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Climate and Environment

High Winds Arrive In LA, Ventura Counties On Wednesday Night

A lighted highway sign reads: High Winds ahead high profile vehicles not advised
A travel advisory sign is posted for high winds on Interstate 8 near San Diego last September. Meteorologists are warning high winds in Souther California this week could make high profile vehicles vulnerable.
(Sandy Huffaker
Getty Images)
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Santa Ana winds are expected to sweep through Los Angeles and Ventura counties starting Wednesday night, according to the National Weather Service.

Gusts As 60 MPH And Higher Are Forecast

The wind gusts will peak Thursday morning.

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A color-coded map shows the forecast for peak wins with deep red in the mountains indicating gusts up to 80 mph
(Courtesy NWS)

"The western L.A. valleys will likely see strong advisory-level gusts around 55 mph — the mountains, including the Santa Monica Mountains, will likely see warning-level gusts between 60 and 65 miles per hour," meteorologist Kristan Lund said.

Potential Dangers

Lund advises people to be on the lookout for fallen trees and branches — they can fall easier because the soil has soaked up a lot of rainwater from the winter storms. The high winds will create particularly hazardous conditions for commercial trucks and other high-profile vehicles.

Surf Warnings Are In Place

In addition, officials are warning about high surf along the Southern California coast and the likelihood of dangerous rip tides.

Potential Dangers To Power Lines

High winds also bring the potential for downed power lines — which in turn have sparked some of the deadliest and most costly wildfires in recent memory. Some things to keep in mind:

Safety tips from Southern California Edison
    • Watch for traffic signals that may be out. Approach those intersections as four-way stops.
    • Make sure you have a battery-operated radio and flashlights. Check the batteries to make sure they are fresh. Use flashlights for lighting during a power outage; do not use candles because they may pose a significant fire hazard.
    • If you’re in a vehicle with a fallen power line on it, stay in the vehicle and remain calm until help arrives. It is OK to use your cellphone to call 911. If you must leave the vehicle, remember to exit away from downed power lines and exit by jumping from the vehicle and landing with both feet together. You must not touch the vehicle and the ground at the same time. Then proceed away from the vehicle by shuffling and not picking up your feet until you are several yards away. 
    • Water and electricity don’t mix. Water is an excellent conductor of electricity. Do not step in or enter any water that a downed power line may be touching.
    • Do not use any equipment inside that is designed for outdoor heating or cooking. Such equipment can emit carbon monoxide and other toxic gases.
    • If you use a generator, place it outdoors and plug individual appliances directly into it, using a heavy-duty extension cord. Connecting generators directly to household circuits creates “backfeed,” which is dangerous to repair crews.
    • Leave the doors of your refrigerator and freezer closed to keep food as fresh as possible. Place blocks of ice inside to help keep food cold. Check food carefully for signs of spoilage. 
    • Check on your neighbors to make sure everyone is safe.
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