Santa Ana Winds sway palm trees. Courtesy Southern California Edison

Forecasts predicting an extended period of gusty, dry conditions across the San Diego area beginning this week prompted authorities Tuesday to issue warnings of increased wildfire hazards and the potential for public-safety power shutoffs in particularly at-risk locales.

On Wednesday night, Santa Ana winds will increase and become widespread across the county, with 50 mph gusts possible in the mountains and western valleys, according to the National Weather Service.

On Thursday, humidity levels will drop as low as 10% in some places, with poor overnight recovery, the agency advised.

In response to the expected atmospheric conditions, the NWS issued a “Red Flag” wildfire warning for local inland-valley and highland areas, effective from 6 p.m. Wednesday to 10 p.m. Saturday. The most intensive “critical fire weather conditions” are expected to last from Wednesday night through Friday morning, meteorologists advised.

How to prepare if a Red Flag warning is issued in your area. Courtesy @NWSSanDiego

Due to the wildfire warning, San Diego Gas & Electric on Tuesday notified about 88,700 of its customers in inland communities that they could be subject to public-safety power shutoffs from midweek Wednesday night into the weekend, and potentially through next Monday.

The Santa Ana weather pattern is likely to continue into next week, though likely in a weakened manner, according to forecasters.

— City News Service