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Climate and Environment

This Isn't An April Fools' Joke — It's Going To Be Windy And Snowy Today in SoCal

A electronic sign reads:  Strong Winds Ahead Use Caution. Cars are driving by on a freeway.
A warning sign near a wind farm.
(Mario Tama
Getty Images)
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Chill has returned to the area on the heels of a nice warm weekend. That's because what the National Weather Service calls a "cold inside slider" entered Southern California last night, bringing very strong winds across the area and even snow to the Interstate 5 corridor.

From this afternoon into tonight, it’s going to be very windy. The mountains will experience wind gusts between 60 to 70 mph, according to NWS.

This wind event will also produce clouds of blowing dust in the Antelope Valley, which could seriously restrict visibility, according to David Sweet, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service. Even coastal areas and valleys will see gusts up to 45 mph.

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Tejon Pass is already seeing light snow accumulation as of this morning that will amount to an inch, but Sweet says the snow will dry out by this evening. The California Highway Patrol in the Fort Tejon area is conducting escorts through the Grapevine while the snow lasts.

There's also a High Surf Advisory for Orange County coastal areas from between 11 a.m. today to 11 a.m. Tuesday. Waves are expected to reach between 5 to 8 feet.

The winds are expected to die down after tonight. Tuesday will also be windy, but not as bad as today, according to the weather service.

How to stay safe in high winds

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.

Tips to keep your heating bills down

  • State law requires residential units to have heating systems that can keep indoor temperatures at a minimum of 70 degrees. That means every dwelling unit and guest room offered for rent or lease should offer heating equipment, usually central air conditioning (A/C) or a wall heater. — Caitlin Hernández

  • Use heat smartly to save money: Cranking things like the A/C and wall heaters can be expensive. If money is tight, be judicious about how and when you use your utilities. For example, only use heaters at night or only set the thermostat to around 70 degrees.

  • Open and close those vents: If you have central A/C, look at where the vents are around your home. Are any open in places where you don’t stay long? Practice opening and closing those so warm air only goes where you need it (most vents should have a small toggle lever). Humidifiers can also help you warm things up — and it’s useful to add moisture into our dry air.

  • Adjust your wall heaters: If you have a wall heater, you can change the output by adjusting the knob (usually at the bottom). Since wall heaters can only warm the areas where they’re placed, it’s essential to close doors to rooms you won’t be in so hot air doesn’t get wasted.

  • Turn on your ceiling fan (really): If you have a ceiling fan, try turning it on. This sounds counterintuitive, but there’s science behind it. The direction a fan turns can push air in different directions, and since hot air floats up, you’ll want to move that around. Your fan should spin clockwise to create an updraft to circulate. Not all fans will have this option, though.

Additional storm resources

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