Color-Coded System On California Wind Strength Reaches Uncharted Territory

LOS ANGELES (CBS News) — Things were getting so windy Thursday out in Southern California that fire officials were running out of colors, CBS Los Angeles reports.

Southern California has felt yellow wind, orange wind, and red wind, but never purple wind — until now.

Thanks to vicious Santa Anas, the color-coded system showing the expected strength of the winds driving the region’s fierce wildfires has reached uncharted territory, pushing past red, which means “high” into the color that means “extreme.”

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“The forecast for [Thursday] is purple,” said Ken Pimlott, director at the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection. “We’ve never used purple before.”

That rare designation indicates “upon ignition, fires will have extreme growth, will burn very intensely, and will be uncontrollable,” with speeds forecast as high as 80 mph through Thursday night.

Residents across the Southland have been warned to prepare for possible fire threats in their area as red flag conditions are expected to linger through the weekend.