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Santa Ana winds bring fire danger to Southern California

Strong Santa Ana winds prompt rolling blackout warnings
Strong Santa Ana winds prompt rolling blackout warnings 02:34

Gusty, dry and warm Santa Ana winds will bring critical fire weather conditions to Southern California through the Thanksgiving holiday, forecasters said Wednesday.

The winds, produced by high pressure building in the Great Basin, were forecast to strengthen Wednesday night and peak on Thursday, the National Weather Service said. Relative humidity levels will be critically low, ranging from 5% to 15%.

Red flag warnings of fire danger were issued for Thursday along the Malibu coastal strip and in adjacent mountains.

"Winds will really ramp up after midnight and peak through Thursday morning with gusts peaking in the 40 to 55 mph (64-88 kph) range, with potentially damaging gusts up to 65 mph (105 kph) for adjacent mountains and valleys of western Los Angeles and eastern Ventura counties," the weather service said.

The city of Malibu said the Los Angeles County Fire Department will have augmented staffing in the area, and urged residents to be prepared.

The Southern California Edison website showed public safety power shutoffs were being considered for more than 50,000 customers in Los Angeles, Riverside and Ventura counties.

SoCal Edison spokesperson Diane Castro said that the region did not receive enough rain in the recent storms to offset the threat of wildfires.

"We will only initiate a public safety power shut off as a last resort to keep our communities safe from wildfire," said Castro.

Power shutoffs, intended to prevent electrically ignited wildfires during strong winds, affected thousands of Southern Californians during Thanksgiving 2021. Check current Southern California Edison power outages here.

A change in conditions will bring a chance of light rain and mountain snow to California early next week.

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