'Historic:' Three Red Flag warnings in one week, National Weather Service says

The Bay Area is experiencing historic wind events and this week alone, there was an unprecedented number of "Red Flag" warnings, according to the National Weather Service. 

"Three Red Flags so close together with one being a strong and long duration event," tweeted the NWS Bay Area. "Historic for sure."

KTVU meteorologist Steve Paulson also noted the rarity of three warnings in one week. 

A Red Flag warning is issued by the weather service to note high winds and hot temperatures, all which contribute to high fire danger. These warnings are typical in October and November for California, but over the last few years, NWS meteorologist Spencer Tangen noted how intense and how long these conditions are lasting.

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In Southern California, where the Getty Fire is raging, the well-known Santa Ana winds are kicking in over the Great Basin, whipping up the winds in Los Angeles.

In the Bay Area, the Diablo winds are responsible for the 102 mph winds that peaked early Sunday morning in Sonoma County, where the Kincade Fire has been burning since Oct. 23, Tangen said. Diablo winds can be just as strong as Santa Ana winds, he said. 

Tangen noted that climate change and global warming are certainly factors to look at regarding these weather events: Rainfall comes later in the season, summers are hotter and even spots like Iowa in the middle of the country are seeing record cold temperatures, all which form a perfect storm of red flag conditions. 

Still, Tangen had hope for the future. 

"We can't say this will happen every single year," he said. "But at least for the last couple years, that's what has been happening."

Three historic Red Flag warnings:

  • Oct. 23-24 The Kincade Fire started in Geyserville on Oct. 23 and is expected to be fully contained by Nov. 7. 
  • Oct. 26-28 Winds peaked at 102 mph over the Healdsburg area, where the Kincade Fire still raged. 
  • Oct. 29-30 Red Flag warning begins at 8 a.m. on Tuesday and lasts through Wednesday at 4 p.m.