Santa Ana winds, dry air and potentially record-breaking heat will increase the chance of wildfires in Southern California this weekend, according to the National Weather Service.
The risk of wind-driven fires — especially in the mountain areas of Los Angeles and Ventura counties — will be greatest Saturday evening through Monday afternoon, forecasters said. A fire weather watch is in effect.
An upper-level ridge of high pressure building over the West Coast will bring powerful northeast winds, said Joe Sirard, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Oxnard.
Forecasters are expecting 25-to-35 mph winds, with gusts of 45 to 55 mph, he said. There is a potential for isolated gusts up to 60 mph.
Relative humidity levels are expected to drop to the 15%-to-25% range, Sirard said.
Temperatures across the Southland are expected to reach the upper 70s to the mid-80s on Sunday. By Monday, they could approach or even break record highs.
"It will be rather warm for this time of year," Sirard said.
On Monday, a high temperature of 87 degrees is forecast for Long Beach. The record for that day is 83 degrees, which was set in 1992, Sirard said.
Downtown Los Angeles could see a high of 86 degrees Monday, approaching the record high of 88 in 1971, Sirard said.
The high for Burbank is forecast at 85 degrees, one degree shy of the 86-degree record in 1971. Woodland Hills could hit 85 degrees; Westwood, 84 degrees; and Lancaster, 74 degrees.
Monday should be the warmest day, Sirard said. There will be a slight cooldown next week, but temperatures will still be above normal.
Similar conditions will exist in Orange and San Diego counties, with temperatures 15 degrees or more above average, according to the National Weather Service in San Diego.