Maximum fire danger this week

Maximum fire danger this week

In spite of the dense fog that blanketed much of Scripps Ranch and other parts of San Diego County this morning, the National Weather Service is warning citizens of high winds and fire danger throughout much of the week. Humidity will drop and high winds will pick up.

The National Weather Service issued a Red Flag Warning, stating that San Diego can expect low humidity and periods of strong, gusty winds into Thursday night. A High Wind Warning has been issued and will remain in effect to 4 p.m. Thursday.

A Red Flag Warning means that critical fire weather conditions are either occurring now or will shortly. A combination of strong winds, low relative humidity and warm temperatures can contribute to extreme fire behavior. Avoid activities that could spark a fire. Any fires that develop will spread rapidly.

The Red Flag Warning will remain in effect until midnight Thursday. Lowest daytime humidities will fall to around 10 percent for inland areas today with the lower humidities expanding toward the coast on Tuesday. For Tuesday through Thursday, lowest daytime humidities will fall to around 5 percent with poor overnight recovery. The offshore flow will continue into next weekend with continued low inland humidities.

A High Wind Warning means a damaging high wind event is expected. Surface high pressure over the Great Basin will bring a prolonged period of moderate to strong Santa Ana winds and very low humidity through Thursday.

Gusty northeast winds will strengthen for Orange and southwestern San Bernardino Counties this morning and spread southward into San Diego County today. The strongest and most widespread winds are expected for late tonight into Tuesday, and again for late Wednesday night into Thursday. Areas of northeast winds are expected at 20 to 30 mph with gusts to 55 mph. Isolated gusts up to 70 to 80 mph are possible on Tuesday and Thursday. Weakening east to northeast winds are expected to continue into Friday and Saturday. Winds will weaken some and become less widespread Friday and Saturday, but with little recovery in humidity. Northeast to east winds will weaken and become more localized.

Sustained wind speeds of at least 40 mph or gusts of 58 mph or more can lead to property damage. Secure loose objects such as patio furniture and holiday decorations before the winds begin today. During the periods of stronger winds there could be power outages and damaged or toppled trees. Travel will be hazardous in high profile vehicles. Strongest gusts will be along and below coastal mountain slopes and below passes and canyons.

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