NWS is worried: Red Flag Warning
Confidence is high that an offshore wind event featuring strong and dangerous winds and critically low humidity will impact the area from this evening through Monday morning. This event looks to be the strongest since the 2017 wine country fires and potentially a historic event given the strength and duration of the winds. The strongest winds are expected from late tonight into Sunday morning. Stronger winds mixing to the lower elevations will be a particular concern from late tonight through Sunday. Winds will gradually ease at lower elevations by late Sunday, but remain gusty across the higher elevations on Sunday night and into Monday morning. Latest model runs suggest winds will be stronger Sunday night than previously expected over the higher terrain.
Current forecasts indicate winds will top 80 MPH inside the fire zone.
An evacuation order has been issued for the City of Healdsburg, the Town of Windsor, and surrounding unincorporated areas. You must leave before 4 pm this afternoon 10/26.
Please drive south. Evacuation Centers are located at the Santa Rosa Vets Hall, the Petaluma Fairgrounds, and the Petaluma Vets Hall. The closest evacuation center is located at the Santa Rosa Veterans Hall.
In addition, evacuation warnings have been issued a much wider area, including the Dry Creek Valley, Porter Creek drainage, Mark West, Larkfield areas, Fulton, Forestville, Guerneville, Occidental, Jennfer and Bodega Bay. This includes all areas west of Sebastopol, north of Bodega Highway, and south of Stewarts Point-Skaggs Springs Road.
Driving south is no fun: 101 is a parking lot.
A look at the detailed map gives you an idea of the scope of the effort.
The mandatory evacuation covers 50,000 people, and the evacuation warning covers nearly 100,000 more.
We have lots of family and friends in the area, though none (so far as I know) are in the mandatory evac at this time.
May the wind stay in the mountains, may the people and animals stay safe, and may emergency workers be careful and safe.
And may they all see Monday dawn, safe and beyond this.
UPDATE (late Sunday night):
- Wind speeds topped 90 MPH today.
- One firefighter has been airlifted to hospital in critical condition.
- Nearly 200,000 people have been evacuated from the risk area. 80,000 homes are considered "threatened". (Our cousins have found space in a hotel some 50 miles south.)
- A second, stronger, wind event is anticipated on Wednesday
Now would be a good time for some good news.