Rising temperatures and gusting winds will combine to put the Southland under the threat of wildfires beginning tonight, with forecasters saying fire conditions will continue into the weekend.
The National Weather Service issued a fire weather watch that will be in effect for the bulk of Los Angeles County, including the San Gabriel Valley, from tonight through Saturday night.
A more serious red flag warning will be in effect for most of Orange County and all of western Riverside County from 2 a.m. Friday through 8 p.m. Sunday.
In San Diego County, a red flag warning will take effect at 11 a.m. Friday and continue through 8 p.m. Sunday.
According to the NWS, a ridge of high pressure will build over the area Thursday night into Friday, continuing to move east over the weekend.
"The Santa Ana winds are expected to peak Friday midday and then persist, while weakening slightly Friday afternoon through Saturday," according to an NWS advisory. "Temperatures will range 5 to 10 degrees above normal with poor to moderate relative humidity recovery. Relative humidity is expected to fall sharply into the mid-teens to single digits Friday, and by Saturday, widespread single-digit humidity will extend from the higher elevations to the lower elevations."
Forecasters said northeast winds will average 30 to 40 mph, with gusts of up to 60 mph along ridges and canyons. Temperatures will be in the upper-70s to mid-80s in the mountains, in the upper-80s to low-90s in the valleys and in the mid-70s at the beaches.
According to the NWS, the conditions will be ripe for rapid fire growth, and if a blaze does ignite, "there could be rapid spread of wildfire that would lead to a threat to life and property."
--City News Service