Strong Winds, Deep Freeze Across L.A. County

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LOS ANGELES (CNS) - Strong winds blew across much of L.A. County today, and an early-morning freeze gripped the Antelope Valley.

Wind advisories indicating winds or gusts of at least 35 miles per hour will be in effect until 2 p.m. in the San Fernando and Santa Clarita valleys and the San Gabriel and Santa Monica mountains.

But even areas where no wind advisory has been issued will be windy today. The National Weather Service said north-to-northeast winds of between 15 and 25 miles per hour with 35-mph gusts will buffet the L.A. coastal zone, which includes beach cities, metropolitan L.A., the downtown area and the Hollywood Hills.

Winds of roughly the same strength are expected in the areas subject to wind advisories, although gusts of 45 mph are expected in the Santa Monica Mountains Recreational area and 55 mph in the San Gabriels, according to forecasters.

In the Antelope Valley, a hard freeze warning will be in force until 9 a.m. A hard freeze means temperatures of 28 degrees for two or more hours.

Along the L.A. County coast, a beach hazards statement, which is a notch less serious than a high surf advisory, will be in force through this evening. It was issued because of dangerous rip currents and elevated surf of 4-

 6 feet.

``There is an increased risk for ocean drowning. Rip currents can pull swimmers and surfers out to sea. Sneaker waves can suddenly overrun previously dry beaches and jetties,'' according to an NWS statement.

The NWS forecast sunny skies in L.A. County today and highs of 63 in Lancaster; 64 in Palmdale; 67 on Mount Wilson; 71 in Saugus; 72 at LAX; 73 in Avalon;75 in Downtown L.A.; 76 in Long Beach, San Gabriel, Woodland Hills and Burbank; and 77 in Pasadena.

Orange County was also forecast to be sunny, with highs of 68 in Laguna Beach; 69 in San Clemente; 71 in Newport Beach; 76 in Mission Viejo; and 77 in Yorba Linda, Fullerton and Anaheim; and 78 in Irvine.

Temperatures will rise slightly over the coming days but drop Saturday and even more sharply on Sunday, with highs in the mid 60s.

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