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Powerful Santa Ana winds could topple trees, down power lines across L.A., forecasters warn

High-wind warnings show where gusts in excess of 60 mph are possible.
High-wind warnings show where gusts in excess of 60 mph are possible.
(Paul Duginski / Los Angeles Times)

Strong Santa Ana winds that carry the potential to unleash damage across Southern California are expected to continue Monday.

The strongest winds will be centered in the Los Angeles County mountains with speeds ranging from 25 to 35 mph and isolated gusts up to 65 mph. The San Fernando Valley is expected to see winds up to 30 mph with gusts up to 45 mph. Winds ranging from 15 to 30 mph in downtown Los Angeles won’t be quite as severe but could still cause some downed trees and power lines, said David Sweet, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Oxnard.

The National Weather Service has issued a wind advisory for the Los Angeles County mountains through Tuesday morning. Advisories warning of gusty winds that could blow around unsecured objects and make driving difficult in the San Fernando Valley and downtown Los Angeles are expected to expire about 3 p.m. Monday.

With strong winds usually comes the potential for large brush fires across Southern California. Forecasters said, however, that recent rain in the region likely will help keep fire danger down. Downtown Los Angeles has received nearly 7 inches of rain since October, about 2.5 inches more precipitation than normal for the area, Sweet said.

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“With all that rain, the fire danger has gone down. Fuels are not so dry,” he said. “But I don’t urge anyone to test that theory. You can’t be absolutely sure.”

Winds began over the weekend, with the strongest gusts in the region on Sunday in the Los Angeles County mountains. Whitaker Peak in Angeles National Forest saw wind speeds up to 96 mph on Sunday while wind speeds in Malibu Hills in the Santa Monica Mountains reached up to 55 mph.

Temperatures in Los Angeles are expected to linger in the low to mid 70s until Wednesday, when the mercury will drop back to the mid-60s. A slight chance of rain is in the forecast for Thursday, but radar doesn’t show any significant precipitation until the weekend. Even then, forecasters said, the prospects for a storm are relatively low.

Fry writes for the Los Angeles Times.

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