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Whitney Southwick's Morning Forecast for Thursday Dec. 22, 2011
Strong Santa Ana winds are expected to buffet San Diego County over the next two days.
A wind advisory is in effect for our mountains and valleys through 4 p.m. this afternoon. The advisory then turns into a High Wind Warning and that's expected to stick around well into Friday afternoon.
The County saw winds in the 25-35 mph range in our mountains and foothills around 9 a.m. Thursday morning. Just north of San Diego hurricane-strength winds going 70 mph were seen in Santa Ana mountain areas.
Gusts could increase to 50 mph or stronger by Friday, and those could even go as 60 to 70 mph.
In the passes to our north, the computers are calling for gusts to perhaps reach 70 or even 75 mph, which is hurricane strength.
Thanks to a fairly wet fall we're not looking at the potential fire danger that is typically associated with a Santa Ana this time of year. But gusts above 45 mph can still be quite damaging to homes and property. They can knock down power lines and cause widespread outages. They can also be very hazardous to high profile vehicles such as campers and semi-trucks.
The winds are expected to subside somewhat by late Friday but you can still expect isolated and sporadically gusty conditions through the weekend.
For the most part however, we're looking at less wind by Christmas Day, lots of sunshine and high temperatures in the 70s.
Quite likely, we'll have some of, if not "the" nicest weather in the entire country come Sunday.