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Potentially Damaging Santa Ana Wind Event Underway

By By Kristina Pydynowski, Senior Meteorologist
December 17, 2011, 1:44:00 AM EST

Southern California is bracing for another round of potentially damaging Santa Ana winds that will last into Saturday.

All the ingredients will not be in place for Southern California to once again become the target of the "once a decade" wind storm.

However, the stage is now set for a moderate Santa Ana wind event to continue into Saturday morning.

Winds could peak as high as 50 mph in the populated wind-prone areas, while gusts to 60 mph or locally higher whip the mountaintops and their passes.

The highest wind gusts will get recorded Friday night into Saturday morning.

Winds that strong could down trees, branches and wires, especially those that were weakened during the wind storm that kicked off December.

Falling trees and branches threaten to cause additional damage or bodily harm, while residents should prepare for possible power outages.

The winds will prove the most problematic for drivers of semi-trucks and campers, threatening to overturn or steer these high-profile vehicles off roads.

Even drivers of smaller trucks and cars will feel the winds tug on their vehicles.


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Despite the impending gusty winds, Southern California will not be faced with an extreme fire danger.

Vegetation across the region does not resemble a tinder matchstick waiting to get ignited thanks to the rain and mountain snow from earlier this week.

Windy conditions will not just be confined to the Santa Ana wind-prone areas of Southern California.

Winds may also gust to 40 mph throughout southeastern Southern California and southern Nevada on Friday.

Gusty winds could then reach downtown San Diego Saturday morning.

Spotty showers could return to Southern California, especially the San Diego area, on Saturday if Pacific moisture is able to wrap around the storm's center.

AccuWeather.com Meteorologist Bill Deger contributed to the content of this story.

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