Cal Fire taking steps to prepare for incoming Santa Ana winds

SAN DIEGO (KUSI) – A Santa Ana wind event that meteorologists expect to be the strongest of the season will begin late Tuesday evening, combining with very low humidity levels and an abundance of dry vegetation to create “extreme” fire weather conditions, including wind gusts of 80 mph in the mountains.

What the National Weather Service is calling an “extreme red flag warning” will be in effect from 11 p.m. Tuesday through 6 p.m. Thursday in much of Los Angeles and San Diego counties. Meteorologists explained that the use of the word “extreme” does not indicate the creation of a new NWS product but, rather, serves to informally emphasize the severity of the conditions expected.

“There is increasing confidence of a strong and damaging Santa Ana wind event late Tuesday evening through Thursday. The peak of the wind event is expected to be Wednesday when damaging wind gusts between 50 and 70 mph will be likely for the wind-pone areas of Los Angeles and Ventura counties, with isolated gusts to 80 mph in the mountains.,” according to an NWS statement. This Santa Ana wind event will likely be the strongest we have seen so far this season.

“These strong winds combined with a long duration of single digit humidities (including very poor to no recoveries Wednesday night) and dry fuels will likely bring very critical fire weather conditions, making this an extreme red flag warning event.”

“If fire ignition occurs, conditions will be favorable for extreme fire behavior, long range spotting, and very rapid fire spread, which would threaten life and property,” according to the statement. “The strength of the expected winds could result in downed trees and power lines as well as power outages.”

Also scheduled starting late Monday and ending Thursday morning is a high wind watch in the same areas covered by the red flag warning.

Citing high fire danger due to another round of Santa Ana winds, San Diego Gas & Electric has announced the possibility of more public safety power shutoffs in the next 24 hours to help reduce fire risk.

SDG&E has notified approximately 41,000 customers in high fire risk areas that they could potentially be affected by public safety power shutoffs. This latest figure includes the approximately 33,000 customers who were notified Monday.

Categories: California News, Local San Diego News, Wildfires