Thursday, December 01, 2011

Interesting Weather

All day yesterday we were warned of "damaging high winds" and given advice on how to prepare ourselves. Today the LA Times has headlines of "Fierce winds blast Southern California; thousands without power." As far as I know, San Diego is in Southern California, but the wind here is out of the East at 5 mph and there is not so much as a leaf on the ground, let alone any trees. We are, admittedly, very near the coast, and I understand that North County and the mountains did get wind, but nothing like they had in LA. What a difference a few miles can make.

Looking at the satellite image, the storm center causing this is already well to the East of us, so apparently the storm track did not behave quite as predicted. I'm not complaining, mind you.

One thing that confuses me though, is that they are talking about "Santa Ana" winds, and the system producing these winds is not what I have known to meet the definition of Santa Ana in the fifteen years that I have lived here. That wind has always been a result of high pressure centered over the high desert plains and draining due to gravity through the passes of the coastal mountains. The wind supposedly gets its name fron Santa Ana Canyon, although that is subject to a bit of dispute.

This wind is the result of counterclockwise circulation around an intense low pressure system, though, and is actually storm wind, so I question the media's use of "Santa Ana" in describing it. I suspect they fell prey to thinking that any strong wind is a Santa Ana, which is not actually true.

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