Thursday, December 23, 2010

A Little Clearing Is Always Nice. More Rain To Return.

So not every day needs to be rain.  It looks like finally, the sun is to begin poking out, but the promise of a fair holiday weekend looks to be unfounded.  Partly sunny weather today slowly gives to clouds and rain through Friday.  Temperatures to remain mild - neither too warm or too cold. 

What is most interesting from this past week are the mid weeks storms that split and sent the majority of the precipitation south.  While this type of weather pattern is typical in an El Nino year, it is not in a La Nina.  The PNW called, and they want their jet stream back.  Record December snows blanketed our Tahoe resorts and Mammoth came out as the clear winner with 10 feet at the base and 13.5 feet at the crest.  Tahoe ranged from 90-110" from this past week's system. Not too shabby, and a great set up for the year.  As for water, we are in really good conditions, but would have preferred to see a lower freezing level, keeping some of that water in the form of snow up in the mountains until the spring run off. 

I did see a lot of urban flooding this past Sunday in the foot hill communities, and even down in Santa Cruz and Marin.  Remember that our ground is well saturated, and at this point any rain can cause significant run off.  In SoCal it is a good idea to be careful, as mud and rock slides are a concern, especially in burn out areas.  I hope none of you were the folks who decided to try to drive across running water this past week.  Not smart; play safe.

This upcoming week looks to be much milder, but still some significant chance of rain.  Today was sunny, but clouds return on Friday and chance of rain by the evening.  Temperatures remain fairly mild, but cold enough for snow level down below lake level.  The weekend looks to be wet, with the heaviest falling on Saturday night.  Clearing returns for Monday and Tuesday.  So much for a fair holiday weekend.  Next week we have increasing chance of rain, especially later in the week.  Over the period we can expect about an inch of rain (or a foot of snow) each event.  All in all a great time to get up and ski all of the new snow.  Resorts are all 100% open, and winter has just begun.

In our garden we are seeing the garlic tips poking out of the surface.  This is great news, as we were concerned about rot with all this rain.  Fava beans are looking great, and I think the rains helped with getting rid of some of the aphids.  This cool weather is great for them, so be on the look out.  Also, slugs and snails are loving this weather.  The lettuces were not so much of a fan, and we can expect supplies to dwindle and price to rise.  OTOH, broccoli, and its ilk are loving this cool and wet weather.  Apples are still going strong, and I for one hope they continue late this year.  Pears, citrus and kiwi are doing great.  Strawberries are considered done until spring knocks - this rain really did them in.  It was a nice December surprise this year.

In short, an off and on week, with some rain (and mountain snow).  We are off to a great start of the water year, and this past week has done us well.  Only wished that we had colder temperatures, allowing more water to be caught in the snow pack.  Enjoy the holidays, and expect a January outlook soon.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Build Your Ark, and Gather the Animals

It is going to rain and rain hard.  Perhaps not for 40 days and 40 nights, but we are looking at over 6" of rain possible in the valley and upwards of 10" of precip over the Sierra Crest.  We got the first shot or rain yesterday, but that was just a teaser.  Thursday looks to be mostly fair with increasing clouds and a chance of rain increasing as the day continues.  More likely in the north bay.

Then it is game on with a storm moving into the area on Friday and bands continuing for the most part of a week.  Rain events seem to peek on Saturday and again on Monday/Tuesday.  In between the heavy periods of rain, we can expect moderate to heavy, and consistent rain - with little breaks.

The air was cooled by the old front that produced Tuesday's rain event, and snow levels should begin at or below 6000 feet.  Things warm up a little on Saturday, with snow/rain level rising to about 7500 feet before dropping with the passing of another cold front.  Still, this weather pattern will not bring the cold like the one we had in November.  But it will bring the snow, with upward of 6-10 feet by the end of the process.

As for the ski conditions, the resorts may have a hard time getting things open through this weather pattern, but expect freshies.  Now the hero powder, and not the mashed potatoes, but something in between.  And the big lines will fill in, for those of you who like a little adrenalin rush.  This should put the resorts in full swing by the Holiday week, as it looks like we may again move into a period of sunny skies by the 24th.  If you are headed up to the hills this weekend, drive with care, carry chains, and have a 4WD.  Best times for travel look like Friday morning, late Sunday and Monday.  By the time this thing is over, we can expect up to 50% of average annual snow fall, and about that much in our water year.  We may finally see ourselves move out of that drought, if we are lucky.

And the produce.  Word out there is that strawberries have been harvested in Salinas this week.  I mean, it is freaking December.  Go figure.  But that should get shut down by Friday.  Berries really do not like a pounding rain fall.  Also expect to see some damage to romaine and head lettuce.  Leaf lettuce may make it through, but I'd still expect to see a jump in price. Farmers may also need to pull out their root vegetables if the ground gets too wet.  We will need to see how it all comes to play.  With this much water in a short period of time, it is real hard to get that water to absorb.  Speaking of which...

If you, or your interest, live near a creek or river, keep a close eye over the next week.  This is flood weather, especially with a snow level hovering in the 5500-7500 foot range.  That means a lot of water will run off the mountains, into the creeks and rivers.  The Central Valley can be especially susceptible to  this.  And never drive your car into running water.

Friday, December 10, 2010

A Nice Weekend Ahead; Some Heat For Sunday

Good news weekend warriors. It looks like we have a nice weekend to enjoy coming up. Clearing weather tonight and Saturday morning, with rising heights forecasted. That means clearing skies and some real warmth for a day or two. Can you say 70F for the coastal region. And this is the time of year that we can laugh at all the valley folks dealing with thick wet fog... finally, summer is over.

Clouds and drizzle continue today, with clearing over the weekend. Sunday looks like the peak of the warm weather, but still very nice on Monday. Tuesday and Wednesday are transitions days, as the jet dips south and tries to break through the blocking high. Good chance for rain by Thursday and through next weekend. Still the charts have backed off through the week, and are less bullish. While it looks to be wet and colder, we are not seeing a tropical tap brining copious amounts of rain.

This next event looks to bring snow. The current weather pattern has not been so nice to Tahoe. Along tops of the mountains, we have seen some very wet snow, but it rained up to 8200' in most areas, helping set that Sierra cement. The good news is that the steeps are getting cakes and all the nooks and crannies are filling in. And the next storm should coat us with the lighter, more fun variety of snow. Still, if you are heading up this weekend, bring your groomer skis and sharpen up those edges. And be careful. Ice is hard.

Next week's storm to bring cooler temperatures and lower snow levels. Still, they could remain fairly high, at about lake level. Currently it looks like a few inches at the lake and up to a foot in the hills, over 3-4 days. Of course, we are still a week away and lot could change before then.

Long term we are looking at a week or so of wet weather, and clearing for the holiday weekend. Or, of course, some models suggest a more progressive pattern, brining more wet and cold weather. I for one will be at a Bills game during this time, so I expect cold sleet for the Buffalo area. I mean, that is what a December in western New York should look like.

This wet weather ahead does not look too bad for the garden. The soil is very wet out there and not really drying out between systems. So of course, we hope everyone has good drainage. Lettuce and leafy greens continue to do well with out any real issues in the near future. The cold from a few weeks ago did stunt some plants and hurt some tender (like lettuce) produce, but we are looking to rebound well. So far this is looking like a great season from Brussels, artichokes, and kales. Get your green on.

Monday, December 6, 2010

A Break Today, with Sun; Then More Rain

Good morning all. I apologize for the lag in reports, but I found myself stuck up in the mountains for a while after I pulled a Silverado out of the snow. Good bye clutch.

Well, it did dump up in the Sierra with well over 10 feet for the season. Along the crest we have already approached 200" for the season. Well brought, as this sets up Tahoe for a a very successful holiday season. Get up there if you have a chance, it is pretty amazing.

Yesterday and last nights rain broke for a nice sunny morning out there. It feels good, but don't expect it to hold on too long. By Tuesday afternoon we could see the return of heavy cloud cover with rain before Wednesday morning. More rain on Thursday. You may have noticed that yesterday's storm was not too cold. A cold front did move through around 10pm last night and dropped the temperatures some.

This is bringing us the heavy sloppy Sierra cement we need to really get the base building underway. Why 10' is nothing to scoff at, and blower is hero like to ski in, a lot of craggy rocks were left exposed (or just under the snow). These snow sharks can at the least rip up your skis, and at the worst end your season early. Finally we are looking at getting some spackle.

As for the weekend, it is till up in the air. We are trending to a drying period, but the current set of systems are hard to pin point. We have a large low pressure setting up in the gulf, with short waves moving underneath it. This set up is also tapping some tropical moisture from the Pacific. Read - very wet, and warm(ish). If the jet sits north of us, we will get a little rain, and warmer temperatures. As the jet drops south, the water will come in biblical proportions and it could get very cold, as the low has an Artic core.

Most likely, by mid next week, we will see that jet dropping to our south and the rain and snow will begin. It could be nasty. While it is too far out to tell, my guess is some clearing by the first week of the holidays, as these systems usually retire within 10 days.

Persimmons are still around. Pomegranates are going off. The market has changed in the past few weeks, with pretty much all of the tender fruit gone. I had several good looking winter squash plants, with set fruit, die over the past week. Looks like we had a heavy frost here in Santa Cruz while I was gone. Be cautious of those clear nights after the storm; that is when we get our coldest weather. On the other hand, the favas are doing great. Still no sign of the garlic greens, and I am hoping with all this rain, my soil is draining well enough. Otherwise, those bulbs will rot.

Update coming mid week.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Details for the Weekend, the Holiday and, Beyond

We are now just a few days out, and make a better guess as to the timing of the impeding rain. Today Wednesday, remains mild, but a bit cooler than the past few days. I was in the Sierra yesterday, and there was a distinct cold north winds across the ridge tops at about 9200'. A few wispy clouds dotted the sky, as we have this morning in Santa Cruz. Tomorrow is again mild, a bit cooler, and windy across the mountains. On the coast we are not expecting much of a wind event, but for those near the top of hills and in certain valleys, gust may get a bit strong.

