On Saturday morning Dear and I took a hike up from Sycamore Canyon in the Santa Monica Mountains to a Scenic area overlooking the Pacific Ocean near Pt. Mugu. We were struck with how dry the brush was and Dear commented on how easy it would be for a fire to spread through this type of brush. This is a collage I made of some of the dryness we hiked through. We are now having a Santana Wind event in Southern California and there is a large fire burning in the Angeles Forest East of Los Angeles. I’m sure the terrain there looks a lot like this, too.
What are the Santana or Santa Ana Winds?
The Santana Winds or Santa Ana Winds, most common in the late summer and early fall, begin with dry air moving in from the interior of the U.S. towards Southern California. As this air flows down into the Los Angeles-Orange County Basin through the low gaps in the mountains (notably Cajon Pass on the east end of the San Gabriel Mountains and Soledad Pass south of Palmdale), it compresses and warms about five degrees Fahrenheit for every 1,000 feet that it descends. Though these winds are much cooler high in the mountains, they can become hot and dry and assume gale force when descending into the Los Angeles-Orange County Basin. They are often the source of air turbulence for aircraft approaching Los Angeles International Airport.
The original spelling of the of name of the winds is unclear, not to mention the origin. Although the winds have been commonly called Santa Ana Winds or Santa Anas, many argue that the original name is Santana Winds or Santanas. Both versions of the name have been used. The name Santana Winds is said to be traced to Spanish California when the winds were called Devil Winds due to their heat. The reference book Los Angeles A to Z (by Leonard & Dale Pitt), credits the Santa Ana Canyon in Orange County as the origin of the name Santa Ana Winds, thereby arguing for the term Santa Anas. This might be supported by early accounts which attributed the Santa Ana riverbed running through the canyon as the source of the winds. Another account placed the origin of Santa Ana Winds with an Associated Press correspondent stationed in Santa Ana who mistakenly began using Santa Ana Winds instead of Santana Winds in a 1901 dispatch.
Special credit for the research assistance of Librarian Nancy Smith of the Metropolitan Cooperative Library System Reference Center, Los Angeles Public Library.
I hope this is helpful information when you hear news about Santana winds in Southern California helping to spark fires.
After our hike through all this dryness we were rewarded with these glorious views of the Pacific Ocean…
We were blessed with a few cool days and now with the Santana Winds blowing in we’ll be seeing the temperature rise again this week.
Wherever you are and whatever your weather have a wonderful week.
Tremble before him, all the earth! The world is firmly established; it cannot be moved. Let the heavens rejoice, let the earth be glad; let them say among the nations, “The Lord reigns! Let the sea resound, and all that is in it; let the fields be jubilant, and everything in them! Then the trees of the forest will sing, they will sing for joy before the Lord for he comes to judge the earth. Give thanks to the Lord for he is good; his love endures forever. ~ 1 Chronicles 16:30-34
Photobucket is holding my photos hostage from 2007-2015 and replacing them with an ugly black and grey squares demanding money to release them, so frustrating.
12 thoughts on “Santana Winds and Dry Brush”
I was hoping that somehow this year we’d avoid the big fires. It looks really dry on all our hills around here.
Beautiful photos from the canyon. I’m looking forward to taking that hike some day soon.
I was just thinking how nice it had been without the red flag warnings… until I turned on the radio Friday afternoon. I’m loving your photos, Ellen. The lines between the photos help them stand out and set them off nicely.
Ughhh! I hate the Santa Ana’s, they are not for contact wearers! I was in Fresno this weekend for a cross country meet, where it was crisp and fall-like:), then came home to the winds today. But I must admit, on my run today, it was sooooo beautiful and clear at the beach.
His love endures forever! What comfort.
Are you able to see the smoke from your home Ellen B.?
I just hate the Santa Ana’s with a passion!!!!
There are all such beautiful shots although it is frightening how fast fires can sweep through the dry areas. This was a very interesting post. I didn’t know very much about Santa Ana winds until I read your informative post. It’s funny because I used to back up a violin player sometimes on guitar and one of the fiddle tunes we did was called Santa Ana’s Retreat. Now I’ll have to dig and see if the tune had to do with the wind or some military conquest which was what I used to assume. I also love your flower shots below and the photograph you chose to go with the hymn. Your blog is always so uplifting.
Very educational post – I enjoyed every bit of it. I love the verse too!
I grew up in Orange County after having moved to Santa Ana in 1953 when I was 4 years old. My earliest recollection of the hot winds known as “Santa Anas” was in grade school as we watched the Eucalyptus trees blown down along the school fence line. A few years later when homework required reference book materials, I tried looking up the “Santa Ana” winds in a 1949 Funk and Wagnal dictionary. I found the term “Santana” winds describing ‘hot devil winds’, with no reference at all to “Santa Ana winds”. I think perhaps we were a bit ignorant back then by today’s standards. The internet has opened up a world of knowledge and understanding. I too think Santana winds were simply mispronounced and carried forward until today.
It certainly does look very dry over there. Such interesting info about the winds. Sometimes when I hear on the news about the effects they have, I wonder about them, but have never taken the time to look it up!
Thank you for using the descriptive name Santana winds. People think I am crazy but I have always been using this word to describe the winds for over 37 years since I properly learned the true name of the devil winds. Dr. Geoge Fishbeck, a local weatherman here always used this name on his forcasts for years on TV.
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I grew up in Southern California (my grandfather was an orange rancher) and distinctly remember my mother correcting my pronouciation of the winds, reminding me that they were Santana Winds NOT Santa Anas and in the 60’s the Register had an entire article with the history of the name of the winds and came down on the side of Santanas. However, I think that because of the fluidity of the population and the proximity of the So. California city of Santa Ana, the original name just was overwhelmed.
Santana, Santana, Santana, Santana, Santana! People, they are not “Santa Ana” winds. I think some newscasters that didn’t grow up in California started mispronouncing that sometime in the 60’s, and with a large influx of people moving into the LA basin the name in error stuck. The only winds from Santa Ana might be the hot air of some of their politicians!!