Strong winds will increase fire danger across Riverside County

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RIVERSIDE (CNS) – Strong Santa Ana winds swept through the Coachella Valley and Riverside County mountains overnight and are expected to continue into the early part of this week, raising fire risks, forecasters said Sunday.

A wind advisory was in place until 10 p.m. for the Coachella Valley and another will go into effect from 2 a.m. through 11 p.m. Monday, according to the National Weather Service.

Forecasters warned that the Coachella Valley will see westerly winds between 25 to 35 mph with gusts up to 60 mph.

The NWS said the strongest winds Sunday would be below the San Gorgonio Pass, while on Monday the strongest winds would be below the Morongo Pass.

Overnight into Sunday, wind speeds reached 62 mph in Snowcreek Canyon, 56 mph in Desert Hot Springs, 55 mph in North Palm Springs, 41 mph in Pinyon Pines and 38 mph in the Morongo Valley, according to the NWS.

“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.”

The agency also warned that the winds, accompanied by low humidity levels, will elevate the fire danger in wind-prone areas.

A red flag warning will be in effect from 2 a.m. Monday to 6 p.m. Tuesday in the Riverside County mountains, the Inland Empire and the San Gorgonio Pass.

Additionally, a dust advisory for parts of Riverside County will be in effect through Tuesday evening, the South Coast Air Quality Management District said Sunday. The SCAQMD warned that the strong wind may kick up dust, creating unhealthy air conditions.

“Limit your exposure by remaining indoors with windows and doors closed and avoiding vigorous physical activity,” the agency said.

The dust advisory applies to the Corona-Norco area, metropolitan Riverside County, Perris Valley, the Hemet-San Jacinto Valley, the San Gorgonio Pass and the Coachella Valley.