High winds

Crews work to clear a tree that toppled onto the administration building of Mt. Vernon Elementary School in San Bernardino due to high winds. (Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times / January 14, 2014)

The fire danger in many parts of Los Angeles and Ventura counties is "about as high as it can be," a meteorologist warned Tuesday.

Brush and other natural fuels are dry from a year without much precipitation, Santa Ana winds are blowing strong and humidity levels are often in the single digits, said Mike Wofford, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Oxnard. A red-flag warning signaling high fire danger is in effect until at least 6 p.m. Wednesday.

Strong winds early Tuesday felled a large tree that hit the administration building of Mt. Vernon Elementary School in San Bernardino.

No injuries were reported, and crews worked to clear the mess before students arrived for morning class.

Weather officials said the strongest winds are expected Tuesday night through Wednesday morning, when northeast winds will be gusting to between 50 mph and 60 mph in the mountains, with some areas possibly experiencing gusts of up to 70 mph, according to the National Weather Service.

Meanwhile, coastal and valley areas are expected to experience wind gusts of 40-50 mph.

"The strengthening northeast winds will coincide with widespread single-digit humidity and very warm temperatures to bring "the most critical fire weather conditions of this Santa Ana wind event," the National Weather Service warned.

Wofford said that typically the Santa Clarita and northern San Fernando valleys see some of the strongest winds.

There is no forecast of rain in the coming days and though temperatures may cool over the weekend, they will likely stay above normal, Wofford said.

Temperatures this week have challenged records for this time of year.

"Coastal valley areas have been in the low 80s, which is a good 15 degrees above normal for this time of year," Wofford said.

The high temperature recorded at Los Angeles International Airport on Monday was 83, matching the record for that date.

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