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Blow Damaged Crops, Fanned Flames : Big Chill Is Forecast to Return as Winds Fade Away

Times Staff Writer

Strong winds, which blew up a storm of trouble in rural San Diego County Thursday, are due to fade away today with the return of calmer but colder weather, forecasters said.

The winds that gusted to 70 m.p.h Thursday damaged avocado crops, fanned a brush fire in Ramona and caused several power outages.

The unseasonal Ramona brush fire blackened 75 acres before 150 firefighters could contain it.

The big blowout Thursday also caused cancellation of classes in East County’s Mountain Empire Unified School District.

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Interstate 8 was closed between East Willows Road at Alpine and El Centro Thursday morning as the powerful winds whipped over mountains and deserts.

More Typical Weather

National Weather Service forecaster Wilbur Shigehara, the blustery Santa Ana conditions will give way this weekend to more typical winter weather.

“The conditions will be dramatically different Friday than they were Thursday,” Shigehara said. “The winds will switch direction and the Santa Ana will be all gone this weekend. It’s a big change.

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“This is a typical winter, reminiscent of the late 1960s, early 1970s. The late 1970s and early 1980s, we had the warmest temperatures in over 100 years. The weather is now returning back to a San Diego winter. This winter is typical for winter.”

The Santa Ana winds, caused by a high-pressure system over Nevada, also brought low humidity (11%) to San Diego Thursday. But that will change as ocean breezes come from the southwest this weekend.

There may also be light rain this weekend as the remnants of a weak storm from the Gulf of Alaska pass through the county.

A 10-Degree Drop

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In the desert, the forecast is partly cloudy and cooler as weekend temperatures reach a high of 60 with a low of 35.

Coastal and inland-valley temperatures may reach 70 degrees today with sunny skies. Temperatures are expected to plunge 10 degrees over the weekend as skies become cloudy. Coastal and inland-valley highs should range from 54 to 60, with coastal lows of 43 to 48. Inland-valley lows may drop to 38.

The snow level will fall to 5,500 feet in the mountains, with some snow flurries possible. Weekend mountain highs up to 40 are forecast, with nighttime lows in the 20s.

The surf will be 3 to 4 feet with a water temperature of 55.

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Sunny skies are expected to return Monday, the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday.

Times staff writers Maureen Fan and Tom Gorman contributed to this report.


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