Sundowner winds fan California fires

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 1:16 PM GMT on May 07, 2009

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Wildfires fanned by winds gusting over 60 mph roared through the hills of Santa Barbarba, California yesterday, and continue to burn out of control today. A strong high pressure system to the north of Santa Barbara is driving a variant of the famed Santa Ana winds called the "Sundowner" winds. These winds blow from north to south from the mountains to the sea. Since the winds blow downhill, the air compresses and heats as it descends, resulting in very hot, dry conditions perfect for fires. The winds tend to peak in strength at sundown, thus the name "Sundowner" winds. A number of record high temperatures were set in the region yesterday, with 100°F recorded at the Santa Barbara airport, smashing the old record of 86° set in 1991. Record heat was also observed in Los Angeles, where the UCLA weather station reported a record high of 93° (old record: 89° in 1990). Humidities as low as 14% were observed yesterday in Santa Barbara.

Winds this morning were sustained at 44 mph gusting to 62 mph at Montecito, CA at 1500 feet in the mountains near Santa Barbara, and these strong winds are expected to continue today before dying down on Friday. Precipitation since the rainy season began October 1, 2008, in the Santa Barbara region, has been only about half or normal (Figure 1). With the winter/spring rainy season pretty much over, California can expect another severe fire year in 2009. The snowpack in the Sierras was mostly below average this winter, so water shortages will also be a problem this summer in California.


Figure 1. Percent of normal precipitation for the Southwest U.S. for October 1, 2008 - May 6, 2009. Image credit: NOAA AHPS.

For more information
Take a look at the wundermap for Santa Barbara, and turn on the "fire" layer.

Jeff Masters

Jesusita Fire - Santa Barbara (jbedford)
My daughter took this photo form her front porch about 5:00 pm today. She lives just a few blocks west of State Street, the main street through beautiful downtown Santa Barbara. She is just blocks from the evacuation warning zone.
Jesusita Fire - Santa Barbara

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283. SpicyAngel1072
12:19 PM GMT on May 08, 2009
I don't think I have ever seen my name on the hurricane list...
Member Since: September 1, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 315
282. hurristat
11:50 AM GMT on May 08, 2009
Quoting KEHCharleston:
I wonder how many of the names we have covered.

Ana.. do we have an Ana on board?
Bill.. I am sure there must be a few.
Claudette.. Anyone?
Danny.. must be a few of those
.....
Kate - That's me
.....
Sam - That's Orca

Help me fill in the blanks


LOL mine was one of the first male names retired...
Member Since: October 15, 2008 Posts: 11 Comments: 2312
281. RTLSNK
10:26 AM GMT on May 08, 2009
68*F in Macon, Ga this morning, 96% humidity, wind is calm, partly cloudy, high in the mid eighties for today. Time for coffee.
Member Since: September 3, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 21564
280. charlottefl
9:05 AM GMT on May 08, 2009
Morning all! You know you live in S. FL when your night time low is almost 75 degrees lol..

Member Since: December 18, 2006 Posts: 7 Comments: 2687
279. gordydunnot
6:46 AM GMT on May 08, 2009
Alright then I am leaving but most excellent star trek movie made to date. Gene Roddenberry would be proud.
Member Since: August 18, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 3113
278. gordydunnot
6:41 AM GMT on May 08, 2009
hello, hello is there anyone out there, is there anyone at all.
Member Since: August 18, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 3113
277. gordydunnot
6:37 AM GMT on May 08, 2009
I hope that Bermuda high moves some where else this season or look out fl/gulf. Also hope that small disturbance at 75/25 doesnt get sucked up north and holds together for S.Fl. we could use a thunderstorm at this point as long as it doesnt start a fire.
Member Since: August 18, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 3113
276. boyzNme
4:44 AM GMT on May 08, 2009
Quoting KEHCharleston:
A coupla months ago, I thought that tornadoes were the scariest weather happenings. After reading Master's blog this morning, have moved fires into that category.

A question for those of you on the west coast who live in seasonal fire prone areas. How do you plan ahead for fire season? I am guessing that you have your important papers and family photos in a container for quick grabbing, if you need to leave. Do you clear brush from the house, or is that considered useless. Does it change what building materials you use?

