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Strongest Santa Ana winds in years sweep through LA

Fire risk is high

By Angel DiBilio / Shutterstock

Extreme warm and dry winds are blowing across parts of Los Angeles this morning in what forecasters are calling one of the most powerful Santa Ana wind events in decades.

The biggest gusts are barreling through Malibu and the Hollywood Hills and were expected to peak after daybreak and into the late morning before weakening tonight.

Earlier this morning, the National Weather Service recorded wind gusts of 56 mph in Chatsworth, 48 mph in Burbank, and 62 mph in Malibu. In the Santa Monica Mountains, gusts have already hit 66 mph and could get as high as 75 mph, according to the Weather Service.

“This is one of the strongest wind events we’ve seen in years,” said NBC4 forecaster Shanna Mendiola.

The winds claimed the life of a Tustin woman Monday, after a tree fell on top of her car.

A high wind warning is in effect for the Los Angeles and Ventura County mountains, including the Santa Monica range. Coastal and valley areas of Los Angeles and Ventura Counties are under wind advisories through this afternoon.

Strong winds have downed trees and palm fronds, affecting Glendale Water and Power customers. Due to damaged equipment and fire precautions, thousands of LADWP and SoCal Edison customers are without electricity, from Sierra Madre to Hyde Park.

It’s the first major Santa Ana wind event of the season, and in spite of a recent spat of rain, there’s an elevated risk of wildfires. With humidity plunging and temperatures climbing into the 80s and 90s, a red flag warning is in effect through Tuesday.

“Although recent rainfall has wet fuels, wind gusts of 45 to 65 mph by Monday morning will quickly dry out fuels across Los Angeles and Ventura Counties,” says the Weather Service. “Widespread minimum humidities between 4 and 12 percent are likely Monday and Tuesday with poor overnight recoveries.”

Winds are expected to die down slightly Monday evening, in time for a pivotal playoff game between the Dodgers and the Milwaukee Brewers.

“I expect the ball to be flying a little bit tonight,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts told reporters before the game.

Winds Tuesday are expected to be “10-15 mph weaker” than Monday, according to the Weather Service.