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A Surface Observation Based Climatology of Diablo-Like Winds in California’s Wine Country and Western Sierra Nevada

1
Division of Atmospheric Sciences, Desert Research Institute, 2215 Raggio Parkway, Reno, NV 89512, USA
2
Cumulus Weather Solutions, LLC, Reno, NV 89511, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 23 May 2018 / Revised: 15 June 2018 / Accepted: 20 July 2018 / Published: 23 July 2018
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Abstract

Diablo winds are dry and gusty north-northeasterly downslope windstorms that affect the San Francisco Bay Area in Northern California. On the evening of 8 October 2017, Diablo winds contributed to the ignitions and rapid spread of the “Northern California firestorm”, including the Tubbs Fire, which burned 2800 homes in Santa Rosa, resulting in 22 fatalities and $1.2 B USD in damages. We analyzed 18 years of data from a network of surface meteorological stations and showed that Diablo winds tend to occur overnight through early morning in fall, winter and spring. In addition to the area north of the San Francisco Bay Area, conditions similar to Diablo winds commonly occur in the western Sierra Nevada. Both of these areas are characterized by high wind speeds and low relative humidity, but they neither tend to be warmer than climatology nor have a higher gust factor, or ratio of wind gusts to mean wind speeds, than climatology. View Full-Text
Keywords: Diablo winds; downslope windstorms; Northern California; wildfire meteorology Diablo winds; downslope windstorms; Northern California; wildfire meteorology
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).
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Smith, C.; Hatchett, B.J.; Kaplan, M. A Surface Observation Based Climatology of Diablo-Like Winds in California’s Wine Country and Western Sierra Nevada. Fire 2018, 1, 25.

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