Rain looks yo be approaching the Bay Area, from the north, mid day Friday. By Saturday morning rain should extend south of Monterey. We do have a chance of passing showers as early as Thursday, but the big push begins with the weekend. As the storm approaches, we can expect some SW winds, and dropping temperatures. Saturday will be cold. Sunday colder. Sunday and Monday nights should be very cold. It is a good possibility of seeing snow in the local hills, as some forecast are calling for snow levels as low as 2000'.

This weekend is stormy. It will come in waves that look to be strongest during the day on Saturday and Sunday evening. We can expect .75 to an inch or more rain through Monday morning. Clouds and showers could linger through as late as Wednesday morning, but most likely Tuesday will have some sun. It will remain cold and moderate through the week. Thanksgiving is looking nice, with plenty of sun and milder temperatures through the weekend. After that we sit under a blocking high for about a week. Models are showing a warmer, pineapple express riding on top of that high, pumping a lot of moisture just to our north. San Francisco and Lake Tahoe are on the southern edge of this moisture. Depending on where the jet lines up, we could potentially see very wet weather, just showers or even staying completely dry. Time will tell.

By Monday morning the rain should still be relatively consistent, so plan for a longer slower commute. We have already had a few rains this season, so oil on the road should not be too much of an issue, OTOH there are two factors to consider. Some folks have developed recent confidence to driving in the rain. Some of them do not deserve this confidence. Watch out for them. There have been several bad highway wrecks so far this season. Also, with such cold temperatures and potentially clearing skies (especially Tuesday AM), there is the chance for black ice - a phenomena that many BA residence have no experience with. Keep an eye out for slick spots in shadowed dips and high hill tops.

Okay holiday skiers and riders. As it stands right now we are looking at about 18" at lake level, 2-3' at the resorts and more than four feet at the crest. This storm has the potential to deliver even more that, but we don't want to be too hopeful. Squaw, Northstar and Heavenly are sure to be open, with the existing snow pack and manmade. With another two to three feet, we could see more terrain opening. Alpine says they will open if they get 3 feet. Kirkwood is likely to do the same. There is currently a decent snowpack on north faces about 8000'. It is thin though, and this new storm will cover up a lot of the exposed rock, stumps, and such. Be careful if you travel off piste. This snow storm will be cold and light, so you will sink through to the bottom, and sometimes that means dry earth. There is nothing worse than ending your season on opening day. Backcountry users, use caution. All this new snow will be falling on a crust, and it is not coming in all that wet.

How do you gardens look? If you have not done so recently, water them. This time of year it is easy to forget, but during dry (and warm) spells it is important to remember. We are not really expecting frost before the rain, but it important to keep you plants hydrated to protect from the cold. Speaking of which, you may want to get out there and protect any tender or young plants from the cold mornings coming.

And at the market, apples and plums are still around. Persimmons and pineapple guava are coming in. The last of the tomatoes and berries are disappearing, and tend to be not nearly as sweet as a month ago. Plenty of greens and brassica. It is roasting season. And crock pot season. BTW, does anyone have some good crock pot recipes?

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Fair Weather for Now. Cold and Wet By Week's End.

The next few days are to continue with the sunny and fair weather. Tomorrow, Monday, looks to be the warmest of the coming week, with up to 80F expected in Mountain View. Mid 70s in San Francisco and coastal locations, as well as the central valley. Temperatures and weather to remain moderate through mid week, with daily highs dropping a few degrees daily through next weekend.

The big news is the change of weather expected to arrive later in the week, as early as Thursday. Poor weather potential really increases by Saturday night. A cold Alaskan air mass is to begin moving slowly down the coast starting around Tuesday. The storm is to sit and gather strength in the Gulf of Alaska, as cold Arctic air pumps into its core. This system is to hold together and bring rain to the coast and snow to the mountains of California later in the week.. And, yes, this one is very cold. By next Monday we could potentially see snow levels dropping to around 3000', giving the Bay Area some snow capped hills.

Thursday should be the day we begin to see the shift in the weather, with increasing winds later in the day, and a high temperature earlier in the day, as cold air begins to usher in. A chance of rain on Friday, as winds continue with dropping temperatures. Saturday is a repeat of Friday, with a slightly greater chance of rain. It looks like the brunt of this system will hit us on Sunday and into Monday. Plan for a wet commute on Monday (with a chance on Friday as well).

This is potentially the first big storm of the season for the high Sierra, and could be a season opener for the resorts. There is already 6-30" of snow in the mountains (deepest at the crest). If this next storm comes to pass, we could see the addition of 2-5 more feet of snow. This could be the first time since 2004 that we had significant snow for the Thanksgiving holiday. And, if we are to believe the models, the holiday will be beautiful and clear. Currently, the fantasy charts end the month with another whopper of a storm, arriving around Monday (29th).

This week in surf, swells continue in the moderate range, with the best in quality looking to be about Wednesday morning. Winds are to be a bit of an issue, with strong NW winds forecasted Monday and Tuesday. We get a bit of a lighter, more variable wind for Wednesday, before the S/SW winds begin to churn up ahead of Friday's system. By the weekend, we can expect a little bit of victory at sea.

As for the gardens, this is a good afternoon to get out and take care of any yard work. Next weekend looks like a wash, and a cold one at that. If you have any young and/or tender plants, it may be a good idea to get out a few floating row covers. We had been hoping to see some of our sumer squash put out a little bit of a fall crop, but I think these plants may not do too well with this approaching system. Typical over winter vegetables should be fine, as the coldest weather should be brief, with some rebound as early as Tuesday. And don't forget to get your garlic in the ground, if you have not already done so. If you wait to long, you'll end up with small bulbs and small cloves that you will curse all summer long.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Today's Heat Soon To Change; Cooler and Wetter This Weekend.

It was absolutely beautiful today in Santa Cruz. Hot, even. Just a slight breeze. This is the kind of November weather that makes me smile. As long as we get our water. And that looks to be coming as early as late Friday.

Today is the end of the short heat wave we had. While technically not a heat wave, I think it qualifies on the Winter Scale, with inland highs tapping 90 in places. High temperatures tomorrow back down in the high 70s inland and 60s at the coast. With all areas in the 60s by Saturday. Up in the Sierra, high temperatures dip in the the 50s, with freezing temperatures all day on Monday (above 8000').

The first chance of rain comes late Friday and into Saturday. This first storm does not have a lot of water associated with in, but will foster in the first wave of colder air. The one to keep our eyes on shows up on Sunday and lingers into Monday. QPF forecast are all over the map, but some point to almost 3" of precipitation over the Sierra Crest with about an inch around the Bay Area (heaviest north).

While this storm is to be colder than some of the October systems, we still are expecting over night lows in the high 40s down in the bay. Temperatures to rebound a bit through the week. The longer term forecast is hard to pin down right now. Early next week, we should see clearing skies for Tuesday with cool temperatures. A storm brushes by to our north on Wednesday. Veterans Day looks warm and sunny, with about 70 degrees expected. What happens after Thursday could be continued mild and mild, or there in a chance of another system nosing in on Friday. We will need to look at the models later this week.

Okay, so the low down on the snow. I do not expect to see 3" of precip or anywhere near three feet of snow. At the highest elevations, and in the best locations, we may see 18" or more. Down at lake level, we can expect a few inches to half a foot. While this is not enough to open up the resorts, the cooler weather, and cold nights to follow will allow those snow making locales (Northstar and Heavenly) to get the guns running. This is the best looking set up we have had so far this season, am some have suggested we could get enough to close Tioga Pass for the winter.

For those who did not know, swell #1 hit the west coast earlier this week, with 25' plus surf in the Bay Area. Seas have subsided to the 5-8' range, but are expected to continue for a few more days. Wave making systems continue to cue up across the NorPac, so this is a good time to get out there and get some. Continued mild local winds through the weekend, with a good NW gradient forming on Monday. This same wind will usher in more cold air behind the storm.

Well, my garden is kind of freaking out. Wet, cool, warm, wet, then hot, hot, hot. I came home today and saw some very un happy choy and chard. They may make it through, but I wonder if things will bolt on me. I know some lettuce did. Our young fava beans, OTOH, are super stoked. And I am still setting and growing some winter squash. We will need to wait to see if that works out. As for the real world of produce, with this change of season, we are seeing a shift to southerly growing districts for summer squash, peppers, tomatoes, cucumbers and other tender vegetables. There are still some local plums on the market, but otherwise stone fruit are gone. This week's heat ripened up some late season yellow watermelons in the Salinas Valley. Persimmons and pineapple guavas are coming in. Apples are holding strong, but my favorite, the Empire, is nearly done.

The fluctuations in the weather make it a challenge for growing, but these burst of warm periods, with cool (not cold) wet periods are pretty nice for young starts. If the La Nina notes are correct, we could see an early and warm spring, after a short cold winter. As long as we ease into that change, we could be in for a boom year for winter produce.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

A Swing in the Forecast; A Bit of Warming on the Way

A change of pace from the last set of forecast. The advertised storms for today, tomorrow and the weekend is a bust. Or, sort of. There is a storm sitting just off our coast on Thursday morning. And a fairly cold one to boot. But, it has temporarily removed itself from the jet stream and almost closed off. The result is that it is drifting south, instead of moving over land. Plenty of rain today and Friday, just north of the Bay Area, where the storm is sagging onshore.

As the storm slowly drifts southward, we will begin to see rain on Saturday. Eventually, this storm is to be picked back up by the jet and move eastward. Bad news for us snow hounds. If this system had moved over the area as previously forecast, it would have been a bulls eye for the Tahoe Basin. Instead, it will drop a lot of its moisture on the coastal ranges, and get a bit too far south, before moving over the Sierra. We can expect a few inches up in Tahoe on Saturday, but not much more. the good news is that freezing levels are expected to lower down to the lake, so we will get a bit more snow up on the peaks.

