areas that could see winds of 25 to 45 mph and 70-mph gusts. The same warning will be in effect during the same time for the San Fernando, Santa Clarita and San Gabriel valleys, county coastal areas and downtown Los Angeles.
Take extra precautions during fire weather watch, peak fire season
A similar warning is in effect for much of Ventura County and coastal Orange County from 3 a.m. Thursday until 8 a.m. Friday.
So where are the #SantaAnaWinds expected later this week? Here is a snapshot of high-res model output of gusts (kt) valid at 10am Thu. The strongest winds are expected over LA and VTA counties. Expect gusts up to 55mph for coast/valleys and 70mph for mtns on Thu. #SoCal #CAwx pic.twitter.com/EfLMxlFJ1f
The forecast prompted Southern California Edison to warn more than 173,000 customers they could be part of a “public safety power shutoff.”
LOS ANGELES – Gusty Santa Ana winds and "very low humidity" will combine to create "widespread critical fire weather conditions" in much of the Southland from early Thursday through Friday afternoon, the National Weather Service announced Wednesday.
“Were pretty much getting into the heart of our typical Santa Ana season in the fall and winter,” said Stephanie Sullivan, meteorologist with the National Weather Service in San Diego. “So, its right on time.”
Wind gusts of between 45 and 70 miles per hour are expected from mid-morning Thursday to mid-afternoon as humidity levels fall to between 3 and 10 percent, it said.
Given an abundance of dry vegetation, "critical fire weather conditions are expected," the NWS said in a statement.
The red flag warning will be in force in the San Gabriel and Santa Monica mountains and the Angeles National Forest — areas where winds blowing at a sustained 25 to 45 mph are expected, along with 70-mph gusts and humidity levels of 3-10 percent — from 3 a.m. Thursday until 6 p.m. Friday.
The warning will also be in force at the same time in the San Fernando, Santa Clarita and San Gabriel valleys, along the L.A. County coast and in metropolitan Los Angeles, including Downtown L.A. Additionally, it will be in effect in much of Ventura County, including the Los Padres National Forest adjoining the Angeles National Forest, and in coastal Orange County from 3 a.m. Thursday until 8 a.m. Friday.
“Caltrans is advising motorists that (traffic) signalization on state routes throughout Riverside and San Bernardino counties may be affected during the power outages, according to an agency statement. “The signals will continue to cycle regularly for approximately three hours after the outage and will then cycle to `red-flash for another three to six hours. If the outage remains in place for more than six hours, the signals will then go to `blackout mode.
Video: Cal Fire spokesperson talks fire weather, wildfire prevention and PG&E power shutoffs
SDG&E plans for possible power shut-offs during spell of Santa Ana weather
This alert could be extended if atmospheric conditions hold up. FOX 11 will be closely monitoring the possibility of the addition of wind advisories, high wind watch/warnings, and red flag alerts in our area.
Porter stressed the need for people to take basic preventative steps, such as not mowing lawns during high winds, not driving vehicles over extremely dry vegetation, where sparks or hot engine components might touch off a blaze, limiting campfires to designated places and being on the lookout for suspicious behavior that could be arson-related.
"If fire ignition occurs, conditions may be favorable for extreme fire behavior, which would threaten life and property," according to the statement.
Fire Weather Watch for San Diego County signals shift in conditions
Southern California Edison, meanwhile, cautioned some customers that they could lose power. It said it may order "Public Safety Power Shutoffs" aimed at reducing fire risks. Edison officials noted Tuesday that the power cuts — which would de-energize lines that might be in danger of being damaged and igniting fires in high-wind conditions — are only "under consideration."
The shutoffs, also known as “de-energization, are permissible during high fire danger to prevent electricity lines from arcing, or transformers from throwing sparks and igniting fires, particularly in places not easily accessible to firefighters.
According to the utility, more than 106,000 customers throughout SCE's service area live in the neighborhoods being considered for potential rolling power cuts.
In Los Angeles County, there are roughly 30,700 customers facing possible cuts, primarily in the northern reaches of the county such as Lancaster, Palmdale, Santa Clarita and areas such as Acton, Agua Dulce, Lake Hughes and Canyon Country. San Fernando is also included in the potentially affected area.
RIVERSIDE (CNS) – With the autumn seasons first significant Santa Ana wind event forecast this week, state and local officials today advised Riverside County residents to be prepared for wildfires and do what they can to prevent them.
Cal Fire announced that it is increasing staffing over the coming days to be prepared for potential wildfires, but the Los Angeles Fire Department did not order red flag parking restrictions on narrow hilly streets.
"With some of the most destructive and deadliest fires occurring October through December, we need Californians to not be complacent," Cal Fire Chief Thom Porter said. "Wind-driven fires move fast, and residents need to be ready to evacuate at a moment's notice in the event of a wildfire. We have increased our staffing, but need the public to remain vigilant. It is important to follow evacuation orders and leave early as fires move very fast under these conditions."