A widespread windstorm could deliver hurricane-force wind gusts in California and other parts of the West – therconline.com

A widespread windstorm could deliver hurricane-force wind gusts in California and other parts of the West – therconline.com

A windstorm is forecast to bring strong and possibly damaging winds to the western US, starting the weekend.

Over 30 million people are under wind alerts across portions of California, Nevada, and far western Arizona and Utah. These alerts include the cities of San Francisco, Sacramento, Las Vegas, and Los Angeles. Forecast wind models “show a high probability of an unusually strong January wind event tonight,” the National Weather Service (NWS) office in San Francisco said on Friday morning. Winds across the region could reach 20 to 35 mph, and wind gusts in some areas could reach up to hurricane-force (75 mph).

Strong offshore winds will develop on Friday, blowing from the Intermountain West toward the Pacific Coast. Locally across different areas of California, these strong offshore wind events are often referred to as “Diablo winds,” “Mono winds,” or “Santa Ana winds.” This type of offshore wind event is more commonly seen in the fall across the western US, when the the threat of wildfire is the greatest, but the strength of this particular event is unusual in the winter months.

Some of the strongest winds will occur across Southern California in the form of a Santa Ana wind. “Winds will likely quickly ramp up to near damaging levels across much of Los Angeles and Ventura Counties by this evening,” the NWS office in Los Angeles said Friday morning. These same areas saw strong winds of 40 to 60 mph on Thursday when a slightly weaker Santa Ana wind event occurred. The highest wind gust during Thursday’s event was 62 mph at Magic Mountain Truck Trail in Los Angeles County. However, even higher winds are forecast Friday night into Saturday.

Floyd Becenti