Wind Storm Strikes Southland


LOS ANGELES (CNS) - Strong and potentially disruptive Santa Ana winds will buffet the Southland today.

The strongest winds are expected in the San Gabriel Mountains and the Santa Monica Mountains Recreational area. North-to-northeast winds of between 25 and 40 miles per hour have been blowing in both areas, and gusts of up to 70 mph are expected this morning, forecasters said.

A high wind warning will be in effect in both mountain regions until 10 p.m., and a less serious wind advisory will be effect at the same time in the Santa Clarita and San Fernando valleys but in force only until noon along the coast, in metropolitan Los Angeles, Downtown L.A. and the Hollywood Hills.

“Damaging winds will blow down large objects such as trees and power lines. Power outages are expected. Travel will be difficult, especially for high-profile vehicles,” warned the National Weather Service in discussing the mountain winds.

“Highway 14 and Interstate 5 will be affected by the gusty winds, as well as canyon roads through the Santa Monica Mountains including Malibu and Dexter canyons. Kanan Road will also be affected,” it added.

The weather service urged residents to avoid being outside in forested areas and around trees and branches as strong winds whip across mountain areas.

“If possible, remain in the lower levels of your home during the windstorm, and avoid windows. Use caution if you must drive,” urged an NWS statement.

Outside mountain regions, L.A. County's strongest winds were expected in the Santa Clarita Valley, where the forecast was for northeast winds of 25 to 35 mph and gusts of up to 55 mph through this evening, with isolated gusts of 60 mph expected in foothill canyons and passes.

Slightly weaker northeast winds -- 20-35 mph with 40-mph gusts -- are forecast for the San Fernando Valley, while Los Angeles and the coast experience winds of 15-25 mph and gusts of 40 mph.

The wind advisory was also in effect until 10 p.m. in Orange County, where the wind was expected to blow at between 15 and 30 mph, accompanied by gusts of up to 50 mph.

Several highways will be affected by the wind in the mountains and at lower elevations, including in Orange County, warned the NWS, specifically citing the Antelope Valley (14) Freeway, Interstate 5, and the 101, 118, 5, 210, 10 and 405 freeways.

The Santa Anas are being cooled down by cold air from Utah and Nevada, said NWS meteorologists Curt Kaplan.

The NWS reported around 4:15 a.m. today that strong gusts were recorded around the region in the previous 12 hours, including 70 mph at Warm Springs in the San Gabriels, 53 in the Malibu Hills in the Santa Monicas, 52 mph at Ramirez Canyon along the coast, 49 in the Newhall Pass in the Santa Clarita Valley, 41 at Toner Canyon in the San Gabriel Valley, and 41 in Sylmar in the San Fernando Valley.

Off the coast, a small craft advisory meant as a warning to inexperienced sailors will be in force until 3 p.m., with forecasters expecting conditions “hazardous to small craft.”

The NWS forecast partly cloudy skies today, along with highs of 48 degrees in Palmdale; 49 in Lancaster an on Mount Wilson; 56 in Saugus; 62 in Woodland Hills; 64 in Burbank; 65 in San Gabriel; 66 in Pasadena and Avalon; 68 at LAX and in Downtown L.A.; and 69 in Long Beach. Temperatures will remain the same until Sunday, when they will dip by several degrees amid rain.

The NWS forecast partly cloudy skies in Orange County and highs of 50 on Santiago Peak; 58 on Ortega Highway at 2,600 feet; 62 at Fremont Canyon; 65 in Newport Beach; 66 in Yorba Linda; 67 in Laguna Beach; 68 in San Clemente; 69 at Trabuco Canyon and in Anaheim; and 71 in Irvine, Fullerton and Mission Viejo. Temperatures will decline a few degrees Wednesday and largely remain in the 60s at least through Monday.

Photo: Getty Images

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