There's a name for the notorious wind that helped fan the Napa area wildfires

Posted: Updated:
A special wind in northern California is helping fanning the flames of the deadly wildfires. (Source: AP) A special wind in northern California is helping fanning the flames of the deadly wildfires. (Source: AP)
(3TV/CBS 5) -

Many times when you think of the San Francisco Bay region, fog, mist and cool air come to mind. 

But a somewhat unique wind was at work this weekend, bringing the exact opposite effect, as fire ripped through northern California burning thousands of homes and killing dozens of people.

[LATEST INFO: California fires: 31 killed; weather stays dry]

[MOBILE/APP USERS: Click/tap here to see a photo of a burning home]

In southern California, they are known as Santa Ana winds, and in northern California, they are known as Diablo winds. 

Both can bring the same problems to California, which has not fully recovered from its historic five-year drought. 

[SPECIAL SECTION: Weather blog]

Hot, dry and very fast winds result when these Diablo winds take shape. 

The winds crank up when high pressure is situated over the Great Basin and low pressure is rolling down the California coast. The wind from the area of high pressure wants to fill the void and travel toward the low pressure. 

[RELATED: Arizona winemaker ready to help friends in fire-devastated California]

The warmer winds come from the north and northeast over land, instead of from the cool Pacific and San Francisco Bay. More than a few times these winds were responsible for catastrophic fires that ripped through California communities. 

[RELATED: Winds whip new terror into deadly California wildfires]

[MOBILE/APP USERS: Click/tap here to see a photo of a home destroyed by a wildfire]

During the wildfires in Sonora and Napa counties, wind speeds were approaching 80 mph, temps were high and the vegetation was critically low. It's a recipe for what will likely go down as one of the worst wildfires in California history. 

[RELATED: Napa businesses rally to help the community]

Click/tap here to download the free azfamily mobile app.

Copyright 2017 KPHO/KTVK (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.

  • Arizona's Family Weather BlogMore>>

  • Don't miss the Perseid meteor shower this weekend

    Don't miss the Perseid meteor shower this weekend

    Tuesday, August 7 2018 1:05 PM EDT2018-08-07 17:05:19 GMT
    (Source: NASA)(Source: NASA)
    Don't miss the Perseid meteor shower this weekend. (Source: NASA)Don't miss the Perseid meteor shower this weekend. (Source: NASA)

    This weekend, once the sun sets, head outside and check out the Perseid meteor shower.   

    More >

    This weekend, once the sun sets, head outside and check out the Perseid meteor shower.   

    More >
  • Before you had live radar in the palm of your hand, there were weather kiosks

    Before you had live radar in the palm of your hand, there were weather kiosks

    Tuesday, August 7 2018 1:05 PM EDT2018-08-07 17:05:09 GMT
    (Sources: National Archives and Library of Congress)(Sources: National Archives and Library of Congress)
    (Sources: National Archives and Library of Congress)(Sources: National Archives and Library of Congress)

    The high-tech way of disseminating weather information in the late 1890s and early 1900s, we introduce the weather kiosk.

    More >

    The high-tech way of disseminating weather information in the late 1890s and early 1900s, we introduce the weather kiosk.

    More >
  • Wet winter on the way?

    Wet winter on the way?

    Wednesday, August 1 2018 7:31 PM EDT2018-08-01 23:31:42 GMT
    (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)(Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
    (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)(Source: 3TV/CBS 5)

    It's the middle of summer and our minds are on the monsoon and this brutal Arizona heat. But if we allow ourselves to daydream about winter a little bit, there might be something to get excited about.

    More >

    It's the middle of summer and our minds are on the monsoon and this brutal Arizona heat. But if we allow ourselves to daydream about winter a little bit, there might be something to get excited about.

    More >