LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — Authorities in Southern California were on high alert Sunday in anticipation of strong winds and elevated fire danger which is expected to continue through Tuesday.
“We don’t have the downpour that we need. There’s a lot of dry vegetation, a lot of dry brush out there – that we really need to be careful with,” said Henry Narvaez with the L.A. County Fire Department.
The National Weather Service says gusty Santa Ana winds will develop Sunday evening through Tuesday, with gusts expected to reach up to 65 mph in the mountains and valleys. The strongest winds were possible along the Grapevine.
The damaging winds, according to the NWS, could impact areas from San Bernardino to Riverside County mountains, the Inland Empire, and Orange. The NWS also says “relative humidity will tumble into the widespread single digits Monday and will remain extremely low through Tuesday with poor recovery Monday night.” As a result, critical fire weather conditions are possible, according to the NWS.
Several weather warnings and advisories are expected to take effect as a result. These include a high wind warning starting at 11 p.m. Sunday for Santa Clarita Valley, San Fernando Valley, Santa Monica mountains, Ventura County’s valleys/mountains, LA County’s mountains, the Inland Empire, inland Orange County, and for the San Bernardino County mountains. The warning means damaging winds could blow large objects such as trees and power lines, making power outages possible.
In addition, a wind advisory will take effect at 11 p.m. as well for the Los Angeles, Orange County and Ventura County coastlines, as well as the San Gabriel Valley. Early Monday, a red flag warning will take effect for most of the Southland, including LA, Ventura, Riverside County mountains, Santa Clarita Valley, San Fernando Valley, San Gabriel Valley, the Ventura and LA coast, downtown and inland OC.
The California Highway Patrol has issued a wind advisory for the Antelope Valley (14) Freeway in the Antelope Valley area.
“Our emergency response officials are world-class and will stand ready to defend lives and property,” said L.A. County’s Office of Emergency Management Director Kevin McGowan said. “We need collaboration from all residents who live in L.A. County to stay safe as a region. We must all do our part by staying informed and being ready to evacuate at a moment’s notice, especially if you live in canyon, mountain or foothill communities.”
Despite the fire danger, freezing overnight temperatures are expected across the Antelope Valley Monday and Tuesday, with a freeze watch expected to take effect late Sunday.
Nearly 5,000 SoCal Edison customers in Riverside County could have their power cut off to lower the risk of snapped electrical lines that could lead to a fire if winds stay elevated, officials said.
It’s a move that’s already in place in Northern California, where nearly 400,000 PG&E customers have been in the dark.
(© Copyright 2020 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. City News Service contributed to this report.)