Winds across part of the Thomas Fire should increase Thursday - KSBY.com | San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara Area News

Winds across part of the Thomas Fire should increase Thursday

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More high pressure and offshore flow for the night and morning hours for the Thomas Fire.  At times the gusts overnight will peak at 20-30 in wind prone areas but the general flow is under 15mph.  The fire also creates hyper-local wind conditions and swirls of air which can complicate local fire scenes.

The key relative humidity factors are still very low, at 5-15%.  Firefighters have called those conditions a problem turning fuels into tinder.

In addition, the air above the fire is cold, this sets up potentially dangerous lapse rates, plume driven activity is possible should large flares form.

Conditions will change Friday afternoon into Friday night, with the flow becoming more west to northwest. By late Friday night into Saturday, there is the potential for gusty north winds with continued low humidities across Santa Barbara County (including the Thomas Fire area), the flow may begin to shift to the northeast again during the day Saturday, with a greater threat of increased Santa Ana winds and low humidities late Saturday into Sunday when gusts between 35 and 50 mph will be possible. Critical Red Flag conditions will once again be possible with the Santa Ana winds over the weekend, especially in Ventura County.

Other than fire conditions, high-pressure ridge along the West Coast will continue to produce very dry and mostly clear skies with cold mornings and mild afternoons through Friday. 

We saw highs in the low-70s in the North County and low-80s in the coastal valleys today with beaches in the low to mid-70s. Overnight lows will drop to the mid-20s in the inland valleys and low 40s in the coastal valleys.  

Gusty offshore winds combined with dry conditions will result in very high to extreme fire danger today into Friday.

Stronger northwesterly to north winds are forecast on Saturday. Otherwise, slightly cooler weather and mostly clear skies are expected for most of next week.  

Long range models show a pattern shift before Christmas, while bullish on rain initially they are looking more cold and breezy than rainy at this point.

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