Devastating California firestorm visible on weather radar and satellites

Monday's California firestorm goes down as one of the worst wildfire days in California history. Apocalyptic scenes like this flooded social media as people literally ran for their lives ahead of the fast moving firestorm.

At least 1,500 homes are burned to the ground. Wind-driven flames completely consumed this neighborhood in Santa Rosa.

The death toll continues to rise. More than 100 people are still feared missing.

Smoke plumes visible on satellite and radar

Thick dense smoke plumes gushed several thousand feet into the air. The plumes are clearly visible from space as seen by NOAA satellites.

Smoke plumes even showed up on Doppler radars in the Bay area.

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Wind gusts to hurricane force drove the fast moving wall of fire. Once meteorological conditions reach these levels, there is little fire crews can do to stop this kind of extreme fire behavior.

Worse than the Oakland Hills fires?

Monday's firestorm may supplant the 1991 Oakland Hills blazes as the firestorm of record for the Bay area. The Bay area NWS has some sobering comments on last night's NWS forecast discussion.

Southern California blazes

Additional wildfires continue on southern California around Los Angeles.

Climate change connection

Wildfires are a natural part of California's ecosystem. But a Climate Central analysis shows the number of large wildfires has doubled across the western U.S. since 1970. That trend is consistent with a warmer climate.

CC wildfires 2
Climate Central

16th billion dollar disaster

This will no doubt be the 16th billion-dollar disaster in the U.S. this year. 2017 is among the costliest disaster years on record.

Upward trend continues

The longer term upward trend in billion-dollar disasters continues.

The evidence continues to support an increase in climate-enhanced extreme weather events across the U.S. This week's California wildfires look like the latest data point in our extreme weather future.