Drought continues to plague much of California; winds raise fire risk

Dry condition continued to plague much of California

Dry, parched conditions continued for much of the state this week, while locally, strong Santa Ana winds increased the risk of wildfires.

California received little precipitation with extreme to exceptional drought covering two-thirds of the state, according Michael Brewer, a physical scientist at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Climatic Data Center.

By the end of this week, California’s snowpack remained at 5% of average, he said.

Dry conditions are expected to continue next week and warmer-than-average temperatures will persist for the West Coast, Brewer said.

In Southern California, a red flag warning was scheduled to remain in effect until 8 p.m. Thursday because of low humidity, hot temperatures and gusty north to northeast winds, according to the National Weather Service.

The conditions could cause any fire to grow out of control, forecasters said.

Wind gusts could reach 50 mph in the mountains and valleys of Los Angeles and Ventura counties. Gusts could hit 25 mph in the San Gabriel Valley.

The strong winds could create dangerous driving conditions and result in downed trees and power lines.

Because the region is dry and windy, firefighters throughout the region increased staffing.

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