Sunday, October 21, 2007

Devil Winds - Update 10 pm

Photo credit: Kristine Dery

I awoke at 4:30 this morning to shop door being slammed. The Santa Anas have arrived.

I certainly am not the first writer to try and explain this Southern California phenomenon, nor will I be the last. For the record, Janet Fitch's White Oleander is one of the best.

The winds blow in at hurricane force from the desert, earning the name "Devil Winds" for the hot, dry air that follows. They are devilish in more ways than one.

Of the four Los Angeles seasons known to Angelenos, Wind has earned his rightful place as one of them - the other three being Fire, Earthquake and Flood. There are rules about these seasons and when they occur. For example: Fire is a sneaky one, usually riding on one of the other three season's coattails. While Earthquake season is the least predictable, within days of a major quake, (which is quite often followed by Fire), there will be a rainstorm which often brings on a Flood. While Wind season typically occurs here in what's known as Fall and Winter to the rest of the country, it actually can appear at any time.

The last serious wind event did this to the tree in my front yard. I loved that tree. It was the only interesting thing about the front of the house. I had just returned from dragging two of my trash cans home from almost a mile away. (That's the other thing about Wind season - It always happens on a trash day!) I had found one of them around the corner early that Monday and walked a few more blocks looking for the other two. Returning home from an errand in the car, I noticed two cans in the middle of the street... everyone had gotten their cans in early, so they were mine. It was an uphill battle literally but I was hiking into 90 mph gusts. As I secured the cans, I looked at my beautiful tree and thought Well, she's hanging in there.

Not two minutes later, my next door neighbor was knocking frantically on my door, yelling that my tree had fallen on a car.

The Devil wind wreaks its havoc on everything. Patio furniture is tossed about as are automobiles and tractor trailers. Leaves that hadn't had a single thought about the oncoming of winter suddenly loose their will to live after being blown to bits and rapidly find their way to the bottom of the pool. Doors, windows and nerves rattle. Animals, human and otherwise, are on edge...waiting for the next gust and the damage that it brings. Sleep comes in fits and spurts. And then there is the heat. We are to hit 102 by Tuesday.

And sure enough, that pesky Fire has followed the Winds. This morning, there were two. Now, there are seven. [10p.m. update: Now there are 12 fires!] One is so close to my beady buddy, Kris' house, her hubby found warm embers in their yard. When we spoke this afternoon, she said the sun was mostly blocked by smoke and the air was hideous orange. The above photo was taken from her backyard.

It's going to be a rough couple of days. It's starting to make Baton Rouge look good...

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Becky said...

Warm embers in the yard! I would be freaked! Are fire fighters coming in from all over the country? How is the air to breathe? I feel so bad for you guys in CA. It seems to be happening more often. Keeping y'all in our prayers here in Korea.
I got your email, will email tomorrow. Life is just taking longer here (laundry, shopping). Miss you!

Linda@VS said...

Wow! Wind-driven fire is even more frightening to me than the wind-driven water of a hurricane. You and Mabel please be careful.

When are you coming to Baton Rouge?

CreekHiker / HollysFolly said...

Becky, Oddly enough, it's not that bad right here... We're really lucky to be protected by three mountain ranges. It's not even that windy today...but it is in adjacent valleys.

And yes, there are firefighters from everywhere.

Velvet, Having been through both, I can say they are equally frightening.... at least flood waters leave a few things behind.

I'm flying into MSY Saturday. Will be home for 10 days. Mabel is staying home this trip :-{

Annie said...

Creekhiker, I have been thinking about you, hoping you aren't in the path. But I know that the path isn't really a path at all, rather a drop-in, unwanted guest. Stay safe.

BUT, the orange of the sky against the orange of your blog page is beautiful.

Anonymous said...

Hope you stay safe! It sounds very scary.

Linda@VS said...

Worried about you. Please update as soon as you can, OK?