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More residents of Southern California will have to be ready to evacuate at a moment’s notice as the strongest and most prolonged Santa Ana wind event so far this season continues through this week.
Four large fires are actively burning across Southern California as of Thursday morning.
More lives, including those of firefighters, and property may be threatened by rapidly spreading wildfires as no relief from the gusty winds will come to Southern California the rest of this week.
"This Santa Ana event is different than most that hit Southern California," AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Ken Clark said.
"Usually, there is a 12- to 24-hour period of the highest winds and then the winds decrease," he said. "This one will be a four- to five-day event, which will make fighting ongoing fires much more difficult. The risk for additional fast-moving fires is quite high."
Santa Ana winds began whipping the mountains and communities through and below the passes and canyons of Southern California at the start of this week as a strong area of high pressure settled into the Great Basin.
Since the high will not be quick to depart and/or weaken, gusty winds will continue through the week, as AccuWeather has been warning about since early in the weekend.
Gusts between 40 and 50 mph in the canyons and passes and 60 and locally 80 mph in the mountains will be a daily occurrence this week.
"The winds will make it difficult to get air support into these wildfires," Clark said. "Helicopters may be able to aid firefighters, but the winds can be more problematic for larger aircraft."
The fire danger on Thursday may become more extreme when compared to Tuesday as temperatures are expected to be higher and the strongest winds will cover a larger area of Southern California.
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On Tuesday, the mountains east of San Diego escaped the strongest winds that whipped the higher terrain surrounding Los Angeles. This is not expected to be the case on Thursday.
As is typical during Santa Ana wind events, winds around Downtown Los Angeles will stay calm.
Residents will have to use extreme caution with cigarette butts, campfires and any equipment that produces sparks through this week.
The air dries out dramatically as winds blow from inland areas to the coast, putting Southern California at significant risk for any sparks or embers to grow into larger blazes that the winds can make uncontrollable.
The winds may also down trees and power lines. The exterior of weaker structures may sustain damage. In addition to causing power outages, the sparks from downed lines and transformers may also start fires.
Motorists planning to travel on Interstates 5, 8, 10 and 15 through the wind-prone areas of Southern California can face significant hazards. Threatening blazes may force officials to close more roads.
Dangerous crosswinds threaten to overturn high-profile vehicles, including those on I-15’s Cajon Pass. Visibility can be dramatically reduced at times as the winds kick up blowing dust or transport wildfire smoke.
Poor air quality will not be limited to the areas in the immediate vicinity of the fires. The winds are strong enough to spread the smoke hundreds of miles downwind.
Large waves and swells will also continue to batter Catalina Harbor as the winds howl.
"Catalina Harbor is typically a very calm place except during Santa Ana wind events," Clark said. "Due to the pounding seas, there is concern for flooding and boat damage."
Winds will begin to decrease during the day Friday. However, a breeze will continue to stir and very dry air will remain through this weekend.
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A sweep of cooler air in the central United States will be preceded by disruptive downpours and locally severe thunderstorms into the start of the new week.
As the Indonesian island of Lombok continues to recover from the devastating earthquake earlier this month, two more powerful tremors jolted the island in a span of less than 12 hours to end the weekend.
The northeastern United States will be treated to an even stronger push of refreshing air later this week but not before drenching thunderstorms ramp back up across the region by midweek.
Typhoon Soulik will not be the only tropical system to bring impacts to Japan this week as Cimaron strengthens and threatens the country later in the week.
Despite weakening and taking a track south of the Big Island, Major Hurricane Lane will still stir dangerous seas across the Hawaiian Islands this week.
Some relief will come to the hard-hit Indian state of Kerala, where thousands have been rescued from the deadly flooding.
A man was struck and killed by lightning in Kings Park on Long Island, New York, on Saturday evening.
As near-record heat ramps up in the northwestern United States into midweek, wildfire and poor air quality concerns will also mount.