Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Not Much to Report. Typical Summer Weather on Tap.

Coastal flowers.
Hey folks, first off, I will be headed to the north east for a 3 week visit, and will mainly be focusing on my local weather.  We will be back in town around mid August, and will resume posting here.  If something interesting pops up (say like lightning storms, tropical waves or a north Pacific storm), we will try to let you know.  Otherwise, it looks like we are in our typical summer pattern.  A big high pressure has set up in the Gulf of Alaska.  Broad and weak low pressure is in the Southwest.  The valley is sunny and warm.  The coast has fog.  Some days, and some locations, it burns off.  Santa Cruz is pretty nice right now if you don't mind the cool, cloudy mornings.  And some afternoon breeze.

Lows in the mid 50s.  Highs in the upper 60s and occasionally low 70s here in town.  Fog has been lingering a little later recently, and burning off in town late morning.  Some pockets have been lingering on the coast north of town.  Today, it looks like the marine layer has pulled out far to sea, and a strong on shore breeze is developing.  Areas protected from the northwest breezes will be warmest.  And that is where you find the best surf.

Summer time blooms.
The swell pumped up a few day ago, and solid southerly groundswell has filled in across the region.  The series should peak early tomorrow, and last through at least Friday.  There will still be small surf around for the weekend.  It does not look like the on shore winds will let up through the period, so the ore protected locations in town will have the cleanest surf.  This will be enough swell to get every spot breaking on the right tides, so get out an enjoy.  The open coast line will most likely be choppy, although winds may let up for the morning toward the end of the work week.  Another swell may filter in late next Monday, but this one is fairly shadowed by Fiji and other land masses.  But then again, that is what they said about last Friday, and it looked solid every where.

With this fog, pay special attention to your gardens.  Mildews love this weather.  Keep your plants dry, and water from their base.  Aphids may need to be dealt with.  Either spray them off with a stream of water, or try bio degradable insecticidal soap.  There are plenty of options out there.  Some suggest making a tea from tomato leaves, as all night shades have a toxin in their leaves.  Just don't use it on other nightshades.  Personally, I've had little luck with this method, but I love to see it work.  Water your tomatoes less, as they become more establishes and set their  fruit.  Keep squash and cucumber roots nice and moist (but well drained).  And harvest those summer squash readily and don't allow them to be giants.

Go visit a Farmer's Market this week.  Or soon.  And go as often as you can right now.  They just simply are going off right now as a full blend of fruits and vegetables are available.  You can make the most beautiful and delicious pastas and salads right now, just from what is grown in our region.  Walnut-Basil pesto pasta with Brandywine tomatoes, yellow wax beans, purple carrots, spinach, leeks and summer squash.  Toss in a little fresh mozzarella, and you are golden.  Or try some gem lettuce with white corn, golden beets, sugar snap peas, Sungold 100 cherry tomatoes, torpedo radish and cucumber.  Strawberries alone make a great dessert, or you can add blueberries, nectarine, and cherries to some yogurt.  Go browse and enjoy some great local produce.

Similar weather to continue through the period.  The interior could see some heat develop by next Monday, but that will not have much of an impact through most of the Bay Area.  Especially the coastal communities which should stay pretty mild.  Fair summer days on tap.  Today was another nice one in Santa Cruz.  Enjoy the rest of July.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011


Kirkwood, California looking awesome
Southeast flow has set up aloft, and monsoon like moisture will be pulled into the southern Sierra and possibly through Central California.  Suddenly, it is summer.  It was just a week ago when we saw moderate rains in Santa Cruz and a few inches of snow up in the higher elevation.  Speaking of the higher elevations, the skiing was superb at Kirkwood over the weekend.  The snow reached almost to the base of the lift, but it was more the weather that made it spectacular.  80F at the base.  No clouds and just a touch of a breeze.  And the views.  Bright green meadows, fire red rock, huge patches of snow, water flowing over every precipice and then there are the wild flowers.  It is going to be an awesome summer in the high country this summer.  Try to get up there and enjoy it.

