Santa Ana winds to bring critical fire weather over Thanksgiving holiday
SAN ANTONIO – For the third consecutive Thanksgiving weekend, the Santa Ana winds will kick up dust along the coast and create critical fire weather over the holiday.
The National Weather Service’s Storm Prediction Center says Santa Ana winds between 36 and 72 mph will build up along the coast near San Luis Pass, pushing the dust into San Diego County. The winds will then move along the coast to the west coast of Baja California, where they will produce even higher gusts.
The NWS says the Santa Ana outflow will bring up to 16 inches of dust during the day Saturday and 9 to 10 inches at night.
Officials from the San Diego County Fire Department and the Department of Emergency Management will be on high alert and monitoring the Santa Ana winds throughout the weekend.
The fire weather will give up to 1,000 firefighters and other personnel more than double their normal staffing to help keep them alert through critical weather.
Crews from the San Diego, Orange and Riverside County Fire Districts are set up in advance of the Santa Ana winds.
The county also has a fire safety alert system in place for the holiday weekend.
The Orange County Sheriff’s Department announced this Thursday they are adding a deputy sheriff or deputy dispatchers to alert those who have evacuated their homes because of the wildfire to remain calm and wait for the firefighters to arrive.
The Orange County fire chief said the county is on alert for the Santa Ana winds and will dispatch its own resources to help as needed.
“Every fire department in Southern California is fully prepared for the Santa Ana winds,” said Battalion Chief Todd Giannotti, fire chief for the Orange County Fire Department. “If you’ve evacuated your home, you should wait for our fire crews to arrive, and if you’re unsure about staying with your family or friend, feel free to stay with them.”
As of 8 a.m. Friday morning, officials with the National Weather Service in Huntington Beach had not confirmed whether the fire in the area was still active.
The Santa Ana winds will have their way with the city beginning Saturday and continuing for days to come.
More than 50 inches of rain have been predicted for this weekend in most of Southern California.
The National Weather Service’s Storm Prediction Center