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What causes Santa Ana winds in Southern California?

4 min read

Asked by: Lisa Martin

The Santa Ana winds are strong, extremely dry downslope winds that originate inland and affect coastal Southern California and northern Baja California. They originate from cool, dry high-pressure air masses in the Great Basin.

What conditions create the Santa Ana winds?

The Santa Ana winds are warm, dry winds that blow during the cool season months (October to March). They form when high pressure builds over the Great Basin—the geographic area bound by the Rocky Mountains to the east and the Sierra Nevada to the west—and when low pressure sits over the California coast.

Why is it so windy in Santa Ana?

The explorer John C. Fremont is credited with giving the region its name. That lower pressure is found off the Southern California coast. The pressure gradient, or difference, between the high pressure air in the Great Basin and the lower pressure air at the coast creates the Santa Ana winds.

Why are Santa Ana winds a threat for coastal areas of Southern California?

That dense air wants to spread out in all directions, including toward southern California. Since the area to our east is typically dry (deserts), Santa Ana winds blow dry desert air into the coastal areas instead of moist ocean air associated with the typical onshore winds.

How often do Santa Ana winds come?

The Santa Ana winds blow into Southern California during the fall and winter months, typically from October to February. October through January are the prime months for strong Santa Ana winds but can occur any time after August and before June.

What causes the Diablo winds?

Diablo winds are offshore wind events that flow northeasterly over Northern California’s Coast Ranges, often creating extreme fire danger for the San Francisco Bay Area. Diablo winds are driven by a surface pressure gradient that forms in response to an inverted pressure trough that develops over California.

Why is it so windy in the High desert?

Wind as a Geologic Agent Wind is common in arid desert regions because: Air near the surface is heated and rises, cooler air comes in to replace hot rising air and this movement of air results in winds.

When did Santa Ana winds start?

The Los Angeles Times started publication (as ‘The Los Angeles Daily Times’) in 1881. The first reference found to ‘Santa Ana winds’ in the paper appeared five years later, on Sept. 7, 1886, in a classified advertisement for property [1].

Why do Santa Ana winds cause headaches?

Whatever the name, the winds “contain an excess of positive ions,” Puzo said. “That effect, especially for younger people, tends to almost literally overcharge them with electrical energy. Their hair will have a tendency almost to stand on end. . . . They’ll develop migraine headaches, nausea.”
12 мар. 1988

What type of winds are the Santa Ana winds?

These are northeasterly, offshore winds that descend in elevation and can sometimes reach hurricane-force strength. “When you get the very hot, the very dry conditions combined with very strong winds, we can have some Santa Anas that have winds gusting over 100 mph,” Jackson said.

What cities are affected by Santa Ana winds?

The Santa Ana winds are found in the Southwest California area, notably in the cities of Los Angeles and San Diego. Dominant high pressure over the high-altitude Great Basin leaks out of the basin and into the surrounding lowlands.

How do you predict Santa Ana winds?

Experts are constantly looking at new ways to help predict the frequency, severity, and impact of the Santa Ana Winds. Satellite imaging can be used to detect the presence of Santa Ana Winds. Multi-angle Imaging SpectroRadiometers can capture images of dust particles caught in the winds.

Where do the Santa Ana winds start?

Santa Ana winds are strong, dry downslope winds in Southern California and northern Baja California. They’re caused by clockwise circulation around areas of surface high pressure east of the Sierra Nevada in the Great Basin region.

What is the most windiest state?

The top 5 windiest states are: Nebraska (1), Kansas (2), South Dakota (3), North Dakota (4), and Iowa (5). The top 5 least windy states are: Mississipi (1), Florida (2), Kentucky (3), Georgia (4),and Alabama (5).

What is another name for Santa Ana winds?

Santana Winds

Although the winds are today commonly called Santa Ana Winds or Santa Anas, many argue that the original name is Santana Winds (or, more correctly in Spanish, Satanás Winds). Both versions of the name have been used.