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Red flag warnings in parts of Southern California

December 5, 2011 12:00:00 AM PST
The wind was mild in Santa Clarita on Monday evening compared to the winds that at times hit hurricane speeds in some parts of Los Angeles County late last week.

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Even though the wind died down, red flag warnings continued into a fifth day. The warnings were issued for Los Angeles and Ventura counties until Tuesday.

A wind advisory was in effect through Monday night in Orange County and the Inland Empire as well.

Santa Clarita and San Fernando valleys were expected to bear the brunt of the latest wind event, and gusts are expected to reach 70 mph in the mountain areas.

Residents said it's not leaving much of a breather from the last wind storm. Linda Andruss, owner of Bennett Trees, said that she has prepared her lot for high winds and worries customers may stay away because of the weather.

"We just tie the trees down as best we can, hope they don't fall," Andruss said. "If they fall, let them lay until the wind quits."

The San Gabriel Valley, which was the hardest hit last week, will see wind gusts up to 40 mph. That's good news for those that are still trying to recover from last week's wind storm.

Along with the wind are frigid temperatures. Some areas of the Southland were under a frost advisory Monday morning. Frost was seen throughout Palmdale in the early morning.

"It's a nice day to stay in and drink hot chocolate and sit by the fire place," said Palmdale resident Jean Crouse.

Los Angeles County is beefing up crews, deploying 300 extra firefighters to fire-prone areas, including Santa Clarita, Palmdale and Calabasas.

Fire officials said even though the temperatures are cool, the low humidity and high winds can create the perfect firestorm.

In the San Bernardino County neighborhood of Devore, the Calfire station says they're ready for any fires, but so far they haven't seen a lot of action.

"A lot of good fortune," said bill Peters of CalFire. "Fires are just a question of starts and location, but fortunately we haven't had any starts."

Peters recalls the Panorama fire in Devore in early 1980s.

"Overnight, the water would freeze. That's how cold it was, yet it still burned hundreds and hundreds of homes," Peteres said.

As residents like Victoria Rios of Rialto continue to clean up after last week's devastating winds, the thought of wildfire is still a concern.

"It's always scary," she said. "When we had the San Bernardino ones, it was real bad. I was in middle school and we couldn't even go to school."

Residents need to avoid cooking outdoors and to make sure homes have enough defensible space and surrounding brush has been cleared. Also make sure to have a plan ready just in case an evacuation is needed.

See photos of wind damage across Southern California.


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