Thursday, March 23, 2017

Just a Hair Above Pi

3.16 inches of rain for Santa Cruz since the break in the dry weather.  Scotts Valley received 4.93 inches.  Interestingly enough, that squall we had the other morning that dropped nearly and inch in just over an hour, did not produce as much in Scotts Valley, but it otherwise rained much heavier there during these storms.  These storms did much better than forecast when it came to rainfall amounts.  While the ground has had a few weeks to dry out, it is still saturated and it dod not take long for water to be running in the streams and roads.  Still, there has not been any signs of significant flooding, as our water ways had a chance to clear.  We have a gorgeous day about to unfold, with sunshine, mild temps, light winds and a fun little swell in the water.  Thursday looks very nice.  The next storm upstream will not begin to affect us until sometime on Friday.

Kirkwood Valley, April 17, 2016.  There is about 15 more feet of snow on the ground right now.  

There seems to be some more agreement this morning that clouds will move in overnight.  The rain should hold off during the morning hours on Friday, but when this storm does hit, it will be fast and furious.  The bulk of this system is just to our north, where they will get hit hard on Friday afternoon. Here we can expect some strong winds in the morning, maybe going slack in the afternoon, with up to an inch of rain in town, with more in the mountains.  Rain continues overnight, but clears out quickly on Saturday morning.  Totals in town could exceed 1.5 inches.  So this is a quick, big hit.  Followed by a nice weekend.  Sun comes out, and we warm a bit

Rain looks like it will return on Sunday evening and last into Monday morning.  This storm is now looking to be a bit mellower, but as we have seen this week so far, spring time is hard to forecast.  Up until yesterday afternoon it looked like we would clear out for the week after Monday, but we now may be expecting some weak waves moving through.  Something to watch.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Squalls and Switcheroos

Last night between 3:10 and 4:10 in the morning, we had a pretty damn good rainfall.  More than 8/10th of an inch in that one hour period.  Impressive.  Kind of nice that one did not come through during the commute hours.  It is raining now, but at a much slower pace.  Yesterday, we received a total of just more than a half inch and we are already above 1.1 inches for today, getting us near a total of 3.3 inches this week.  That is significantly more than what I, and other outlets, forecast.  And these strong spring storms are not just here in Santa Cruz.  There is a water spout warming off shore, as well as hail warnings across the central part of the state.  I heard these storms were particularly strong in SF, in the central valley and along the west slope.  Last nights heavy rain system has not yet impacted the Sierra, but we are getting way more precipitation from  these storms than the ski resorts.  Squaw is reporting 6" yesterday and none over night, with Kirkwood at slightly more at 9", with 1" overnight.  They just are not making up to the crest before splitting apart.  We will need to watch today's system as it runs up the mountains.

As for us, we should see an end to the rain in the next few hours.  That does not mean we could not see a shower or two in the afternoon.  It just means that rain becomes much less likely by late morning.  Normally, I would say another tenth of an inch or so, but honestly, looking at the radar, it could easily top a quarter inch.  There are still some pretty strong cells near us.  After the rain, winds turn out of the west and could get gusty.  Sun pops out later today, and the high will be in the low 60s.  Could be a nice afternoon.  I bet a walk around Fall Creek would be nice.

Thursday will be a fine day.  No rain in the forecast.  Just a mostly sunny sky, and mild temperatures.  Again in the low 60s, but with more sun out, it should feel quite pleasant.  We are even expecting mimimcl winds, with a slight on shore in the afternoon.  The switcheroo for this week is having the Friday storm back to arriving earlier.  My confidence in timing is low.  The models have moved the timing of this system back and forth over a 18 hour period.  If today's runs are accurate, this storm would be arriving during the day Friday and gone by Saturday morning.  It also suggest a weakening system as it arrives.  Last Sunday this looked like the biggest system of the week.  Now it looks like the smallest.  For planning purposes, expect rain as early as noon on Friday, and possibly as late as sunset in Saturday.  And plan for two tenths to and inch plus of rain.  More on this tomorrow.

We see a quick break and then another storm for Sunday night.  Currently this is looking moderate, and lasting into Monday.  Then clear through Thursday, with another system possible next Friday and Saturday.  We are certainly getting our spring showers.  And for all ya'll who are bummed about the return to rain, after we are out of drought, remember these two things.  First, the aquifers are not full, and we still need more rain to replenish our ground water in the state.  And second, the later in the season that we receive moderate rain, the greener the landscape come summer, the less dust in the air, and the shorter the long period each year when we get no rain at all.  Spring rain for the win!