And that Big Halloween storm? This one looks like it will be mostly to our north in good La Nina style. Again, the areas north of the bay can expect plenty of rain, and some of that lingering into next week. We have a chance of rain down here, and snow in the hills, but expect a limited amount of precipitation. Alll in all, another wet and cool weekend is on tap. October has really delivered the weekend warrior with blah weather. OTOH, we have had a record breaking October for rain fall - which need I remind you is a very good thing. Has anyone noticed all the new growth out there. The hills will be green nice and early this year.

Now, for the good news. The cold air in Canada is headed east. A large trough is to form Monday on the east coast, pulling cold air south. The result for us is a large amplification (think sin wave, for you mathematically inclined folk) and very warm weather. Highs in the 80s in the Bay Area the first half of next week. Get out and enjoy it while you can. The long term models are suggesting another system may come into the region sometime between Thursday and the first weekend of November. To early to tell if this one will slide by to our north or hit us squarely. But, it does look like the Pacific storm door will open after a few nice days of living under a blocking high pressure.

Surfers, rejoice - or hunker down. A very big swell is expected coming soon. First, for the next few days, we have S/SE winds preceding the rain. Swell should jump up again on Friday into Saturday. Things should settle down, until Tuesday. On Sunday/Monday a large storm is projected east of British Columbia. This baby could send us 20 foot long period swells beginning sometime on Tuesday. Be careful if you venture out. And for the non-surfers; stay well clear of the water. this is the type of event that has the potential to sweep on lookers off cliffs and rocks, and to a very non fun experience. California experience several deaths of this type annually.

Our Fava Beans are breaking ground and looking happy. As is the chard and choy. Many of our summer plants are done, but a few squash plants are holding on. Get your garlic cloves in the ground over the next four weeks. Now is still a good time to put in some winter seedlings, especially with a few warm days expected next week. That ground is still wet, but with the chill of the past few mornings, I don't expect much of that warmth to still be there. Persimmons and Pineapple Guavas are showing up in the markets. Apples and Tomatoes are still around. As are a few stone fruit. This has got to be the best time of year n these parts. Color abounds.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

More Rain and Possible Dropping Temperatures to Come.

We got a pretty good dousing here in Santa Cruz this past Sunday. Looked like almost half an inch of rain fell in town with almost an inch in Boulder Creek. I sure enjoyed it, and felt smart because I decided on Saturday it was a good idea to clean out the gutters before all the pine needles got wet. The water was well received by the ground; it fell light and steady for about four hours, and not much ran off. Mother Earth was thirsty.

We had a bit of rain last night and a good flow this morning. . Each evening this week, we see an increasing chance of rain, further and further south through the Bay Area, and more so in the north and central Sierra. The greatest chance of significant rain fall looks to be on Sunday night, but the entire weekend and next Monday look likely to have some sort of dampness in the air. The high pressure off shore will be the real determining factor; it is holding on to the end of summer, and is trying to force this series of storm north into British Columbia. Expect temperature to remain mild through this period.

Tuesday through at least Thursday look clear, with high pressure moving through California on its way east. We could see some slight warming during the week, with sunny weather. Expect windy weather Monday into Tuesday as we transit from lower to higher pressure. Wednesday could turn out to be the nicest day of the week.

The real news still looks to be hitting the coast some time over Halloween weekend, possible effect our weather by next Friday. A significant through is forecasted form in the eastern Gulf of Alaska, reaching as far south at San Francisco. The models keep bouncing back and forth about where this thing will end up. There is a good likely hood that the bullseye will be in the Seattle and Vancouver areas, which would also be in line with La Nina expectations. Still, it is too far out to tell for sure, and several models suggest a more southerly approach. Depending on land fall location, we could be in for sunny weather, light rain, or heavy rains. Time will tell.

So, the snow pack is still very slight and patchy in the Tahoe region, but there is still some of the October 5th snow sitting in dark corners. There was another dusting high on the peaks last night. As this weekend's system moves through, we can expect slightly higher freezing levels, perhaps down as low as 9000 feet. But, is the system shifts just a bit further south, which it may, we would get more rain in the bay and lowering freezing levels. Not a whole lot of accumulation is expected, but there is a slight chance that this system could tap into moisture from across the Pacific. That would be nice. As for the next system, it is still too hard to tell. But models are still suggesting cold air pulling out of the north in early November. Of course, a few others suggest a big ridge over the west keeping us warm and dry.

Surf looks to pick up through the rest of this week, and perhaps the next. The North Pacific is active, but local conditions may be stormy as early as Sunday. But, if you are hoping to get in the water, you should just head out there; it has been pretty consistent lately. Through the middle of next week, winds die down, and a fair amount of back ground swell is expected.

And how do our gardens fair? We have the first bits of this winter's attempt at fava beans just breaking the surface. It is very exciting, and we are hoping for a bumper crop, as long as it does not get too cold. This is a great time to start some plants, as we shift between rain and sun over the next few weeks. the ground has been wet (or wetter than it has been since June) this past week, but the soil is still warm. Think lettuces, chard, kale, peas, spinach, broccoli and the like. We are looking for some Brussels sprout seedlings if anyone has seen them around. I have a feeling about this winter. And think garlic. Over the next month is the best time to get those garlic cloves in the soil and forget about them. You will be so happy in June when you are pulling those rich flavorful bulbs out of the drying soil.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Cooler Weather, and Possible Rain... On The Way

Hope you all have enjoyed the little bit of Indian Summer that we have enjoyed over the past week. October has been an interesting mix of hot and cool weeks. Over this coming weekend, we can expect the daily high temperatures to drop up to 15 degrees by Monday. The difference will be felt less on the coast, as the marine layer began moving in last night and started the cooling trend a bit early.

Of note is the slight possibility of showery weather on Sunday evening, with heavier rain possible north of the bay. The Sierra could be hit a bit harder with up to 3/4 of an inch of rain Sunday into Monday. Expect relatively high freezing levels with this storm, so don't expect too much in the sense of accumulation. Just be prepared for a bit of wetness, and perhaps leave home a bit early on your Monday morning commute.

Of greater interest is the possible weather pattern approaching the California coast sometime between the 21st and the 27th. The storm corridor looks to be opening and the first true rains will slam into British Colombia as early as mid-next-week. Depending on how the jet stream aligns, we can expect rains in Washington, Oregon and northern California sometime after next Friday. It is still too early to say for sure where the rain will go, but it is looking pretty good for rain somewhere on the west coast from the 21st until early November. Best bets have the rain dropping into the Bay Area around the 27th of October and lasting through the Halloween weekend. Then it is likely for cold air to dump south out of Canada. Great set up for some snow making in early November, and maybe for the first early start to a ski season since 2004. Fingers crossed.

Over all this winter looks to be effected by a La Nina pattern. This usually means heavy precipitation in Washington and very little in southern California. The Bay Area is right on the line and can go either way, but looking are older statistics of La Nina following El Nino years, we are expecting about average rain fall and and colder than average temperature (and yes, this means greater than average snow fall).

Last season, we continued with copious amounts of rain in April and May. we shouldn't expect that this season. Most of our water will be here by March. OTOH, October is already way above average for the Tahoe Basin, so we have a good start. Let us hope for as much as possible, because last year was the first season in many that we had about average rain fall, and the state really needs the water.

What will all of this mean for your gardens? Cold weather and heavy rains (remember we are expecting average rain fall, but all of it coming by March) can be a hard mix for many of our tender winter crops such as lettuces. Even the hardier kales don't like the heavy rain so much. Be prepared for lower supplies of leafy vegetables. For us backyard gardeners, it is a good idea to get your winter crops in early so they have a chance to become a bit more established before the real cold weather comes. What are you doing this weekend? And don't forget that if the weather looks particularly cold and brutal, floating row covers and mini plastic green houses can make all of the difference.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Autumn Is Knocking On The Door.

Chance of rain by the end of this week. The Aleutian storm corridor is opening. Cool weather to filter in early next week. Monday afternoon was warm, sunny and windless. Sure seems like Autumn. Welcome.

Some of you may have noticed a bit of rain last Wednesday. It was brief and sporadic, but definitely it was rain, and not what some of us coastal dwellers call 'heavy fog." We had a large weak low pressure system sitting on top of us for a day or so. It also had cooler temperatures associated with it. Since then, we have seen a warming trend and very fall like weather. Cool crisp mornings, followed by sunny, warm and windless afternoons. Lovely.

This week we have a perisitant large weak low pressure system sitting just off shore. Our weather to remain calm through the end of the week. Over this coming weekend, that low pressure system is to tighten up a bit and slowly edge on shore. The bulk of this system should effect Mendocino and northward, with heavy rains possible in the coastal mountains. Chance of rain in the Bay Area, increasing as you move north. Greatest chance of rain is late Sunday and into Monday morning. If you have an outside project going, you may want to watch the weather closely as the weekend approaches - and be ready to get a cover out there.

As this system moves over us, we can expect cool air to filter in behind it. Of more interest is the fact that the large summer time high pressure system that usually sits to our West, is not expected to bounce back. Instead, a series of low pressure systems are likely to begin queuing in the north Pacific. Most of these are foretasted to stay north of the Bay Area, but there is a chance of rain and storminess every 3-5 days for the next few weeks. When we look on the fantasy models, there is a large strong system foretasted to brush us about two weeks out. Will need to watch this one.

What does this mean for our gardens? This weekend's weather should not bring much rain with it. Hopefully this means we do not need to worry much about the loss of dry farmed tomatoes. Remember, the first big rain can cause these fruits to burst, or worse, for the plants to die. The temperature drop may be more significant, but we are not expect wintry cold, just a cool down. OTOH, for you coastal folks, this system may wipe out the marine layer, which would result in longer sunnier periods.

Regardless, it should be interesting. The shift in the models recently suggests that summer is over, and we are making a swift shift towards winter. Time will tell.

In other news, Igor is churning up the Atlantic. If you have friends or interests in Bermuda, you may want to keep your eye on this system. If you are interested in surfing Timber Island, book your flight for tomorrow to Portland. This may be one for the history books.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Epic Weather... For Another Day

Finally it is hot is California. I have even heard folks in Santa Cruz complaining about the heat. Don't worry folks, the marine layer will be making a return as early as this Thursday evening.

