Santa Ana winds begin whipping through San Diegos backcountry – The San Diego Union-Tribune

Santa Ana winds begin whipping through San Diego\s backcountry - The San Diego Union-Tribune
SoCal Edison LA power outage map
Santa Ana winds, produced by surface high pressure over the Great Basin squeezing air down through canyons and passes in Southern Californias mountain ranges, are common in the fall and have a long history of fanning destructive wildfires in the region.

In fact, seven of the states 10-most destructive wildfires occurred in October — many fueled by monster winds, including Santa Ana gusts.

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While for the rest of the nation fall means changing leaves and crisp sweater weather, here in Southern California it means Santa Ana winds season.

Which, in turn, means more announcements like this: red flag warnings have been issued by the National Weather Service for parts of Los Angeles, Orange, San Bernardino and Riverside counties. The L.A. area should expect critical fire weather conditions from late Wednesday night through early Saturday morning, as 55-70 mph Santa Ana wind gusts, temperatures in the upper 80s and relative humidity levels of 3-10% create dangerous conditions.

“Were pretty much getting into the heart of our typical Santa Ana season in the fall and winter,” said Stephanie Sullivan, meteorologist with the National Weather Service in San Diego. “So, its right on time.”

Video: SCE Customers Brace for Possible Power Outages in Midst of California Wildfire Season

LAPD Will Clear Homeless Camps in Fire Danger Zones as Santa Ana Winds Hit

So where are the #SantaAnaWinds expected later this week? Here is a snapshot of high-res model output of gusts (kt) valid at 10am Thu. The strongest winds are expected over LA and VTA counties. Expect gusts up to 55mph for coast/valleys and 70mph for mtns on Thu. #SoCal #CAwx pic.twitter.com/EfLMxlFJ1f

A group of hikers have a view of the dry conditions in the foothills of the Santa Ana Mountains as they hike in Peters Canyon Regional Park in Orange, CA on Wednesday, October 9, 2019. Santa Ana winds are expected to blow into Southern California Thursday combined with higher temperatures and lower humidity. (Photo by Paul Bersebach, Orange County Register/SCNG)

California power outage: What to do if the power goes out

As usually happens, we can look to the middle of the country for an explanation. A strong high pressure system is moving in behind a cold front over the Northern Plains. Cool air will travel over the Great Basin towards a lower pressure system along our coast. As the cool winds stream over our mountains, theyll compress, warm up, dry out and slam right into us.

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Plants had until recently stayed pretty moist thanks to our wet winter and spring, but theyve finally dried to dangerously crisp levels.

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“We advise people to be extra cautious doing yard work or towing trailers or boats or anything that requires a chain — really anything that could cause a spark — to try to avoid those things if you can,” said Sullivan.

Map: Southern California Edison says power outages could come to these areas

SoCal Edison is considering whether to shut off power to more than 173,000 customers. In Central and Northern California, Pacific Gas and Electric could shut off power to 800,000 for days.

The Santa Anas should be gone by Saturday. Sunday is when temperatures are expected to start cooling back down. And hopefully our rainy season will arrive in time to avoid a repeat of the conditions that led to the Thomas fire.

All or part of the areas on the map are being considered for shutoffs as of Wednesday afternoon, Oct. 9.


Posted in Santa Ana