Heat and High Wind Warning For All High Profile Vehiclesby Jana Ritter - Published: 4/30/2014
Caltrans has issued a high wind warning for all high-profile vehicles traveling in Southern California, especially in San Bernardino and Riverside counties. Winds gusts peaking at 69mph have already caused tractor-trailers to overturn and flights to be diverted from L.A./Ontario International Airport to LAX this morning. Three lanes on the westbound 60 Freeway at Pyrite are also closed due to an overturned tractor-trailer and the southbound 15 Freeway connector to the 60 is also closed for an unknown duration because of an overturned big rig that caused a hazmat spill. High-profile vehicles traveling east along Interstate 8 are also being told to turn around due to high winds and dangerous driving conditions.
The unrelenting heat has Southern Californians on alert in the face of both fire and high wind warnings and a red flag warning went into effect at 2 a.m. Wednesday until 8 p.m. Thursday, according to the National Weather Service. A wind advisory is also in effect until 3 p.m. Thursday. Stephanie Sullivan of the National Weather Service in San Diego said, “This is a pretty high wind event. There are high wind warnings in effect for the entire Inland Empire.” Winds were expected to be strongest Wednesday morning through the afternoon, with “damaging” wind gusts in the mountains and valleys in the 60 to 80 mph range, according to the NWS.
While all drivers are advised to use extra caution and be prepared for sudden gusty cross winds, high profile vehicles are warned to be especially careful in the difficult stretches along the Pacific Coast Highway as well as through the Sepulveda Pass. Dozens of cars are even being forced off the highway, some being told they were too top-heavy to continue.
The windy conditions, combined with temperatures in the 90s and low humidity, have also created dangerous wildfire conditions that are expected to continue through Thursday. The NWS warned that with 100 percent of California in a drought, the hot, dry and windy conditions will create extreme fire danger across the area. Any fires that start will spread rapidly. "If fire ignition occurs there could be rapid spread of wildfire that would lead to a threat to life and property," according to the NWS.
The red flag warning was issued for the Santa Monica Mountains, Los Angeles County mountains, Angeles National Forest, coastal areas, Orange County and the Santa Clarita, San Gabriel and San Fernando valleys.