As Northern California enters the truly dangerous time of year for wildfires without significant rainfall in months, extreme fire weather could bring the worst conditions we’ve seen in a historic year for wildfires.
A Fire Weather Watch has been issued by the National Weather Service for portions of NorCal with winds exceeding 70 mph in the forecast for Sunday through Monday.
Climate scientist Daniel Swain claims this could be the most dangerous fire weather we’ve seen all year.
“These truly extreme upcoming fire weather conditions, combined with record-dry vegetation for time of year, portend a dangerous period ahead,” Swain wrote on Twitter. “This will likely be strongest & most widespread offshore wind event of season, & is reminiscent of extreme events in 2019 & 2017.”
This is the fire weather forecast I was hoping wouldn't come to pass, given all that has already transpired in 2020: Very strong offshore winds, coupled w/exceptionally low humidity & record-dry vegetation, will bring extremely critical wildfire risk Sun/Mon. 1/3 #CAwx #CAfire pic.twitter.com/phtnhb806r— Daniel Swain (@Weather_West) October 22, 2020
According to NWS meteorologist Hannah Chandler-Cooley, the weather front moving in Sunday “is currently expected to be the strongest wind event of this season up to this point.”
The areas most impacted by this weather are the west slopes of the Sierra Nevada and Bay Area, which will experience very strong offshore winds. PG&E power shutdowns are likely during this time to avoid any fires sparked by the embattled power company’s equipment.
The wind event will begin late on Sunday morning, with gusts reaching 40 to 50 mph in the valley. Moving into Sunday night and early Monday morning, these winds are expected to intensify, topping speeds of 70 mph through favored gaps and canyons.
It’s very important to stay vigilant in not conducting activities outdoors that could potentially cause a wildfire. To learn more about being responsible during dangerous weather events, go here.
Northern California’s Outdoor Digital Newsmagazine