After a day of intense Santa Ana winds Monday, Southern Californian residents receive a second day of strong wind advisories. The mountain regions of San Gabriel and Santa Monica receive the strongest warning. Gusts of up to 70 mph are expected to blow through, potentially downing trees and branches.
In the midst of cleanup following yesterday’s winds, Santa Clarita faces another day of up to 55 mph gusts. Up to 60 mph winds may occur where terrain exacerbates windspeed.
Advisories are also in effect for the rest of Los Angeles county. 20 to 25 mph winds, with up to 30 mph gusts, are expected to sweep through San Fernando valley. In the LA basin, expectations are 15 to 25 mph winds, with potential for strong winds up to 40 mph.
Authorities advise drivers to be extra cautious. Strong winds on the freeway affect control of your vehicle. Also, downed trees and branches block roadways, or worse, may topple while you drive beneath them. The winds affect most major freeways, the 5, 101, 10, and 405 among them.
Climate Changing Strong Winds
The Santa Ana winds result from cold air east of California in the Great Basin moving clockwise over the Sierra Nevada. They pick up speed through narrow mountain passes, then enter Southern California. This shifting air mass receives blame for wildfires as they dry brush in late fall. However, the Santa Ana winds are typically stronger in winter months, and with a shifting wet season, that may rewrite the dates on fire season.
Scientists observe climate trends pushing SoCal’s rainy season later, keeping early winter drier than it’s been previously. Despite weakening Santa Ana winds during the spring and fall, its winter strength remains. Coupled with increasingly dry Novembers and Decembers, Southern California will likely begin to see more fires like the Thomas fire in 2017.