SAN DIEGO (CNS) - Strong, gusty winds and very low humidity expected to start Sunday could increase the risk for wildfires and caused Red Flag Warnings to be posted Saturday for San Diego County mountain areas, and a less-severe fire weather watch for inland valleys.
The NWS issued the Red Flag Warning to remain in effect from 7 p.m. Sunday to 4 p.m. Monday for mountain areas including the Palomar and Descanso ranger districts of the Cleveland National Forest.
"A Red Flag Warning means that critical fire weather conditions are either occurring now or will shortly," the NWS advisory stated. "A combination of strong winds, low relative humidity and warm temperatures will create explosive fire growth potential."
Similar warnings were posted for the Santa Ana Mountains north of Fallbrook, and the mountains of Riverside and San Bernardino counties.
A fire weather watch was to remain in effect from Sunday morning to Monday afternoon for the county's inland valleys.
"A fire weather watch means that critical fire weather conditions are forecast to occur," the NWS advisory stated. "Listen for later forecasts and possible Red Flag Warnings."
The watch was initially scheduled to go into effect for coastal areas at 7 p.m. Sunday, however the NWS cancelled that watch because "winds are no longer expected to reach the duration and wind speed criteria in San Diego coastal locations."
High pressure over the northern part of the state is expected to combined with building surface pressure over the Great Basin and could lead to a favorable weather pattern for weak to moderate Santa Ana winds.
Northeast to east winds of 10 to 15 miles per hour with gusts up to 45 mph are expected in the mountains. Eastern winds of 10 to 20 mph with gusts of up to 40 mph are expected in the inland valleys, according to the NWS.
Forecasters expected relative humidity to be very low and both the dead and live fuel moisture levels would remain below critical values.
The NWS said winds would diminish Monday night and humidities would start to increase Tuesday night and continue to rise throughout the end of next week.
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