The National Weather Service is warning of dangerous fire conditions across the state as a powerful Santa Ana wind event is forecast to hit Southern California late this weekend, while Northern California is expected to see more gusty winds.
Southern California will see “damaging” Santa Ana winds, with the potential for the “strongest” event of the season thus far coming Sunday night into Monday, forecasters said.
A fire weather watch will be in effect for L.A. and Ventura counties from late Sunday night through Tuesday, according to the weather service.
“High potential for critical fire weather conditions which could bring rapid fire growth with long range spotting which could threaten life/property,” NWS warned.
The mountains of Los Angeles and Ventura counties could see gusts of up to 75 mph, and even the coastal areas could see gusts of 50 mph.
The San Bernardino Mountains, the northern Inland Empire, the Santa Ana Mountains and inland Orange County will also be affected by the winds, with the strongest gusts expected from the 91 Freeway to the Cajon Pass.
Meanwhile, Northern California’s latest fire-prevention power shutoffs are ending but forecasters warn there will be another round of gusty offshore winds that pose serious fire danger starting later in the weekend.
About three-quarters of the 31,000 Pacific Gas & Electric customers whose power blacked out Wednesday night had power restored by Thursday evening and the remainder are expected to be powered up Friday. PG&E advises that a potentially larger public safety power shutoff could begin Sunday morning.
The National Weather Service says the San Francisco Bay Area will have initial winds Sunday afternoon and then a stronger burst that night.
The winds in Northern California may be the “strongest event of the year, so far,” and will be accompanied by very low humidity, the weather service said in describing a red flag warning on Friday.
A fire weather watch is in effect from Sunday morning to the afternoon of Tuesday, Oct. 27.
The watch is for a massive area, including the Sacramento Valley, the northern San Joaquin Valley, the northern Sierra Nevada foothills, and the Sierra Nevada north of highway 50, or the South Lake Tahoe area.
Much of California farther north is under a fire weather watch as well.