Very scary


I moved here from Los Angeles and here are a few things that we learned there. All shake shingles were no longer approved. Eucalyptus trees grow rampant there and they are a huge fuel source for any fire. There are many fire break roads in the hills and everyone is told to remove any debris from the immediate area of your home, it helps the firefighters get a handle on things. Like in Dr. M's blog though, these sundowner winds are quite intense and blow the fire down a hill - a little opposite from the santa anna's which will cause the fires to jump hilltop to hilltop. The fires are no fun and they do make evacuation mandatory. Fires are really not something to play around with.
Member Since: August 29, 2008 Posts: 5 Comments: 60
275. SomeRandomTexan
4:33 AM GMT on May 08, 2009
Wow! The high is def setting up strong
Member Since: August 30, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 1857
274. charlottefl
4:17 AM GMT on May 08, 2009
The force is strong with this one ..LOL

Member Since: December 18, 2006 Posts: 7 Comments: 2687
273. SomeRandomTexan
4:10 AM GMT on May 08, 2009
Quoting Orcasystems:


watch yourself, she has a mean streak :) Right now your safe.. umm her stick is in for cleaning.




HAHA! I try to stay on the pleasant end of KEH's stick... I like the ergonomic gripped handles... They make holding the stick so comfortable. I believe I may have used 1 of her sticks the other night... but it could have been one I found somewhere...lol!
Member Since: August 30, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 1857
272. Ossqss
3:42 AM GMT on May 08, 2009
Give us you picks for the season on my blog ! Lets see who gets lucky !

On a different note-- Scary numbers they toss about.

US swine flu victims had chronic health problems

Swine Flu Cases Widen Reach With %u2018Epidemic Curve%u2019 (Update2)

Nightal
Member Since: June 12, 2005 Posts: 6 Comments: 8186
271. Orcasystems
3:40 AM GMT on May 08, 2009
Quoting SomeRandomTexan:
KEH
ORCA

you all are cracking me up!


watch yourself, she has a mean streak :) Right now your safe.. umm her stick is in for cleaning.

Member Since: October 1, 2007 Posts: 81 Comments: 26511
270. SomeRandomTexan
3:31 AM GMT on May 08, 2009
KEH
ORCA

you all are cracking me up!
Member Since: August 30, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 1857
269. HadesGodWyvern (Mod)
3:14 AM GMT on May 08, 2009
Philippines Atmospherical Geophysical Astronomical Services and Administration

Tropical Storm "EMONG" continues to weaken as it moves away from the country.

Tropical Cyclone Bulletin #7
==================================
At 11:00 AM PhST, Tropical Storm Emong (Chan-hom) located at 17.6ºN 123.8ºE or 200 kms east of Tuguegarao City has 10 minute sustained winds of 65 km/h (35 knots) near the center with gustiness up to 80 km/h (45 knots). The storm is reported as moving east-northeast at 7 knots.

Warning Signals #2 (60-100 km/h winds)
==============================

Luzon Region
------------
1.Cagayan
2.Isabela

Warning Signals #1 (30-60 km/h winds)
==============================

Luzon Region
-----------
1.Apayao
2.Kalinga
3.Mt. Province
4.Ifugao
5.Nueva Vizcaya
6.Quirino
7.Aurora
8.Babuyan Gr. of Islands
9.Calayan Gr. of Islands

Public Storm Warning Signals elsewhere are now lowered.

However, the Eastern sections of Luzon and Visayas will have scattered rainshowers and thunderstorms.

The public and the disaster coordinating councils concerned are advised to take appropriate actions and watch for the next bulletin to be issued at 5 P.M. today.
Member Since: May 24, 2006 Posts: 51 Comments: 46173
268. Orcasystems
3:11 AM GMT on May 08, 2009
Quoting KEHCharleston:
I am thinking of a production line of stir sticks. Never be without one!


I don't need a stick.. I have a Halo :)
We all know he who wears a halo.. would never say anything that could be mistaken for a stir stick remark :)
Member Since: October 1, 2007 Posts: 81 Comments: 26511
267. KEHCharleston
3:10 AM GMT on May 08, 2009
Quoting Orcasystems:


BTW... umm did Shep ever clean it??
I decided that I rather not have THAT one back.
Member Since: August 19, 2008 Posts: 6 Comments: 2490
266. KEHCharleston
3:09 AM GMT on May 08, 2009
Quoting Orcasystems:


Awww man, he is playing favourites.. just cause you have that stick!
I am thinking of a production line of stir sticks. Never be without one!
Member Since: August 19, 2008 Posts: 6 Comments: 2490
265. Orcasystems
3:08 AM GMT on May 08, 2009
Quoting Orcasystems:


Awww man, he is playing favourites.. just cause you have that stick!


