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Santa Ana Winds Continue, Raising Wildfire Risk

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Santa Ana Winds Continue, Raising Wildfire Risk

Workers repair damaged power lines near Irvine, Calif., on Dec. 3, 2020. (Mario Tama/Getty Images)

City News Service

City News Service

10/31/2023

Updated: 10/31/2023

LOS ANGELES—Strong Santa Ana winds continue to batter much of Southern California Oct. 31, heightening the risk of wildfires and power outages and prompting the city of Los Angeles to enact parking restrictions in fire-prone areas.
The parking restrictions took effect at 8 a.m. Oct. 29, and are expected to remain in place until at least 8 a.m. Oct. 31. The restrictions are designed to keep streets clear to ensure fire personnel can reach brush fires, and ensure residents can safely evacuate if needed.
A list featuring the real-time status of temporary street parking restrictions and addresses affected is at the Los Angeles Fire Department (LAFD) website.  All vehicles parked illegally in posted locations within the Very High Fire Hazard Severity Zone will be towed by the city, LAFD spokesman Brian Humphrey said.
The gusting winds were primarily affecting the northern portion of Los Angeles County, enveloping the San Fernando, Santa Clarita, and San Gabriel valleys, along with the Malibu coast, Santa Monica Mountains, Calabasas, the San Gabriel Mountains, and the California (5) and Antelope Valley (14) freeway corridors.
Red flag warnings indicating critical fire danger conditions took effect in those areas Oct. 28 night, and they were expected to all expire at 10 p.m. Oct. 30.
But the National Weather Service (NWS) extended the warnings until 2 p.m. Oct. 31 for the Santa Clarita Valley, western Santa Monica Mountains Recreational Area, Calabasas, the San Gabriel Mountains, and the 5 and 14 Freeway corridors.
“Moderate Santa Ana winds and very dry conditions are expected to continue through early Oct. 31 afternoon and has prompted the extension of the Red Flag Warning through 2 p.m. Oct. 31 for the most wind prone mountains and valleys of Los Angeles and Ventura Counties,” according to the NWS. “Wind gusts of 30 to 50 mph will be common during this time with humidity values generally in the 5 to 15 percent range, even overnight for wind prone areas.”
The red flag warnings in other areas are expected to expire as originally anticipated at 10 p.m. Oct. 30.
“These winds will continue through early afternoon before a gradual drop off through Oct. 31,” forecasters said. “By Oct. 31 the weaker but still gusty winds are expected with peak gusts generally 35 to 45 mph mountains and foothills and 20 to 35 mph for prone valleys to interior coastal areas.”
Widespread single-digit humidities were predicted to continue into Oct. 31, according to the NWS.
The weather service reported a peak wind gust of 92 mph Oct. 29 at Magic Mountain Truck Trail.
Forecasters noted the combination of gusting winds and low humidity will create conditions conducive to wildfires, while powerful winds could also lead to power outages.
A SoCal Edison power station in Santa Ana, Calif., on June 9, 2022. (John Fredricks/The Epoch Times)

A SoCal Edison power station in Santa Ana, Calif., on June 9, 2022. (John Fredricks/The Epoch Times)

Southern California Edison (SCE) officials said the utility was reaching out to customers and public safety agencies about the possibility of public safety power shutoffs, in which power is cut in areas being battered by heavy winds that could damage electrical lines or equipment and spark wildfires.
As of Oct. 30 afternoon, nearly 3,800 SCE customers had their power cut due to fire concerns. The majority of them were in San Bernardino County, with only 760 customers affected in Los Angeles County and eight in Orange County.
In Orange County, high wind warnings will be in place through 10 p.m. Oct. 30 in the Santa Ana Mountains and foothills and inland areas, with 25 to 35 mph winds anticipated and isolated gusts of up to 60 mph. Orange County coastal areas will be under a less severe wind advisory, with winds gusting up to 50 mph.
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