Winds Shutdown Energy for Thanksgiving in Southern California

Public Security Energy Outage map for Thanksgiving 2021. Courtesy

Many in Southern California are spending their Thanksgiving Vacation with no electrical energy because of a strong offshore wind occasion.  Which means no capability to chill fridges, which might be stocked to capability, or ovens to cook dinner turkeys.   The facility just isn’t out as a result of winds have taken out energy strains however as an alternative, they’ve been shut down preemptively, Public Security Energy Shutoff- PSPS, in hopes that winds don’t convey down these strains and spark fires.

This isn’t the primary time this space has seen energy outages for the Thanksgiving Vacation.  In truth, this time of the 12 months is prime season for Northeast winds, referred to as Santa Anas, to roar by way of the realm as a result of seasonal adjustments within the jet stream.  The jet stream sinks southward as temperatures cool within the Northern Hemisphere. Frontal programs drag chilly air towards the Nice Basin, Nevada, and Utah.  Consequently, pressures rise east of California organising robust damaging stress gradients. The chilly air is pulled out of the Basin towards California.  The wind picks up velocity, and the air dries and warms because it drops down out of the Excessive Desert and tumbles down towards the ocean.


Comparability of forecast maps with giant scale vs Weatherflow WRF mannequin on a 3 km scale. The smaller scale exhibits the excessive variability in wind velocity as a result of terrain.

The PSPS occasion may be irritating as a result of many which might be with out energy won’t see robust winds proper at their dwelling and be confused. Southern California is roofed with mountain ranges which might be oriented each North to South but additionally East to West.  The ranges can each block the wind but additionally speed up it by way of the gaps.  So there may be excessive variability with wind speeds with areas very shut to 1 one other having giant variations within the speeds of the wind.  Houses in valleys might even see no wind whereas the encircling hilltops are seeing robust winds. Moreover, winds will decide up throughout the day as temperatures heat and funky, so although winds might die down for a time the occasion just isn’t over.

WRF Los Angeles to Daggett stress gradient forecast for 5am November 25 to twenty-eight, 2021. Courtesy NWS.

Many instances these occasions may be short-lived however after we don’t have a robust westward push from the jet stream the chilly air stays in place for longer. That’s this case for this occasion.  Fashions are exhibiting that the Los Angeles to Daggett gradients stays low by way of Friday morning and gradients keep weakly damaging for the subsequent 72 hours.  So many outages will final into Friday.

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