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UPDATED: Weather Service Issues Red Flag Warning

Strong Santa Ana winds combined with very low humidity prompted the National Weather Service to issue a red flag warning for Saturday and Sunday for much of Southern California.

Patch file photo/Janice Carabine
Patch file photo/Janice Carabine

UPDATE 3:30 p.m. Dec. 13: A red flag warning for areas of Southern California including Riverside County valleys has been issued by the National Weather Service for this weekend.

The warning period is from noon Saturday, Dec. 14 through 6 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 15.

The red flag warning means that a combination of strong Santa Ana winds, low relative humidity and warm temperatures will elevate the fire danger, according to National Weather Service, San Diego.

Winds of 15 mph to 30 mph—with gusts as high as 55 mph—are in the forecast. The daytime humidity level is expected to be around 10 percent, with poor overnight recovery, NWS stated in the warning.

The red flag warning was issued for the following areas: 

ORANGE COUNTY COASTAL AREAS

SAN BERNARDINO AND RIVERSIDE COUNTY VALLEYS

THE INLAND EMPIRE

SAN DIEGO COUNTY INLAND VALLEYS

SAN BERNARDINO COUNTY MOUNTAINS, INCLUDING THE MOUNTAIN TOP AND FRONT COUNTRY RANGER DISTRICTS OF THE SAN BERNARDINO NATIONAL FOREST

RIVERSIDE COUNTY MOUNTAINS, INCLUDING THE SAN JACINTO RANGER DISTRICT OF THE SAN BERNARDINO NATIONAL FOREST

SANTA ANA MOUNTAINS, INCLUDING THE TRABUCO RANGER DISTRICT OF THE CLEVELAND NATIONAL FOREST

SAN DIEGO COUNTY MOUNTAINS, INCLUDING THE PALOMAR AND DESCANSO RANGER DISTRICTS OF THE CLEVELAND NATIONAL FOREST

"The Santa Ana winds will initially begin across the mountains tonight and then surface into the Inland valleys early Saturday morning...before spreading south and turning more easterly during the day," NWS stated. "A secondary peak will bring the strongest winds to the Riverside and San Diego county mountains and foothills Saturday night and Sunday morning."

ORIGINAL POST 7:19 a.m. Dec. 13: Strong winds and low humidity will create a heightened risk of wildfire in Riverside County this weekend, meteorologists said today.

The National Weather Service scheduled a fire weather watch for the Inland Empire and mountain areas from Saturday afternoon to Sunday afternoon. The watch means that critical fire weather conditions are forecast or occurring.

The agency also scheduled a less-serious wind advisory for the Inland Empire and mountain areas starting at 10 tonight and ending at 1 p.m. Sunday. The NWS issues a wind advisory when winds of 35 miles per hour are expected.

The area subject to the fire watch and wind advisory does not include the Coachella Valley.

"Surface high pressure will build into the Great Basin tonight and Saturday, bringing moderate to locally strong northeast to east winds to Southern California," according to the National Weather Service.

"The northeast winds will initially begin across San Bernardino County and Orange County early Saturday morning before spreading south and turning more easterly during the day. These winds will continue into Sunday."

From late tonight through Sunday afternoon, sustained northeast to east winds up to 30 miles per hour and gusts up to 60 mph are expected, especially through and below favored passes and canyons.

"The winds will make driving difficult, especially for motorists with high profile vehicles," an NWS advisory said. "Watch for downed trees and power lines."

The lowest daytime humidity will be around 10 percent Saturday, with poor overnight recovery headed into Sunday, according to the weather service. --City News Service


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