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California to see gusty fire weather, then Pacific storms

December 22, 2020 GMT

LOS ANGELES (AP) —

Critical fire danger is likely to return to Southern California at midweek due to a new round of gusty Santa Ana winds, forecasters said Tuesday.

Southern California Edison was considering public safety power shutoffs affecting more than 130,000 customers to prevent fires from being ignited by downed lines or wind-blown debris striking electrical equipment.

Fire weather watches were scheduled to go into effect in the region late Wednesday morning and last through Thursday, the National Weather Service said.

The seasonal offshore winds also will slash relative humidity levels, making vegetation already dried out by the summer months even more susceptible to fire.

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The winds also could bring gale conditions to the inner coastal waters, forecasters said.

The first of two Pacific frontal systems will approach the Northern California coast on Friday afternoon, raising potential concern about potential mudslides or debris flows from burn scars.

For Southern California, there’s a limited chance of rain Friday and Saturday, but wet weather is expected in all areas of the region late Sunday and Monday.

The Los Angeles-area weather office described the late-weekend event as the “first non-trivial storm” of the season.