A high wind warning was issued for Santa Barbara County’s South Coast late Saturday afternoon as strong gusts kicked up as the sun began setting. Gusts as high as 80 mph are forecast Sunday afternoon in the Montecito foothills.

The National Weather Service said persistent northwest to north winds of 25 to 40 mph could gust to 65 mph Saturday night and early Sunday in the Santa Ynez Mountains and below South Coast canyons and passes.

Weather officials said the winds should peak late Sunday and early Monday, but damaging gusts could reach 80 mph in the Montecito foothills Sunday afternoon. They warned that power outages and property damage are possible. The combination of strong winds and moderately dry fuel sources has fire officials on alert.

Motorists are advised to use caution while driving on Highway 101 along the Gaviota coast and on Highway 154 over San Marcos Pass.

Gale-force winds also will create dangerous sea conditions in the coastal waters, with a high risk of rip currents.

The high wind warning is in effect until 6 a.m. Tuesday.

Daytime temperatures are expected to reach the upper 70s on the South Coast, before dropping into the low 70s through Wednesday. Overnight lows in the mid-50s are forecast.

» 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.

Noozhawk publisher Bill Macfadyen can be reached at wmacfadyen@noozhawk.com. Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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