San Diego

Brief Relief Before Dry Santa Anas, Fire Weather Returns to San Diego

The National Weather Service said winds during this Red Flag Warning could be the strongest so far this season

San Diego County will get a brief break from gusty Santa Ana winds and hot temperatures but the respite will be short-lived; another Red Flag Warning will begin Tuesday night. 

The warning is expected to go into effect at 11 p.m. Tuesday, when the next Santa Ana wind event would move into the San Diego region. The alert is expected to last until 6 p.m. Thursday for all areas except the coast.

The National Weather Service said wind gusts during this time could be the strongest so far this season, with the most hazardous expected on Wednesday. 

Gusts in mountain passes could be in the 50 to 70 miles per hour range with isolated gusts reaching 80 mph but those levels of winds would mostly affect the greater Los Angeles area, according to NBC 7 Meteorologist Sheena Parveen.

In San Diego, winds will be about 25 to 35 mph in the inland valleys and in the 50 mph range for the foothills. Some isolated gusts over 70 mph are possible at the highest ridgetops and canyons, Parveen said. 

The winds will be coupled with devestatingly low humidity levels. Daytime dew points would hover around 5 percent. 

NBC 7 Meteorologist Dagmar Midcap said temperatures won't be the issue with this set up. 

"Focus on the powerful 70 to 80 mph wind gusts coupled with single digit relative humidity for the majority of the county. Even the beaches will sink into the low teens," Midcap said. 

With those conditions, any wildfire that sparks has the potential to grow rapidly, the NWS said. 

San Diego County got a brief break from fire weather on Monday as winds shifted to an onshore flow and temperatures cooled to below-average for this time of year. 

Cal Fire San Diego wasn't using the cooler temperatures and less-breezy conditions as an opportunity to let their guard down. The agency has remained staffed up since last week. 

"We know the weather’s going to continue to be a problem for us so we kept all that stuff staffed and not just for San Diego County but to help out our surrounding counties if they end up getting a fire as well," Cal Fire Captain and Public Information Officer Thomas Shoots said. 

Cal Fire San Diego County Fire Chief Tony Mecham said nearly all 500 of Cal Fire’s firefighters, as well as an additional 150 out-of-state firefighters, will be ready to battle any blazes that arise across the state.

While many of these resources will aid the fight against the Kincade Fire, Mecham confirmed San Diego County will have more than a dozen extra fire engines during this time, as well as six more water tenders.

The wildfire threat remained high for the rest of California. On Monday, a fast-moving brush fire started near The Getty Center in Los Angeles, burning homes and forcing evacuations in neighborhoods on Los Angeles' Westside.

The area was under a Red Flag Warning, a more severe fire weather alert, when the fire erupted. The warning means critical fire-fueling weather was expected. 

San Diego County was under a Red Flag Warning last week when two brush fires sparked. The Miller Fire in Valley Center destroyed three outbuildings before it was fully contained over the weekend and the Sawday Fire in Ramonawas surrounded by Monday after scorching nearly 100 acres. 

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