Santa Ana winds, 75 mph mountain gusts forecast late Wednesday

A strong cluster of Santa Ana winds is expected to blow into Ventura and Los Angeles counties Wednesday night, sending gusts of up to 75 miles per hour into the mountains, the National Weather Service said.

Winds are expected to pick up overnight and peak on Thursday.

“During tomorrow’s peak, we generally expect gusts of between 40 and 60 miles per hour over coastal valleys,” National Weather Service meteorologist Ryan Kittell said Wednesday.

Gusts of 60 to 75 mph can be expected in the mountains.

The winds will increase the risk of power outages and downed trees, particularly for weakly rooted trees in soil still wet from the storm surge earlier this month.

Santa Anas are not uncommon at this time of year, Kittell noted, but the current system could be augmented by a high-pressure system that has parked offshore.

“We don’t necessarily have to have this anticyclone offshore to get there [Santa Anas],” he said. “That probably plays a part. But it’s not the only thing at play.”

The high pressure pushes lows north with rain and cooler temperatures, keeping much of California and the West Coast dry and warmer than usual for the next few days.

The event, dubbed the “omega block,” has brought warmer temperatures to the Bay Area, with San Francisco posting a high of 66 degrees on Wednesday after barely exceeding 60 degrees for several days.

“It looks like the winds will calm down pretty quickly Thursday night,” Kittell said, adding that Friday and Saturday were “pretty boring weather wise.”

But things could get interesting on Sunday when another storm system is expected to move into Southern California and potentially bring another downpour. Santa Ana winds, 75 mph mountain gusts forecast late Wednesday

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