Winds prompt red flag warning for fire-prone Southern California

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Conditions conducive to the outbreaks of wildfires prevailed over much of the Southland today — including in mountain, forest, valley and urban areas — because of strong Santa Ana winds and very low humidity.

A red flag warning denoting fire-weather conditions will be in force from noon today until 6 p.m. Saturday in the Santa Monica Mountains, inland Orange County, the San Fernando, Santa Clarita, and eastern San Gabriel valleys, and the L.A County costal zone, which includes beach cities, metropolitan Los Angeles and the Hollywood Hills.

A fire weather watch — one notch less severe than a red flag warning — will be in force in the San Gabriel Mountains and the Angeles National Forest from Saturday morning through Saturday afternoon. The mountains and forest are being spared a red flag warning for now because the humidity level will be a little higher than where the red flag warning has been issued.

The wind in the red flag areas will blow at between 15 and 40 miles per hour, with gusts of more than 60 mph amid humidity levels of between 8 and 15 percent, according to the National weather Service. The San Gabriel Mountains and Angeles National Forest will also be buffeted by high winds — 25-45 mph, with 70-mph gusts — but the humidity level will be slightly higher, reaching 20 percent, forecasters said.

Also in effect in several areas were high wind warnings, which indicate sustained winds or gusts of 58 mph and are more serious than wind advisories, which denote 35-mph winds.

Sunny skies were forecast in L.A. County today, along with highs of 49 in Palmdale; 50 in Lancaster; 51 on Mount Wilson; 57 in Saugus; 61 in San Gabriel; 62 in Burbank; 63 in Pasadena; and 64 in downtown L.A., Avalon, Woodland Hills and at LAX. Saturday’s L.A. County temperatures will be up to 7 degrees higher in some communities and climb a few more degrees — up to 6 degrees in Woodland Hills — on Sunday before retreating Monday.

The forecast for Orange County today was for sunny, windy weather and highs of 63 in Mission Viejo; 64 in Yorba Linda; 65 in San Clemente; and 66 in Newport Beach, Laguna Beach, Fullerton, and Irvine. Temperatures will climb into the low 70s in several Orange County communities Saturday and, on Sunday, climb a few more degrees in some communities and decline a few degrees in others.

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SOURCE: ABC7

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