Parched air kept blasting in from Southern California's deserts during the night, but the winds that fanned Los Angeles County brush fires Monday should begin losing their force sometime today, the National Weather Service said.
The Santa Anas, which had reduced relative humidity in Orange County's canyons to 14% at mid-morning and at Los Angeles Civic Center to 11% by mid-afternoon, should begin to weaken today, according to forecasters.
Meanwhile, the weather service said there would be little or no overnight relief from the wind, which was expected to be especially strong through east-west canyons and mountain passes. These winds were expected to exceed 45 m.p.h. at times in the mountains, while becoming more localized--though no less dangerous--in coastal areas below canyons and passes.
The winds caused widely scattered power outages in Orange County.
A Southern California Edison Co. spokesman said late Monday afternoon that nine circuits had been knocked out--some for only a few minutes, others for as long as 3 1/2 hours--cutting off power to about 20,000 customers.
"It appears to have settled down a bit," said the spokesman. "It really hasn't been as bad as it has in some previous years. It is early in the season, however."
Small-boat operators were told to avoid inshore waters from Ventura to Dana Point, where winds below canyons and passes were hitting 30 knots and above, with three- to five-foot combined seas.