They're called different things in different parts of the country and world -- Diablo winds, Sundowner winds, Chinook, Mistral, Foehn, Gibbh.
In Southern California, they're called the Santa Ana winds, or sometimes, "Devil Winds."
What they have in common: They blow down off high elevation arid landscapes, increasing rapidly in temperature and speed -- as much as 30 degrees per mile, according to NASA. And frequently, they bring with them fire, according to the San Francisco Chronicle. Low pressure at the coast invites air from high pressure areas inland.
They have no known connection to global warming, having been forming due to the natural variations in the landscape for all recorded history. In Southern California, they typically come in October.
"The Santa Ana season produces a vague unease, a sense of something evil in the air," as the Chronicle put it.
This year, the Santa Ana winds will be remembered for -- at the latest count -- killing two, destroying 1,000 homes and causing the evacuation of 500,000 people. Something evil in the air, indeed.
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