Extreme fire weather in CA; an early fall elsewhere

The main focus of extremely dry…windy…and warm conditions has shifted into California this weekend. Powerful Santa Ana winds in Socal have reportedly caused the Day Fire to explode, with an 8-10 mile wide active fire front advancing virtually unchecked to the SW. Winds there are currently in the 15-30 mph range, but could increase to between 30 and 50 mph with gusts over 60 mph over higher terrain tomorrow, esp. in the morning. This massive fire may move into the urban interface by tomorrow afternoon, and Red Flag conditions are expected to persist until at least Monday night. The Orchard Fire in the Cherry Valley also has the potential for major runs and property damage in the next 48 hours. The numerous large fire complexes in Norcal are not immediately threatening signfiicant property, but this could change very quickly as conditions deteriorate. In fact, very high to extreme fire danger is expected across the entire state for the next few days. And the bad news: things may get even worse around mid/late week. The former typhoon in the Western Pacific will likely amplify the downstream troughing such that a major offshore event could occur in both north and south CA, including the Bay Area. This N/NE wind event may be somewhat reminiscent of the pattern that precipitated the Oakland Hills firestorm in 1991. Stay tuned, as season-ending rainfall events rarely occur before November in Northern California and sometimes December in Southern California. We’ve still got a long way to go. One bit of good news: the fire season in the NW is almost done. Major rain/snow event occurred there this week, and fire danger is not expected to rebound before the next precipitation event. On a side note: El Nino is back, and there are some interesting developments in the outlook for this winter. Updates forthcoming.

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