Snowmelt runs everywhere in the Sierra.
We head into a slight cooling trend this week.  Tuesday will be another hot one before things begin to cool off.  Temperatures will vary significantly around the bay.  High 90s in Los Gatos and Walnut Creek.  Mid 80s further up the Peninsula and the East Bay.  Santa Cruz should be in the mid 70s and barely breaking 60 in the Sunset.  If you can, travel to your ideal day.  Wednesday will be a bit cooler, but the big news will be humidity and a chance of thunderstorms.  Yup, thunderstorms.  It sure has been an interesting year.  The greatest chances are in the south of our region.  The air remains turbulent through Thursday, as daytime highs continue to dip.  By Saturday, we can expect low 70s in Santa Cruz, and up to mid 80s in the warmer areas.  The Sunset remains foggy and 60 through the period.  Elsewhere along the coast, we can expect foggy mornings, and some lingering fog on Friday and Saturday.  But still nothing like last years gloom.  We actually get to see the sun each day.

Surf for this coming week is looking pretty small.  The only game in town through mid week will be small to mid sized short period wind swell coming locally out of the north west.  Thursday we begin to see small mid period south swell arriving.  Let me stress small.  And not very consistent.  Things begin to get a little better as more south swell arrives late Friday and into Saturday.  Another should be on its heels late Sunday or so.  Still, none of these are very large, and all of them are shadowed by Fiji.  At least the wind should be light in the mornings for the next few days.  Still, again, it is suddenly summer.  Best bet will be for some surf this coming weekend.  Until then, bring your longboard.  Or better yet, grab your bike.

Summer squash.  Keep 'em moist.
Mind your gardens.  Check that soil, and water appropriately.  Hopefully, by now your tomato plants don't need much water.  Once your plants begin to set fruit, you will want to significantly reduce the amount they are watered, otherwise you will end up with large, mealy and watery tomatoes.  For many types, such as Early Girls and Sungold 100s, you can completely shut off the water.  Many heirloom varieties will need a little water  though.  Other parts of your garden will need plenty of water during the summer heat.  Keep those cucumber roots moist.  As well as string beans.  The point is, as the sun is high in the sky, and the mercury rises, don't forget the water.  You will also want to keep an eye out for pests.  I especially find the aphid a nasty creature.  These sap suckers populate quickly on the underside of leaves.  Blast them away with a strong stream of water.  If you wish to eradicate them, try a solution of biodegradable soap and water in a spray bottle.  Stay on top of them, or they will take over and devour your crops.

Another foggy week.  Warmest (hot even) on Tuesday.  Thunderstorms roll across the region on Wednesday and Thursday with greatest likely hood along south facing slopes.  Chance increase as you travel south as well.  Cooler and lingering fog Friday and Saturday.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Hot Weekend Ahead.

Summertime flowers in Big Basin.
The rain is over.  For now. And it is starting to warm up out there.  It is already toasty at 9Am on Friday morning.  The sun is out, and it is going to be a spectacular day.  Mid 80s are expected here in Santa Cruz over the next few days. The marine layer has even weakened a bit and may not touch the coast until Tuesday.  In those areas most affected by fog, we may see a few lingering patches in the very early morning hours.  But the sun will dominate this weekend.

Up in the Sierra, things are getting toasty as well, with mid 80s expected around Lake Tahoe.  Things will be pretty dramatic with bathing suit weather on the lake surrounded by still snow capped mountains.  It should be a great weekend for skiing as well, with 4 resorts on the north side and Kirkwood (in the south) turning their bull wheels on last time this season.  After a huge winter of snow, they do not want it to go to waste.  As things heat up this weekend, we will see snow melt on the increase.  Area creeks, stream and rivers will be raging with very cold water.  Use caution when entering or playing nearby.  If camping, place tents well above water level, as late afternoon heat increases melt, and can result in dramatically raised rivers over night.

Fog hangs heavy in Davenport.
It will be reaching in to the 90s in typically warmer summer locations around the Bay.  Hot weather is expected in the Central Valley, with several days above 100F.  Enjoy the great outdoors, but remember a few things this weekend.  Drink plenty of water, especially if you are enjoying adult beverages.  Do not leave children and pets inside the car for any length of time - things will heat up quickly.  Do not drink and drive, and watch out for those who do.  Have a great holiday weekend, and play responsibly.

After the holiday, the fog bank should move back in closer to the coast.  There is a chance that it will again be pushed out to see by the end of next week.  We should expect milder temperatures, but still see mid to high 70s in Santa Cruz.  After a few days that felt like winter, it certainly is summer now.