Large sections of Southern California Wednesday remained under red flag warnings, signifying a high risk of wildfires because of powerful Santa Ana winds and low humidity levels.
The warnings were initially scheduled to expire Thursday night but were extended Tuesday and are now scheduled to be in force until Friday night.
The National Weather Service said the wind would weaken by 10 to 20 miles per hour Wednesday but would regain strength Wednesday evening. After that, gusts of 45- 65 mph will be common.
“These winds will then gradually weaken Thursday night through the weekend,” according to the NWS. But humidity levels of only 6 to 15 percent will linger through at least early next week.
As of Wednesday morning, red flag warnings were scheduled to remain in effect until 8 p.m. Friday in the Santa Monica Mountain Recreational Area, the San Gabriel Mountains, the Angeles National Forest, the San Fernando, Santa Clarita and San Gabriel valleys, beach cities, metropolitan L.A., Downtown Los Angeles and the Hollywood Hills. No red flag warning was in force in the Antelope Valley.
A red flag warning was also in effect until 8 p.m. Friday in all of Orange County.
The wind in the red flag areas is expected to blow at between 15 and 35 mph with gusts of up to 50 mph in urban areas and up to 75 mph in the mountain, forecasters said.
The NWS forecast sunny skies in L.A. County Wednesday and highs of 60 on Mount Wilson; 63 in Palmdale and Lancaster; 69 in Saugus; 71 in Avalon; 75 in Woodland Hills; 76 in Pasadena; 77 in Downtown L.A., San Gabriel and at LAX; and at 79 in Long Beach.
Sunny skies were also forecast in Orange counties, along with highs of 71 in Laguna Beach; 72 in San Clemente; 74 in Newport Beach; 76 in Yorba Linda; 77 in Mission Viejo; and 78 in Fullerton, Anaheim and Irvine.