A round of Santa Ana winds expected to blow over Southern California this week has triggered several advisories for residents and forced the state’s fire agency to increase staffing.
“Even though it’s mid-April, the drought has caused conditions to be months drier than they normally would,” said Dale Hutchinson, the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection’s southern region chief in a statement.
CalFire has added extra fire engines, bulldozers and aircraft to the region as Santa Ana winds push hot, dry air across the Southland’s extremely parched vegetation.
The Santa Anas are expected to sweep across L.A.’s mountain communities and the Antelope Valley at up to 40 mph with gusts up to 60 mph from Tuesday afternoon to early Wednesday, said National Weather Service meteorologist Kathy Hoxsie.
The winds are expected to stretch from Santa Barbara’s mountains to Ventura County and Los Angeles County, Hoxsie said.
A 63-mph gust was measured Tuesday afternoon at the Antelope Valley California Poppy Reserve, the Weather Service reported. The Santa Anas are keeping cooler, ocean breezes at bay, Hoxsie said.
Temperatures are expected to peak with the wind Wednesday. Angelenos downtown could feel 25-mph winds with temperatures in the mid-80s, and residents in the valleys will experience even hotter and windier conditions.
California had its warmest January-to-March period on record this year, according to the National Climatic Data Center.
While Hoxsie said the winds expected this week aren’t “knock down the house” strength, they still pose a danger for motorists, particularly in areas such as the Grapevine, where big rigs are vulnerable.
Trees and power lines could also be knocked over, the Weather Service warned.
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