Wednesday, October 24, 2007

The Winds Are Changing

The hot, dry, easterly Santa Ana winds are calming and being replaced by the normal westerly wind off the Pacific Ocean. Last night, I could actually feel the cooler moist air coming in off the ocean. What a tremendous relief. This morning it felt scorching hot and dry again - but the news says that the breeze coming in off the ocean is building. The air support that is so critical to getting the fire under control is now starting to fly. It is re-assuring to see and hear them up above.

The onshore winds are a mixed blessing. It is great for us on the coast, but a problem for mountain communities where the fire is now doubling back and could re-igniting some hotspots in areas already burned over. Some communities are now being hit by a second wave of fires and houses missed the first time are burning.

Evacuation orders have been lifted for the coastal communities of Solana Beach, Olivenhain and Del Mar, Del Mar Highlands and Carmel Valley. A portion of Rancho Bernardo also is allowing people back. That means my guests are able to go home and my office is back open - so off to work I go...

I want to give a "shout out' to Alice for letting Picky and I bunk in with her for the last few days!

I am sitting here rather tired trying to work through some technical issues. The upside is that work is air conditioned and that is a welcome relief from the heat.

It is exhausting watching the fires hop scotch through the city. I have to say, it is heart wrenching watching on T.V. a disaster happening right in your own back yard. When the fire is moving fast and jumping around life pretty much turns into 24 hours a day watching the TV to figure out when/if you need to evacuate.

Late in the day Monday some of my neighbours started loosing their phone, cable etc and heavier smoke began to roll in. Once the mandatory evacuation zone made a move south towards us the level of panic really started to increased. I helped several neighbours pack there car, but then explained that pre-emptive evacuation may sound like a good idea -- but once there 1/2 a million people under mandatory evacuation and flooding the freeway searching for safe place ... it is really better not to add to the mayhem. Their evacuation plans were going to take them through mandatory evacuation zone and along 100 miles of freeway that was currently averaging speeds of 5 miles an hour. Talking with my neighbours, I began to realize how confusing it is for people new to the city and especially those with English as a second language to know how to decipher and respond to all the emergency broadcast information.

The always handy Cal Trans Map that shows current Freeway speeds.

Here are some local info on the web about the fire situation.

  1. Fire Map. Click here
  2. Sattelite photo of smoke blowing out over the ocean. Click here
  3. Slideshow of pictures taken by local San Diegans. Click here
  4. UnOfficial Lists of Burned Homes. Click here or here
  5. Local Newspaper. Click here
  6. Local TV. Click here
  7. My church's Fire Relief Page. Lots of good info and links. Click here

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