Santa Ana Winds To Increase Fire Danger In San Diego County
Tuesday, January 19, 2021
Photo by KPBS Staff
Santa Ana winds will kick up in San Diego County starting Monday night through Wednesday, creating dangerous fire conditions amid dried-out fuels.
Widespread winds in the 30- to 45-mph range are forecast from the coast to the inland valleys, though gusts could reach 50 mph or greater in wind- prone areas, including in the mountains, peaking on Wednesday, according to the National Weather Service.
The NWS warned of elevated to critical fire weather conditions, noting that dry air and weaker Santa Ana wind events have dried fuels over recent weeks.
NWS officials warned that power lines and trees may sustain damage, noting that the winds are "not the typical canyon and passes Santa Ana winds" but "widespread HIGH winds!"
Officials with San Diego Gas & Electric said they are closely monitoring weather conditions and preparing for an emergency response in case the power grid is impacted.
The utility is urging residents to help prevent power outages by remove dead trees and overhanging branches near structures, and secure patio furniture, loose yard objects, roofs, balconies, tarps, pool covers and mylar balloons to ensure they don't fly into power lines, according to SDG&E.
With a chance of rain also forecast for the mountains and deserts, "residents are also urged to drive cautiously as a leading cause of power outages during wet weather is drivers hitting power poles or transformers," according to an SDG&E statement.
The NWS is also forecasting rip currents and dangerous swimming conditions through Tuesday in San Diego County, along with hazardous boating conditions for the inner and outer coastal waters Tuesday through Wednesday d ue to gusty east winds.
Surf of 4 to 7 feet, with sets to 8 feet, are forecast into Tuesday. La Jolla and southward could have local sets up to 10 feet, according to the NWS. The wind could also create minor beach erosion.
High elevation areas of the mountains in the eastern part of San Diego County are expected to receive snow, possibly several inches, on Tuesday night Wednesday.
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