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Santa Ana Winds to Scorch California, Increase Fire Danger

A round of gusty Santa Ana winds will spike temperatures and winds for southern California this week, leading to the potential for high fire danger across a wide swath of the drought-stricken Golden State.

An area of high pressure setting up across the inter-mountain west will funnel warm, dry offshore winds into southern California starting in earnest on Wednesday before peaking on Thursday. Temperatures in Los Angeles are expected to be in the 90s on Wednesday before spiking to 98° on Thursday before cooler weather arrives on Friday and into the weekend. Winds will be in the 25 to 35 mile-per-hour (MPH) neighborhood with higher gusts in valleys and above treeline.

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Red Flag Warnings are in place across the heavily populated L.A. Basin for Wednesday and Thursday in advance of the potentially significant fire weather event.

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Santa Ana winds are the product of downsloping winds off the Sierra Nevada originating in the desert, leading to warm, dry and gusty conditions. They typically peak in the fall, and coupled with the end of the summer dry season, they often lead to the most dangerous fire conditions of the year in the autumn months before the winter rains arrive in November and December.

Coupled with California’s ongoing, historic drought that’s led to locations such as Los Angeles and San Diego getting less than half the rainfall they typically get over a five-year span, this event could lead to fast-growing wildfires. Outdoor burning should be avoided at all cost in all of these locations.

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Stay with WeatherNation for the latest on the dry weather across the West this week.

For WeatherNation: Meteorologist Chris Bianchi

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