Southern California’s coastal and inland areas are known for their mild weather patterns and mediterranean climate. However Southern California does experience certain unique weather phenomena, one of which is the Santa Ana winds. The Santa Ana winds are warm (sometimes hot), dry winds that sweep across Southern California and Baja California usually during the fall and winter seasons.

Santa Ana winds originate from the desert and flow in a southwest direction toward the sea. This is an unusual wind current as most breezes blow in an easterly direction. During cooler seasons, high pressure begins to build up in the Great Basin (western Nevada) and the temperature starts to drop. The cool, dense air is forced east to lower elevations where it begins to pick up speed and simultaneously increase in temperature as it passes through the Mojave Desert. Santa Ana winds can be very destructive as they can easily reach 40-70 mph. By the time they reach the larger population nodes of the inland valley, the air is hot and extremely dry. These conditions can intensify fires and cause severe damage to property and life.
Although it has several destructive characteristics, the Santa Ana Winds are here to stay. They preceded human settlement in this area and it is imperative that we learn to adapt to this weather phenomenon. If you have a garden with young trees, reinforce their trunks by tying a straight stake or pole to the tree. Also, if you’re growing a vegetable garden, be sure to water regularly as the dry winds can damage crops.

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