By City News Service
Much of the Southland was under a red flag warning Monday as gusty Santa Ana winds lashed the region amid single-digit humidity levels and relatively high temperatures, raising fears of wildfire.
The northeast winds resulting from strong surface high pressure anchored over the Great Basin as a storm flared in the Pacific Northwest were expected to produce 60 mph gusts in both the San Gabriel and Santa Monica mountains, according to National Weather Service forecaster.
Somewhat weaker winds were expected through Wednesday in the valleys, along the coast and from coastal cities to the Hollywood Hills, including downtown and the rest of metropolitan Los Angeles.
A high wind warning heralding a hazardous wind event was scheduled to be in effect until noon Wednesday in the Santa Monica Mountains Recreational Area and the San Gabriel Mountains in both Los Angeles and Ventura counties.
Because of the fire danger, the Los Angeles Fire Department restricted parking along narrow, hillside roads abutting open areas to make sure fire engines can squeeze by to protect homes. The parking ban will be in effect until at least 8 a.m. Tuesday.
Forecasters warned that northeast winds of 25-35 mph, with gusts up to 60 mph, would sweep mountain areas, possibly downing trees and power lines, making road travel perilous and shifting outdoor furniture that hasn't been tied down. There could be gusts of 75 mph in some places, they said.
A less serious wind advisory will be in force, also until noon Wednesday, in the Santa Clarita and San Fernando valleys and the coastal zone that includes the Westside, the Hollywood Hills and metropolitan L.A. Winds of between 15-30 mph gusting to 50 mph were expected in the wind advisory areas through Wednesday.
The winds could turn out to be particularly challenging for motorists on Interstate 5, Pearblossom Highway (state Route 138) near Gorman, Topanga Canyon Road, Malibu Canyon Road, Kanan Road, and the Antelope Valley (14), Ventura (101), Simi Valley (118), Foothill (210) and San Diego 405 freeways, forecasters said.
A red flag warning denoting a risk of wildfire will be in effect until 6 p.m. Wednesday in the Southland's mountains and forests, most valley areas and L.A.'s coastal zone until 6 p.m. Wednesday.
Temperatures, meanwhile, were expected to be mild. The NWS forecast sunny skies and highs of 58 on Mount Wilson; 62 in Palmdale and Lancaster; 68 in Saugus; 73 in Newport Beach; 74 in Woodland Hills; 75 in Avalon and Pasadena; 76 in Burbank, San Gabriel and at LAX; 79 in downtown L.A.; 80 in Long Beach; and 82 in Anaheim.