A red flag warning was issued for much of Southern California for Wednesday amid expectations of gusty Santa Ana winds and unseasonably high temperatures.
On Christmas Day, gusts between 40 and 55 mph across the mountains of Los Angeles and Ventura counties were expected, with more moderate winds in area valleys, according to the National Weather Service.
The combination of gusty winds, low humidity and dry vegetation combined to make “critical fire weather conditions,” according to the weather service.
Drivers of high-profile vehicles were warned to be cautious and alert for dangerous, windy conditions on roadways.
Temperatures were expected to be above normal — in the mid-70s to mid-80s in much of the region.
In downtown Los Angeles, temperatures were expected to approach the record high for Christmas Day of 85 degrees, Meteorologist Carol Smith of the National Weather Service’s Oxnard office told the Los Angeles Times.
“I think pretty much every location will be close,” Smith said of area records.
The red flag warning for much of Los Angeles and Ventura counties was slated to remain in effect through 6 p.m Thursday.
A red flag warning is the weather service’s way of alerting land management and fire agencies and the broader public that weather conditions could lead to dramatic increases in wildfire activity.
In the Inland Empire and Orange County, a wind advisory was in effect Wednesday through 2 p.m. Thursday, with winds expected at 20 to 30 mph and isolated gusts of up to 65 mph.