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Santa Anas Due to Breeze Into Orange County

TIMES STAFF WRITER

Santa Ana winds gusting up to 40 m.p.h. at times are expected to swirl into Orange County today, and forecasters say they should continue through late Friday.

But don’t expect to get scorched by the sorts of high temperatures that normally accompany the winds. A high-pressure system rolling in from the east will bring with it cool, comfortable conditions, said Marty McKewon, a meteorologist for WeatherData, which provides forecasts for The Times.

The Santa Anas are expected to average between 20 and 40 m.p.h. But the winds should decrease to about 15 to 30 m.p.h. on Thursday and make their exodus from the county by Friday evening.

“Santa Ana winds can bring in much warmer weather but the reason we won’t be seeing that is because . . . of the colder air moving in from the east, crossing over the Sierra and descending into the L.A. basin,” McKewon said.

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Today’s high in most places in the county should be in the upper 60s to lower 70s, a noticeable difference from Santa Ana’s high of 84 on Monday--the highest temperature in the country that day. The city’s ascent to the top spot normally held by such parched places as Needles and Death Valley was caused by a combination of sunny skys and relatively low air pressure in the area, McKewon said.

Wednesday’s pleasant temperatures should remain the same through Friday, with sunshine through the week, McKewon said.

Bright, sunny conditions and moderate offshore breezes should mean good news for Southern California surfers.

“If (the predictions) are true, then this is a real godsend to the surfers,” said Steve Seim, a Huntington City Beach lifeguard.

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“The winds will probably hold up the wave a little higher . . . and give it a better ride,” Seim added.

Although the Santa Ana winds may make for strong surf, they could also pose a serious problem elsewhere. McKewon advised travelers heading through the desert to be aware of the gusty conditions.

“There will be isolated gusts approaching 70 m.p.h. below the canyons and mountain passes,” McKewon said. “For people who plan to travel through the desert, there will probably be poor visibility because of the blowing sand and dust,” McKewon said.


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