Another kind of extreme wind event

Santa Ana winds image from NASA
We all know how typhoons/hurricanes/cyclones create tons of damages and injuries over and over and over again. These usually affect cities and even large metropolitan areas just above the equatorial belt, and which are relatively near a large body of water to the east.  The Pacific Ocean, for example, affects Japan, the Philippines (except its southernmost areas), and a few other countries, while the Atlantic Ocean affects Florida and all the way up to New York and adjacent states.  The South China Sea and the Indian Sea are known culprits as well.

The Pacific Ocean, together with the relatively cool weather systems in continental Northern America, create a rather unique kind of wind storm, though, and they are called Santa Ana Winds. If you click the following link, you'll get through to a Google Search page (after some sponsor page) with relevant links to a Wikipedia article on the matter as well as to news and photos on the recent Santa Ana Winds that caused a ton of damages, threats of fire, power outages, and more to Southern California early this December 2011:
I always thought California was just earthquake country, as opposed to Japan and the Philippines which are both earthquake- and typhoon-prone. A ton - maybe all - of the civil/structural/geotechnical engineering research in California universities are all geared towards earthquake engineering. Wind engineers definitely have their place in California. The modelling of fire and smoke as well and how it circulates around a building's interiors, or over a specific landscape (e.g. bush fires, and so on), to help in disaster management and prevention efforts, is something that wind engineers are very much capable of. However, like most other places in the world, wind damages can be totally avoided but not enough people are doing work in the area of wind engineering.

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