A red-flag warning was triggered in the San Bernardino and Riverside county valleys. The warning was expected to remain in effect for the Orange County coast, Inland Empire and valleys until 5 p.m. Friday.
Powerful winds had drivers along Interstate 15 struggling to stay on the road - especially big rigs. Avi Bouskila said the wind had him swaying in his truck.
"If it is loaded, it's okay but right now it's empty. I need to get to Long Beach. Very hard to drive in this wind," Bouskila said.
Santa Ana-like winds, coupled with dry conditions have local firefighters on high alert for potential fires. Cal Fire has staff and air support on standby.
Just last week in Fillmore, 40-mph winds helped fuel a fire that destroyed two homes and burned 140 acres.
However, fire isn't the only concern. For allergy suffers, the strong winds make for a miserable day.
"My daughter's asthma is totally kicking in and our allergies. You can't keep the window open too much because it's just blowing all that dirt in and everything that comes along with it," said Nicole Atilano from Hesperia.
Wind gusts are expected to reach 50 mph in many parts of Southern California - which Texas resident Norwood Hill considered a light breeze compared to what he sees back home.
"Where we come from, we have them up to 80 mph. Fortunately, the tornadoes have missed us," Hill said.
Local authorities advised residents to keep water nearby if mowing the lawn or using the weed trimmer, just in case the machines hit a rock and sparks fly. They also advised smokers to dispose of cigarettes properly and not to throw them out of their car windows.