Monday, April 8, 2019

Drying Up.

At this point, it looks like tonight's storm has backed off enough to saw there is a pretty good chance we won't see a tenth of an inch of rain.  Actually, a pretty good chance we see none at all.  What we will see for sure is a ton of wind.  It is kind of like spring turned on around 5PM today, as a high, but light, fog band moved in.  As that moves out int he morning, the north west winds are going to kick up pretty hard.  In fact, they are blowing still on the outer buoy and near shore at Long Marine Lab. We could see gust in excess of 30mph tomorrow afternoon.

Tomorrow will be a good deal cooler than today.  Highs on the west side ranged from 74F to 81F today.  We will be lucky to get out of the 60s on Monday.  A little fog cover early in the morning, and the brisk wind coming off the water all afternoon will keep it cool.  It looks the next system mid week will also be heading through north of us.  Well north in fact.  Sun should be dominate mid week, with the next chance for rain toward the end of the week. That one will likely only hit the north eastern part of the state, which is good news, as they still need some water up there.  Temps in the upper 60s, and maybe low 70s after tomorrow.  Breezy weather continues, but it looks like Tuesday will be the worst of it.  All in all, it will be a pretty darn nice week.  The hills are a blooming.

After this coming weekend, the high pressure really strengthens.  We could see a solid shift into spring like, and much dryer, weather.

Saturday, April 6, 2019

Wetness Continues.

Well, I escaped town for about a week, as it was my son's spring break.  While we were hoping for sunshine on the slopes kind of spring weather, we instead had a little of everything.  And afternoon arrival at Kirkwood saw a parking lot temperature of 54F.  We skied some wonderful slush down low and perfect corn up top.  The next day started with a warm 33F.  It was soft to start, but wind, and clouds kept things perfect all day.  Early afternoon saw some light drizzle down low and flurries above 8800'.  From there, winter returned.  A wet afternoon, turned into a snowy evening, and by morning, there were five inches of snow in the road.  Full on spring pow day.  Sun returned the next day and we enjoyed a bluebird powder day with a high of about 45F.  The next morning was perfect for railing firm groomers. We left at noon, just as the pistes were softening up.  Not a bad run for some spring break skiing.  Cool weather and continued high elevation snow is keeping the skiing in great condition.  Kirkwood closes this Sunday and reopens for Easter weekend.  Squaw will turn lifts through at least Memorial Day.  Heavenly plans to operate weekends through then as well, but with very limited terrain and access from the gondola only.

Here in Santa Cruz, about an inch and a half of rain fell since my last post.  Most of that was yesterday, with .87" here on the westside.  It has been a pretty wet start to April for town.  We might see a light shower this morning, but things are clearing out.  Mild today in the mid 60s.  Warm Sunday and Monday with sunshine and in the low 70s.  Might beach day again tomorrow.  A storm moves through to our north Monday night, bringing a chance of light rain.  This is another warm storm, so we won't see much of a dip in temperatures.  Clouds will keep things a bit mild though.  Highs through mid week in the mid to upper 60s.  Some clouds.  By later in the week, a cold trough will try to move down the coast.  This system threatens cooler temps and rain by Friday.  Maybe earlier.  Will need to watch this system, as spring models are totally unreliable.

Those totally unreliable models are also toying with the idea that this will bust wide open the storm door allowing a cold and quite wet system to hit us just before Tax Day.  Impressive for spring if that happens.  High pressure to fill in behind that. Looks strong. and likely warm, cause you know, it is mid April by then.  The North Pacific remains active, so we will still be watching storm systems and still be getting winter surf.  Speaking of which, the swell is up today with a fresh north west arriving forecast for 8 feet at 18 seconds. Well overhead.  Winds are south easterly, so you need to search for the right spot. By Monday the swell will be in. more moderate range and the wind more north westerly, making for decent town conditions.  Winter ain't over folks.

Thursday, March 28, 2019

Over Under.

The first wave of the storm over performed and the second under performed. It is hard today to get an accurate rain gauge reading, as many are currently down in town, and those that are up, have a huge range.  DelaVeaga is coming in hot with .77" yesterday and .35" from Tuesday night.  That is an inch of rain for this 2nd wave, which is right on target to even over performing.  WeatherCat puts the total at almost 1/3 inch, which is way less, and a slight under performer.  The WestherUderground gauges that are reporting put the Toal rainfall closer to .15" from yesterday.  Like I said, quite a range.  Ultimately, it felt like a lot less than a half inch of rain yesterday.  Some very short periods of moderate rain, but mostly light and intermittent showers. And that third wave looks like it will amount to maybe a tenth of an inch.  Meanwhile, the Sierra got pounded pretty hard, with over a foot of fresh snow above 7000 feet, with plenty more than that on the peaks.

Today, Thursday, we will see clouds, remain cool and have a chance for some light showers in the morning.  Sun could break out by afternoon.  Then it is a warming trend folks.  Mid 70s by Sunday.  Not big change there.  Some moderate NW winds develop in the afternoons, but we are looking at mostly light morning winds over the next few days.  Friday morning may be the exception with the departure of the storm developing a stronger NW flow easier in the day.  Otherwise it is looking quite fine out there through Sunday evening.

