California wildfires live updates: ‘Potentially historic wind event’ over weekend could inflame blazes

ABC News(SANTA CLARITA, Calif.) -- Northern California could experience a "potentially historic" wind event this weekend, according to officials at the National Weather Service -- a development that could have a dangerous effect on the wildfires that are ravaging the area.

Dry winds up to 65 mph could lead to downed trees and power lines, as well as erratic and dangerous fire growth, bringing even more critical fire conditions to parts of the Golden State.

As of Saturday morning, the Kincade Fire in Sonoma and Lake County had burned 25,455 acres and was 10% contained, according to Cal Fire. At least 49 structures had been destroyed, with another 23,500 at risk of being damaged, the agency said

Jonathon Cox, the division chief at Cal Fire, described the wind as having a possible "explosive" effect on the fire.

More than 2,000 people were ordered to evacuate in the community of Geyserville. Residents in Gifford Springs, Whispering Pines, Anderson Springs, Adams Springs, Hobergs and Cobb were issued an evacuation warning.

Authorities asked the public in the affected areas to stay home unless they were being evacuated.

The Kincade Fire started three days ago in the same area that a Pacific Gas and Electric Co. (PG&E) transmission tower broke, according to a report from the company.

Around 1,000 PG&E customers in Sonoma County are still without power, and there is no estimate to when it will be restored, according to the company.

If the wind conditions hit California as expected, PG&E said approximately 850,000 customers could have their power shut off starting Saturday afternoon. The preemptive shutoffs are for safety, the company said, to help prevent fires from sparking.

Multiple other wildfires have scorched thousands of acres throughout the state.

The Tick Fire, in Southern California, has burned 4,615 acres and was 25% contained as of Saturday morning, after erupting Thursday in Los Angeles County, Cal Fire reported. The fire's containment level was up substantially from Friday evening, when it was only 5% contained.

At least nine structures have been destroyed as a result of that wildfire, according to Cal Fire.

Evacuation orders were issued, but some residents have since been allowed to return home.

High pressure building across the Pacific will nudge eastward beginning Saturday and through the next few days, bringing dry north to northeasterly winds into parts of the West.

In Northern California, wind gusts will gradually increase throughout Saturday then peak on Sunday. Relative humidity could be as low as 8%, bringing extremely critical fire weather on Sunday, such that any fire that ignites could rapidly spread out of control.

Beginning on Sunday and lasting into Monday, the dry damaging offshore winds will expand into parts of Southern California. These Santa Ana winds could gust as high as 50 mph and relative humidity could be as low as 5%.

Another Santa Ana wind event, perhaps another significant one, will arrive by the middle of the upcoming week.

Overnight, post-tropical cyclone Olga made landfall near Morgan City, Louisiana. Olga spawned five reported tornadoes, all near Mobile, Alabama, Friday evening, doing damage to homes in that region.

New Orleans International Airport, meanwhile, has recorded 5.71” of rain so far. As of 8:50 Saturday morning, the New Orleans Airport was still experiencing power outages due to the storm and there were at least 136,000 people without power in the state.

As Olga becomes a common mid-latitude cyclone, heavy rain will continue to spread inland through the Mississippi River Valley, eventually getting to the Midwest later Saturday, and into ports of the Northeast by Sunday and Sunday night.

Flood alerts have been issued from Louisiana to Illinois for the possibility of excessive rainfall, and heavy rain is expected in parts of the Central and Eastern U.S. this weekend.

Up to 4 inches of rain is expected in parts of Illinois and Missouri -- and perhaps Indiana -- through the end of the weekend.

A new winter storm is also developing in the Rockies this weekend, which will quickly dive down into the I-25 corridor from Cheyenne to Denver late Saturday and into Sunday.

Winter storm watches have been issued for those areas this weekend. Snow will pick up in intensity on Sunday in Denver and last through Monday morning, perhaps impacting the Monday morning commute.

Five to eight inches of snow is possible along the I-25 cities in Colorado and Wyoming, from Pueblo to Denver through Monday morning.

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