A low pressure system is arching over a high into Alaska and then slipping down the coast via Vancouver and into the Northwest. The bottom of the low pressure system could get as far south as San Francisco. There it will sit for a few days, pumping fog on top of us, until it gets kicked west around next Tuesday evening.

During this period there is a slight chance of snow showers above 9000'. Better get those skis waxed. Also, there is a slight chance of actual showery weather (not just the heavy fog drizzle we have had all summer).

Heat has a good chance of returning mid next week. Our pattern is kind of an all or nothing situation. If a low pressure settles over the Pacific Northwest, we get a southwest breeze which pulls moisture from cool ocean waters on top of us. Read: cold foggy drizzle. When, and if, the low pressure gets bounced east, a ridge sets upon us and significantly raises heights. Read: hot, sunny and dry.

As we move into autumn, we see an increased chance of the second scenario. We have a chance at a beautiful autumn this year. Yay! And most of the long term forecast are showing a switch to a fall pattern with an increasingly active northern jet stream, some minor Gulf of Alaska storms and a big fat high pressure sitting on top of us.

Don't forget to water your plants, except for those you don't water. We have a fall tomato harvest in my backyard this year, but it is going off this week. I have also noticed some new growth on my Delicata and my summer squash, beans and cucumbers are looking so happy this week. OTOH, chard and bok choy look a little angry. Not sure yet how the peas feel about things.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

June Gloom in August. Soon to Subside?

I'm sure pretty much all of you have noticed that it has been a very gloomy summer thus far with this past July being one of the coolest on record. And this current week is about as foggy as it gets in Santa Cruz. I am not sure if the sun even came out at all a few days this week. But, on the bright side, this has kept the winds off the surf, making for very glassy conditions.

As early as next Monday, we may see a shift in the weather, with the upper trough that has been persistently hanging over the Pacific Northwest finally shifting east and allowing for rising heights. Especially in the coastal valleys, we will see plenty of sun and a surge in temperatures. We can expect an increase in daily high temperatures of at least 10 degrees or more, and highs up to 100 possible in Napa. This could be great news, or bad, for your gardens.

Our garden has been doing well enough this summer. Due to the cool weather and lack of sun, our more tropical loving plants are looking a bit anemic. This is with out a doubt our worse year for tomatoes. Reports coming in from many farms are the same, as no one is getting the heat are used to. This may have been a good year to plant coastal tomatoes in some of the inland areas. Oddly, our small plants have still set plenty of fruit, and have been early to ripen. We think the brief hot spell in early June shocked the plants into fruiting and ripening early, but the recent fog has kept them from growing much more. There have also been reports of mite (they love the cold) issues in the Bay Area.

OTOH, our cool loving crops such as beans, peas, chard, choy and potatoes look great. Even our squash plants have been growing well, we just need some heat to set that fruit. Oh, and this has been a great year for the blackberries. Get out and get some before they are done. All in all, the pending release from fog will be a good thing for everyone.

The long term forecasters are looking at a very warm September and October. Yay, Indian Summer. It may be our only summer this year. And it may be brief, as winter is currently looking to be effected by La Nina. This will often mean cooler than average temperatures and may mean more than or less than average rainfall. Don't you love the exactness of it all? Of interesting note is the suggestion that we are entering into a period of global cooling.

Regardless, expect warmer, sunnier weather soon. This could last for a few weeks or a few months. Remember to adjust the watering of your plants accordingly. We may be in luck and see a sudden increase in warm weather loving plants such as tomatoes, eggplant, peppers, cucumbers and summer squash. On the other hand, lettuce, chard, choy and kale that have been loving this weather may find themselves going to seed.

Finally, we may be in a transitional period. Recently, the northern jet stream has become active. We have already had a few few small storms form out in the central Pacific and then shift north of the Aleutian Islands. While this is nothing alarming, nor likely to effect our weather, this is the type of pattern that we would expect to see in Mid October. On the other side of the globe, the southern jet stream is still active, but has been relatively flat over the last week, and looks to continue that way. This is not conducive to storm development, and suggests a shifting of seasons.

It will be an interesting late summer and autumn this year. We will need to keep a close eye on the weather and be ready for a possible early winter. Or a prolonged summer. Time will tell.

EDIT: Afternoon run of the models are now suggesting another upper level trough to possibly move back into the north west by late next week. This warm spell next week could be short lived...

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Welcome to June

I am kind of surprised to be writing about the weather this late in the season, but it has just been crazy. I was up on the Dana Plateau this past week, and it was just crazy how much snow was up there. Even if you are not into ski touring, I would definitely suggest finding your way up there some day - the views are astonding. And if you do ski, the descents are anywhere from really good, to -holy crap I can not believe I am still alive - fun.

For the most part, we are looking at high and dry over the next few weeks. Many are claiming there will be no spring, as we move directly from winter to summer like weather. All in all, we can expect a slight warming trend through this weekend, with high temperatures looking to break into the 80's by Sunday. Continued warm and dry next week.

But there is still some interesting stuff showing up on the models. A lot of precipitation is expecting in northern Humboldt County over the next week. This is still good news for our water issues, and perhaps some fresh snow will fall on Shasta and Lassen for some June powder turns. The proximity of the storms may provide us with some of that odd ball mugginess we have been experiencing lately.

Unless there is some major change, the trend is toward summer. We can look forward to a high pressure on the coast, with a low pressure building in the south west. But we are not clear of winter just yet. With this week's weather to the north, a slight shift in the jet stream could bring us more precipitation and cooler temperatures. But now is the time to start considering how you are going to keep your vegetables (if if you have a lwan, that too) well watered. Mother Nature may be done with her part until the fall harvest.

And if you are going out into the wintry back country, use a little caution this week. The snow pack has not had a chance to go through its normal spring time settling. With continued cold temperatures and fresh snow, there are some huge cornices out there. I stood by one with nearly a 40' drop off on Sunday. As it gets warm and hot this week and next, some of those cornices will start to fall. That is like dropping a locomotive onto a snow slope. Yikes.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Mayuary to Continue

This is the winter that keeps on giving. Record cold this past weekend and a little moisture provide May powder. Amazing.

This week should begin to warm up a little after the weekend cold snap. Still, it won't feel too warm with the daily rain expected. Today, Monday is cool and cloudy, with a chance of light showers and or drizzle. And this may be the best day of the week - a great week to get some work done and save the playing for the weekend.

All week we should have cool high temperatures. It will struggle to get up to 60F. Night will be cold, mostly around 45F, but some low lying valleys may go down into the high 30s. And rain, rain and more rain. We will get the heaviest rain on Tuesday, into Wednesday night and then again on Friday morning. It should remain showery in between and lingering into Friday night. We can expect a 1/2" or so of rain through the week.

Dry and warmer by the weekend, with a warming trend to continue through next Tuesday. Chance for another winter system next Wednesday. Then rising heights and much warmer weather is foretasted for June. The jet stream is supposed to go way north (to where it ought to be) and dry things up. Will believe that when we see it.

We will need to watch how this pans out. The late season cold and wet weather could adversely effect produce production. Try to protect any seedlings you have from the cold with a cover or barrier. I have been out skiing since this cold hit, and have yet to have a chance to look at my garden. At least I do not need to worry that they have dried out.

And for the snow. The Tahoe region received about a foot or so of snow above 8000' since Friday. Another foot plus is expected during this week. Snow levels to remain low, but not quite as low as this past weekend. Snow levels should hover between 5000 and 6000'. Snow and clouds all week should set up for some good powder skiing on Saturday. Donner Ski Ranch is still open until they are out of snow. Of course the back country will be going off. And there is also Mammoth until July 4th.

Tioga and Sonora Pass are now scheduled to open on May 28th at noon (weather permitting). Please drive with caution if going over the crest this weekend. There will be plenty of motorist, slick roads and crazy drop offs.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

More Rain for the Bay Arae Looking Likely

This is the winter that just keeps on giving. Chances looking good for rain starting in the north bay as early as Sunday night. The combination of a marine layer and incoming weather makes drizzle possible Saturday night and likely by Sunday night.

Sunday to be warmish, with a good 5-10 degree temperature drop by Monday. If will fee even cooler with a breeze, and yes, rain. Not a whole lot. A tenth of an inch, up to 3/4 of an inch in the hills. Snow expected at the higher elevations in the Sierra, up to 8 inches is possible.

Drying weather for Tuesday and a warm day currently forecast for Wednesday. The rest of the week and the weekend see as possible cooling trend, but most likely dry. Still, there is a chance for an off shore trough to dig south and bring in some significant rains for the weekend. Does not seem too likely. Yet.

Trending toward a more May like pattern over the next ten days. These cool and wet troughs should be shifting to the north soon.

Friday, May 7, 2010

A Little Excitement Possible Early Next Week

Today is nice. As should be Saturday. Expect Sunday to be cooler, with increasing clouds, some winds and a chance of showers by evening. Showers should be mostly light, with the heaviest in the north bay, and mostly abating by the Monday morning commute. A second stronger storm should descend on the area by late Monday and into Tuesday. This storm will have more wind and rain, but may remains north of the Bay Area, with showers brushing through Marin. Still, if this system digs another 100 miles further south, we could have fairly strong, if brief, rains.

After that, the week returns to warmer and calmer weather. Highs should be back in the low 70s by Tuesday. Daily highs to increase as the week progresses with possible 80s by Friday.

Long Term models are suggesting a number of large troughs running into the Pacific North West next week and the following week. These progressively dig further south with each system So there remains a chance of rain into mid and late May.

Some snow in the mountains early next week. I have heard the corn has been epic this past week. A nice south swell started hitting the central coast yesterday, although a strong north west flow is ripping apart most breaks outside of Santa Cruz. Love Apple Farm is still selling tomatoes (now in 1 gallon pots).

I'll try to keep ya'll posted if there is any interesting weather happening, but as we roll into summer, it is mostly sun, sun, sun. Unless you live in SF, then you can expect cool, damp and foggy.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Welcome to May, Sunny and Warm for Now.

