High winds will return to the Southland Wednesday night and a fire weather watch will be in effect Thursday and Friday in the San Gabriel and Santa Monica mountains, the Angeles National Forest, the San Fernando and Santa Clarita valleys, beach cities, metropolitan Los Angeles and the Hollywood Hills.
The fire weather watch, which is a step less severe than a red flag warning, will be in force from Thursday morning through Friday morning because of gusty winds and low humidity, according to the National Weather Service.
Forecasters said winds of 15 to 30 mph are expected, along with gusts of up to 50 mph amid humidity levels of between 8 and 15 percent.
In Orange County, the fire weather watch will be in effect from Thursday morning through Thursday afternoon
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Already in force in some areas is a wind advisory, indicating that 35-mph winds or gusts are expected. The advisory will be in effect in the sameareas where the fire weather watch is scheduled.
The wind advisory went into effect at 8 a.m. Wednesday in the Antelope Valley, where it will expire at 9 tonight. In the San Gabriel Mountains, where it also began at 8 a.m., the warning will expire at 3 p.m. Thursday.
In the San Fernando and Santa Clarita valleys, the Santa Monica Mountains and Los Angeles from the beach to the Hollywood Hills, the advisory will go into effect at 8 p.m. and expire at 10 a.m. Thursday.
The wind will make driving challenging on most area freeways, according to the NWS.
"When driving, use extra caution. Be prepared for sudden gusty cross winds,'' forecasters warned.
The NWS forecast cloudy skies Wednesday and highs of 52 degrees on Mount Wilson; 55 in Lancaster; 56 in Palmdale and Saugus; 60 in San Gabriel and Avalon; 61 in Burbank and Woodland Hills; 62 in downtown L.A. and Pasadena; 63 in Long Beach and at LAX.
Cloudy skies were also forecast in Orange County, along with highs of 59 in Mission Viejo, San Clemente, Yorba Linda and Laguna Beach; 60 in Newport Beach; and 61 in Fullerton, Anaheim and Irvine.
Under sunny skies, temperatures will be as much as four degrees higher on Thursday, the first day of winter.