Unusual Cool Temperatures over the Pacific Northwest Leads to Strong Winds and Power Outages in California

Iowa Climate Science Education

Reposted from the Cliff Mass Weather Blog

Saturday brought record or near-record cold temperatures to the Pacific Northwest, and strangely enough, that led to unusual Diablo winds over northern California, with the regional utility PG&E cutting power to thousands to reduce the chance of another major wildfire.

Cold temperatures potentially producing wildfires? Ironic, perhaps, but true.
Late last week an unusual slog of cold air, connected with an upper level trough, pushed into the Pacific Northwest, with the cool, dense air associated with high pressure at low levels. That cold air/high pressure combo extended inland and then southeastward into the Intermountain West (from eastern Oregon down into Nevada). And high pressure north and east of California resulted in strong, dry downslope, northerly to easterly flow that can produce dangerous wildfire conditions: the feared Diablo winds. Let me illustrate this for you!
Below are a series of model forecasts during the…

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