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Santa Ana forecast sparks fire, frost warnings

The fierce Santa Ana winds that descend over Southern California over the Thanksgiving holiday fuel the fire – and frost – worries, radically divergent phenomena that can happen with the seasonal gusts.

A red flag warning went into effect at 10 a.m. on Wednesday for much of Los Angeles and Ventura counties and will last until 6 p.m. Friday as gusty northeast winds and parched air result in a critical fire risk in the region, according to the National Meteorological Service.

Gusts are expected to peak between 35 and 55 mph, with intense isolated gusts of 60 to 70 mph capable of blasting foothills and mountains – paired with minimum humidity of just 2% to 8%. Winds are expected to be strongest from Wednesday evening through Thursday morning, serving a blustery Thanksgiving morning.

Winds are expected to ease by Friday, but very low humidity and occasional gusty winds will continue these critical conditions throughout the afternoon, according to the warning.

“Any new start of fire could spread quickly!” The weather service warned in a tweet, noting in another tweet that residents should have a contingency plan in the event of an evacuation triggered by a rapid wildfire, even at night.

Southern California Edison said on Tuesday that nearly 99,000 customers could be affected by a public safety power outage to reduce the risk of blasting blown utility lines.

Interior areas of Riverside, San Bernardino, Ventura and Los Angeles counties could experience the biggest blackouts, the utility said. Kern and Orange counties could also be affected.

Typically associated with hot, dry gusts, Santa Anas can also shuttle through cold air from the Great Basin to the Southland valleys and inland mountains, the weather service said. Temperatures may drop well below freezing in Antelope Valley on Wednesday evening.

Weather officials said residents should be prepared to protect sensitive plants and shelter outdoor animals in freezing conditions. Temperatures between 33 and 36 degrees can damage plants left outside, while 32 degrees and below can kill them.

In the Sierra, mild, dry conditions are prompting some ski resorts to delay their winter season – a sharp reversal after an early-season storm dumped snow on some peaks, leading some resorts at the time to open. earlier than expected.

The Lake Tahoe Sugar Bowl station announced this week that it will not open Friday for Thanksgiving weekend as scheduled.

“We kept our hopes up as long as we could,” but a forecast of non-ideal conditions forced a delay, the station wrote on its website on Monday.

No updated opening date has been provided for the resort, located on the north shore of Lake Tahoe. “As soon as we find out, we’ll let you know,” the resort said.

The Heavenly and Northstar resorts have previously announced that they will not be open by the statutory holiday weekend, nor have they provided dates for the open fires, the Associated Press reported.

Meanwhile, Palisades Tahoe and Mammoth Mountain, south of Lake Tahoe, both started their winter seasons early due to a massive storm, fed by an atmospheric river, in October. Palisades Tahoe has since closed due to dry weather.

The emergence of La Niña conditions for the second year in a row is a major factor behind the hot and dry conditions in southern California.

The phenomenon is associated with warmer and drier winters in the southwest and colder and wetter conditions in the Pacific Northwest. Northern California, right in the middle, is more of a cinch.

In the midst of the La Niña recall, southern California is expected to experience below normal precipitation and above normal temperatures this winter, according to the 2021 winter forecast released by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, which said. runs from December to February.

South of the Bay Area – throughout central and southern California – “the prospects for drought improvement are slim,” NOAA meteorologist Brad Pugh said late last month.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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