The next series of storms is right on the tail of this week.  GFS keeps flipping the forecast between keeping the entire series of storms just to our north, to having a direct hit on the Bay Area.  We will need to watch these, and keep in mind it is very hard to get a decent forecast this time of year more than 48 hours out.  We won't really have a handle on Monday until Saturday.  We could see any where from no rain next week, to up to two inches over three storms.  Geez.  These storms are not quite so cold, but we will see daytime highs drop almost 10 degrees from Sunday.  Slightly cooler air, wind and clouds can do that.  But it won't be cold.  That is good news.

Long range still shows an active pattern up to two weeks out.  Agin, these forecasts are not reliable when it comes to details, but this suggest that we could see possible rain and storm systems moving through well into April.  Sooner or later the high pressure will come in for real, and drive us out of the rainy season.  Still, even when that happens, we can still see storms break through on occasion.  In 2011 we saw rain into June. That was a wonderful year for spring skiing and for hiking.  In case you have not noticed, the state is looking pretty green.  And yellow, red, orange, purple, gold and more as we are headed into a super bloom.  If you have never been, consider a hike down in Pinnacles National Park.  It is just an hour and half from here, and it is going off right now.

Tuesday, March 26, 2019

Lamb Sandwich.

March is pretty much looking like it came in like a lion, went full on lamb, and will be wrapping up as a lion.  Sort of.  If we could just not include the coming weekend.  After a spell of magnificent weather, we are into the rain again.  Friday night we received about an inch of rain on the west side.  Last night, we collected about a half inch of rain.  And more is on the way.  Today, Tuesday, will be cloudy and mild, with a high temperature in the low to mid 60s.  We could see some showery weather; most likely early and late in the day, with mid day the best chance for a peek of sunshine.  Light and variable winds in the morning, along with a moderate swell might make it a surf day.

Southwest winds pick up in the afternoon, and more rain moves in this evening. Round two for this mid week storm system.  This next round is the bulk of the storm, and we should at least double our accumulation for the week.  Expect about a half inch of rain to fall again overnight, with rain continuing into the day on Wednesday.  Accumulation will be lighter during the day Wednesday, and we could see the steady rain shift to our north by afternoon.  High of about 60F.  Showers could continue into the evening Wednesday.  We are looking at a total rain fall of about 3/4 to one inch.

It looks like the rain will be just to our north and east on Thursday.  We could still see some showers. More likely is sunshine by afternoon.  And a little more warmth to come with that sunshine.  From there, the rest of the month looks pretty stellar.  A little lamb on top.  Open face style.  With the clearing sky, we see overnight lows drop.  Tonight will hang in the low 50s.  Friday night will be in the low 40s. But let us first speak of Friday.  Sunshine.  Warmth.  Spring.

This coming weekend is looking to be pretty damn stellar.  Mid to upper 60s, with 70F not out of the question.  Warmest on Sunday.  It looks like it will be another beach day here in Santa Cruz.  Low tide will be .24' at 2:45PM on Sunday, so you can expect a crowd out on the sand bar.  We will be headed out to the snow, but will likely be at the beach Saturday.  Speaking of snow, Tahoe has an epic snow pack right now.  With another few feet on the way this week, things are only getting better as Vail prepares to shut down its resorts.  Boo.  Several of the locally and privately owned resorts like Diamond Peak and Homewood plan to stay open through the end of April.  Alterra is keeping Squaw and Mammoth open through the 4th of July, with Alpine closing date yet to be announced.  There are several months of awesome spring skiing left.  It is a great time of year to get out on the slopes, whether you are a first timer or old hat.  Make some spring and summer turns this year.

Finally, water.  We are still hanging with 6.58% of the state listed as Abnormally Dry.  Perhaps this week will get water to the extreme north west portion of the state, but not likely to get it to the south. Of note is the Drought Severity and Coverage Index is now sitting at 7.  Last year at this time, the DSCI was 159.  At the start of our water year it was 164, and was 186 just three months ago.  We received a tremendous amount of rain fall in that time, but the great news is it came as a moderate steady stream.  Compare that to two years ago, when we received almost all our our rain for the water year in a five week period. That led to a huge number of mud and land slides, roads and bridges being washed out and a lot of infrastructure depletion.  It sure felt nice to not have that level of damage this year.  Sure, we saw damage.  A friend had an old growth douglas fir split their home in half.  But overall, we escaped what could have been a damaging year.

Looking at the long term, a weak system tries to break down the high pressure on Sunday afternoon.  It likely will be deflected north.  Maybe some light rain Sunday night or Monday. A few weak systems early in the week, push the high pressure out, and we could see rain returning by mid week or the following weekend. On the fantasy charts, we have a wet week the 2nd week of April.  Composite models continue to suggest a wetter than average April and May.  These months are typically fairly dry, so not really expecting a big winter storm cycle.  Just more rain. Keep posted