Wow. What a start to May. I spent the weekend up at the Sierra Crest and there is an amazing amount of snow out there. Best coverage I have seen in years, and this week is looking to have an epic corn cycle. If you are at all interested in ski touring, this is the season to get it on. And the big lines are still filled in, so you can send it. Just remeber to wear plenty of sunblock and chap stick. Oh, my burnt lips.

With excellent weather this past weekend and forecast for this week, it may be a surprise to here what the charts have in store for us. Sun and warmth should be consistent down in the Bay Area this week, with a slight dip in high temperatures on Tuesday. Almost unnoticeable. In the hills and mountains there is a strong wind today and tomorrow's highs should be 10-15F cooler than today. Temperatures to rebound by Friday, with slight warming each day.

Today is a bit breezy through the local hills and out on the ocean. For you surfers, expect those NW winds to blow strong all week (strongest through Wednesday). So, plenty of chop and a little building wind swell. Hey, it is spring. What did you expect. Not much wind to be felt in the lower and protected elevations.

The big news is the chance for rain and showers as early as this Sunday. Not all models are in agreement, especially with timing of this potential system. Just because it is May, don't mean nothing. Expect the chance of a moderate system to drop out of the Gulf of Alaska as early as mid day Sunday and lasting trough Wednesday. Best bet is for sporadic showers to start late Monday and last through Tuesday afternoon. All and all, I'd expect no more than a 1/2 inch of rain. Just the right amount to keep those mountain bike trails smooth and tacky.

Water year is looking, well variable. The California Nevada River Forecast Center has their April Outlook available. This was published on April 8th, so a lot has changed since then. The May report is expected out soon. Regardless, this is the best season we have had in years, and at least has made a dent in our shortages.

To wrap it up - beautiful through at least Saturday. Then increasing clouds and chance of rain through mid next week. Most likely, sun to follow. Long term - chance of storms to persist into early June. We may even get enough to keep the hills green and the dust down.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Another Fab Weekend Comes To An End, More Rain For Mid Week

Today's weather is expected to be even warmer than Saturday. Already at 8AM it is over 40F at 7800'. Not to shabby. Beach weather down at the coast is expected after an early morning fog burns off.

Temperatures begin to cool off on Monday with increased winds and clouds. Slight chance of rain in the evening and likely by Tuesday morning. Tuesday's high are to be 15-20 degrees cooler than today. Rains may be very heavy, but it currently looks like the most severe weather is to stay just north of San Francisco. South Bay can expect up to a 1/2 inch of rain through the next week. Northern Marin and Sonoma can expect much more. The Sierra Crest should receive between 2 and 2 1/2 inches of precip - or 2 plus feet of snow above 8000'. Snow levels may lower to 3000' during brief periods of the storm. Little to no accumulation at that elevation. Crazy April for sure.

After Tuesday , the weather is to remain showery through Wednesday night. Some clearing by Thursday, but to remain cloudy and cool. Sun returns for Friday and the weekend, and temperatures warm a bit (around 70F for a high). Looks like another nice book end.

Water year is looking better. At April 1st, snow pack in the Sierra was below normal. Forecasters recently went out after this last storm to re-calculate. We are now at 138% of normal, which bodes well for our reservoirs. Speaking of which, Lexington is looking very very full, and may be near its limit. And this next storm may help those reservoirs lacking water just to our north.

Currently, the charts show a high pressure attempting to take control by next week. Climatological data supports this forecast (and would have done so a month ago). It is much more typical for us to be high and dry this time of year, with an occasional system breaking through. Still, the charts do not suggest we can stop thinking about possible rains. A slight shift in the axis of the next weather bubble, and we are back into potential rains.

Expect a late season this year on summer produce. The farmers are having a hard time getting out in their fields to plow. The tractors are not loving the wet ground and mud. So prices may be high and supplies late on beans, tomatoes, peppers, eggplants, potatoes and more. Be prepared. OTOH, I hear that fruit and nut trees may have a good year.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Violent Belch Threatens Summer, And More Rain For California

If you have not yet heard about the Icelandic volcano, then you are living under a rock. Still, it has disrupted European flights and business. For you Euro folks, and the young types planning on a summer on the Continent, word is the ash cloud from the eruption may effect this summer's weather. Think of it as nuclear winter, of sorts. Of course, the clouds may not linger, shift north or south, and it will be summer as usual. Hell, Europe could use a cool summer - the glaciers are melting after all.

As for us living in beautiful central California, we just enjoyed a wonderfully sunny and warm weekend. I got stuck on the San Mateo Bridge yesterday afternoon, and half way across the bay it was calm and over 90F. Except for the being stuck part, it was awesome. It was even spectacular in the Sierra this weekend, with a very warm Sunday morning.

If you have lettuce or greens in the yard, give them a check. Many of mine bolted over the weekend. Good bye cilantro, hello coriander. What a great time to get those seeds (and seedlings) into the ground. And timing will be good again next weekend - although, not quite as warm.

Today's muggy weather is due to moisture being pushed into the coast ahead of a very strong cold front. Expect rain as early as tonight and during the morning commute. Tomorrow will start off warm(ish) and see temperatures drop significantly through the day. The cold front should pass through the Bay Area around noon. If you are outside tomorrow, you will feel the drop in temperature. Bring your coat for the afternoon.

Rain to continue through the day on Tuesday and into the evening. This storm is really expected to dig south, and pull moisture from off the coast. Good looking system, even for mid winter. A 1/2" of rain or so, for San Francisco. More in the north bay and over 2" are expected in Mendocino and over the Sierra Crest by Thursday afternoon. Expect showery weather to continue Wednesday and Thursday. Temperatures to begin warming again, with clearing skies, on Friday. Another spectacular weekend should be on tap. Sunday, the 25th, is closing day for Kirkwood Mountain Resort. Get on up for fresh corn and bikini skiing. It will be a blast. The unofficial long board day is on the 24th. Come on out with your 210cm or longer straight skis and just jump off of something, for crying out loud. And don't forget to ski in jeans.

Ski resorts may be closing, but that does not mean winter is over. Next week we have the potential for another strong system to come through the region. We do not yet have that big summer high pressure sitting on top of us. Possibility of low pressure systems to continue to move through the area into early May. Local water levels are rising with each storm. The Santa Cruz mountains are still quite wet, for the first April in years. With these late season storms, expect Tioga Pass to stay closed into June (or later).

All and all - great spring weather. Warm weather, punctuated with a few cool and wet storms. This weather is keeping the water and snow coming. The ground is moist and warm. The hills are green, the streams are flowing. Just get out there after this next storm and enjoy living in this paradise.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Awesome April - For Those Who Like Water.

The last storm that moved through the Bay Area on Sunday and Monday left us with an additional 2"+ of water. Nice. The water level at the Lexington Reservoir is the highest it has been in years. There is a tree that usually sits on a peninsula on the north shore, just west of the Route 17 bridge. The water level is up to the base of the tree. Good stuff.

Today, Wednesday, we see cool weather with some clouds. Temperatures continue to increase through at least Saturday. We have a very slight chance of showers later tonight and Friday evening, but these systems are expected to move through to the north. Still, patchy clouds should continue.

Saturday has the potential to be awesome. Then, by later on Sunday we see a rather large and slow moving system encroaching on us. As I have been saying all spring, timing will be hard to predict. As it looks now, we can look forward to another bout of moderate to heavy rain on Monday and Tuesday. Showery conditions could persist through Thursday. Current models suggest clearing by the weekend of the 24th/25th.

Resort skiing is coming to a close in the Tahoe Basin, with everything but Squaw and Alpine shut done by the 25th of April. Mammoth plans to spin lifts until July 4th. For those of you willing to work a little for your turns, this spring is looking very nice. Long term forecasts suggest continued storms to effect the Sierras well into the end of April.

As for water, we are still quite low in a number of important reservoirs in the state, while others are at capacity. Snow pack is at about to slightly above average, but water content is still slightly below average. It does not look like we are getting out of this drought this year. Let us hope for another average to above average winter next season.

Soils are warming up. That mid April sun is hot. If you have not got things started already, this is a good time. I just had a few pumpkin volunteers, which is fantastic. These self starters tend to produce the best fruit. I was looking at the remnants of my winter garden yesterday. Kales and lettuces are beginning to bolt. Peas are going off. Chard looks like it may still keep producing. Garlic patch is just pure awesomeness. I've been lazy about getting my summer garden going. Do not follow my lead - get out there and get something in the ground. Most likely we are done with near freezing temperatures and days long heavy rains.

In case you have not noticed, the strawberries have begun. And because of the late bloom in Florida, due to cold weather, the market is flooded. Get 'em while there good and cheap.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

A Wet April on Tap? Perchance.

Continued warmth and sun through the week and into Saturday. Cooling trend should begin tomorrow or Friday, with a chance of rain by Sunday. Chance of rain really improves Sunday night and into Monday. And unsettled pattern to follow.

Of course, and chart or forecast for more than a few hours from now (in the turbulence of spring) really is not that strong. A variety of models are suggesting a continued pattern of storms throughout the month - timing is the real issue. We could see rain as early as late Friday night, but most likely it will hold off until Sunday afternoon. It will all depend on how this storm splits and moves into the coast. Each day, guidance has brought the track a little north. A few days ago, it looked like we would have a chance of showers on Saturday and dry on either side - while SoCal was to get hit hard with up to an inch or rain. Models have changed. We can not expect more than a quick drizzle.

The month looks active, especially for April. Storms, some significant, are foretasted to hit us about every 2-5 days through the 25th. Models beyond that are just super fantasy charts. Regardless, there does not seem to be a giant high pressure settling on us with the jet running into the Pacific North West and British Columbia. Instead, it meanders between north of here, and even south of here.

This is turning out to be a great April for powder hounds. Of course, don't expect much to be left the day after the sun comes out. it is only taking a few hours for the sun to turn powder to mank. Damn April sun! OTOH, this is great great great weather for gardens. Rain continues to keep the ground moist, while that hot April sun is warming up the soil. Good times.

Short list: rain sometime late this weekend, and into Monday. Mostly fair before then. Chance of another storm some time next week; timing is difficult. Currently looking fair for next Saturday (17th). or it might rain. Who knows?

