aWhere Case Study: Weather is Fanning Fires across California

aWhere Case Study: Weather is Fanning Fires across California

California is experiencing strong Santa Ana winds this year, which are fanning fires across the state.  With many fires breaking out in populated areas, thousands of lives, homes and businesses are threatened.  Forced power outages did not do enough to dampen the threats in areas with dry brush that have seen little to no precipitation since January of this year.  aWhere’s historical and forecast content can inform data-driven decisions on where and when the fire season may begin.

Weather Insights

California is experiencing strong Santa Ana winds this year, which are fanning fires across the state. With many fires breaking out in populated areas, thousands of lives, homes and businesses are threatened. Forced power outages did not do enough to dampen the threats in areas with dry brush that have seen little to no precipitation since January of this year. aWhere’s historical and forecast content can inform data-driven decisions on where and when the fire season may begin. Our high resolution wind, humidity, precipitation, and temperature data provide insights on areas at risk. The map below shows the accumulated precipitation for the month of October 2019. The areas with the largest fires received little to no rainfall in the past month.

Further analysis of these locations with aWhere’s weekly climate charts shows that these areas have been dry since January with erratic rainfall compared to normal (2006-2018) in many cases.

Analytics:

Is there any relief in the forecast?

California’s most destructive fires often occur in September and October when vegetation has had the long, hot, dry summer to desiccate into perfect tinder, and when the annual offshore winds whip onshore (National Geographic 2019). As weather variability increases, with less or delayed rains, so does the risk of fire in California. The map of precipitation over potential evapotranspiration for next week compared to normal (2006-2018) illustrates the dramatically drier conditions than normal across the entire state. This trend was actually noticed before the fires started but can help prioritize monitoring and help firefighters plan to ensure logistics and infrastructure are in place. It can also help governments, companies, infrastructure planners and insurance companies coordinate to deliver economic resilience to climate change as evidenced by the destructive fires across California.

Forecast: Kincade
November 1-3, 2019
*aWhere can produce 15-day forecast charts for any location using our adaptER platform

Implications and Recommendations

With timely insights from aWhere, governments, emergency response, homeowners and farmers can take appropriate action to reduce risk due to weather variability tha California is experiencing this October. These insights can guide infrastructure investments (such as watershed/irrigation management) to reduce the impact of rainfall variability and reduce the incidence and impact of fires. Contact aWhere for specific recommendations.


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