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Strong Winds and a Fire Weather Watch Are in the Thanksgiving Day Forecast

What to Know

  • Public safety power shutoffs are possible for more than 75,000 SoCal Edison customers on Thanksgiving Day due to winds and the potential for rapidly spreading wildfires.
  • A fire weather watch is in effect for Thursday and Friday.
  • Strong winds are expected along the 5 Freeway north of Los Angeles.

Strong Santa Ana wind gusts are in the Thanksgiving Day forecast with gusts up to 50 mph in mountain areas, raising the risk of rapidly spreading wildfires in Southern California.

North to northeast wind gusts of 40 to 50 mph are expected Thursday in the mountains. Gusts of 30 to 45 mph are expected in the coastal and valley areas. The strongest winds will be along the 5 Freeway in the Santa Clarita Valley, a heavily traveled route during the holidays.

The winds and low humidity — combined with dry brush in fire-prone areas — will create dangerous wildfire conditions on Thanksgiving Day. Similar conditions are in the forecast through Friday night. 

More than 75,000 Southern California Edison customers might have their power cut on Thanksgiving Day due to the risk of wildfires sparked by electrical equipment.

“We have not had much rain this month, about a tenth of an inch,” said NBC4 forecaster Belen De Leon. “We’re behind already in the seasonal rainfall department. So any fires that do develop, they can rapidly spread.”

A fire weather watch was issued for Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino and Ventura counties Thursday and Friday.  

Winds out of the northeast on Thursday will be between 20-30 mph throughout Riverside County, with gusts possibly reaching 45 mph in the San Gorgonio Pass near Banning.

“It’s the afternoon and evening when the winds will really be wild,” De Leon said.

The winds are expected to weaken over the weekend.

The winds could mean public safety power shutoffs for some Southern California communities. SoCal Edison might shut off power when there’s a risk of wildfires to prevent ignition from downed power lines. As of Wednesday morning, about 76,000 customers, most in San Bernardino County, were under consideration for shutoffs.

This graphic was provided by Southern California Edison. It is current as of Nov. 25, 2020.

Humidity is expected to be 15-25 percent.

Overnight into Friday, mountain gusts could reach 60 mph, and 50 mph in the valleys. Relative humidity of 10-20 percent is expected then, with some single-digit readings.

Cool temperatures are expected for the holiday, with highs mostly in the mid-60s, dipping into the 50s in the mountains and the Antelope Valley.

High temperatures Wednesday are forecast to reach 73 in the Coachella Valley, 74 in the San Gorgonio Pass near Banning, 69 in Riverside, 67 in Temecula and 54 in Idyllwild.

Source: NBC Los Angeles

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