Saturday, May 18, 2024

Fire risk increases in some parts of Southern California despite continued June gloom

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Gusty winds, combined with a drop in humidity, have increased the risk of fire across inland valleys and desert regions of Southern California until at least Tuesday, according to a fire weather forecast issued Sunday.

The Antelope Valley, in particular, is at higher risk for grass fires, officials said. Southwest winds are expected to reach 40 mph in Palmdale and Lancaster, and up to 50 mph along the foothills.

The same onshore winds that are putting mountain communities on alert, however, will also lead to cooler temperatures along the coast — as well as a heavier marine layer, better known this time of year as June gloom. Los Angeles and much of Southern California, in fact, will continue to experience damp, drizzly weather this week.

“There’s a low-pressure system moving through the whole West Coast, and when we get these upper-level low-pressure systems, that’s what drives a stronger onshore flow from the coast to the desert,” said David Gomberg, a meteorologist and fire weather program manager for the National Weather Service. “That strong onshore flow and that low-pressure system together help deepen the marine layer, and then strengthens the winds out in the desert.”

Drier air is forecast to spread over all interior areas by Tuesday, Gomberg said, with humidity levels as low as 8% to 15% in the Antelope Valley and mountain areas.

Strong winds are also expected to develop late Sunday across western portions of the Santa Ynez Mountains and southern Santa Barbara, reaching gusts of 35 to 45 mph by late Monday and into Tuesday night.

Temperatures in the Palmdale area are expected to reach a high of 79 degrees Monday, and 82 degrees Tuesday. Along the coast, temperatures will remain mild this week, around 75 degrees.

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