If the rain does come - pure awesomeness. Usually our water year has ended by now. this could be just what we need to put us over the edge and at least feel like we are out of the drought years. As a note, la nina seems to be setting up for the fall and next winter.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Tranquil with a Slight Chance of Showers by Week's End

Sorry, I have been out of commission for a few days, bogged down by affliction.

So the past week's stormy weather has come to an end with sunshine and warmth once again a dominant feature. We did get better than expected water and snow pack build up, so I expect the April 1st reports will have us in good shape, but an April 5th report would be even better!

Current forecast is a warm and sun filled center of the week. Cooling to return by Saturday, with a very slight chance of showers overnight and into Sunday. Slight chance to continue through Monday.

looks like more high pressure for the work week, until about the 15th, when we may see a change in the pattern. Being over a week out, we will have to wait and see how the pattern progresses. We are not solid into spring, so expect tranquil weather and coastal winds to be the norm.

Things are staying pretty cool in the mountains, so no strong run off expected just yet. Still, we have the best pack we have seen in years, so this will be a great river run season. Dig out your kayak and neoprene, or sign up for a rafting tour to get in on the white water fun.

Still a good time to get your gardens going. it is not too late for tomatoes and other long growing season crops. If you are thinking about corn, get them seeded soon. Same goes with winter variety squash - if you start them too late, you get small stunted plants. The current forecast is looking great for young seedlings. while we do expect some cooling, it should not get as cold as the past few days. Also - expect a lot of winter greens to bolt this week, after the last cool spell. Time to harvest!

Monday, March 29, 2010

Spring Showers (Or Massive Storms) Are Immanent

A few passing showers hit the Bay Area this afternoon and evening. Expect a quick ramp up to full fledged storm overnight and into tomorrow. This could be the rain we need to put us over the edge and into a good water year.

While this may a bit of a late warning, expect strong winds on Tuesday. Forecasters are expecting one of the strongest down slope conditions in years to form in the Eastern Sierra. So, as a warning, avoid flying your prop planes to Mammoth Lakes until the storm passes. Of course, if you want to give me a ride out there on Saturday, just say "hey."

Strong winds and copious water on Tuesday, with the heaviest rain Tuesday afternoon. Rain to continue through the week, but becoming less of a deluge by later Wednesday. Another chance for heavy rain again on Friday and into the evening. Rain makers are lined up out in the Pacific through at least this weekend. The jury is still out, but I would not count on sunny weather for Easter.

But this is good news. We need the water. We currently expect a rebound to warmer and sunnier weather by next work week, but, as stated before, this is spring and it is hard to say for sure. The MJO continues to suggest a turbulent next few weeks.

As for snow, this set of storms is not really a powder maker, until about Friday. Tuesday should start out quite warm with freezing levels up to about 10,000 feet. As the day progresses, we should see them lower to 7k (still a little high for Tahoe). Through Wednesday and Thursday, we could see the snow levels begin to drop, providing snow and then powder snow to the mountains. The first part of this storm will resemble something like paste. The good news is we will see some of those late season steep cliffs lines maybe fill in for the weekend. Could be a great weekend for skiing.

And our gardens. Basically, a short prayer should be in order. This storms should not be too harsh. Expect some damage to strawberries and lettuce - but they should both rebound in a week. Get out to your own gardens in any breaks in the rain on Wednesday or Thursday. They may need a TLC after the heavy rain expected later today.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

March Rolls Out With A Roar

Pleasant, cool and sunny weather to continue through next Monday. Well, kind of. We continue to have a very slight chance of showers overnight tonight. Ridging strengthens after this evening and we see a warming trend through the weekend. And then we can expect a good, wet, winter storm to hit us some time early to mid next week.

El Nino has actually seen a bit of strengthening in the past week, and climatological indicators are all in support of a return to a wetter more dynamic pattern. High pressure is building in north of Hawaii, which we have not seen all winter. It is possible that we could see winter storms returning for a period, beginning next week. The first system is expected to move into the Bay Area some time around Monday or Tuesday evening. A second system is expected later in the week, around Friday. This second system may move north of us, but we should still plan for at least some rain.

Cool temperatures continue today and tonight. Warm temperatures over the weekend will drop ahead of the storm. Cooling begins Monday with the high struggling to reach 60F by Wednesday. Exact timing is still difficult to determine, but we can expect a heavy fall of rain and mountain snow. This may bring us enough water and/or snowpack to bring us to average for April 1st. Pray for rain, as we still need some.

Get out there and enjoy this weekend. Warm and sunny weather expected. We had a great period to work on the garden. Temperatures are not expected to get too cold, but if you have any seedlings out there, you may want to give them a protective cover for next week. More to come early next week.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Warm Weather and Sun to Continue, with a Few Ditrubances Aloft

Forecast holds as stated on Monday. Current models trend toward continued stable weather. That means more sun and warmth, with a slight cooling over the weekend and into next week.

Some over riding occurring tonight and Thursday. Chance of thunderstorms over the hills and mountains. No precip is expected at the coast or in the valleys.

As a note, it does look like El Nino is beginning to strengthen again, so we could be looking at a return to an extended winter like pattern by late March and into April. Will need to wait and see.

This is turning out to be a great period to get seedlings established in your garden. Also great weather for yard work and bike rides. We may even see some beach weather this afternoon and Thursday.

Corn cycles have begun in the Tahoe region. Expect firm pack in the mornings on most aspects, with soft snow developing as the sun progresses from east to west. Only the shaded northerly aspects are still holding cold winter snow; and this may be gone before the weekend. The snow pack is still not completely consolidated on E-S-W slopes, as per the Sierra Avalanche Center. Use caution if heading out into the back country. The corn should be getting pretty darn good by this weekend.

Great surf conditions this morning with a new large NW swell and calm winds. Oh so California.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Spring like this week. Warm and Sunny.

Just in case you live in a cave, it is warm and sunny outside. Very warm and very sunny. It was 48F in South Lake Tahoe at 7:20 this morning. Yes, Spring has arrived.

Weather should stay about the same through the work week and into the weekend. There continues to be some suggestion that by Monday the Westerlies will undercut the high pressure centered to our west, and begin a period of wet and much cooler weather. I'd say, at this point, it is a roll of the dice what will happen next Monday. We should have a better picture by the end of the work week.

The warmest weather should be Thursday and Friday with good chances of coastal temperatures of 70F, as the storm track is way to our north. Seattle and Vancouver can expect rain while we enjoy the sun. A system may ride over the area and to the south east Friday night, bringing wind and slightly cooler temperatures on Saturday. At this point plan for a sunny, warm and beautiful weekend.

For those with gardens, this is great timing to plant seeds. The ground still has lots of moisture and will warm up quickly this week. I may even try to get some corn in the ground. Not so sure how this will work out, but I love the idea of a fresh ear. Watch your winter greens - they will want to bolt this week. Harvest them before they go to seed.

You may even begin playing with the idea of hardening off your tomato (or other) plants that were started indoors. If this warm weather continues for another week, it could be worth transplanting a few into the garden. It would be taking a chance for sure, but that is why I usually start a few extra plants. If it stays warm long enough for that plant to take root, it could mean an early and large harvest.

Regardless, if you plan to garden this season, get 'er started. This is the best time to get out there and get some seeds and seedlings in the ground. Oh - if you want to try them, this is a good time to start a few Brussels Sprouts. At least that is the case with my back yard.

And if you ski or board - and were not in Tahoe this past Saturday... I'm sorry, but you missed it. A foot plus of fresh. Bluebird and 9F in the parking lot. Mmmmm. Good.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Last in the series of storms, then dry... for a bit

Last night we got just a bit of rain as the first band of weather passed through the area ahead of tonight's storms. Expect a fairly significant drop of rain and snow starting as early as this afternoon and continuing overnight. We could get over a foot of snow at the Sierra Crest in the Tahoe region. much less as you travel south of Yosemite. Saturday could be a good powder day. I'll be there.

The QPF (Quantitative Precipitation Forecast) is about 1"+ in the Bay Area, 1.8" over the Tahoe Crest and over 2" on the north coast and northern Sierra. This is good news for our water year. Water content in the Mammoth Lakes area snow pack is reported near normal for this time of year, but still needs at least a half foot more of water by April 1st to remain so. Unfortunately, this storm is expected to deliver much less than an inch of water precip south of Yosemite.

Barracuda supplies a great link to a map of reservoirs and current levels. Most are looking good, but our second largest in the state, Oroville is just over 50% of average. Yikes. It seems that most of this years rain has fallen either north or south of the drainage that help fill Oroville. Well, as El Nino weakens, more storms should center on this zone.

After Friday night's storm, expect clearing early Saturday morning in the Bay Arae. Snow showers may linger in the Sierra through the day. This one has a cold core, so we could see snow on the Bay Area peaks again on Saturday morning. if that is the case, I suggest you get up early for a hike. It can be spectacularto see our hills capped with snow.

Good news for your gardens and local farms. Heights really rise over the weekend, with lots of sun and much warmer temperatures. This should hold through mid week or longer. Again, things are really hard to predict during the change of the seasons. Currently, models are suggesting a blocking high to form in the north central Pacific in the next few days, effectively shutting down the Alaskan storm corridor. This high will edge into California keeping us high and dry.

Around the 18th, the long wave ridge should shift to the East, allowing for some small storms to slip underneath into California. If this happens, we could see a return to cold and rain around the 21st, and lasting for a few days. Or we could remain warm and dry.

Regardless, the sun and warmth starting this Saturday afternoon should last for about a week. A great period for growth of young plants. Watch your lettuce and brassicas carefully. They will want to bolt. Keep the ground moist, and if you can, the area cool. A little shade barrier can sometimes help. If your lettuce does bolt, harvest it back to the ground. Use a knife to make a cut a few millimeters about the soil surface, and then make two vertical cuts into the stem surface. In a few weeks, you should have some new growth. This will often work with Chard as well. Not so sure about those Kales. You could also take a chance and plant some less hardy plants, like tomatoes, to get an early start. But it will be a gamble - we are not out of winter just yet. We could see a return to prolonged wet and cool weather, even into April.

