Dangerous Wildfire Weather Continues Through Monday

Los Angeles March Heat Wave Shatters Records

LOS ANGELES (CNS) - A red flag warning signifying a high risk of wildfire will be in effect in the Southland until mid-afternoon today because of strong Santa Ana winds, low humidity and relatively high temperatures.

The warning was scheduled to expire at 3 p.m. in L.A. County in the San Gabriel Mountains, the Santa Monica Mountains Recreational Area, the Angeles National Forest and the Santa Clarita and San Fernando valleys, according to the National Weather Service. It was scheduled to end at 4 p.m. in Inland Orange County and the Cleveland National Forest.

On Sunday, Santa Ana winds swept the Southland as highs reached the upper 80s. Record high temperatures for a Jan. 28 were set in Long Beach at 89 and Burbank at 86, both surpassing former records of 88 and 85 in 1976. UCLA reached a record high of 84, a point higher than the previous high of 83 in 1971. And Lancaster at 71 tied a record high set in 1986.

At 2:13 a.m. Sunday, the winds crossed the threshold into hurricane- force at a ranch near Boney Mountain above Malibu when they hit 78 mph.

Sunday's fierce winds left at least 1,400 customers of the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power blacked out, with about 1,100 of them in the Pacoima area, Department of Water and Power spokesman Michael Ventre said. Full power was restored by 4:30 p.m.

Elsewhere in Los Angeles County, spotty outages affected around 200 customers in the Santa Monica Mountains, according to the Southern California Edison internet-based outage map. Spokeswoman Mary Ann Milbourn attributed those to equipment failures.

Peak wind gust measurements in the San Gabriel Mountains included 70 miles per hour in the foothills above Lake View Terrace, 66 mph at the Chilao ranger station near Mt. Wilson and 40 mph at Sylmar.

In the mountains in the Malibu area, peak gusts included 63 mph at Leo Carrillo Beach

Sunday's highs were 10 to 14 degrees above normal and today's highs are predicted to be marginally higher in several communities, reaching the high 80s in L.A. County and low 90s in inland Orange County.

The NWS forecast sunny skies in L.A. County today and highs of 72 in Palmdale; 73 in Lancaster and on Mount Wilson; 80 in Avalon; 84 in Saugus and Woodland Hills; 85 at LAX; 88 in Pasadena and San Gabriel; 89 in Burbank and Downtown L.A.; and 91 in Long Beach.

Sunny skies were also forecast in Orange County, along with highs of 80 in Laguna Beach; 83 in San Clemente; 84 in Newport Beach; 86 in Yorba Linda; 88 in Fullerton; 90 in Anaheim and Mission Viejo; and 92 in Irvine.

Temperatures will fall by several degrees Tuesday but remain above average.

Photo: Getty Images

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