The bloggers at Grist, an online environmental news and commentary site, turned up a great Joan Didion essay today on Santa Ana winds (when hot air whips in from the east.)

I was out of town over the weekend, but it was doggone hot yesterday, and news reports say we had a Santa Ana. As I flew back here yesterday, I caught a glimpse of the mushroom cloud of smoke coming from the Day Fire on the border of Ventura-Los Angeles counties. It’s a reminder that it is wildfire season here, and that SoCal has been under a red flag fire warning.

Here’s a link to Didion’s essay, and an excerpt:

There is something uneasy in the Los Angeles air this afternoon, some unnatural stillness, some tension. What it means is that tonight a Santa Ana will begin to blow, a hot wind from the northeast whining down through the Cajon and San Gorgonio Passes, blowing up sand storms out along Route 66, drying the hills and the nerves to flash point. For a few days now we will see smoke back in the canyons, and hear sirens in the night. I have neither heard nor read that a Santa Ana is due, but I know it, and almost everyone I have seen today knows it too. We know it because we feel it. The baby frets. The maid sulks. I rekindle a waning argument with the telephone company, then cut my losses and lie down, given over to whatever it is in the air. To live with the Santa Ana is to accept, consciously or unconsciously, a deeply mechanistic view of human behavior.


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