World News – United States – 140 mph gust recorded as incredible winds sweep through California


A US Flag on waves of Cantelow Road blowing in the wind after surviving fire in Vacaville, Calif., Thursday, August 20, 2020 The LNU Lightning Complex fires started in Napa counties and Sonoma and traveled to Solano, Lake and Yolo counties while burning over 200 square miles

A low pressure system stationed over the Great Basin and the Rockies created an extreme pressure difference between Mountain West and California from late Sunday to Monday morning, pushing cool, dry air into the Golden State and lifting powerful offshore winds

Heavy gusts hit mountain tops, tore valleys and headed for the coast on Monday morning amid what has been called California’s strongest wind event this year. of humidity dropped in single digits and teens, and when combined with the windy conditions, created extremely critical forest fire conditions with several small flames that went off overnight

Incredible wind speeds were recorded in the Bay Area including a 58mph wind at Oakland Airport, a 72mph gust over Mount Diablo near Blackhawk and a wind of 89 mph on Mount St Helena, 5 years 13 km south of Middletown

The Tahoe Basin has seen some of the highest wind speeds, and the National Weather Service has confirmed an official reading of 94 mph on a gauge on an Alpine Meadows summit A speed of 119 mph has also been recorded on an exposed ridge in Alpine and 140 mph at the top of Chair 6 (elev 9,186 feet) at Kirkwood Mountain Resort, although these measurements were taken by anemometers which are not monitored by the weather service for accuracy

« At the top of the mountain, you’re going to see higher wind speeds, » said Scott Rowe, forecaster in the Weather Service’s Sacramento office. « It’s as on display as you can imagine up there »

In Southern California, the weather service measured a gust of 96 mph in the Santa Clarita Mountains just south of Santa Clarita

Offshore winds are not uncommon in California in the fall, but this event was deemed particularly severe with the gusts not confined to higher altitudes and blowing in the valleys There have been reports of fallen trees, branches and power lines in the region PG&E has preventively cut power to tens of thousands of customers across the state to reduce the risk of fires caused by fallen equipment

While the strong winds are expected to dissipate by noon Monday, another set of strong winds, supported by winds of 25 to 40 mph in the mountains and along ridges with gusts up to 70 mph, expected to hit northern California’s highest elevations by Monday night

« We may have passed peak winds, but we are still getting really strong gusts, » Cal Fire spokesman Daniel Berlant told KCBS on Monday morning.

The winds introduced an extremely dry air mass, and humidity levels dropped to remarkably low levels Half Moon Bay’s relative humidity dropped from 94% to 12% in 2 hours on Sunday evening as the offshore flow was pushing towards the coast, according to the meteorological service In the north, the town of Redding recorded a humidity level of 5% In the Sierra, the levels varied from 3 to 15% during the night

« It’s as dry as it gets – the desert is dry and sometimes even drier, » Rowe said. « This air mass is coming from the Great Basin, bringing this dry air with it »

Several fires broke out in the bay area overnight – including fires in the Castro Valley, Sevastopol and Healdsburg – and they were all quickly brought under control « Many small fires started but we were able to contain them, « said Berlant

To the north, a blaze called Olinda Fire started early Monday south of Anderson in Shasta County but only grew to 5 acres before it was 100% under control Nearby, the Dersch fire took started east of Anderson in Shasta County and was 133 acres and 90% contained at 7:30 am Monday

The Point Fire ignited east of Forest Hill in Placer County and was 20 acres at 8:30 a.m.m Monday morning, with fire retardant suspended planes

Amy Graff is the Editor-in-Chief of SFGATE She is originally from the Bay Area and made her news debut at the California Daily at UC Berkeley where she majored in English Literature She’s been working for SFGATE for 12 years You can email her at agraff @ sfgatecom

Orange County, Silverado, Southern California, Irvine, Wildfire

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