The National Weather Service in Monterey has issued a Fire Weather Watch for the east bay hills and the Diablo Range from late Friday through Sunday for warm temperatures, gusty offshore winds and low humidity.
As I sit here this evening with the sliding glass door open, the wind is really ramping up. It’s a secret sound, meaning different things to different people. Even animals react to the wind. Our chocolate lab, who passed away at 16 last year, was one of those animals that freaked out when the breeze came up. That lab could pick up on changing pressure gradients faster than a storm chaser. When he started to shake, I realized wind wasn’t too far off. I called him the Fire Dog, He knew that windy summer weather meant trouble for local fire departments.
Mind you he never reacted to a winter windstorm. No big deal. He could also sniff out a mud puddle two miles away.
So tonight, I must rely on weather models and forecasts-and wind chimes-to keep me up to date on this weekends impending hot weather and correlating offshore, downslope winds. Even though we’ve had late rains this Spring, grasses on our hillsides have almost cured. When the wind blows from the northeast this time of year, humidity drops and the temperatures rise when the air is compressed and forced down by high pressure. Readings from the Remote Automated Weather Stations or RAWS located around California show the wind turning offshore. At Hawkeye located near the Geysers, winds are gusting from the NNE at 26mph. Santa Rosa from the northwest at 16, Hopland at 19 from the north. Mt. Diablo, a mountain with more crazy weather than a wind tunnel, is gusting at 37mph from the north.
Don’t be surprised if Fire Weather Watches are posted for our area on Friday and the east bay watch turns in to Red Flag warnings by nightfall.