• Southern California Under Red Flag Warning

    LOS ANGELES(CNS) – Much of Southern California was under a red flag warning today — signifying what the National Weather Service calls “an extremely high fire danger” — as strong Santa Ana winds swept the region, temperatures soared and humidity levels dipped down to single-digit territory.

    The strongest winds were blowing in the San Gabriel Mountains in Los Angeles and San Gabriel counties, the National Weather Service reported.

    Damaging gusts of between 60 and 70 miles per hour were expected in mountain areas, forecasters said. Gusts of between 40 and 60s mph were expected in the valleys and along the coast, they said.

    Because of the winds, “there will be the threat of downed trees and power lines as well as power outages,” warned an NWS advisory.

    “The combination of these gusty winds, humidities as low as 5 percent or less across a large portion of Ventura and Los Angeles counties, and fuels that are more typical of mid to late summer, will create an extremely high fire danger.”

    The red flag warning was scheduled to expire at 5 p.m. Friday afternoon. It was in effect in throughout Los Angeles County, except the Antelope and San Gabriel valleys, all of Orange County and the valleys and mountains of Ventura County.

    Also in effect today — until 6 this afternoon — was a high wind warning, which heralds sustained wind speeds of at least 40 mph and gusts of 58 mph or more.

    Wind speeds will decrease today, but the red flag warning will remain in force until Friday afternoon because humidity levels “are expected to remain extremely low,” according to an advisory.

    Given the conditions, “if fire ignition occurs, there could be rapid spread of wildfire that would lead to a threat of life and property,” the NWS warned.

    The NWS forecast highs today of 75 on Mount Wilson; 81 in Palmdale and Lancaster; 85 in Avalon; 87 in Saugus; 89 in San Gabriel, Newport Beach and at LAX; 90 in downtown L.A.; 92 in Pasadena; 93 in Long Beach, Burbank and Anaheim; and 97 in Woodland Hills. Temperatures will be at today’s levels or higher on Friday but begin a sharp downward trend on Saturday.

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