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Winds pick up across the Thomas Fire - KSBY.com | San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara Area News

Winds pick up across the Thomas Fire

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Winds have already picked up across the eastern end of the Thomas Fire and along the western edge winds Friday night into Saturday look to be a particular challenge.

The strongest northeast winds are expected today into this evening, with peak gusts between 50 and 60 mph across the Los Angeles and Ventura county mountains, and between 35 and 50 mph across coastal and valley areas. These strong offshore winds will create the potential for very rapid fire spread, long-range spotting, and extreme fire behavior with existing fires and any new ignitions. The humidities will remain very dry today and Friday with widespread single-digit humidities, along with very poor overnight recoveries tonight. This will result in continued critical fire weather conditions into Friday morning, especially today and tonight when the offshore winds peak.
 
Tonight, there will be a slight increase in offshore winds across the Santa Barbara County mountains, with southeast to northeast winds gusting up to 25 mph. These gusty offshore winds combined with single digit humidities will bring elevated to brief critical fire weather conditions through tonight across the Santa Barbara county mountains, including the higher elevations of the Thomas Fire. Another time of concern for Santa Barbara County (including the Thomas Fire area) will be late Friday night into Saturday when north to northeast winds could gust between 25 and 35 mph, however, there is still some uncertainty in the strength of these northerly winds and associated humidities. This will likely bring a period of additional elevated fire weather concerns for the Thomas Fire, with the potential for brief critical 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.  

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

Northwesterly to north winds are forecast on Saturday for the west-facing Central Coast. Otherwise, slightly cooler weather and mostly clear skies are expected for most of next week.  

There are forecasts which feature rain opportunities around Christmas, however the last 3 runs of the U.S. GFS model continue to show a pattern shift, cool and breezy but dry forecast.  This forecast could change, stay tuned.

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