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Boston Weather: 53.0°F | Mostly Cloudy

Weather: Earth, Wind, and Fire

By Robert Lindsay Korty
STAFF METEOROLOGIST -- By 1962, California had surpassed New York as the most populous state, the Brooklyn Dodgers had left for Los Angeles, and the certain promises of sunshine and new beginnings lured millions to leave behind the East, the cold, the past. If there was to be a flaw in the golden weather, it would come most often in October; Joan Didion called it “the bad month for the wind.” The Santa Ana is a hot, dry wind that descends down the San Gabriel Mountains, races through the passes, warming as it compresses, and breathes an uneasy air all the way to the Pacific. Fires grow with an ominous rapidity, and the wind ushers in a tense mood across Southern California. In her essay “The Santa Ana,” Didion described it this way: “just as the reliably long and bitter winters of New England determine the way life is lived there, so the violence and the unpredictability of the Santa Ana affect the entire quality of life in Los Angeles, accentuate its impermanence, its unreliability. The wind shows us how close to the edge we are.”

The wind has turned onshore again across much of Southern California, returning maritime moisture and cool breezes, and halting the westward expansion of the fires that have raged unrelentingly for days. Back East, westerly winds descending down the Berkshires and Worcester Hills will warm Boston to temperatures more common in September. Enjoy this weekend; another of New England’s “reliably long and bitter winters” looms on the horizon.

Weekend Outlook

Today: Sunny. High 68°F (20°C).

Tonight: Clear. Low 49°F (9°C).

Tomorrow: Party cloudy; near record warmth. High 80°F (27°C).

Sunday: Partly cloudy. High 70°F (21°C), low 50°F (10°C).