No, I'm not talking about Halloween. I'm talking about the weather. And the fires.
The fall has been freakish--cooling down to the high 60s (say 20 C for you metric types) and then jumping up again into the mid-80s (pushing 30 C).
Most of our weather here comes from the west; the winds blow in from the southwest, due west, or even northwest, but they tend to come from the Pacific. Every so often, though, in the fall or spring, we'll get a contrary wind, called the Santa Ana wind, that blows in hot from the high desert. If it gets going with any velocity, the whole sky roars, because the trees are unadapted to wind from that direction. If they were mammals, you'd say their fur was being rubbed the wrong direction.
We're having Santa Anas like I've never seen, hitting hurricane velocity in some areas. Trees are toppling. In a city north of here, windows have blown out. Temperatures are mid-80s right now, and are supposed to push 90 F (32 C) tomorrow, even here at the beach. Now, I know this is sunny Southern California and all, but this isn't normal for October.
The humidity has dropped to single digits. Step outside after washing your hair and it'll be dry in less than a minute. And, of course, after our second year of drought, that means Fire Season. Full force.
There are about 20 different fires burning, and although the nearest one is a good 15 miles away, we are ringed about 270 degrees by various fires. The whole world smells like a campfire, and you can see great towers of smoke coming from the fires and uniting to form a ceiling high above the whole Los Angeles Basin. It looks like something Sauron would organize to allow his orcs to march by day. It's bad enough that my eyes are puffy and watering as I type this.
Meanwhile, we were able to have fresh, California-grown strawberries at breakfast this morning. We have a long growing season here, but fresh berries in October...?
Well, I have to go outside and watch Armageddon a bit more. And then carve our traditional Halloween strawberry.
Two Hours Later: We own a house down in the Rancho Bernardo district of San Diego. Or at least I think we do. We just saw video on the web of houses burning on the street one block behind our San Diego house.
Most disturbing of all, though, is that the San Diego Wild Animal Park is in the path of the blaze. The breeding center for the California Condor. The White Rhino breeding center...They do have some fire-proof structures, and the large animal enclosures all have large ponds. But still...
Six Hours Later: Things are getting weirder by the minute. Dined al fresco at Luigi's down on Main Street in our shirtsleeves, listening to the palms trees growl in the wind. Atmosphere like, say, Rome in July, but substitute charred-wood smell for Vespa fumes. Our intrepid Huntington Beach surfers were still in the waves as dusk fell, even though half of every curl was being hammered into Japanward spray by the force of the Santa Anas. Our sidewalk is ankle-deep in mattresses of pine needles, even though we don't have a single pine tree. Nobody has any idea what the hell is going on. Least of all me.
Oh, and I almost forgot: The fire thae tore through Rancho Bernardo (and most probably ate our house) began out beyond the town of Ramona (if there still is a town of Ramona--they cleared the whole city and abandoned it to the fire early this morning) began in Witch Creek, and the whole blaze, which is marching as surely as General Sherman to the sea, is now officilly named The Witch Fire. Halloween indeed.