BTW... umm did Shep ever clean it??
Member Since: October 1, 2007 Posts: 81 Comments: 26511
264. Orcasystems
3:08 AM GMT on May 08, 2009
Quoting KEHCharleston:
Orca, I don't see it.

EDITED: Nevermind. I see it now.


Awww man, he is playing favourites.. just cause you have that stick!
Member Since: October 1, 2007 Posts: 81 Comments: 26511
263. CaneAddict
3:04 AM GMT on May 08, 2009
Hey TampaMishy...long time no talk..How are you hun?
Member Since: October 5, 2007 Posts: 3 Comments: 2151
262. Orcasystems
3:03 AM GMT on May 08, 2009
Quoting KEHCharleston:
Orca, I don't see it.


He changed the blog.....
Mine was in his previous blog

26. Orcasystems 2:49 AM GMT on May 08, 2009
Total named storms 13
Total Hurricanes 8
Total Major Hurricanes 3
Total Cat 5 Storms 1
Date of the first named storm in the Atlantic

May 21 st.
Action: Quote | Modify Comment
Member Since: October 1, 2007 Posts: 81 Comments: 26511
261. KEHCharleston
3:00 AM GMT on May 08, 2009
Quoting Orcasystems:


I added my guesstimates to his blog :)
Orca, I don't see it.

EDITED: Nevermind. I see it now.
Member Since: August 19, 2008 Posts: 6 Comments: 2490
260. KEHCharleston
2:59 AM GMT on May 08, 2009
Ok... through thinking. I posted to the WU Picks for Tropical Season 2009

12/8/4/0 May 23

Ya heard it here first.

Member Since: August 19, 2008 Posts: 6 Comments: 2490
259. Orcasystems
2:57 AM GMT on May 08, 2009
Quoting KEHCharleston:
255. Ossqss
Well... since you are going to keep us honest and hold us to what we say (sigh), I guess, I need to give it a bit more thought before I commit.
Think, Think, Think....


I added my guesstimates to his blog :)
Member Since: October 1, 2007 Posts: 81 Comments: 26511
258. Orcasystems
2:56 AM GMT on May 08, 2009
Quoting TampaMishy:
Hi Orca!


Where have you been hiding young lady??
Member Since: October 1, 2007 Posts: 81 Comments: 26511
257. KEHCharleston
2:44 AM GMT on May 08, 2009
255. Ossqss
Well... since you are going to keep us honest and hold us to what we say (sigh), I guess, I need to give it a bit more thought before I commit.
Think, Think, Think....
Member Since: August 19, 2008 Posts: 6 Comments: 2490
256. TampaMishy
2:40 AM GMT on May 08, 2009
Hi Orca!
Member Since: July 30, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 1474
255. Ossqss
2:34 AM GMT on May 08, 2009
Cotillion and CaneAddict, thank you both for your assistance in gaining clearity. Your kind offers to use your blogs provided the path for me to see that I don't use mine. So here ya go folks.

If you want to participate in a 2009 Hurricane prediction contest, post your picks on my blog. It is not really doing anything else.

You will pick numbers for --

Total named storms
Total Hurricanes
Total Major Hurricanes
Total Cat 5 Storms
Date of the first named storm in the Atlantic

It is simple, easy, and will be documented by post quote by me for the records.

A Virtual trophy will be the prize, with your name on it for a period of one year.

Just like anything else, you stand as good of a chance as anyone right now.

Enter up to June 1 or the date of the first named storm if earlier. We will scrutinize any entry the day of the first named storm if prior to June. L8R
Member Since: June 12, 2005 Posts: 6 Comments: 8186
254. KEHCharleston
2:33 AM GMT on May 08, 2009
Quoting Orcasystems:


All I know is if we get to my name.. you guys are hooped. Sam is to far down the list.
I wonder how many of the names we have covered.

