Strong winds, freezing temps, high surf: Southern California under multiple weather warnings

Firefighters cut a fire break as a helicopter drops water on the Bond fire in unincorporated Orange County
Firefighters cut a fire break as a helicopter drops water on the Bond fire in unincorporated Orange County, where Santa Ana winds fueled the blaze.
(Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times)

From freezing temperatures to gusty winds and frothing seas, Southern California can expect to see some extreme weather conditions over the next few days. Several warnings and advisories are in place in different regions.

With temperatures expected to drop as low as a teeth-chattering 16 degrees, the National Weather Service issued a hard freeze warning early Friday morning for the Antelope Valley and other valley and inland areas, including the cities of Palmdale and Lancaster. A watch will remain in effect through Saturday morning.

One chief concern is that below-freezing temperatures — 32 degrees Fahrenheit — can cause outdoor pipes to
burst when the water in them expands, according to Ryan Kittell, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service’s Oxnard station.


To avoid damage, pipes “should be wrapped, drained, or allowed to drip slowly,” the weather service said in the advisory. Those with in-ground sprinkler systems are advised to drain them and cover above-ground pipes to protect them from freezing.

Residents are also advised to cover or shelter plants, livestock and pets.

Animals, plants “and anybody that’s outside” can be harmed, Kittell said.

Meanwhile, strong Santa Ana winds that arrived in Southern California earlier this week are continuing to plague the area, sharply increasing the risk of wildfires.

A Red Flag warning will remain in place for most of Los Angeles and Ventura counties until 6 p.m Friday. The warning will remain in effect for the Santa Clarita Valley and mountains and mountain areas through Saturday.

While winds peaked on Thursday — with gusts reaching 85 mph near Magic Mountain — a new wind event may begin as soon as Monday or Tuesday, Kittell said.

With vegetation parched from lower-than-normal rainfall, and no precipitation in sight for the next week, Kittell said more wind means more risk for wildfires.


Weather officials warned earlier this week that gusty Santa Anas could ignite dry brush.

The Bond fire in Orange County exploded on Thursday, burning more than 7,000 acres and forcing residents to flee from their homes. A pair of smaller brushfires also broke out in Riverside County, causing some initial evacuations. All of the fires continue to burn.

“We’re certainly not out of the woods yet,” Kittell said. With Santa Ana season running through January, “we just have to wait for rain to lower that threat for fires.”

A high surf advisory is in place for Los Angeles and Ventura counties until 2 a.m. on Saturday, with waves expected to reach 4 to 7 feet. Even higher surf is expected to arrive between Monday and Wednesday next week, Kittell said.

For those who brave the water, there’s an elevated risk for rip currents, and it can be risky to just get close, he said.

“There’s a history of people just getting swept off the rocks,” he said, “and it can cause fatalities as well.”