In the land of my birth the Santa Ana's were a source of entertainment, as well as a source of danger.
We knew, especially those who lived in the canyons, foothills and mountains, that with the winds came the danger of fire; natural and man made.
In the long ago days of my youth I remember those times where all the mountains were covered in red that could be seen for miles at night and during the day the sun was obscured by smoke.
It rained ash 24/7 and it was prudent to carry an umbrella.
Even when there were no fires, we contended with dust storms with trucks and trees being knocked down by the wind.
Then there were times when the 30 to 85mph winds resulted in sights that made one laugh at the absurdity of life.
There is nothing like standing on the sidewalk along Euclid in historic downtown Ontario, Ca., the wind blowing hell bent for leather, watching what I called "The Running of the Tumbleweeds"; Huge herds of the largest of these creatures one could imagine rumbling by in a head long dash to Chino, the land of milk and cow flatulence, on their way to their final resting place in the Santa Ana River bed along the border with Riverside County.
When I read in the paper, the other day, that Hurricane wind warnings were expected for the canyons in the hills, and mountains on the east side of the OC, I knew things might get messy.
This photo shows the flags, at the Taco Bell and Carl's Jr., as I saw them when I went shopping around 11am.
Already the wind was blowing hard enough to bend trees to its will and send leaves, paper and plastic bags skipping and dancing excitiedly down the street.
Before I left home FOX News was showing the world the unfolding tragedy of an uncontrolable fire along the coast in Malibu, where the scene reminded me of those from my youth.
When winds get to 85mph in the hills, that means those of us further south and west get hit with gusts anywhere from 30 to 50.
By the time I was ready to head home with my purchases, around 1pm, after a hearty lunch, the winds were blowing stronger.
The winds were so strong that one good puff could, if not knock ones block off, start knocking down a few trees, and closing regional parks across the OC.
By the time I got home I was smelling smoke.
EVENING UPDATE: ...And where there's smoke there's fire.