Ready for the wind? Forecasted gusts prompt warnings for Southern California

Southern California can expect a break from January’s rainy start as strong offshore gusts sweep across the region beginning Sunday, forecasters said.

In the Inland Empire and Orange County, the winds will arrive Sunday evening, peak at nighttime, and continue Monday until around 2 p.m., according to NWS meteorologist Elizabeth Schenk, who said the winds will begin as northerly winds and transition to Santa Ana winds early next week.

 

Please heed the warning. On average, it can take us 3+ hours to reach many common higher hazard/fall areas by foot. (ev) https://t.co/Y3LaxllWiT

— West Valley SAR (@WestValleySAR) January 21, 2023

 

During this wind event, Orange County’s inland areas, the Santa Ana Mountains and all of the Inland Empire will be under a high wind warning starting at 6 p.m. Sunday and continuing until 2 p.m. Monday, Schenk said.

A High Wind Warning in effect Sunday night through 2 PM Monday for the SBD Mountains and passes, and the Orange County Mountains and Inland Valleys.
A Wind Advisory is in effect for Orange County coastal areas, the Riverside County Mountains, and the Coachella Valley. #cawx pic.twitter.com/fGO18nJ5Rj

— NWS San Diego (@NWSSanDiego) January 21, 2023

For Orange County, some of the strongest winds are likely to appear in communities at the foothills of the Santa Ana Mountains including Rancho Santa Margarita and Mission Viejo where winds of 30-40 mph and gusts from 60-70 mph are forecasted, Schenk said. Northern parts of the Inland Empire, like San Bernardino, Rancho Cucamonga and Ontario, are likely to experience the fastest winds and most powerful gusts, she added.

Meanwhile, the coastal areas and places farther from the mountain range — like Irvine and Laguna Hills — can expect winds around 20-30 mph and 45 mph gusts, according to Schenk. Although those locations are forecasted to have lower wind speeds, they will be under a high wind warning from 10 p.m. Sunday until 2 p.m. Monday, Schenk explained.

By Tuesday, Orange County and the Inland Empire can expect clear skies, sunshine, and some slight warming with temperatures in the low 60s, Schenk said. No rain is forecasted for next week, she added, explaining that conditions will become dry, meaning wildfire risks can be elevated when high winds occur.

“We’ve really transitioned patterns,” Schenk said. “These stronger Santa Ana wind events can be big fire spreaders, but we’ve had a lot of rain so hopefully that tamps down concern a bit. We can’t let our guards down but the amount of rain we’ve had should help.”

In Los Angeles County, the wind event will follow the same timeframe as Orange County and the Inland Empire: Sunday evening lasting into Monday, according to meteorologist Todd Hall. A high wind warning was issued for Los Angeles mountain communities starting 6 p.m. Sunday until 2 p.m. Monday, with gusts possible up to 70 mph.

The Santa Clarita, San Fernando and San Gabriel valleys will see winds around 45 mph and gusts of 50 mph, according to Hall. The LA metro area and coastal cities will see lighter winds likely at or less than 35 mph, he said.

In western parts of the San Fernando Valley, cities like Calabasas and Woodland Hills are likely to be sheltered from the wind, Hall added. In place of strong gusts, those cities are more likely to experience “very cold” temperatures with lows in the lower to mid-30s.

While this week’s wind will be a reprieve from 2023’s rainy start, Hall said January might end with showers around Jan. 30. The exact details of that possible storm weren’t clear, but Hall said the NWS will continue to monitor for the “possibility” of another rainstorm.

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