Elevated Fire Danger for Southern California

By Matt Alto, Meteorologist
November 06, 2012; 5:52 AM
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A broad area of high pressure will move over the Golden State and center itself over the Great Basin early this week. This will lead to record-breaking temperatures and a heightened risk for fires through Tuesday.

The very warm temperatures and extremely dry conditions, along with a breezy offshore flow will lead to gusty Santa Ana winds.

These Santa Ana winds will lead to an increased fire danger in the vast areas of mountains in Los Angeles, Ventura, Riverside, Orange, San Bernardino and San Diego counties.

Currently, both the dead and live fuel moisture levels across Southern California are near- to below-critical levels for fires. However, these levels in the mountains are in critical condition. It is the mountainous areas which will be most susceptible to fires.

Winds across the region will be the strongest beginning on Sunday evening and lasting through Monday morning. Winds should gradually diminish during the day on Monday.

Although the very warm temperatures will continue to persist, humidity levels should begin to increase late on Tuesday and continue to do so through the end of the week as a trough of low pressure nears the region.

According to Meteorologist Brian Edwards, the "Very warm temperatures will persist through Tuesday before temperatures moderate a bit on Wednesday as an onshore flow develops."

High pressure will be replaced by a strong area of low pressure during the second half of the week. This system will bring the chance for showers, gusty winds and much-cooler temperatures beginning on Friday and lasting through the weekend.

Autumn is usually the time of the year which Southern California is the driest. It is also the same time of year that Santa Ana winds are the most common.

Santa Ana's bring a heightened threat for fire danger because their strong wind gusts can make little flames turn into raging infernos.

Thumbnail photo courtesy of Photos.com

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