A Little Autumn Part 2 - I spoke too soon

Well, all that rubbish of coolness and gray from the last post seems like something from another world right now. With 99 degrees and 40-50 mph gusts of hot, dry wind, it feels like autumn might never come. The air is like a furnace and I'm not even in danger of the flames.

The term "Santa Ana Winds" refers to the annual week of h-e-double-hockey-sticks caused by high pressure systems in the inland deserts (as far as Colorado). The winds blow across the desert sweeping up dry hot air then are funneled through a series of natural wind tunnels in the mountains on their way to the coast. Those winds hit our coastal plains and fan out to create a climate much like that of the inside of a convection oven. The heat is enough, but inevitably these winds are accompanied by lightening and/or arsonists which lead to fires in the mountains. Every year trees are blown down by these winds and every year our hilltops are peaked with orange and red flames and every year we breathe ash for air even as we wipe off the layer of ash on our cars. I thought we might have escaped it this year because it usually happens much earlier in October or September. Oh was I wrong.

It is reported that over half a million Southern California residents have been ordered to evacuate due to the fires. 1,400 homes have been destroyed. This video looks like something from an action movie: Modjeska Homes Burn. Below is a link to the map that gives details on the location of the fire:

View Larger Map

We are praying for those who are in danger of this fire and empowered by the efforts to help them. My wife and I are blessed to be safely distanced from the danger, but have experienced some of this extreme weather in the last few days as well:

Sunday night we found ourselves street-locked between two fallen trees. I later heard that a man had been in his camper, which was parked on the road, when he heard a crack and found himself running for shelter as the tree crashed a hole in his ceiling. The winds had been shaking our little condo so we knew they were very strong, but stepping out in the road and being met by the sight of trees, now dead, laying in the road was quite eerie. It too looked like a scene from a movie. Later that night, I went back down to the road and looked off into the distant hilltops. The wind was so harsh that it whipped at my face, but if I squinted, I could see red and orange drops leaping on the hillside. The next day I saw a horizontal column of red and gray smoke laying across the sky, turning the sun and air red. Today the smell of smoke permeates even into the house. In addition to the heat, the sky and air have taken on an eerie red haze. I took this photo an hour ago as the sun was nearing the horizon; no filter, no editing, just a little saturation shows the depth of red in the sky right now. It's much more surreal seeing this in person. It happens every year, but each time I have a sneaky suspicion that it's the end of the world. Plus I know a lot of people who believe the apocalypse will begin in Southern California anyway:), so it's always a little unnerving when these things happen.

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travel log
  • 02.13.08 - to the temple with Luan and his mom, good to be back
  • 02.14.08 - Mẫu's alive! and staying for the weekend
  • 02.15.08 - floor hockey and Thái food makes for some strange dreams
  • 02.17.08 - frisbee and swamp monster at the park: fun but I'm pooped!
  • 02.19.08 - just read Triết's response to my last post - game on!
  • 02.20.08 - raining and expected to continue through Sunday - thank goodness!
  • 02.21.08 - 3-hour nap is a bad idea right before bed
  • 02.23.08 - to the beach to watch kites, a baptism @ 5pm, and homemade bulgogi - what a day!
  • 02.25.08 - just gave myself a haircut - woo, cold head!
  • 02.26.08 - 75° and spring cleaning - couldn't feel better
  • 02.27.08 - fed the elders bún đậu tonight - think it's their first time
  • 03.01.08 - working on new background...
  • 03.02.08 - finalized javascript to change background without muffing up my other scripts
  • 03.03.08 - fhe: "In his strength I can do all things" (Alma 26:12)
  • 03.07.08 - some decisions are harder than others, but some are downright excruciating
  • 03.08.08 - there is life after work... i almost forgot
  • 03.11.08 - the distance between good and bad is much shorter than between better and best
  • 03.12.08 - conversion is sometimes a gradual process, so much so that we don't even notice
  • 03.14.08 - for some reason everything was a little harder today, looking forward for bed!
  • 03.15.08 - last night after blog reading, I missed OnlyBlue, today I find she's back
  • 03.16.08 - best day of my life!
  • 03.19.08 - "Pray for the answer that they've been looking for"
release notes v1.0 - FINALLY DONE!
  • 12.07 - first thought of starting a new blog
  • 01.08 - busy with election stuff but blog design still on back burner
  • 01.13.08 - first idea to imitate jk rowling with the "desk" theme
  • 01.28.08 - start sketching current design, breaking down development into phases
  • 02.02.08 - election only days away but still drafting final plans
  • 02.04.08 - v0.6 LAUNCH
    • main components (blog body, sidebar, header, etc) designed and implemented
    • styling for font, links, drop caps, etc. finished
  • 02.07.08 - v0.8 LAUNCH
    • image style to imitate polariod
    • moveability - post-it notes and static clings can be repositioned by drag and drop
    • release notes styled and written
  • 02.16.08 - travel log (beta) added in hopes of catching the mundane
  • 02.22.08 - lightbox 2.03 reinstalled and working fine (hopefully - let me know otherwise)
  • 02.26.08 - v0.9 LAUNCH
    • travel log seems to be working, so I'll keep it
    • lightbox also seems to have passed the test, so it's a keeper
    • some credits/info added to bottom (will expand)
    • keeping old Viet terms in archive for future viewing
  • 03.18.08 - v1.0 LAUNCH
    • installation and testing of time-sensitive background completed (for now)