Firefighting resources have been prepositioned in southern California for the last two days in order to be ready for any wildfires that break out during the predicted strong Santa Ana winds. There has been “light initial attack” fire activity over the last couple of days, according to the Southern California Geographic Area Coordination Center, but no large fires so far. Maybe this can be credited not only to the not-quite-as-strong-as-expected winds, but to aggressive initial attack by the fire agencies. One fire near Fontana burned a few hundred acres before firefighters put it out. Photos of that fire by tjvphoto can be found HERE.
The Red Flag Warning is still in effect through Saturday evening. While the winds have been fairly strong, the predicted northeast winds of 20 to 30 mph gusting at 50 to 60 mph have not quite materialized in most areas. The effect of the Santa Ana condition has been quite variable in southern California, but the Chilao weather station on the Angeles National Forest has been recording some of the highest wind speeds. Since 12:53 a.m. on Saturday it has seen sustained winds in the 30s with gusts above 40 mph; the strongest gust was 49 mph.
The forecast is for northeast winds of 25 to 30 mph gusting up to 30 on Saturday, but the relative humidities will be very low, in some areas going down to 5 percent during the afternoon. The winds will decrease in the late afternoon when the pressure gradient relaxes as the surface high over the Great Basin shifts.