LOS ANGELES (CNS) - Strong Santa Ana winds are expected to continue in parts of the Southland today, prompting warnings of possibly hazardous driving conditions and the potential for downed tree limbs and blowing debris.
A wind advisory will be in effect through 4 p.m. today for the Los Angeles County Mountains, Santa Clarita and San Fernando valleys, the Santa Monica Mountains and the coastal area including downtown.
According to the National Weather Service, winds were gusting at 25 mph to 35 mph in some areas by Thursday afternoon, with some traditionally windy areas -- such as the Magic Mountain Truck Trail -- seeing gusts of 40 mph to 50 mph. The strongest winds of the Santa Ana event, however, were not expected until Friday morning.
Although the wind advisories were scheduled to expire at 4 p.m., forecasters warned that current conditions show the potential for winds continuing into Saturday morning.
``Therefore may need to extend the advisories, but will wait until (Friday) to make that call,'' according to the NWS.
Forecasters said earlier that mountain and higher valley areas are likely to have the strongest winds, gusting up to 55 mph, while other locations will have winds of 30 mph to 50 mph.
In Orange County, a wind advisory will be in effect until 10 p.m. today for inland areas and the Santa Ana Mountains and foothills. Forecasters said the areas could see winds of 15 mph to 25 mph, with gusts of 45 mph to 55 mph.
Forecasters urged motorists in all advisory areas to use extra caution when driving, ``especially if operating a high-profile vehicle.''
``Gusty winds could blow around unsecured objects,'' according to the NWS. ``Tree limbs could be blown down and a few power outages may result.''
Southern California Edison crews will be on alert during the wind event, and the utility reminded customers that outage information is available on its website at SCE.com and on Facebook and Twitter. SCE noted that the winds are not expected to be as severe as last week's Santa Ana event, which saw gusts of up to 90 mph in some mountain and foothill areas, knocking down trees that brought down power lines.
The utility recommended that residents in wind-prone areas take precautions to prepare for possible outages, including:
-- check emergency supplies, such as a battery-operated radio, flashlight and batteries;
-- secure temporary structures, backyard furniture, tents or other items that can be blown away;
-- avoid downed power lines;
-- don't try to remove broken tree limbs or branches that may have touched power lines;
-- use caution when driving and treat intersections with inoperable traffic signals as four-way stops;
-- use flashlights instead of candles in an outage.