Santa Anas Bring Fire Danger, Near-Record Warmth

By Brian Thompson, Meteorologist
January 15, 2014; 4:08 AM ET
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The severe drought across Southern California will combine with Santa Ana winds to create a high fire danger through Wednesday.

The wind can also bring down trees and power lines. Driving will be difficult, especially for those driving SUVs and other high-profile vehicles.

Winds in many of the mountains, canyons and passes of Ventura, Los Angeles, Orange, San Bernardino, Riverside and San Diego counties will gust as high as 60 mph.

@gemdrgn1 tweeted: "@WebGrrrrl @MoreThymeBlog @DWPost Yes & with Santa Ana Winds, it only takes an ember to get a wild fire going here!"

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The most persistent and strongest winds will occur through Tuesday night but could still linger into Wednesday.

The biggest concern with this Santa Ana event will be the risk of fires, which is being enhanced by the lack of rain.

Despite it being the rainy season in Southern California, it has not rained in many areas since Dec. 19, 2013, nearly a month ago.

"Since the beginning of October the central part of the state, including all the huge agricultural areas, has had only five to 15 percent of normal precipitation," Western Weather Expert Ken Clark said.

Farther south, Los Angeles has received only 22 percent of the normal rainfall since last January.

"Southern California needs rain and it needs rain badly," Clark said. "This is a disaster in the making for California."

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The offshore winds will push away the cool air from the Pacific Ocean. This will send temperatures well above average to near-record levels. Much of the L.A. Basin will be near or above 80 through Thursday.

The Santa Ana winds are being caused by a strong area of high pressure building near the Great Basin. The clockwise flow around the high is bringing the strong, northeasterly winds into Southern California.

As the high pulls way on Wednesday, the winds should subside some, but there doesn't appear to be any rainfall in sight for at least the next week.


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