Originally published January 27, 2012 at 5:28 a.m., updated January 27, 2012 at 4:27 p.m.
High winds began to whip up across the San Diego area today, threatening to create critical wildfire conditions in valley and mountain locales during the weekend.
Late this morning, increasingly warm, dry and gusty conditions across the region prompted the National Weather Service to issue a "red flag'' fire- hazard warning, effective from 2 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday.
The NWS predicted 20 to 30 mph winds out of the northeast over the period, with gusts possibly up to 65 mph, and a drop in humidity levels to as low as 5 percent in some spots.
Though the winds were expected to weaken dramatically Saturday evening, the dry atmosphere will likely prevail into Sunday, according to the NWS.
A red-flag declaration warns of weather-related "explosive fire-growth potential.''
Meanwhile, a high-surf advisory also was in effect today for San Diego- area coastal areas, cautioning beachgoers about waves up to 12 feet and dangerous rip currents, according to forecasters. That alert was slated to expire at 2 a.m. Saturday.