Sacramento Meteorologists Track Santa Ana Winds amid Destructive Southern California Wildfires

SACRAMENTO -- Keeping an eye on her monitors and computer models, warning coordination meteorologist Michelle Mead is part of the National Weather Service team in Sacramento keeping track of the Santa Ana winds helping spread the Thomas and others fires burning in Southern California.

While it might sound unusual for large wildfires to burn in December, Mead says gusts from the Santa Ana winds are traditionally strongest this time of year.

"In a typical year, our max Santa Anna season -- meaning the highest gusts and the longest duration -- is typically in December and January," Mead said.

Another issue with the winds, according to Mead, is that gusts remain high at night -- not often the case in most wildfires where winds can slow down.

The winds aren't the only thing to blame for these fires.

Cal Fire tells FOX40 that although in Northern California we have seen a few storms in recent months, Southern California has been mostly dry.

Combine the dry fuels with the strong winds and the situation becomes very similar to the destructive and deadly Northern California wildfires back in October.

"It's not a fire front, it's more like a torch. The fire will go through anything in its path," Cal Fire spokesperson Scott McLean said. "It'll go under, around and above. This is what those firefighters are dealing with down on the Thomas Fire in Southern California."