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Waaaaaay Overproduces.

Early afternoon yesterday saw the early arrival of steady rain that then lasted through much of the night.  Here on the west side we are currently sitting at 1.65 inches of rain, with more bands still on the radar.  This is a bit more than the quarter inch that that the GFS forecasted, even with its earlier start.  Looking at the radar this morning, I'd expect sporadic rain showers throughout the day.  Some of these could be thunderstorms and produce hail.  I'm still thinking about a quarter inch through the day, even though we had that significant rain last night.  That said, if one of these bands stalls on us, that quarter inch could easily shift to the half inch plus plus range.  We are still supposed to see another round of heavy rain starting this evening, which could bring close to an inch of rain.  We should easily break the two inch total mark by tomorrow morning.  Maybe pushing in on three.  BTW, it is raining much harder in the mountains with nearly double our town totals in Scotts Valley.

Wednesday the rain should let up by mid day, and we are still expecting that sun to come out later in the day.  Thursday looks dry and pleasant.  Currently, it still looks like the next system is to arrive sometime Friday afternoon and last through Saturday morning.

It is warm up in the mountains right now.  Most resorts received rain at the base.  Squaw is reporting 2" of snow at High Camp.  Wet snow.  Kirkwood is reporting 4"at the top and 3" at the base.  And it will snow up in them parts most of the day.  We should be looking at a foot of dense snow by the end of the day.  Moderate winds blowing, so that will help smoothie out the mountain.

Hope ya'll are ready for a wet day and a wet week.

Monday, March 20, 2017

Let's Call it Moderate.

The models are calling for rain to start sometime after dark.  This morning we already have a brisk southerly breeze, so it would not be outlandish if we saw some rain earlier in the day.  Still, after looking at radar, I am thinking we will get through most of the day dry.  By this evening, we should first see some moderate steady rain, slowly turning to more shower weather by Tuesday morning.  This is not a big storm, and with some luck, we could get a quarter inch over night.  The light rain will continue into the day Tuesday, but we are not looking at a heavy deluge, so we may see some breaks and dryer periods.  I would still plan for wet weather through the day Tuesday, especially in the morning.  Overall, we are looking at less than a half inch of rain here in town and about that amount in the mountains. We then follow with a short break on Tuesday night.  Temps will be cool through the period, with lows in the low 50s and highs in the low 60s.

The models diverge a bit on the arrival of round 2.  It will likely bring with it colder air, arriving either Wednesday or very early Thursday.  As it is now, I am thinking it will be dry, but cloudy Wednesday morning, with light showery weather, especially to our north and south by mid day.  That rain fills in more overnight, and we could see brief, heavier rain for early Thursday morning.  This should clear out by late morning Thursday, and we could see the sun peak out before it sets.  The highs will be just about 60F, and the lows drop back into the upper 40s.  We could see another quarter inch with this system.

There is even more model divergences with the third storm coming in for the week on Friday.  The GFS has pushed it back another twelve hours, with the storm arriving on Friday night, into Saturday morning.  If this is correct, we could have a pleasant day on Friday, with some sunshine and associated warming.  Not that much warming, as clouds will for sure be filled in by mid day.  This system is looking slightly stronger than the combo earlier in the week, but recent model runs have cut back on that strength.  The rain will be heaviest here Friday night (according to the GFS) and just to our south by Saturday morning.  We are looking at about another half inch.

A fourth system could be coming our way for Sunday evening, into next Monday.  This currently looks like the mildest of all the storms, but is still a week away.  Overall, we are looking at about an inch and a half of precipitation over this coming week.  Pretty minimal by this winter's standards.  But, of course, it is spring, so, perhaps, this is the new norm for the spring.  Light to moderate rain, with breaks in between.  As it stands now, it looks like we could get sun next week.

Before I close it out, just wanted to mention that less than 10% of the state is still in drought, with just about 1% of that listed as Severe.  We still have nearly another 15% Abnormally Dry, but we have come a long way this winter.  Hopefully we can not look at our state's infrastructure and start preparing for the next big drought.