Increased fire danger seen in SoCal amid winds that could hit as high as 80 mph in some areas

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Monday, October 26, 2020
Powerful winds, elevated fire danger in SoCal
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Despite cold temperatures, strong Santa Ana winds will lead to red-flag warnings and an increased risk of fire on Monday.

LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- Powerful Santa Ana winds are expected to bring increased fire danger to much of Southern California, prompting officials to issue a red flag warning that will take effect early Monday morning.

The National Weather Service is predicting conditions will be dangerously dry and gusty late Sunday evening through Tuesday afternoon, with damaging winds of 60-80 mph possible in the mountains of Los Angeles and Ventura counties. Forecasters expect wind gusts of 50-65 mph in the valleys and foothill areas.

Amid the ominous forecast, the Los County Office of Emergency Management said it will be on high alert.

"We need collaboration from all residents who live in L.A. County to stay safe as a region," said Kevin McGowan, the agency's director. "We must all do our part by staying informed and being ready to evacuate at a moment's notice, especially if you live in canyon, mountain or foothill communities."

In an interview with ABC7, McGowan said the "widespread event" would impact the entire county, "not just from the fire threat but power outages."

He urged Southland residents to "lock up all those loose things that you typically have out" and could potentially be toppled over.

County officials also recommend signing up for emergency alerts, keeping mobile phones charged, and clearing out hazards such as dry leaves from gutters.

In Riverside County, a wind advisory for the Coachella Valley will go into effect from 2 a.m. through 11 p.m. Monday, the National Weather Service said. Forecasters warned that the Coachella Valley will see westerly winds between 25 to 35 mph with gusts up to 60 mph.

The strongest winds in that county on Sunday will be below the San Gorgonio Pass, the Weather Service said, while on Monday the strongest winds would be below the Morongo Pass.

"Damaging winds could blow down trees and power lines,'' the agency said. "Widespread power outages are possible, and travel could be difficult, especially for high-profile vehicles.''