Winds began whipping up in Southern California on Friday afternoon as a strong Santa Ana event descends on the region, according to forecasters.
Powerful winds will strengthen after sunset and linger through the weekend, gradually tapering off between Saturday and Sunday, the National Weather Service said.
Gusts of 50 to 70 mph — and isolated gusts as high as 80 mph — are forecast in Los Angeles and Ventura county mountain, valley and coastal areas, while weaker north-northeast winds are expected in the Antelope and San Gabriel valleys.
Meanwhile, San Bernardino and Riverside mountain areas, along with much of the Inland Empire and inland Orange County, will likely experience gusts of up to 60 mph, according to NWS.
The event is anticipated to peak between Friday night and Saturday morning, with winds strongest on the latter day.
Forecasters warned of the potential for the powerful gusts to cause damage and down trees and power lines, as well as create an increased wildfire risk.
“Watch out for strong cross winds and secure loose objects,” the weather service’s San Diego office tweeted. “A few hours of elevated to near-critical fire weather conditions expected Saturday afternoon.”
As of Saturday afternoon, the wind had caused power disruptions to about 70,000 customers of Southern California Edison, the agency announced on Twitter.
As of about 9:30 p.m., nearly 27,000 of those customers were in Los Angeles County, where there were 84 outages, the agency added.
“We’re aware some customers have been without power for more than 24 hours. We understand that extended outages are a hardship for our customers and crews are working around the clock to restore power as quickly as safety allows,” SCE added on Twitter.
Additionally, a windblown dust advisory has been issued by the South Coast Air Quality Management District for its entire jurisdiction.
The agency cited the potential for dust and soil to be blown around by strong winds, which could result in air quality that is moderate to unhealthy for sensitive groups this weekend. The worst of it is expected Saturday, particularly in the Inland Empire and Coachella Valley, according to AQMD.
The advisory went into effect Friday and is scheduled to expire Sunday at noon.