Saturday, November 15, 2008

LOS ANGELES: Dangerous 'sundowner' winds fan flames, destroy Episcopal monastery

From Episcopal News Service. Wildfires in California.

Dangerous 70-mile-an-hour winds known as "sundowners" exploded fire across parts of Southern California on November 13-14, injuring at least four people, destroying an estimated 100 homes, and leveling an internationally known monastery of the Episcopal Order of the Holy Cross.

Residents of the picturesque Montecito area of Santa Barbara were evacuated as firefighters battled flames after the winds had died down. The "sundowner" effect results from the violent clash of hot air from the Santa Ynez Mountains and the cool air of the Pacific Ocean.

Property losses were estimated in the millions and climbing in the scenic area, where many celebrities, such as Oprah Winfrey and others, have homes.

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