Gusty winds to raise wildfire risk, temperatures for Southern California

Alex Sosnowski

Following the misty conditions that gripped parts of Southern California at the time of the deadly helicopter crash that left millions mourning the loss of Kobe Bryant on Sunday, Sundowner winds have evolved into a Santa Ana event and are forecast to continue into the end of the week.

The offshore winds will prevent extensive fog and low clouds in the region but can lead to some other problems.

As an area of high pressure builds inland across Northern California then the Great Basin while a disturbance moves through at the jet stream level of the atmosphere, Southern California will continue to be pestered by moderate gusty winds into Friday.

"Northerly winds developed late Tuesday and brought in slightly cooler air during the middle part of this week," according to AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Dave Samuhel.

Initially, the northerly winds will bring in slightly cooler air. Temperatures have been shaved by 3-8 degrees Fahrenheit, on average, from Monday to Wednesday.

As the high pressure area settles over the Great Basin, the wind direction will trend more from the northeast spanning Wednesday night to Friday.

"A moderate Santa Ana event is likely during the second half of this week," Samuhel said.

Winds will average 15-30 mph with frequent gusts between 40 and 50 mph in the canyons that run from northeast to southwest. An AccuWeather Local StormMax™ wind gust of 70 mph is anticipated.

"Temperatures are likely to surge well into the 70s and lower 80s along the coast of Southern California spanning Thursday and Friday," Samuhel added.


The gusty winds will raise the risk of wildfire ignition and spread, but conditions will be far less severe than during the late summer and early autumn. Back then, brush was very dry due to a lack of long-term rainfall.

There has been some rain this month although that rain has been much less than average and generally under 25% of normal.

Experts urge people to exercise caution with power equipment and quickly report any downed utility lines that may spark and start a fire.

Gusts this strong can kick up dust over the deserts and create dangerous crosswinds and handling conditions for trucks in open areas and over the passes.

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