Ana.. do we have an Ana on board?
Bill.. I am sure there must be a few.
Claudette.. Anyone?
Danny.. must be a few of those
.....
Kate - That's me
.....
Sam - That's Orca

Help me fill in the blanks
Member Since: August 19, 2008 Posts: 6 Comments: 2490
253. Orcasystems
2:28 AM GMT on May 08, 2009
Blog Refresh
Mirror Site

Daily Area of Interest
Click to enlarge
Member Since: October 1, 2007 Posts: 81 Comments: 26511
252. Orcasystems
2:21 AM GMT on May 08, 2009
Quoting CybrTeddy:


Yessur it was. I'm sticking with 15-8-4, 1 CAT 5 (Seeing as anything with the letter I seems to be the strongest and most destructive, and the fact that IDA replaced my most feared hurricane of all time, Isabel, Im betting on Ida being the Category 5)
2 Fish (hopefully ALL Fish, a slow moving TD in florida would help alot though)


All I know is if we get to my name.. you guys are hooped. Sam is to far down the list.
Member Since: October 1, 2007 Posts: 81 Comments: 26511
251. SomeRandomTexan
2:20 AM GMT on May 08, 2009
Good Evening everyone!

Back on the blogs finally, seems like I missed so much since I was on earlier today at work. Still nothing brewing, but soon enough there will be.

Probability map actually gives the Africa blob a chance, Which we all know is not possible. Also, map gives a probability to the Low above Colombia/Venezuela.

Happy blogging everyone! Looking forwards to the jabber tonight! Btw... just got back from fishing... no luck :(
Member Since: August 30, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 1857
250. atmoaggie
2:19 AM GMT on May 08, 2009
Looks like SPC relaxed a bit on the risk for tomorrow.

Member Since: August 16, 2007 Posts: 6 Comments: 12463
249. CybrTeddy
2:18 AM GMT on May 08, 2009
Quoting Ossqss:
If I may ask, would anyone be willing to give up their WU blog until Dec to allow for posts by individuals on their personal prediction of this years season totals ?

IE, # named storms, # hur, # major hur, # CAT 5 storms as a tie breaker of date of first storm formation?

This would be documented in the blog posts and available until season end. The winner could boast of owning the Virtual trophy for their first rate prognosticative prowess.

I am stickin with my original 13-9-4- 2 CAT 5 - one fish, one Yucatan. Several of you have already provided your guess several blogs back. Just a thought

-- This was originally brought forth by Cyberteddy I believe.


Yessur it was. I'm sticking with 15-8-4, 1 CAT 5 (Seeing as anything with the letter I seems to be the strongest and most destructive, and the fact that IDA replaced my most feared hurricane of all time, Isabel, Im betting on Ida being the Category 5)
2 Fish (hopefully ALL Fish, a slow moving TD in florida would help alot though)
Member Since: July 8, 2005 Posts: 259 Comments: 24484
248. Orcasystems
2:15 AM GMT on May 08, 2009
1 - 0 Canucks... 8 min left
Member Since: October 1, 2007 Posts: 81 Comments: 26511
247. CybrTeddy
2:09 AM GMT on May 08, 2009
ITCZ is sure active lately.

Member Since: July 8, 2005 Posts: 259 Comments: 24484
246. Orcasystems
2:00 AM GMT on May 08, 2009
Quoting TampaMishy:
Hi everyone....Any news about 2009 hurricane


Mishyyyyy :)

Apparently we are going to have one :)
Member Since: October 1, 2007 Posts: 81 Comments: 26511
245. Drakoen
1:50 AM GMT on May 08, 2009
"Most international coupled climate models predict further warming of Pacific Ocean sea surface temperatures, with SSTs remaining in the ENSO-neutral range until at least mid-winter. About half of the models surveyed are predicting that this warming will be sufficient to see the development of El Niño conditions later in 2009, but the southern autumn is the "predictability barrier" for model predictions, with skill levels at their minimum. As the period from March-June is the preferred El Niño genesis period, Pacific conditions and model predictions will continue to be monitored closely for any indications of an event."
Australian Gov't ENSO Wrap-Up
Member Since: October 28, 2006 Posts: 57 Comments: 30615
244. KEHCharleston
1:48 AM GMT on May 08, 2009
Quoting Ossqss:
I perhaps inappropriately called out landings from the previous discussion, which I can understand being an issue. I believe it would be more politically correct to only address numbers, period and a date of the first storm being named. That way, it keeps any bias or bad luck out of the picture.
Well, maybe leave out landings - but why not include where the storm will form - nothing to specific (GOM, Caribbean, Bahamas, East Coast CONUS, Mid Atlantic, Coastal Africa)

We will all be better served if those who worry that this is somehow taking joy in tragedy, would instead worry about how he/she can contribute to assisting folks who are affected by these storms. Many who will play, also contribute in a positive way.
Member Since: August 19, 2008 Posts: 6 Comments: 2490
243. KoritheMan
1:43 AM GMT on May 08, 2009
Quoting JRRP:
Link
El Niño ?


