Di­ablo wind

The New Zealand Herald - - WORLD -

This wind fanned the deadly firestorms that turned swaths of North­ern Cal­i­for­nia wine coun­try into an ashen moon­scape. The name is in­for­mally ap­plied to a hot, dry wind in the San Fran­cisco Bay re­gion that blows from the in­te­rior to­wards the coast. Known as an off­shore wind — the di­rec­tion the air is mov­ing to­wards — it’s the re­verse of the nor­mal on­shore flow of cool, moist air from the Pa­cific Ocean. The wind is spawned as high pres­sure builds over the West and air flows to­wards ar­eas of lower pres­sure along the coast. The air is so dry that rel­a­tive hu­mid­ity lev­els plunge, dry­ing out veg­e­ta­tion, mak­ing them ready to burn. The most in­fa­mous Di­ablo wind oc­curred in 1991. Rem­nants of a tiny blaze were whipped into an in­ferno in Oak­land and Berke­ley. The fire killed 25 peo­ple and de­stroyed more than 3000 homes.

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