Gusty winds are expected to develop across southern Santa Barbara County late Sunday afternoon, elevating the risk of wildfire as the conditions persist through midweek. A gale warning has been issued for the outer waters of the Santa Barbara Channel.

The National Weather Service said periods of gusty winds are likely on the South Coast, beginning Sunday afternoon and lasting through Wednesday.

Local northwest winds of 15 to 30 mph with gusts to 40 mph are expected Sunday afternoon and Sunday night. Motorists are advised to use caution on Highway 101 along the Gaviota coast and on Highway 154 over San Marcos Pass.

The weather service said the combination of strong winds and temperatures in the low 70s will bring elevated fire danger throughout the region.

The forecast for Monday and Tuesday is for sunshine and daytime temperatures in the low 70s. Local north winds of 10 to 20 mph with gusts to 25 mph are likely, with afternoon winds increasing to 15 to 25 mph.

Monday night, gusts as high as 35 mph are possible below canyons and passes on the South Coast.

Patchy overnight fog is forecast beginning Tuesday night but skies are expected to clear each day by late morning through the weekend, with high temperatures in the low to mid-70s.

» Click here for the complete National Weather Service forecast.

» Click here for the Santa Barbara County Office of Emergency Services. Click here to sign up for the OES’ messaging service. Connect with the OES on Facebook.

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Bill Macfadyen is Noozhawk’s founder and publisher. Contact him at, and follow him on Instagram: @bill.macfadyen. The opinions expressed are his own.