Even if El Nino were to develop, there is typically a couple month lag period between the start of El Nino, and the onset of the conditions associated with the event. A good example is 2004, where, though an El Nino had developed over the summer, immense activity occurred until October.
Member Since: March 7, 2007 Posts: 597 Comments: 21112
242. JRRP
1:31 AM GMT on May 08, 2009
Link
El Niño ?
Member Since: August 16, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 6165
241. TampaMishy
1:31 AM GMT on May 08, 2009
Hi everyone....Any news about 2009 hurricane
Member Since: July 30, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 1474
240. severstorm
12:39 AM GMT on May 08, 2009
Hey TAZ, I,m glad you asked about that volcano, that was some great reading from those 3 links from Ossqss. Thanks
Member Since: November 25, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 959
239. CaneAddict
12:34 AM GMT on May 08, 2009
Quoting Ossqss:
If I may ask, would anyone be willing to give up their WU blog until Dec to allow for posts by individuals on their personal prediction of this years season totals ?

IE, # named storms, # hur, # major hur, # CAT 5 storms as a tie breaker of date of first storm formation?

This would be documented in the blog posts and available until season end. The winner could boast of owning the Virtual trophy for their first rate prognosticative prowess.

I am stickin with my original 13-9-4- 2 CAT 5 - one fish, one Yucatan. Several of you have already provided your guess several blogs back. Just a thought

-- This was originally brought forth by Cyberteddy I believe.


Since I don't use my wunderground blog..I'd be happy to do that...it would be something interesting to keep us busy untill the start of the season :) Let me know if anyone wants me to do it..and i'll set my blog for it :)
Member Since: October 5, 2007 Posts: 3 Comments: 2151
238. RTLSNK
12:25 AM GMT on May 08, 2009
237 - stat - LOL - Nah, just weather stuff.
Member Since: September 3, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 21564
237. hurristat
12:21 AM GMT on May 08, 2009
Quoting RTLSNK:
This may miss Macon Georgia this time:


Rob had so much to fear.
Member Since: October 15, 2008 Posts: 11 Comments: 2312
236. Tazmanian
12:19 AM GMT on May 08, 2009
The powerful eruption of such an enormous volume of lava and ash injected significant quantities of aerosols and dust into the stratosphere. Sulfur dioxide oxidised in the atmosphere to produce a haze of sulfuric acid droplets, which gradually spread throughout the stratosphere over the year following the eruption. The injection of aerosols into the stratosphere is thought to have been the largest since the eruption of Krakatoa in 1883, with a total mass of SO2 of about 17 million tons being injected—the largest volume ever recorded by modern instruments (see chart and figure).


from here


Link
Member Since: May 21, 2006 Posts: 5091 Comments: 115362
235. RTLSNK
12:05 AM GMT on May 08, 2009
This may miss Macon Georgia this time:
Member Since: September 3, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 21564
234. Tazmanian
11:55 PM GMT on May 07, 2009
Quoting Ossqss:


Here is what was tossed earlier from Wiki. I don't think anyone can really know until after the fact. If it does a number like the 1800's, it could be significant. Some links on it and the resulting Tsunami from 1883/

Link

Link

Link



thanks
Member Since: May 21, 2006 Posts: 5091 Comments: 115362
233. atmoaggie
11:49 PM GMT on May 07, 2009
Now this is one kid that has earned a little SquareBob...maybe with a little parental supervision.

"After two frustrating days, searchers in Missouri have found alive a 3-year-old boy who wandered away from his home in the rugged hills of the Mark Twain National Forest, the Associated Press reports.

Joshua Childers, who slipped away from his family's mobile home near Arcadia in rural southeast Missouri Monday morning, was in remarkably good condition, the AP says."

http://blogs.usatoday.com/ondeadline/2009/05/3yearold-boy-found-alive-in-missouri-forest.html

I wonder if this is not a result of that misguided thumb latch deadbolt code. You cannot pass building inspection with anything else.
I can tell ya, we changed to keyed deadbolts on moving day. My then-18 month old made it half way to the street once, the day before, because he was adept enough to turn it, but too immature to recognize that he shouldn't be leaving by himself.
Member Since: August 16, 2007 Posts: 6 Comments: 12463

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Jeff co-founded the Weather Underground in 1995 while working on his Ph.D. He flew with the NOAA Hurricane Hunters from 1986-1990.

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