Tuesday, November 21 , 2017, 11:22 pm | Fair 56º

 
 
 
 

Local News

Fire Weather Warning Issued for Santa Barbara County for the Weekend

Clear skies, gusty winds and unseasonably hot days raise concerns about wildfires

Palm trees bend in the wind Friday in Santa Barbara. Gusty winds and hot-and-dry conditions have prompted officials to issue a Red Flag Warning for fire danger from 3 a.m. Saturday until 10 a.m. Sunday, Click to view larger
Palm trees bend in the wind Friday in Santa Barbara. Gusty winds and hot-and-dry conditions have prompted officials to issue a Red Flag Warning for fire danger from 3 a.m. Saturday until 10 a.m. Sunday, (Brooke Holland / Noozhawk photo)

Clear skies, gusty winds and unseasonably hot days are in the forecast for Santa Barbara County this weekend, prompting officials to issue a Red Flag Warning for wildfire danger.

Forecasters aren't expecting a record-breaking heat wave, but the warm temperatures are expected to climb before it cools down across the county.

“It’s going to get hot — if there’s any saving grace, it’s going to cool down at night,” said John Dumas, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Oxnard. “It’s not supposed to be humid. It will be more of the traditional hot and dry wind-driven event. It won’t be record breaking, but it’s going to be real close.”

The Red Flag Warning was issued by the National Weather Service for the county’s mountain areas from 3 a.m. Saturday until 10 a.m. Sunday, with wind gusts predicted to reach 55 mph.

A Red Flag Warning means that critical fire weather conditions are either occurring or will be shortly. A combination of strong winds, low relative humidity, and warm temperatures can create extreme fire behavior.

“If you see anything that’s producing sparks, it would be bad probably,” ​Dumas said.

The National Weather Service advises people to use extreme caution outdoors when using potential fire-ignition sources.

The Santa Barbara area is expected to reach the upper-70s to mid-80s on Saturday, then climb into the 80s and up to 90 degrees on Sunday.  

Early next week, a strong high-pressure system and a weak-to-moderate Santa Ana wind pattern are expected to add to the hot temperatures across the county.  

A surfer catches a wave Friday at Santa Barbara’s West Beach. The ocean will be the place to be for the next few days, as temperatures are expected to increase to near 90 by early next week. Click to view larger
A surfer catches a wave Friday at Santa Barbara’s West Beach. The ocean will be the place to be for the next few days, as temperatures are expected to increase to near 90 by early next week. (Brooke Holland / Noozhawk photo)

The hottest days are expected to be Monday and Tuesday, when highs may reach the triple digits.

“Because of the nature of these wind storms, it turns off the natural air conditioning of the sea breeze,” Dumas said. “It’s going to be hotter along the coast in Santa Barbara than it would be in Palmdale (California) or Lancaster (California) for a couple of days.”

An Excessive Heat Watch for the county's South Coast will go in effect at 10 a.m. Monday and last until 8 p.m. Tuesday.

Forecasters say the high temperatures may create “dangerous situation.”

Overnight temperatures will bring slight relief on the South Coast, with lows expected to drop to around 60 degrees, Dumas said.

The Santa Ynez Airport is expected to hit highs in the 70s to around 80 degrees on Saturday and mid-80s to lower-90s on Sunday, with temperatures increasing in the 90s to 100s on Monday and Tuesday.

Overnight lows are expected in the mid-40s to lower-50s near the Santa Ynez Airport Monday night and Tuesday night, according to the weather service.

The city of Lompoc will reach highs in the mid-70s on Saturday and mid-80s on Sunday. 

Monday and Tuesday call for temperatures around 90 degrees in Lompoc, with the heat dropping to around 80 degrees on Wednesday. 

Overnight lows in Lompoc are forecast around 50 degrees, according to the National Weather Service.

The National Weather Service also issued a High Surf Advisory for the county’s Central Coast until noon on Sunday.

The high surf, expected to be 12 to 18 feet in some locations, is expected to mostly affect northwest and west-facing beaches with possible beach erosion and strong rip currents.

Beachgoers in San Luis Obispo County and Santa Barbara County’s Central Coast are advised to take precautionary actions.

Noozhawk staff writer Brooke Holland can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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