Santa Ana winds will sweep through Southern California on Wednesday and Thursday, heightening wildfire risk, according to forecasts by the National Weather Service, which has issued a fire weather watch.

Meanwhile, forecasters predict an about-face in the weather starting next week as the first storms of the rainy season head to Southern California.

This week, however, is expected to be dry and windy. A wind advisory is in place for much of Ventura, Orange and Los Angeles counties through Thursday morning, with winds of 30 to 50 mph forecast.

Relative humidity Thursday is expected to drop to the single and low double digits, which, along with the accompanying Santa Ana winds, caused the agency to issue a fire weather watch from 3 a.m. to 6 p.m. Thursday.

The winds are “generally … going to be strongest during the morning hours,” said Lisa Phillips, a meteorologist at the National Weather Service’s Oxnard office.

The potential for fire weather means the public is advised to use caution with potential fire sources, including barbecues, power tools and other outdoor objects that could cause sparks.

Due to the wildfire risk posed by the weather Wednesday and Thursday, Southern California Edison is considering public safety power outages for thousands of households throughout the region. The utility said 68,434 customers were under consideration for shutoffs, including 20,971 in Los Angeles County, 16,311 in Ventura County, 13,771 in San Bernardino County, 12,790 in Riverside County and 4,591 in Orange County.

A map of the areas under consideration for the shutoffs can be found on the Southern California Edison website.

The winds are expected to die down Thursday, and by next week a wet weather pattern is expected.

Although the forecast is too far in advance to determine exactly when rain will come to the region or how much there will be, the National Weather Service says there is a 90% chance of rainfall between next Tuesday and Friday, including a 60% chance there will be at least one inch of rain.

Just “plan for rain,” Phillips said.

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