Santa Ana Winds - 47 ABC - Delmarva's Choice

Santa Ana Winds

The California wild fires have begun, and the Santa Ana winds are mainly to blame. But, how do the Santa Ana winds come to be?

It all starts with high pressure centered to the east of the Sierra Nevada Mountains. This creates a clockwise flow of air that pushes up against the Sierra Nevada's. The mountains block the air flow due to their height and deflect the air to the north and south. The air deflected to the south is pushed into the dry Mojave Desert which helps to heat and dry out the air. Dry air corresponds to low humidity values which are a good indicator of a risk of wild fires. Once the air moves out of the desert, it is moving to lower elevations (sinking), which in turn means the air is compressing due to higher pressure, or gaining more internal energy (heat).

The sinking and heating of the air isn't the only thing causing a problem. When the air moves through narrow canyons, air is forced to move at higher speeds. The high wind speeds play a huge roll in how easily the fire will be contained. High winds will further spread flames which can make it impossible for fire fighters to contain a wild fire.

A Southern California wild fire is currently burning thanks to these Santa Ana winds. Officials say the fire was 53% contained on Friday, but has burned through 1,627 acres of land. Winds gusting to 70 mph were fueling the fire on Wednesday, though have diminished considerably since then. Despite the calming winds, the state is in a drought which is not expected to improve as May starts the beginning of the dry season in California.

  • Weather Email Signup

    Get your weather daily from the WMDT 47 Weather Team

    * denotes required fields

    Thank you for signing up! You will receive a confirmation email shortly.
  • Most Popular StoriesMost Popular StoriesMore>>

  • UPDATE: Dorchester Co. Remains Identified As Missing DE Sex Offender

    UPDATE: Dorchester Co. Remains Identified As Missing DE Sex Offender

    Wednesday, August 27 2014 5:44 PM EDT2014-08-27 21:44:26 GMT
    DORCHESTER CO., Md. - Human remains found in what investigators are calling a shallow grave in Dorchester County, have been identified as a missing Delaware man.More >>
    DORCHESTER CO., Md. - Human remains found in what investigators are calling a shallow grave in Dorchester County, have been identified as a missing Delaware man.More >>
  • Homeless Sex Offenders

    Homeless Sex Offenders

    DELAWARE - Individuals featured in this slideshow are NOT wanted. They are sex offenders who have registered with Delaware State Police as homeless. These are public notifications.More >>
    DELAWARE - Individuals featured in this slideshow are NOT wanted. They are sex offenders who have registered with Delaware State Police as homeless. These are public notifications.More >>
  • UPDATE: Two Arrested In Ocean City Assault Death

    UPDATE: Two Arrested In Ocean City Assault Death

    Tuesday, August 26 2014 6:07 PM EDT2014-08-26 22:07:10 GMT
    OCEAN CITY, Md. - Police in Ocean City say they have arrested two suspects in connection to the death of a Pennsylvania man over the weekend.More >>
    OCEAN CITY, Md. - Police in Ocean City say they have arrested two suspects in connection to the death of a Pennsylvania man over the weekend.More >>
Gardening Grannies
Powered by WorldNow
Powered by WorldNow All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 WorldNow and WMDT. All Rights Reserved. For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.