April 20, 2024 2:47 am

Southland Braces for Gusty Santa Ana Winds

Gusty Santa Ana winds began picking up in areas of the Southland on Thursday, prompting warnings of hazardous driving conditions and possible damage to power lines that could cause outages.

“Today marks the start of an extended windy period,” National Weather Service forecasters said on Wednesday, adding that “moderate to strong” winds were anticipated to peak on Thursday.

A wind advisory was already in effect on Wednesday in the Santa Clarita and western San Fernando valleys, along with a portion of the San Gabriel Mountains, where gusts of up to 40 mph were anticipated. A more serious high wind warning was set to be in effect until 4 p.m. Thursday.

During the warning period, gusts could reach as high as 60 mph, according to the NWS.

“Winds this strong may down trees and power lines, causing property damage or power outages,” according to the NWS. “Crosswinds can make driving difficult, especially for drivers of high-profile vehicles and vehicles towing trailers.”

High wind warnings were also set to be in effect on Thursday in the Santa Monica Mountains Recreational Area, Malibu Coast, and San Gabriel Mountains, where gusts of up to 75 mph were possible, forecasters said.

Wind advisories were expected on Thursday in the eastern San Fernando Valley — where gusts could reach 50 mph — and the San Gabriel Valley, where winds up to 45 mph were anticipated.

Winds were expected to weaken on Friday, but it was projected to continue to be breezy into Saturday.

Warmer conditions were expected on Sunday and Monday, with temperatures reaching into the 70s in many areas, and possibly into the 80s in some locations.

Authorities urged people to take precautions during the wind event. Los Angeles Fire Department Capt. Erik Scott noted that February’s deluge of rain has left the ground moist and increases the possibility of trees falling in high winds. He also reminded people to avoid coming into contact with downed power lines, saying people should “assume them to be energized and potentially lethal.”