The National Weather Service issued a wind advisory for the Los Angeles County area, including the Santa Clarita Valley, which will go into effect from 11 p.m. Saturday to 10 p.m. Monday. In addition, a Red Flag Warning was issued from 3 a.m. Sunday to 10 p.m. Monday.
Richard Thompson, meteorologist for the National Weather Service, calls the first Santa Ana winds of the year a moderate event.
“We’re looking for north-northeast winds, maybe sustained winds about maybe 20 to 30 mph, with gusts up to around 50 mph across most of the area,” Thompson said. “There’s even a potential for some isolated gusts, around 60 mph for some of the windier locations in the foothills.”
According to Thompson, the humidity will also be dropping by 5 to 10%, leaving a higher risk for fires to start.
Gabriela Ornelas, a spokesperson for Southern California Edison, discussed the potential of a public safety power shut-off to ensure the safety of residents in the areas with the highest gusts of wind expected.
“When we do see that combination of Santa Ana winds with dry vegetation, it does increase the risk of wildfire. So, when that happens, we consider public safety power shut-offs, and that’s a tool of last resort for us to protect the community from that risk of wildfire,” Ornelas said.
As of Friday afternoon, the number of customers considered for PSPS in Southern California is 158,094, according to Southern California Edison’s website.
“Public safety power shut-offs is the tool of last resort, and it’s a tool that we employ when the weather conditions increase the risk of wildfire,” Ornelas said. “The areas that are in scope for the PSPS this weekend did not receive significant rain from the storms earlier this year. So they do have more dry vegetation, and that increases the fire potential.”
Residents can prepare by removing items in their yards that have the potential to get picked up by winds, along with having an emergency kit at hand.
“An emergency preparedness kit would include a working flashlight, a radio battery, any item that they may need during a power outage,” Ornelas said.
Warning those who drive a semi-truck to drive carefully, Thompson also encourages residents to be mindful of any ignition sources while camping, as well as watching out for the possibility of downed trees or power lines.