Fire crews are receiving more real time information about weather conditions than ever before, especially during critical conditions such as Sundowner wind events.
At the Fire Safe Council meeting in Montecito, National Weather Service experts Eric Bolt and Dave Gomberg relayed the latest data on drought, weather predictions for the summer and the rate our local brush is drying out.
"The typical weather pattern for the summertime is for a big high pressure system to set up over the desert southwest," said bolt. "That's when you get these significant heat waves over Arizona and Southern California." He says the temperatures will likely be higher than normal, but it's unclear if there will be considerable heat.
The biggest problem is the exceptional drought that has engulfed the state. Maps show it has a stranglehold on Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo Counties in a way that has never been mapped before.
The Weather Service is also using weather spotters around the clock to give real time information where they live. That is being analyzed with the data coming in from remote monitors to deliver specific weather conditions to fire crews and emergency response teams.
Gomberg says, "we have about a thousand spotters out there now. They are the eyes on the ground to verify, an event so all of our warnings that we issue whether they are flash floods, red flag warnings, high wind warnings are verified in large part by spotters on the ground."
The presentation was made to the Fire Safe Council. It consists of fire officials, and citizen groups that are organized to respond in emergencies.