Fierce Santa Ana winds gusting at more than 50 miles per hour swept much of Southern California Friday as humidity levels dipped sharply, drying out already bone-dry vegetation and confronting the region with what the National Weather Service called "the most significant fire-weather threat in the past five years."
More locally, wind gusts were forecast to get up to 30 mph in Loma Linda. Redlands faced a more mild forecast though, with winds only projected to get to 10 mph.
A gust of 52 mph was recorded at Mill Creek on Friday morning.
An NWS red flag warning signifying a high risk of wildfires went into effect Friday morning and was to remain in force through Sunday evening.
"Strongest winds for Orange and San Bernardino counties are expected for today through early Saturday and for San Deigo for Saturday," the NWS Red Flag Warning for Redlands and Loma Linda stated Friday.
"A strong Santa Ana wind event will develop over the area (Thursday night) through Friday mid-day, then weaken Saturday, afternoon through Sunday, bringing the most significant fire-weather threat in the past five years," warned an NWS advisory on Thursday.
According to Southern California Edison, some power outages have been reported in parts of the Southland, mainly in the Simi Valley area.
"The important thing for people to remember is to call 911 if they see downed power lines," SCE's David Song said.
The Santa Anas will begin to die down Saturday night, and onshore winds will develop Sunday, but that will not ease the risks because "chaotic winds are expected" amid continuing low humidity levels and temperatures 5 to 15 degrees higher than normal, according to the advisory.
– City News Service contributed to this report.