Santa Ana winds, red flag fire warnings kick off Thanksgiving in Southern California


Downed trees and thousands of people without power. Thanksgiving began in parts of Los Angeles and Ventura counties with a red flag warning and hot, dry winds from Santa Ana, which are expected to peak Thursday afternoon and subside by Friday morning.

A high wind advisory is in effect until 3 p.m. for the San Fernando Valley, Santa Clarita Valley, the Ventura Valleys, as well as the mountains of Santa Monica and Los Angeles County. Wind gusts are expected to reach 60 to 75 mph in more mountainous areas, with a particularly windy hotspot between Santa Clarita and Burbank — known as the Magic Mountain Truck Trail — reaching 91 mph as early as 8 a.m. Thursday.

Wind conditions, even after peaking, are expected to remain fairly gusty through 11 a.m. Friday morning. Weather officials advised fire-prone communities to stay alert.

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“The fire hazard will be there until tomorrow,” said Ryan Kittell, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Oxnard. “While the wind peaks today and gradually eases tomorrow, they will still be windy enough tomorrow morning — and the air will still be dry enough to cause that increased fire risk.”

This wind marks the third Santa Ana event in a week after powerful gusts toppled semi trucks, damaged electrical equipment and started a fire at a Fontana pallet yard.

As a precaution, thousands of Edison customers in Southern California in high-alert areas — including southern Ventura County, a northwestern strip of Los Angeles County and an area along the 215 corridor in Riverside County — could lose power Thursday, depending on how hard the wind will be , said spokesman David Song.

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As of 2:30 p.m., more than 4,200 customers in Riverside County and 3,150 customers in Ventura County were subject to a temporary, proactive “public safety shutdown.” Live updates are being provided on the utility’s disturbance map, and Song said the “period of concern” for high winds is expected to ease at 6 p.m.

Santa Ana winds, the infamous, often devastating winds that mark a typical California season, tend to wreak havoc each fall as a dome of high-pressure cold air develops over Nevada and the Great Basin area. This high pressure forces the air to spread in all directions, including over the mountains and toward Southern California.

Instead of a coastal breeze flowing from the ocean to land, wind conditions in Los Angeles are reversed during these high-pressure events: Santa Anas blow in at super-speed and overheat, descend mountainsides, kick up the foothills, and take down the trees as they make their way to the sea.

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Because of this reversal, the temperatures typical of the various microclimates in Southern California are also being reversed. Beach towns along the Los Angeles and Ventura coasts are expected to experience warmer, sunnier weather on Thursday and Friday, with temperatures in the mid-70s to below the 80s. The mountains and deserts, on the other hand, remain cooler and in the mid-60s.

Temperatures across the region are expected to cool by Saturday, with temperatures hovering between the mid-60s and lower 70s. There’s also a chance of light rain on Monday and Tuesday, but officials said weather models are still too far out. were to be able to make a more accurate prediction.


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