California wind, and fire danger, hits unprecedented high

2017-12-07 11:28
More than a dozen wildfires whipped by powerful winds been burning though California wine country. (Kent Porter, The Press Democrat via AP)

More than a dozen wildfires whipped by powerful winds been burning though California wine country. (Kent Porter, The Press Democrat via AP)

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Ventura - Southern California has felt yellow wind, orange wind, and red wind.

But never purple wind. Until now.

The color-coded system showing the expected strength of the wild winds driving the region's fierce wildfires has reached uncharted territory.

It has pushed past red, which means "high", into purple, which means "extreme".

READ: California communities under siege from wind-driven fires

State fire Director Ken Pimlott said on Wednesday that purple has never been used before.

He says that means winds could blow at an astonishing 130km/h, a speed reaching hurricane strength.

The three major wildfires burning in Los Angeles and Ventura counties have already put tens of thousands of people under evacuation orders and destroyed nearly 200 homes and buildings.

Officials fearing things could get far worse issued a rare wind warning late on Tuesday night to millions of cellphones from San Diego to Santa Barbara.

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