High Winds, High Heat Combine to Bedevil Southland


LOS ANGELES (CNS) - Powerful winds will sweep areas of the Southland today while temperatures continue to climb in the region's first heat wave of the year, prompting forecasters to urge area residents to protect themselves against heat-related illnesses.

A high wind warning will be in effect until 9 a.m. Friday in the San Gabriel Mountains, where north winds of 25 to 35 miles per hour will blow, most strongly in and around The Grapevine, gusting to 75 mph, according to the National Weather Service.

“Damaging winds could blow down large objects such as trees and power lines. Power outages are possible. Travel could be difficult, especially for high-profile vehicles,” warned the NWS, adding that roadways likely to be affected by gusty cross winds include Highway 33 in Ventura County as well as Interstate 5 and Highway 14 -- the Antelope Valley Freeway -- in Los Angeles County.

“People should avoid being outside in forested areas and around trees and branches. If possible, remain in the lower levels of your home during the windstorm, and avoid windows. Use caution if you must drive.”

In the Santa Clarita and San Fernando valleys and the Santa Monica Mountains Recreational Area, a wind advisory, which is a little less serious than a high wind advisory, will be in effect until 9 a.m. Friday, and a heat advisory will be in force from 11 a.m. Friday until 6 p.m. Saturday.

North winds of 20 to 30 mph will blow across the Santa Clarita Valley, gusting to 50 mph, according to the NWS.

“Gusty winds will blow around unsecured objects and make driving difficult, especially for high profile vehicles,” warned the NWS. “Tree limbs could be blown down and a few power outages may result. Hot temperatures may cause heat illnesses to occur. Use extra caution when driving, especially if operating a high-profile vehicle. Secure outdoor objects.

“Drink plenty of fluids, stay in an air-conditioned room, stay out of the sun, and check up on relatives and neighbors. Young children and pets should never be left unattended in vehicles under any circumstances” as temperatures inside a parked vehicle can quickly turn lethal.

In the San Gabriel Valley and L.A.'s coastal zone, which includes beach cities, metropolitan L.A., the Downtown area and the Hollywood Hills, only a heat advisory has been issued and will be in force from 11 a.m. Friday to 6 p.m. Saturday.

The weather service urged people who work outdoors to take extra precautions. “When possible reschedule strenuous activities to early morning or evening. Know the signs and symptoms of heat exhaustion and heat stroke. Wear lightweight and loose-fitting clothing when possible. To reduce risk during outdoor work, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration recommends scheduling frequent rest breaks in shaded or air conditioned environments. Anyone overcome by heat should be moved to a cool and shaded location. Heat stroke is an emergency! Call 911.”

Offshore, a gale warning will be in force until 3 a.m. Friday amid west winds of 20-30 knots per hour with gusts of 40 knots per hour and seas of 8 to 11 feet.

“Strong winds will create dangerous sea conditions, which could capsize or damage small and large vessels,” warned the NWS. “Mariners should alter plans to avoid these hazardous conditions. Remain in port, seek safe harbor, alter course, and/or secure the vessel for severe conditions.”

Sunny skies were forecast in L-A County today ... along with highs of 72 degrees on Mount Wilson; 75 in Avalon: 81 at LAX; 82 in Palmdale and Lancaster; 85 in Long Beach; 88 in Saugus; 90 in Downtown L.A.; 91 in Burbank and Woodland Hills; 92 in San Gabriel; and 93 in Pasadena. Temperatures will remain high at least through Wednesday.

The NWS forecast sunny skies today and highs of 71 on Santiago Peak; 75 in Laguna Beach and San Clemente; 78 in Newport Beach; 80 on Ortega Highway at 2,600 feet; 84 at Fremont Canyon; 85 at Trabuco Canyon and Mission Viejo; 87 in Irvine; 89 in Yorba Linda; and 90 in Fullerton and Anaheim. Temperatures will begin to slowly decline Saturday.

Photo: Getty Images

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