Santa Ana winds returning to Southland, heightening fire concerns

Santa Ana winds will again gust across the Southland beginning Monday night and continuing into Wednesday, combining with low humidity levels to create a heightened risk of wildfires, the National Weather Service said.

The winds took longer to develop than initially forecast, but gusts of up to 40 mph were reported in some mountain areas Tuesday morning.  

A wind advisory will be in effect until 3 p.m. Wednesday for the Los Angeles County mountains and the Santa Clarita Valley.

According to the National Weather Service, the wind gusts up to 45 mph were anticipated Tuesday afternoon, strengthening Wednesday to as strong as 55 mph, with isolated gusts of 65 mph possible.

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Wind advisories will be in effect from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday in the Santa Monica Mountains Recreational Area, Los Angeles County mountains and the Santa Clarita Valley.

NWS forecasters warned that the winds will make driving treacherous for high-profile vehicles, while also bringing down tree limbs and potentially knocking out power.  

Forecasters said the advisory will likely be expanded by Tuesday night across all of Los Angeles County and stretched into Wednesday.  

"Offshore flow and winds aloft increase Tuesday night into Wednesday, and this will lead to stronger Santa Ana winds along with continued very low humidities," according to the NWS. "The current forecast calls for wind gusts between 35 and 55 mph will local gusts to 65 mph across wind prone areas of Los Angeles and Ventura counties, with the strongest winds focused in the mountains and Santa Clarita Valley."  

The NWS warned that fire conditions will worsen Wednesday as compared to Tuesday, but the agency does not anticipate issuing any fire weather watches or red flag warnings.  

In Orange County, wind advisories were already in effect until noon Wednesday in the Santa Ana Mountains and foothills, along with county inland areas.

Forecasters said those areas will see east winds of 20 to 30 mph, with gusts up to 50 mph.

"The offshore winds will weaken considerably Thursday before turning onshore, leading to a significant cooling trend starting Friday and continuing into the weekend," according to the NWS.

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