A weekend of wind: Third red-flag warning issued this week for wine country

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The bad news: There is a red flag warning through Saturday night in the North Bay and parts of the East Bay along the Diablo Range.

The not-so-bad news: The winds that are expected to gust in the mountainous wine country are expected to range from 25 mph to 40 mph, as compared to the 70 mph winds on Oct. 9 that fanned the flames of what would becoming two dozen Northern California wildfires, which have killed at least 31 people and scorched nearly 200,000 acres of land, according to the National Weather Service.

This will be the third red flag warning this week.

“It’s still dangerous, though,” NWS Meteorologist Diane Simms said Friday. “We still have to keep a heightened alert. Yes, the winds aren’t forecast to be as strong, but they’re still an issue. And it’s like kindling out there.”

October in the Bay Area always brings these east offshore, Diablo winds, which start in high elevations and race downward into cities and valleys. But this year, following a long drought and then a winter filled with rain and newly grown vegetation, has been a perfect storm, weather scientists have said.

Specifically, the red flag warning is issued for the North Bay mountains and the Diablo range from Friday at 5 p.m. to Saturday at 11 p.m. A separate red flag warning has been issued for the lower Napa Valley and Sonoma region along Highway 12 from Friday at 11 p.m. to Saturday at 5 p.m.

As for a respite from the wind? Simms said that should come Sunday, with the hope of possible precipitation well into latter part of next week.