Breaking News Blog

Monday, May 27 2013 04:51 PM

Winds expected to roar in the Tehachapi Mountains and desert

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    By Casey Christie / The Californian

    The Tehachapi mountains sport many windmills in this file photo/

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BY STEVEN MAYER Californian staff writer smayer@bakersfield.com

We may not always know it, but the cool gentle breezes Bakersfield residents have been enjoying lately sometimes become mighty winds as they move through the mountains and deserts to the east.

The National Weather Service has issued a high wind warning -- in effect until 11 p.m. Tuesday -- for the Kern County mountains and the southeastern Kern County desert.

The warning replaced a wind advisory that had been in effect for the same areas, said Jim Dudley, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Hanford.

Don't expect the wind to stop blowing anytime soon. A new wind advisory will be in effect from 11 p.m. Tuesday to 5 a.m. Thursday for the Kern County mountains and the southeastern Kern County desert.

In effect, it's going from windy to very windy, then back to windy again, Dudley said.

Indeed, by Monday evening the NWS forecasts were proven accurate as a significant sandstorm developed in Mojave, about 60 miles east of Bakersfield. According to reports, 70-mile-per hour winds had reduced visibility to about three-quarters of a mile.

A high-wind warning is more extreme than an advisory, the meteorologist explained, with gusts topping 55 mph and possibly reaching 75 mph through the canyons.

The strongest winds will occur during the late afternoon and evening hours each day.

Travelers, especially should proceed with caution, Dudley said.

"With the end of the long holiday weekend, a lot of people will be coming out of the desert pulling their toy haulers," he said of the thousands of off-road enthusiasts who ride and recreate near Red Rock and Jawbone canyons.

Strong, gusty winds will likely cause difficult driving conditions for high profile vehicles, including motor homes, trucks and travel trailers, the warning stated. Blowing dust and sand could cause reduced visibility.

For Bakersfield residents, cool temperatures are expected to continue Tuesday, with a high of about 77 degrees, Dudley said. But look for warmer weather beginning Wednesday, with temperatures trending slightly higher through Friday, with highs moving from the low-80s into the mid-80s.

In layman's terms, it's still going to be awfully nice in the valley.

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