Good evening, SoCal. We're wrapping up the day for you with the most important stories you need to know and your weather outlook.

Your Weather Planner

Low clouds cleared away faster Wednesday, leading to slightly warmer temperatures.

A cool down begins Thursday as an upper-level low approaches California, kicking up winds for some.

We have already been getting surges of strong winds in the mountains and deserts overnight, and Thursday will be no different. A Wind Advisory remains in effect for the mountains and deserts, where gusts could reach up to 65 mph.

Tomorrow's Highs

Get your 7-day forecast: LA West | LA East | San Fernando Valley/Ventura County | Orange County

Today's Big Stories

1. Orange County moves up to yellow tier as COVID-19 rates fall

Orange County officially entered the least-restrictive yellow tier of the state's COVID-19 economic reopening blueprint Wednesday, while local coronavirus trends continued in a positive vein with just 51 new infections reported.

"I think it is definitely a welcome reprieve from COVID, and many of our businesses will be thrilled to have more capacity," Supervisor Katrina Foley told City News Service Tuesday. "And, in general, our community worked so hard to get to this point, wearing the masks, social distancing, getting vaccinated. And it's working."

"The vaccines have dramatically reduced the spread of COVID in our community, and we are so close to herd immunity. We just need to keep encouraging people to get vaccinated," she added.

Graduating to the yellow tier allows for greater attendance for many businesses such as movie theaters and gyms, while museums, zoos and aquariums can open at full capacity. For the first time bars and distilleries can open indoors. Theme parks such as Disneyland can expand capacity.

2. UCLA: Food insufficiency rates increased in Southland during pandemic

More than three million people in Los Angeles, Long Beach, Anaheim and elsewhere across the state reported their households went without sufficient food in the first three months of the COVID-19 pandemic, an increase of 22% from the pre-pandemic rate, UCLA researchers said Wednesday.

Those experiencing household food insufficiency prior to COVID-19 were 40 times more likely to be food insufficient, which is defined as "not having enough food to eat." Of adults who experienced household food insufficiency during COVID-19, almost 80% were food insufficient prior to the pandemic, the study showed.

"Our findings show regional differences, across California, in food insufficiency risk," said Dr. May Wang, a UCLA Fielding School of Public Health professor of community health sciences and a member of the California Center for Population Research at UCLA.

3. Palisades fire at 57% containment; school reopens

With an arson suspect in custody, firefighters Wednesday began their fifth full day of battling the Palisades Fire, a 1,158-acre brusher in rugged terrain that was 57% contained -- an increase of 10% from Tuesday.

"Crews continue to assault the fire by air and by ground, to continue increasing containment," Nicholas Prange of the Los Angeles Fire Department said late Wednesday morning.

No structures have been lost, and the only injury has been a minor eye injury to a firefighter, LAFD Chief Ralph Terrazas said. About 450 firefighters were assigned to the fire lines.

4. Echo Park Lake to reopen to public on May 26

Echo Park Lake will reopen to the public at 3 p.m. on May 26, according to Councilman Mitch O'Farrell's office. The reopening comes after two months of extensive repairs to the park.

The park was temporarily closed at the end of March following a sweep by law enforcement to clear it of an extensive homeless encampment that had set up around the lake. Nearly 200 unhoused individuals were cleared from the park, many of whom have since been moved into transitional housing, according to a statement from O'Farrell's office.

"For over a year, my team worked tirelessly to provide resources, services, and ultimately transitional housing to people experiencing homelessness at Echo Park Lake," said O’Farrell. "As time went on, conditions at the park became increasingly unsafe for everyone — park visitors and park dwellers. Echo Park Lake is a shared public space, and unhoused people were existing in inhumane conditions — which is why every single person experiencing homelessness in the park was offered transitional housing and services."

Homeless people have been camping out in Echo Park for years now, but the pandemic saw the encampment grow exponentially with tents pitched all along the lake shore. The influx of unhoused individuals drew the ire of neighborhood residents and saw safety and sanitary conditions in and around the park deteriorate.

In 2020, there were four deaths reported in the park, including an 18-year-old woman who died of a drug overdose at one of the homeless encampments.

Echo Park homeless encampment resident Robert "Bobby" Rodriguez, 44, checks instructions posted on a newly installed fence around the perimeter of Echo Park Lake as sanitation crews remove his belongings from inside, Friday, March 26, 2021, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes)

5. House votes to create Jan. 6 Capitol riot commission despite opposition from GOP leadership

The House voted Wednesday to pass legislation that would create a bipartisan, independent commission to investigate the Jan. 6 Capitol riot, despite vocal opposition from the House and Senate Republican leaders.

The bill passed 252-175.

More than 30 House Republicans joined every Democrat in the House to pass the measure, despite opposition from Republican Congressional leadership, including Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy.

Your Notes for Tomorrow

  • The LAPD Hate Crimes Unit will hold its second virtual Hate Crime Forum to engage the community in a discussion of hate crimes and available resources for victims
  • The California Air Resources Board will hold a virtual public meeting to consider the Community Emissions Reduction Program for the Southeast L.A. community
  • Secretary of State Antony Blinken attends the Arctic Council Ministerial Meeting in Iceland
  • 2021 Atlantic hurricane season forecast released
  • First Lady Dr. Jill Biden and NIAID Director Dr. Anthony Fauci visit a vaccination clinic at Children's National Hospital
  • Secretaries Marcia Fudge and Pete Buttigieg testify to the Senate Urban Affairs Committee on expanding opportunity through infrastructure investments

In Case You Missed It

Photographer uses drone to investigate California’s great white sharks

If you’re heading to the beach this summer, you might want to be on the lookout.

California’s great white sharks may be swimming closer to the shore than you think, and we have the footage to prove it. Drone photographer Carlos Gauna has spent time spying on great white sharks. In an interview for "LA Times Today," he joined host Lisa McRee to share some of the incredible images he’s captured.