Heightened Alert – Upcoming Wind Event

Posted on: December 6th, 2017
The National Weather Service briefed our local fire department officials yesterday of the current Red Flag “Wind Event”, here are some notes from the briefing:
  • Not expecting condition to end until Saturday
  • High Wind Warning in effect because of the potential for damaging winds/Red Flag Warning in effect because of unprecedented fire conditions for this time of the year
  • Santa Ana winds are not unusual for December – what is unusual is having no rain and heavy fuels this time of the year – haven’t seen rain since October 1st – no significant rains since March 2017 and unprecedented warm fall temperatures
  • Cold high pressure over the Great Basin driving winds – staying in place through Saturday
  • Observed peak wind gusts in San Diego County observed in the mid-50’s thus far, 25-40 mph in low lying areas (which is unique)
  • Winds heaviest to our north right now, but will shift into San Diego County Wednesday/Thursday – this will not be an ordinary event
  • Northeast to east wind impact – mountains won’t block these winds but may enhance them and carry them down to the coast
  • Wednesday conditions will be begin to strengthen but will be about half as intense as Thursday
  • Thursday (strongest winds of the event – unprecedented) – will begin 9-10 p.m. Wednesday, with intensity rising around midnight and sustaining all day Thursday – there won’t be much of a break in winds so wind gust speeds should be expected all day Thursday – San Diego County looks like the worst forecast in Southern CA – wind speeds of 30-50 mph expected in most areas of the county, except for downtown San Diego and high desert areas. Gusts as high as 90 mph expected in some areas (Cuyamaca Lake)
  • Winds will continue on Friday – however, expect them to lessen by approximately 20 mph
  • Saturday morning winds of 35-40 mph expected
  • No recovery of humidity through Saturday
Our local Fire Departments will have increased staffing during this “Wind Event”. It appears that Wednesday evening through Thursday will be the critical time for San Diego.  Please be aware of the situation as described in the weather brief above.
If an event occurs your immediate concern should be for yourself, your family, your home, and your neighbors.