Baby, It's Hot Outside

**UPDATE** Here's the view from our side of the mountains, Tuesday morning. Odd — there is no evidence that, to the south, west and northwest, a large portion of Southern California is going up in smoke. Usually, we get significant smoke in the sky. Now — nothing. The winds are on the other side of Mt. San Jacinto, blowing out to sea.

What a co-inky-dink. Just when the Santa Ana winds are at their worst, a rash of wild fires rips across Southern California:

Half a million Californians have been ordered to evacuate their homes and flee the spreading wildfires blazing across southern California Tuesday, US media reported.

The Los Angeles Times reported that the wind-driven infernos have destroyed some 700 houses and businesses and led authorities to urge some 500,000 people to leave their homes, mostly in the San Diego area in south-eastern California.


The flames are being propelled by a seasonal weather system known as "Santa Ana" winds. Authorities recorded powerful gusts of between 60 and 100 miles (97 and 160 kilometers) per hour on Monday. The desert wind is not forecast to diminish until Wednesday.

The Santa Ana's took the time to sand-blast and ruin my windshield just the other morning — within about 10 minutes of exposure. I don't know about gusts of 100 mph, but wouldn't be surprised, as overnight winds (especially Sunday night) have been loud and insistent. Oddly, air quality in the desert is good — usually, a pall of ash can be seen from regional fires.

Looks like the winds are blowing the smoke out to sea (From October 20, 2007). Note that the above image only shows fires from north of Los Angeles; what you can't see are the fires burning east and south of Los Angeles. Most of the action seems to be in the San Diego area.

I am sickened by my strong hunch that the Greek arsonists are plying their trade over here. Well — maybe not the same guys, but certainly guys cut from the same cloth. CA has this problem every so often (remember the ENRON fires of 2003? I do!). I suppose in a state of 35+ million people, you're going to have your share of insane arsonists.

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  • 27 Oct 2007, 2:21 PM raymurgy wrote:
    Because we just finished multiplying monomials and binomials, I used this set of pictures to estimate the area in square miles of the (big) smoke cloud with my algebra class.

    Using a mimeo projection, I got to mark up the picture. Using a unit length 'x' we used that to estimate a parallelogram with the cloud, and then some simple right triangle trig got us a base and height to multiply, and then a formula to evaluate X with and get an estimate.

    The "x"? the length from the coast to that big island in the southeastern corner of the slide. the value for x? there's a ditty...

    "26 miles across the sea/
    Santa Catalina is a-waitin' for me!"

    I love singing corny songs for a roomful of 14 year olds urban wannabes...
    Reply to this

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