Arizona Experiencing Record Rain, While California Under Extreme Fire Danger

By Holliday Moore
Published: Monday, October 15, 2018 - 3:28pm
Bridget Dowd/KJZZ
Rain outside Burton Barr Central Library on Oct. 13, 2018.

Tens of thousands of Californians went without power Monday as strong winds whipped through the state threatening to spark wildfires from the coast to the highlands.

California's main utility company PG&E shut off the power for at least 87,000 customers from Los Angeles to its north after the National Weather Service warned of extreme fire danger throughout the state.

The utility company was considering doing the same further down the coast as high winds threaten low-lying power lines across drought-stricken wildlands.

"The coastal areas are expecting gusts to 45 mph, and the mountain passes gusts over 60 mph," said NWS meteorologist Marvin Percha.

The wind is particularly treacherous for drivers passing through the mountain regions between Arizona and California.

A persistent low-pressure system to the east of California is the culprit completely bypassing the coastal state, while drawing sub-tropical moisture from Mexico's coastline and slinging it across Arizona and New Mexico.

On the backside of that low-pressure system, Percha said rain is scarce, "all over California humidities, in many areas, are under 10 percent," but the picture changes drastically on weather maps to the east. "Here in Phoenix, our humidities have been 50, 60, 70 even 80, 90 percent."

Forecast outlooks show that scenario won't likely change through the weekend.

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