Fire weather still threatens Southern California

The threat of wildfires hanged over Southern California Tuesday, a day after strong Santa Ana winds knocked out power to tens of thousands of customers and caused the death of a Tustin woman crushed by a falling tree.

A red flag warning denoting a high risk of wildfire because of strong Santa Ana winds and low humidity remained in force over most of Los Angeles County and all of Orange County and will expire at 8 p.m. Red flag warnings are also in effect in Ventura, Santa Barbara, San Luis Obispo, Riverside and San Diego counties.

In the Southland, the warning is in effect in the San Gabriel Mountains, the Angeles National Forest, the Santa Monica Mountains Recreational Area, the San Fernando, Santa Clarita and San Gabriel valleys, L.A. County beach cities, metropolitan Los Angeles including Downtown L.A., the Hollywood Hills, and all of Orange County.

NWS forecasters said wind gusts of 45 to 55 miles per hour would hit mountain areas while gusts of 35-45 mph plague the valleys amid humidity levels of 10-20 percent, falling to 4-10 percent during daytime hours.

"There is a low probability of extending the red flag in a few locations Tuesday night (after 8 p.m.), mainly for the foothills on the downslope side of the mountains due to poor recoveries and locally gusty winds, according to an NWS statement. "Another weak Santa Ana event is possible Friday through Sunday morning.''

Thousands of customers lost power Monday because of strong winds, but the situation was somewhat better this morning. The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power is reporting that 1,760 customers are still without power throughout the city due to high winds, down from a high of about 8,900 on Monday. Southern California Edison reports 2,284 customers in Los Angeles County and 464 customers in Orange County are without power, down from a high of more than 53,000 customers in both counties on Monday.

Monday's gusty winds appeared to have claimed a life in Tustin, where a tree fell on a car in the 14000 block of Red Hill Avenue around 9:15 a.m. The woman inside the car was pronounced dead at the scene.

The NWS forecast sunnny skies in L.A County today and highs of 66 on Mount Wilson; 74 in Palmdale; 75 in Lancaster; 76 in Avalon; 82 in San Gabriel; 85 in Pasadena, Burbank, Woodland Hills and at LAX; and 88 in Long Beach and Downtown L.A. Temperatures will mostly remain in the 80s through Monday but rise to the low 90s in Woodland Hills on Friday and Saturday and on Friday in Saugus.

Sunny skies were also forecast in Orange County, along with highs of 78 in San Clemente; 80 in Laguna Beach; 82 in Newport Beach; 83 in Yorba Linda and Anaheim; and 84 in Fullerton, Irvine and Mission Viejo. Orange County temperatures will remain in the 80s at least through Monday, with the highest expected Saturday.

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