Santa Ana Winds affect fire season conditions

When fire season rolls around in the late summer and early fall, meteorologists begin talking about the Santa Ana Winds and how it can make conditions even worse.

The Santa Ana winds are warm, dry winds that sweep across southern California. These winds usually occur between October and March, but they can also occur the rest of the year.

For these winds to form, high pressure forms over the Great Basin and low pressure forms over the Pacific Ocean near southern California. This creates a pressure gradient causing the air to be sucked from the mountains of southern California into the ocean.

The air at the higher elevations is cool and dry, but as the air comes down the mountain, it warms up. By the time it reaches the valley and the coast, the air is significantly warmer, and it's still just as dry, a combination that only fuels wildfires.

Follow Storm Shield Meteorologist Jason Meyers via the Storm Shield app on twitter, @StormShieldApp and Facebook. Download the Storm Shield Weather Radio App for your iPhone or Android device and get severe weather alerts wherever you are.

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