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First, a heat wave-parched Southern California. Now, a storm system is moving in over much of the region. Storms usually mean relief in dry, hot weather. But the highly combustible dry lightning expected with this storm may mean trouble.
Officials concerned that the lighting may ignite dry brush have issued a Red Flag warning from midnight Tuesday until 5 p.m. Wednesday for Los Angeles and surrounding counties.
“Normally, at this time of the year we get showers and thunderstorms, said Stewart Seto, a weather specialist with the National Weather Service. "Mostly it’s limited to desert and mountain areas due to monsoonal flow,” he said.
However, it is “unusual” to have thunderstorms -- originally generated from a low pressure system from the North -- come this far south, Seto said.
Dry lightning caused the devastating Buck Fire, which earlier in August tore through more than 2,600 acres, destroying four structures and injuring one resident.
Red Flag warnings alert emergency response agencies of high fire risk, helping them plan their resources and staffing to be ready to act swiftly and in full force. The warnings also help increase awareness among residents to be on the lookout for fire.
Temperatures in the Southland Tuesday are expected to reach highs from the lower to mid 70s at the beaches, to the mid 80s to lower 90s in the Inland valleys. Thunderstorms are forecast for Tuesday evening as temperatures cool down, with a 20 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms after midnight.
The main areas of concern are the San Gabriel Mountains, the Los Padres National Forest and some areas of Los Angeles and Ventura counties and the Antelope Valley.