By CBSLA Staff

LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — Santa Ana winds will return to the Southland this week, bringing warm winter weather with gusty and dry conditions, raising the risk of wildfires.

Winds began building Wednesday afternoon in some areas, most notably in the western San Fernando Valley, where gusts of 35 to 45 mph were reported, according to the National Weather Service.

Forecasters said a high-pressure system will bring warm and dry conditions, pushing humidity levels down starting Thursday afternoon.

The dry conditions are expected to continue until at least Saturday.

“Meanwhile, gusty north to northeast wind gusts between 20 and 35 mph will continue over the wind-prone areas today (Wednesday), then increase to between 25 and 45 mph tonight through Thursday leading to fairly widespread elevated fire weather conditions,” according to the NWS.

“These winds should increase again with gusts between 35 and 50 mph Thursday evening into Friday morning, then persist through Saturday except for a brief lull later Friday.

A wind advisory was issued Wednesday for portions of L.A. County and all of Ventura County, according to CBSLA meteorologist Amber Lee. The advisory begins at 9 p.m. Wednesday and lasts until 3 p.m. Friday.

Officials said there is a growing chance for red flag conditions over the Los Angeles and Ventura County mountains and valleys Thursday night through Friday.

A red flag warning was issued in inland Orange County and the Santa Ana mountains, in effect from 4 p.m. Thursday until 4 p.m. Friday.

Winds are expected to die down Saturday night through Sunday, but will pick up again Monday through Tuesday or Wednesday, “with a growing potential for moderate to strong winds and red flag conditions,” forecasters said.

Coastal areas, which were seeing temperatures in the low 70s on Wednesday, could hit the 80s by Thursday, according to the NWS.