Is it santa ana winds or santana?

Although the winds today are commonly called Winds of Santa Ana or Santa Anas, many argue that the original name is Vientos de Santana (or, more correctly in Spanish, Winds of Satan). Both versions of the name have been used. The first published reference to “The Winds of Santa Ana” appeared in an 1871 edition of the Anaheim Gazette. While that's incorrect, apparently enough people believed him or wanted to get rid of the negative connotations of the Santa Ana winds in the city of the same name.

The Santa Ana Wildfire Hazard Index (SAWTI), produced by the USDA Forest Service and Predictive Services, ranks Santa Ana winds based on anticipated fire potential. The irony of this argument is that a few years ago, when I first questioned the use of Santana, I suggested that it was a Latin insult of Santa Ana, only to have Frank Sifuentes of El Centro punish him as an “Anglophile”. The storm erupted before dawn and continued throughout the day, sweeping the Santa Ana Canyon. This may have led to the claim that Santa Ana (or Santana, choose) was a corruption of “Satan Wind.

There are many different versions that blow, as to why the winds are called Santa Ana. Even Jim Sleeper, a faithful Santa Ana native son, admitted that the name came from the canyon. However, the fact that the Santa Ana winds bore the name of their city did not please the members of the Chamber of Commerce of the city of Santa Ana, and they fought for years to have its name changed. Lawhorn, “and that of his previous journalists' sources, the people of the San Fernando Valley should call them Newhall winds and God knows what some people in the Santa Paula Valley should call them.

Santa Ana winds blow in Southern California during the fall and winter months, usually October through February. Santa Ana (usu cap), from the Santa Ana Mountains, extends into southwestern California, where the wind is channeled through the Santa Ana Canyon, from where it extends over the coastal plain; a strong dry and hot foehn wind from the north, northeast or east into Southern California. Santa Ana winds can blow violently over the southwestern slopes of coastal mountain ranges into the densely populated area of Southern California Ironically, several readers who admit that the word is Santa Ana, agree with me that Santana's pronunciation is the result of a misexpression of the two words, but they argue that it's Latinos who do this, not Anglos, as I suggested. Agriculture dominated the landscape of Southern California for much of its history, and the prospect of the Santa Ana winds haunted orange growers and growers.

Janette Dinora
Janette Dinora

Freelance web aficionado. Unapologetic travel maven. General bacon fanatic. Infuriatingly humble twitter scholar. Proud troublemaker.

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