Oh, and sad to say, but it seems like the last of Delicata Squash are gone until next year.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Cool Monday and more potential for rain

Well, expect much less ridging this week than previously foretasted. Yup, that is right, you can expect some wet weather. We are now moving into spring, when our weather tends to be most difficult to forecast. Mid winter, we are usually in a wet pattern or a dry pattern. With a wet pattern, we get rain every few days, and sometimes a break in the rain. With a dry pattern, we find clear skies and cooler temperatures.

This week, we can look forward to dropping temperatures today (Monday) with an increasing chance of rain (and perhaps a little snow on the higher Bay Area peaks) this evening. We get a short break tomorrow morning, which has a less likely chance of rain. Precipitation chances increase, with the greatest threat between 6PM on Tuesday and 4AM on Wednesday. Cool and clearing on Wednesday.

Temperatures on a slight climb during the week. A nice day, if somewhat cool, forecast for Thursday. Another chance for rainy weather to come in on Friday, especially in the evening and overnight hours. Current models tend toward a clear and warmer (but not too warm) weekend.

That being said, some models are suggesting a strong system coming out of the Gulf of Alaska on Friday and sitting on us for at least through Saturday. Chances are this system will stay mostly to the north and only brush us Friday night. While we could use the rain, fair weather is always welcome on the weekend.

Spring vegetables continue to look good. This moderate weather is perfect for our produce. Enough rain and moisture to keep that ground wet, but not enough to saturate it. Paired with sunny periods, our plants are super stoked. Our backyard is seeing a few tulips opening. A for sure sign of spring.

And for those of you who did not or will not plant your own tomatoes from seed, there is still an option. Love Apple Farms begins its awesome tomato seedling sale on March 13th. I find a few purchased seedlings a great way to add variety, as well as getting a few early producers. I just planted my seeds this past weekend, so I'm a little behind.

Wrap up for this week. Chance of rain today through Wednesday morning. Clear, and then another chance beginning mid Friday.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

This Weekend: Showery or Clear. Las Vegas Style

Making your plans for this weekend will be a gamble. We currently have a low pressure in the Gulf of Alaska, on its way to the west coast. This storm is supposed to close off just before hitting California. Once it does that, it is anybodies guess as to what will happen next. The best forecast models does have the system dropping south. For the Sierra, this mean light (if any) snow showers and cool weather. For the Bay Area, we could be high and dry, or showery and cloudy.

One scenerio has the storm dropping south before ever impacting the coast. This will keep us dry, with some high clouds, through mid day Saturday, with then a slight chance of wrap around showers Saturday evening into Sunday morning. A second scenario has the storm reaching the coast some time on Friday, with significant showers north of SF. As the system then drops south, we could expect a short lived, but moderate rain fall, followed by showery weather lasting through mid day on Sunday. Still, this scattered showers weather can make for a great day of hiking around the redwoods. It helps create fog and cloud forest appeal.

As I stated in my comment yesterday, the good news is around produce. The past months have been just about the right amount of wet. Artichokes are coming back into season a bit early this year. Expect high quality and low prices starting about next week. Asparagus is expected to do well. the crowns did not rot (yay!), and we are already seeing some Salinas product coming into the market, and can expect the awesome Delta Aspargus to show in a few weeks. This bodes well for our produce season in general. If we continue with the moderate rains, with brief warma nd sunny periods inbetween, we can expect a bountiful Californai harvest, and plenty of water to go around.

Tuesday evening's break in the storms was perfect. I checked out my back yard plot and was excited to see that it was time again to pick some lettuce. This weather has been awesome for production. I was also excited to see my year old plus (been producing since UJanuary of 2009) chard plants needed to be trimmed back. Escarole also yielded well - and helped with last nights dinner of a escarole, Italian sausage, garlic, lemon & chili flake pasta. Yum. My kale still has not had its break out period, but at least offer some harvest every two weeks.

Snow report: Good storms this week have deposited 2'+ of dry light snow on the South Lake resorts. Less up north. Cool temps expected through the weekend should keep the shussing good. If we get even a little snow Friday/Saturday, it could be awesome. Easy driving expected with no major storms predicted. If you like the winter snow, get it while it is here. Spring conditions are not too far away. Backcountry is a little sketch from the last series of storms streching back to Feb. 19th. Know before you go. But it is pretty awesome out there. Last Sunday yielded some waist deep, with just a little work.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Hydrologically speaking, we are in good waters. More in the forecast.

We are finally looking like we may actually make a move out of the drought. From my very scientific drive by of the Lexington Reservoir, we are at the highest water level since 2004. When I spoke with an employee of a central valley municipal water company, and while they will make no official forecast until April 1st (as a lot depends on the snow pack), things are looking good for water in the Golden State for the first time in half a decade.

And we have more rain on the way with a one - two punch. Tuesday looks to begin off dry, with an increasing chance of showers through the morning commute hours. This first wave will be a weakening storm acting mostly as a cold front. Rain increases to moderate and possibly heavy at times Tuesday night before a slight break Wednesday morning (except for those in the North Bay). The real brunt of the mid week storm should be Wednesday night. All said, we are looking at another possible 1.5" to 2.5" of water in the Bay Area hills. Hey, let's go Muddin'. (That would be taking our 4x4 out for a run in the mud and making some donuts while pounding MGD)

Anyway. Showery, then clearing on Thursday. Forecast models are having a difficult time coming to an agreement for the Friday storm system. Some suggest a southerly and coastal path, while others suggest a cut off low that sits on Central California for a few days. In both scenarios, we begin seeing a chance of precipitation sometime Friday, increasing in chance through the day with moderate rainfall. If the storm then moves south, expect more mudslides in SoCal. If, OTOH, it cuts off, we could see wet weather persist through the weekend, with some clearing by Sunday. Once again, best bet for sun is on Sunday. Yay Sunday!

Currently it looks like we could get high pressure setting upon us through Wednesday or Thursday of next week (3/10). Of course, some models suggest this high pressure being weak and breaking down well before then. Greatest chance of rain in the North Bay.

Snow? Sure looks like. Tuesday's storm is looking the warmest with freezing level around 6500'. Wednesday is cooler and the coldest looks to be on Friday. For those inclined to care, let us hope for the cut off low forecast, as that will bring cold temps, persistent snow and good cloud cover. It is March, and that sun is warm. It can turn powder to mank in a matter of hours.

More green hills and great hiking. Trails are still to be a bit on the wet side for mountain biking, but this is great cycling weather. Last Sunday was about perfect for a ride. Warm, but not hot. Crisp and clear. And speaking of the sun - don't forget that sunblock. As we move into spring the cool air can be deceiving - don't get caught turning red. Think SPF.

Update later this week on the weekend weather and the March outlook.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Models wobble, but still seem to hold true

Storm still on track for sometime late tonight into tomorrow. The entire system seems to be slowing down, causing some splitting. This should result in some warmer air and windier conditions. Neither are a blessing for the powder hounds out there. Rain should continue well through Saturday, but we are still expecting clearing for Sunday. Get out there and enjoy that sunny weather while you can.

Next system to hit the Bay Area late Tuesday and last through the day on Wednesday. Another clearing on Thursday with more rain starting some time Thursday and lasting through the weekend. More storms to follow every few days. Looks like the current trend is some wet weather. March should be lion; can can only hope April is the lamb.

Remember that anything past today is hard to forecast, especially when looking beyond 4 days out. While is does currently show a very wet pattern developing, this could all change by the beginning of next week.

This Sunday could be a good time to plant some lettuce and beet seeds. As long as it is not too wet, and we get enough warm sunny days to heat the soil, you could be enjoying a nice May harvest. Avoid putting any potatoes in the ground just yet; the rot would just be too dangerous. Even if you are not planting, this would be a good time to get out and turn some soil and activate the green manure that is (at least in my back yard) wondrous clover.

Snow this weekend is suspect. Sure, we will get some (or rather plenty), but it may be a lot of heavy slop. OTOH, this is the famous Sierra Cement that pastes the steeps and opens up the gnar.

And did anybody notice the strawberries on the market last week. Bummed I missed them. But the warm weather we had produce a decent harvest - even if just for a week. Back to citrus for now.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

More rain to come. Water levels looking good.

Back in the saddle here in California. Colorado had some fine fine weather last week.

We have already seen the return of a wet pattern with the rain over the past weekend. More is to come after yesterday's sun. Expect rain moving into the Bay Area later today.

Be prepared for a stormy and wet commute tomorrow morning. You may even need to drive home in the rain tonight. Heavy precip overnight tonight, with perhaps a foot or two of snow over the Sierra Crest. Weather breaking with rain tapering Wednesday night into Thursday. Slight chance of showers continue in the north bay.

Sometime on Friday, a large, windy and wet system should slam into the coast. expect heavy rains and snow into Saturday morning. Clearing expected for Saturday evening through at least next Wednesday.

Snow Report: No first handTahoe knowledge here. I've been in Colorado in the beautiful San Juans. Majestic! As for Tahoe: Last week was warm with spring like conditions. Resort levels received from 2-10" of snow over the weekend. Not nearly enough to cover and resurface that nasty crust. Still, we are expecting a good 10-14" at resort level with tonight's storm. Snow levels beginning today around 6000', lowering to 4500' through tomorrow. If we get hit with a similar storm on Friday, the mountains will be good to go with great mid winter conditions over the weekend. Just keep in mind, that as we move into March, that high and warm sun can quickly turn powder to mank. Be careful out there and pay attention to your knees.

Of course you can plan on another nice weekend. The hills are about as green as they get - so get out there for a hike or bike. And as we turn into March over the weekend, it is not to early to think about getting your garden plot worked on. If you have not done so already, it is a good time to plant seeds for tomatoes and peppers. Use an old seedling six pack and put on a sunny window sill in a warm corner (south facing) of your house. They will be ready for transplant in 4-8 weeks.

