Gusty winds and warming trend to increase fire danger early in week

Santa Ana winds, low humidity and a warming trend increase chance of fire weather in L.A County early in week

Gusty Santa Ana winds, low humidity and a warming trend will increase the chances of fire danger at least through the early part of Thanksgiving week, weather experts said Sunday.

The wind advisory calls for gusts of up to 50 miles per hour in the San Fernando Valley and Santa Monica mountains through Monday afternoon – but that will almost certainly be extended into Tuesday, said David Sweet, a meteorologist for the National Weather Service in Oxnard.

As a result of these conditions, there is a fire weather watch for L.A. County’s coastal, valley and mountain areas, he said. However, it’s likely that the weather service could issue a red flag warning Sunday afternoon. Such actions often trigger fire departments to send resources to vulnerable areas, such as foothills that are prone to wildfires.

By Tuesday, high temperatures will creep into the mid 80s in downtown L.A., Sweet said, with winds expected to still be blowing in the region. Though the winds might abate by then, temperatures will climb to the high 80s on Wednesday.

But Sweet said temperatures should begin to dip again on Thanksgiving day, down to still warm mid to lower 80s.

“It’s kind of like happy Thanksgiving and pass the sun tan lotion,” he said.

By Friday, temperatures in L.A. should decline further to the mid to high 70s, continuing a cooling trend into next weekend, Sweet said.

The one thing Southern California needs is rain – and there’s no rain forecast through at least next Saturday. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said there’s still about a 50% chance of an El Niño developing in the equatorial Pacific.

But even if that happens, the ocean pattern that arises out of the warming of sea surfaces isn’t a good predictor of above normal rain unless the El Niño is strong. Scientists said this year’s El Niño – if it develops – would almost certainly be weak.

“With weak El Niños, there is no specific signal as to a dry year versus a wet year," Sweet said.

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