Back-to-back Santa Ana winds will raise fire risk in Southern California later this week, sending plumes of embers across the region to fuel wildfires in Ventura, Los Angeles, San Diego and elsewhere.
Wind gusts can exceed 65 mph with gusts of up to 80 mph. These winds also are expected to produce heavy rains, with thunderstorms producing up to 50 inches of rain.
Dangerous Santa Ana winds will return late this weekend and Monday with strong gusts that will continue to produce heavy rains.
“There is absolutely no safe way to go outside,” said Brian Humphrey, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Oxnard.
Officials are urging residents in the Los Angeles, Ventura and San Diego areas to be wary of power outages caused by the storms.
“We’d also like to remind the public that the Santa Ana winds and rains can cause some power outages and some road closures in the area due to downed trees and power lines,” said Santa Ana Deputy Fire Chief Mike Hodge.
The storms will also increase the threat of mudslides, which has been on the rise in the area since last fall, according to the National Weather Service.
“The Santa Ana winds and rain have changed the geography of the Los Angeles region,” Humphrey said. “We’re seeing landslides, debris flows and mudslides that have changed the landscape on the foothills.”
More than 20 wildfires continue to burn throughout the region and other threats on the way
Mudslides are also threatening the infrastructure in the Los Angeles, Ventura and San Diego areas. Over the weekend the city received 14 inches of rain, while a mudslide cut a road off of Highway 101 near Big Bear Lake.
Humphrey said mudslides can cause power outages and roads to close, as well as hazardous conditions around roadways.
Humphrey was warning people from hiking in the open, whether on the mountains or around the mountains. Humphrey said that hikers could also be in danger from falling rocks.