No emergency outages after Santa Ana winds prompted Southern California fire danger warnings
Large parts of Southern California were hit with Santa Ana winds Monday, prompting warnings of possible public safety power outages for tens of thousands of residents, but no shut-offs were required.
National Weather Service wind advisories for portions of the Inland Empire and Los Angeles, Ventura and Orange counties expired in the afternoon.
The strongest gusts in Los Angeles County, at 77 mph, were recorded by a station on Magic Mountain Truck Trail in the Angeles National Forest, said Kristan Lund, a meteorologist with the weather service in Oxnard. Gusts in Los Angeles County generally reached 50 mph.
Winds had calmed down by midafternoon and conditions are expected to be calmer Tuesday, Lund said.
As California struggles with an increase in extreme wildfires, researchers are studying exactly what a healthy or fire-resistant forest looks like.
Meteorologists are eyeing the possibility of another round of Santa Ana winds Thursday, though it’s expected to be weaker than Monday’s event, she said.
In the San Diego office’s forecast area, which also includes the Inland Empire and Orange County, “Santa Ana winds of moderate strength are prevailing this morning, strongest below the Cajon Pass and just below the Santa Ana Mountains,” according to a 9:03 a.m. forecast discussion from the office. “Peak wind gusts in these areas are mostly around 45 mph. The strongest wind gust recorded was 65 mph at Fremont Canyon…. The winds have peaked and will gradually lessen through this afternoon.”
A couple of big rigs flipped on their sides due to the wind, Caltrans reported.
“This seems to be the biggest [Santa Ana event] so far this year,” said Casey Oswant, a meteorologist with the San Diego office.
Conditions for Tuesday in the San Diego office’s forecast area are expected to be sunny with highs in the 70s and light winds, said meteorologist Joe Dandrea.
Monday’s forecast had also called for relatively low humidity, creating elevated to briefly critical fire conditions in parts of Southern California and prompting one of the region’s largest utilities to issue warnings of possible power outages.
The driest and windiest conditions Monday morning stretched from L.A. County’s mountains through the Santa Clarita Valley and the northern San Fernando Valley, and in eastern Ventura County through Simi Valley, Thousand Oaks and down into the Oxnard plains, the National Weather Service tweeted.
California wildfires released almost 127 million metric tons of carbon dioxide in 2020, almost double the amount of carbon dioxide reductions made over 18 years.
Southern California Edison said on its website that wildfire risks because of weather could lead to public safety power shut-offs for nearly 40,000 of its customers across Los Angeles, Orange, San Bernardino and Ventura counties.
Weather monitoring for power shut-offs ended in the afternoon and no shut-offs were required, said Paul Griffo, an Edison spokesperson.
The Santa Anas, which typically blow most aggressively during the fall months, are known to fuel some of California’s largest fires as strong, dry gusts blow against brush dried from the summer that act as tinder. The Woolsey fire, Los Angeles County’s most destructive blaze, fed off Santa Ana winds in the fall of 2018.
Though Monday’s winds and dry conditions prompted advisories, the event was not long enough for a red flag warning, said David Sweet, a meteorologist with the weather service in Oxnard.
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