Winter and rain is far from over. El Nino is weakening - but that usually means more rain for us. As the pattern weakens, the jet stream shifts north, from Southern California to Northern California. So that means we should get the full brunt of storms during the next 4-6 weeks. A few more months to enjoy your Wellies.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Last storm in the series, then fair as far as the eye can see

Is El Nino over? No, not really, but we are getting a solid break starting as early as this weekend.

The final storm should hit us some time this evening into tomorrow. All in all, it is expected to be weak. Just like the last few systems, this one is splitting off shore. The last one hit SoCal pretty hard causing all kinds of problems including mud slides and saturating fields. The bulls eye for tonight's system is expected to shift north.

As the heights increase over California rise, the wet weather moves north. Plenty of snow for Whistler creating havoc for those down hill racers (they prefer ice to powder).

This weekend and into next weeks expect plenty of sunshine and warmth. Temperatures will be on the increase through at least mid week. Great weather for the holiday weekend. Finally. Off shore flow is expected for SoCal, and perhaps up into the Bay Area. This will further push the temperatures up and we may be enjoying some nice mid February 70F temps.

The fantasy charts have the rain returning to the Bay Area as early as Friday the 19th and solid systems beginning to run into the coast by Tuesday the 23rd. The operative word being 'fantasy'. Will need to monitor and report as we get closer. Enjoy the impending sun and warmth.

Monday, February 8, 2010

All New Week, Same Old Variable Forecast

Well, in case you were wondering, last week's weather was not nearly as wet as anticipated. As another week unfolds, it looks like the pattern continues to be variable with a possibility of warm sunny weather returning by the weekend and holding through most of President's Week. A great forecast for those of you taking the week off and staying local.

While the actual reported amounts of precipitation were less that expected, we still did receive enough water to submerge the island in Lexington Reservoir. We finally are looking like an average winter for the first time since 2005. Let us hope that it keeps on coming. We need it. When I drove by the 5000' level yesterday, we noticed the lack of any significant snow pack. My passenger, who happens to be in the water forecasting business, mentioned that lack of snow at mid elevations does not bode well for the forecast they put out April 1st. But we still have some time.

As for this week's weather. Clouds today turning to rain sometime between this evening and mid day tomorrow. Rain should be light with some moderate periods. Then partial clearing through mid week. A return to rain sometime Thursday night into Friday. Clearing by the weekend, with a solid high pressure ridges settling in.

We currently have a weak high pressure ridge on us, but storms are lining up in the Pacific. As they approach, the ridges is causing them to split and are thus very hard to predict. This morning it looks like the bulk of the Tuesday storm will slide down the coast, just off shore, before rolling through Southern California and Arizona. Of course, that could all change. A slight shift in trajectory can make a huge difference in the amount of rain we see.

Current models are showing a solid high pressure settled over the area by mid day Saturday. If that does happen, we should see a longer period of sun and warmer temperatures. Possible return to wet patterns around the 18th. Enjoy that President's Day. It could be a beauty.

As for Tahoe. Pretty darn good this past weekend. Few crowds and copious snow on Saturday. To give an idea of the conditions, on Sunday we skied up toward Soul Searcher to scope out a few lines. As we rolled up, Josh was marking his take off zone and trajectory with a few pine needles. He proceeded to step back up hill 25 yards and get amped. His spotter called out "clear" and the last thing I saw was him mid way through a laid out back flip on his way to a 50' stomp. So needless to say, the landing zones were very good. The continued snow this week followed by a sunny weekend, should make for some nice skiing.

On the produce front, this expected break in the wet weather could allow for the ground to dry out. Great news for root vegetables and asparagus. It could also be a good time to get out to your gardens, turn some soil and plant some seeds or seedlings of hardy vegetables. But remember, that winter is far from over, and a return to wet or colder weather can not be dismissed.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Thursday Blues Update

Forecast stays on track for a wet weekend beginning some time tonight.

5 day precips forecasts, with the majority of that coming before Sunday noon

Monterrey 2.3"
Tahoe Crest 2.6"
Mammoth Crest 3.0"
SW Colorado 1"

Some decent numbers to help the California water table and the Colorado snow pack. We need that snow in CO to get the tree skiing up to par.

Next week:

Clearing to last through the early part of next week. Blocking high looks to be weak, with lots of over riding moisture. Chance of light rain in the Bay Area as early as Monday night. Most rain to stay from SF north, but inching south as the week continues. Chance of another wet and heavy rain day by week's end.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Hump Day Update - 2/3/10

Light rain yesterday. Fair weather to hold today. Still expecting rain and mid elevation snow (4ooo') by late tomorrow. Heavy at times, especially over Firday and Saturday evenings.

Next week still up in the air. The models keep flipping. We are expected to have a deep trough just off shore. The question is - will it break through the continental blocking high?

Sunday is shaping up to be a day of clearing and at least some sun to poke out Sunday/Monday. Enjoy that sun when you have a chance this season. It may be limited.

Confidence now high for a powder weekend in Tahoe. If you plan to go: leave early and allow for plenty of drive time, especially if you are headed up 80 to North Lake. Carry chains, warm clothes, water and food. The drive back Sunday should not be weather impacted, but there may still be snow on the road.

We've temporarily expanded our long term forecasting look to include south western Colorado. Light to moderate (for Colorado) snow over the next few days, then clearing. Possible storms to impact the area beginning around the 10th and lasting several days. Moderate to heavy accumulations. Daily highs ranging from 22F to 30F.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Welcome to February


Crew teams out getting their row on Lexington Reservoir bodes well for the water year. They had plenty acreage to play in.

NPR forecast this morning calls for a chance of rain from Watsonville north. I'd say more like a very slight chance of drizzle, but clouds move in after a sunny morning anyway. Say good bye to the nice sun from the last few days.

While we still have a split pattern until mid week, with storms shredding apart before moving on shore, it now looks likely that we willsee clouds and even some light to moderate showers by tonight through Thursday. Mid day Thursday into Sunday we are setting up for a significant weather makers. Current five day precipitation forecast put 3"(with 2.5" in the Bay Area) of water over the Sierra Crest by Saturday noon, with more to follow in the evening. Match that with cooler weather and we have some good Tahoe conditions continuing (more on that below)

So, fair through this Monday evening, with light over riding showers tomorrow. A punch of moisture to possibly hit up on Wednesday. A mini break Thursday morning (perhaps) and then wet until Sunday. Friday and Saturday looking to be quite stormy. Sunday is possibly another post rain beauty of a day.

Next week still up in the air, as the models are having a hard time determining where the jet is going to set up. We may continue to see very wet weather, or a ridge will sneak in under us and force the jet more toward the Rockies.

As you can see - no idea about is really going to happen.

Epic week for Tahoe beginning some time around Thursday of this week. Yesterday was a beautiful cool sunny mid winter day with decent (if variable) snow in the back country. Get out there in the next few days if you want to do some fair weather touring. By Thursday the resorts should be returning to powder conditions with perhaps a foot on the ground from Tues/Wed. Friday morning should begin snowy and stay that way through Saturday night. Perhaps 3' of snow during that cycle, with possible clearing on Sunday. My guess is that Sunday will still be showery and cool. This system is to come in cold, so even if we get a high pressure following the snow, it should stay good through mid week.

For those of you driving up on Friday night or Saturday morning, be prepared for slow traffic, bring chains and winter survival pack (food, water, warm clothes).

And as always, give space and time on your commutes during the rainy season. This mornings traffic report was the first I have hears in some time without major accidents. Yesterday on 88 a 4x4 had to be towed out of a snow bank - lucky for them the bank was still soft.

As for the month? Expect more winter. Trend is looking to be cool and wet.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

A little more rain and then a reprive for next week

If you made it this far, just hold out a few more days.

This morning was nice and sunny. First mostly sunny moment in over 10 days.

Clouds should return this afternoon (I think they already have) with some rain moving in through the mid day hours tomorrow and through the evening. Mostly light rain in comparison to the deluge we had last week. Dry by Sunday - so get out there and enjoy the green hills. the Pogonip in Santa Cruz is particularly awesome this time of year if you enjoy pretending you are an Ewok.

Still, the ground is saturated, so any rain at this point can cause additional flooding and high running water. Avoid walking in low lying areas unless you have some good wellies or golashas. (PS - no idea if these are any good - just enjoy doing the linky thingy)

Water outlook is the best it has been in three seasons, but we are still in a drought here in California - so pray for more rain. My very scientific look at Lexington resevior on my drive by at 50MPH suggest that we are looking in good shape in the south bay. A few more feet of water, and the island will be covered (which puts us in a good spot). We are still over 10 feet from the tree that marks high water. In truth, the outlook is not realiable until about April 1st, so this is really like discussing next weeks weather - fun, but pointless.

Next week is looking sunny with a nice high pressure ridge according to the GFS models with light rain in Marin. Still, air temps remain cool, and over riding moisture keeps us partly cloudy. OTOH, UNISYS has light to moderate rains hitting the coastal range on Wednesday evening into Thursday.

Another heavy bought of rain will take form sometime next week between Thursday night and Friday and into the weekend, according to both models. So we can expect only a brief period of dry weather, which is what is expected with an el nino. And we need the water. At least it is expected to get spaced out and let the earth drain a bit.

Produce costs are on the rise across the board. The cold weather in the south along with our heavy rains in the west are hurting production. I also learned what I feared - the water logged soil promotes crown and rot rot for asparagus. Bummer. We can expect a late start of the season for potatoes as well.

The riding up in Tahoe has been great and we are finally looking like mid winter. Heart Chute at KW was got this week for the first time in years. I heard last Saturday was the most crowded (roads and resorts) in years. Sunday was pretty darn good.

This weekend could be a good one with so many people burnt out from last week's drive. The light snow (perhaps a foot) falling on Friday and Saturday also adds some promise. Bluebird Sunday on tap.

Remember to drive safe - even after the rain stops. With the rain at bay yesterday, there were at least two horrible accidents on 17 yesterday morning. At least three cars off the embankment. Be courtious and aware.

A little more next week as we get closer to the rain. And if you are at KW this weekend, give me a hollar. You can't miss my bright blue pants.