Strong Santa Ana Winds in Southern California

By Anthony Sagliani, Meteorologist
February 24, 2013; 9:40 AM ET
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As strong high pressure builds in across Nevada, a tightening pressure gradient across southern California will lead to a moderate Santa Ana event from Sunday through Monday evening.

The strongest winds will be found in the higher elevations of Ventura and Los Angeles counties, as well as the Santa Monica mountains.

Sustained northeast winds of 25-35 mph, with gusts of 35-50 mph, are likely across these areas. Winds will be strong enough to blow around loose debris, knock down small or weakened tree branches, and even cause some spotty power outages.

Further south, strong northeast winds will persist into Sunday night and Monday morning across San Diego county.

Wind gusts locally exceeding 55 mph are possible for the Inland Empire downwind of Cajon Pass and over the Santa Ana foothills, affecting I-15 and state route 91. Interstate 10 will also be impacted as it wanders though San Gorgonio Pass.

Portions of the San Diego mountains will continue to be impacted by the winds even through Monday evening, with I-8 and state route 78 being the most heavily impacted roadways.

High profile vehicles, such as trucks and recreational vehicles, will be most at risk to the winds. Such vehicles have a much larger surface area than smaller automobiles like cars or motorcycles. They can easily be overturned and toppled by sudden, violent wind gusts typical for Santa Ana wind events.

The Santa Ana winds will subside by Tuesday morning across most areas, and a significant warming trend is expected across the region through the end of the week. Temperatures will gradually increase through the 70s each day until highs near the 80 degree mark in some spots by Friday.

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