Strong winds to increase fire danger across Inland Empire Monday

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RIVERSIDE (CNS) – Forecasters Friday, Oct. 23 are warning of strong Santa Ana winds throughout the Inland Empire on Monday, raising fire risks, on the heels of a minor rainstorm expected in the region over the weekend.
The National Weather Service issued both a High Wind Watch and Fire Weather Watch, set to start at 2 a.m. Monday. The wind watch expires at 5 p.m. Monday, and the fire watch ends at 6 p.m. Tuesday.
“Damaging winds could blow down trees and power lines,” the NWS said. “Widespread power outages are possible, and travel could be difficult, especially for high-profile vehicles.”
Forecasters said wind speeds are expected to range between 25 and 35 mph, with gusts up to 50 mph.
Humidity levels are predicted to plummet into the single digits amid the offshore blast, increasing wildfire hazards, according to the Weather Service.
“Any fires that develop will likely spread rapidly,” the agency stated.
Just ahead of the wind event will be a weak storm system sliding into the region from the Gulf of Alaska, producing mostly sporadic drizzle and light rain showers Saturday and Sunday, meteorologists said.
The trough will contribute to a drop in temperatures, and the cold band will hold into early next week, with the arrival of the winds, according to the Weather Service.
“Temperatures should rebound nicely with warm days and cool, mostly clear nights (after Tuesday),” according to the NWS.
High temperatures Saturday to Monday in the Riverside metropolitan area will hover in the mid- to upper 60s, with lows in the 50s. In the Coachella Valley, highs will range in the upper 70s to mid-80s Saturday and Sunday, with the mercury only reaching about 70 degrees on Monday, and lows generally in the 50s. In the Temecula Valley, highs will hover in the mid-60s Saturday to Monday, with lows in the 50s.