Southern California breaking news and trends

Red flag warnings caution SoCal as Santa Ana winds strengthen

KCAL

A screenshot from KCAL footage of fire crews preparing to battle a Santa Ana wind-driven brush fire in Santa Clarita October 25, 2011. The winds are picking up again, and the National Weather Service has issued red flag warnings in response.

The National Weather Service has issued red flag warnings for areas around Southern California as Santa Ana winds begin to kick up. It will be in effect from 7 p.m. Sunday night to 4 p.m. Monday afternoon.

Strongest winds will hit Ventura County mountains and Los Angeles County Mountains with gusts up to 40 mph. Relative humidity in those areas will range between 6 and 12 percent.

The dryness could cause life- and property-threatening wildfire spread. "The fire danger is specifically high when we have these wind events. If a fire were to start, it could spread very quickly," National Weather Service meteorologist Jayme Laber said about the first notable Santa Ana wind event last month.

Robert Balfour, a senior forecaster for the National Weather Service in San Diego, told the Los Angeles Times that conditions for red flag warnings include winds of about 25 mph with gusts of at least 35 mph. He added that relative humidity under 15 percent is also a criterion. 

The Santa Ana winds already sparked a fire in Santa Clarita Valley late October, NBC LA reports. Other small brush fires were quickly extinguished in San Bernardino County, Malibu and San Diego. Winter of 2011, the Santa Ana winds ravaged the Southland, toppling hundreds of trees and powerlines with its force.

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