Santa Ana winds – Beauty and the Beast

Gorgeous water colors at Torrey Pines Beach.
Gorgeous water colors at Torrey Pines Beach.

A rare 2nd time in the month of May – the winds shift from coming off the ocean in the west bringing moisture and cool air to blowing in from the desert through the mountain canyons at the east. Hot, dry and extremely gusty. It brings temps as high as 90 right at the ocean and amazingly clear, blue skies and ocean water.

2014-05-13 12.40.23

Deep, blue skies and constant gusting wind up to 40mph.
Deep, blue skies and constant gusting wind up to 40mph.

Unfortunately, there is an ugly side to this weather pattern. Humidity is down to 9%. We’ve had severe drought conditions for a year now in California. That means we have a red flag fire warning.

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Sure enough – in the middle of a lot of new construction, but obviously with plenty of brush to fuel it, a fire is burning just east of where I work and live. These views are from the helipad on the eastern edge of the NU administrative headquarters on the Torrey Pines ridge.

Zooming in on the smoke.
Zooming in on the smoke.

I’m now sitting at my desk watching a live video feed – here’s a couple of screen shots of the worst parts:

4S fire 4S Fire 2

So far, no structures have burned. However, they are now evacuating some communities in the range of the fire. The wind is blowing due west which is pretty much towards me – BUT – lots of developed areas are in between and it would take a LOT to be threatening to my house or anything else. My son’s high school is being used as an evacuation center for the neighborhoods that are being told to clear out.

Sigh….all of this the day before we are due to leave for Indiana. Guess I’d better coach oldest son on evacuation procedures with the cats! Sheesh. Hoping very much that they get this under control. I am deeply impressed watching this live feed to see how many choppers are doing air drops and to see a Cal Fire tanker plane dropping fire retardant. It’s crazy to see how quickly this thing is advancing despite all that though….if they didn’t have that air support…..


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