Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Blessed Wind. Damned Wind.

We have another wind event on tap over the next 24 hours.  It should start some time later tonight.  Be prepared, and tie down the back yard.  Not the time to forget the summer umbrella set up.  It will end up in the next county.  Wind Advisories have been posted for the entire Bay Area and the West Slope of the Sierra Nevada.  Down here, we should expect the possibility of 45 mph gust down to sea level with up to 70 mph gust above 1000 feet.  Especially along ridge lines at over peaks.  Use extra caution when driving. Local mountain roads (like 17 and 90) as well as bridges will be the most susceptible to the strong winds.  Winds start off coming from the NW today.  They will build overnight and shift to the NNE for Wednesday.  Slowly, they will subside through friday, shifting east through the weekend.

Roundtop, Carson Pass, California.  Snow cover is still thin at the Sierra Crest.

Which is about perfect for the surf.  Finally the surf is looking like what we would expect for autumn.  Last weekend was good, and there has been decent swell in the water so far this week.  Today we see mostly wind swell, but as the winds start to turn offshore, we see two more mid period swells fill in on Thursday and again late Friday.  Waves hold over head high through the weekend.  So you may just want to get out there and get some.  I know it is hard to find the time with the short days, but even an hour in the water will wash away a day full of stress and worry.

Last light at Seabright Beach.

So why, really, are these winds blessed and damned?  It is not the surf and the need to pick up the backyard.  Blessed, because this will blow out the inversion that helps create the fog (smog really) in the Central Valley.  After the last few days of dense polluted fog, the folks in Tracy will again be able to enjoy some sun.  Damned, because we will see an increase in fire hazard.  The famed Santa Ana will set up in SCal, and that can only mean fire season.  On the plus side, we have had some good rains down there already this season.  Still, regardless of where you live, use extra caution with flammables during a wind event.

Highs around 60 and lows around 40.  A bit cooler Thursday evening.  Mid 30s.  Cold air moves in with the wind, then the wind settles.  Friday morning will be cold, with a possible killing freeze in the San Joaquin.  Frosty morning possible else where.  If you have had issues early this season, protect your plants.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Back to our regularly scheduled Fine Fall weather.

Up in the Sierra, this past weekend, it was perfect holiday weather.  The actual holiday, Thursday, was cold and blustery with a dusting of snow overnight.  Friday and Saturday were beautiful, sunny and warm. About 50F at 8000 feet.  Not too shabby for late November.  Of course, that did not last long, as the sun dipped behind the mountains around 2PM, and things started to chill off quick.  As for the skiing.   Northstar and Heavenly continue to offer the very best options with plenty of manmade corduroy.  Kirkwood's WROD was short and decent.  But if you prefer to ski natural snow, Kirkwood did offer up some decent low angle off piste skiing.  Just expect to find a few rocks, miniature tree tops and plenty of grass.  And it is only getting thinner with the warm days allowing some melt off.

California Route 1.  A bit of a scenic road in Santa Cruz County.

So, what is the weather forecast?  Most thinking has us staying high and dry through about December 8th, or more.  That is not to say we could not get some rain and snow, but it is against the odds.  At least for the next two days we should stay dry and have partly sunny skies along the coast.  Quite beautiful, actually, with day time temperatures in the high 60s.  Up in the Sierra, they expect around 50 and mostly sun.  The bad news if for those of you in the valley.  And not just the Central Valley this time.  Dense fog is reaching even into the Bay Region inland valleys this morning and for the next few days.  Typical winter inversions have set up.  We saw it on our drive home from the mountains yesterday.  50F in Kirkwood, 70F in Pine Grove, 55F in Tracy.  The blanket of grey even persisted over Altamont Pass, and into Livermore, at 2PM.  Expect delays and dive carefully.  Fog clears out Wednesday with the next short wave.

Solitude is the only chair running at Kirkwood.  Grey clouds gather along the Cirque and Sierra Crest.

Current thinking has a small low pressure pinching off from the jet near the PNW.  Most models have this thing losing moisture and moving to the east, well north of us.  This will still serve to cool us off.  The mountains return to a season mid 30s high, and along the coast we expect to see about 60F by the weekend.  And very good chances we stay dry.  Slight more likely that it is will precipitate in the mountains.  Not much of a chance, but perhaps we will see a dusting of new snow.  If we are lucky.  Any snow is welcome this time of year.   Slim chance that this thing will move south, and develop a one, two mini punch of rain and snow.  Stay tuned, in case this scenario develops.  For now, expect a pleasant week, with dropping temperatures and strong north winds on Thursday.  Oh yeah, those.  Strong NNE winds will blow out the fog, and make blustery conditions along the coast.  And increase fire hazard, as we expect these to be dry.

A storm moves into the Sierra Nevada.  But it left only a trace of snow.

Those same winds slowly shift east through Friday, and help to clean up the surf.  There was some good surf this past weekend.  Another north swell arrive this afternoon, but it will be accompanied by building high pressure and onshore winds.  Oh, well.  Still, expect fun chest highish surf in town.  Swell holds through Tuesday, and the morning could have good conditions.  More swell arrives mid week, but so does plenty of wind swell.  Things start to clean out through Friday, with another small swell possible, but with cleaner conditions.  While not very exciting for the last week of November, still a decent week.  And Hawaii finally is getting a worthy swell, and the Vans at Sunset got started.  We will see a much smaller version of this swell later today.  Still, it should be fun and a bit overhead.

So expect fair weather this week, and into the next.  Slight chance for a change of plans for the latter part of this week, but I don't think that will really happen.  Still, this has been a crazy season already.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Brick House. Sunny days to prevail.

A lazy fall morning in Capitola By-the-Sea.
Sure, we will still get a little rain, and the mountains a perhaps a dusting of snow.  But nothing like it could have been and nothing like what our friends to the north have been experiencing.  It has been dumping buckets up there.  Torrents.  Downpours.  Floods.  But not for us.  Wednesday started with another beautiful sunrise.  Just enough clouds to make it spectacular out there right now.  More clouds will fill in tonight.  North of the city will get hit the hardest with moderate rain falling down into Marin.  Mendocino, and points north, will be hit pretty hard.  Expect drizzle in SF by this evening, or early tomorrow morning.  Thanksgiving day should start cloudy and light rain will extend as far south as SLO.

This thing will fall apart quickly and a rebound follows.  Today and tomorrow will see a high around 60.  That will rise to mid to even some high 60s by Friday and through the weekend.  The sky never quite completely clears of clouds, but it will be more sun, than not.  A very nice weekend down here on the coast indeed.  It will be great weather for a hike in the Pogonip or a bike in Wilder.  Or you could head out to the beach and watch the waves.  So, this Thanksgiving swell will be a bit short of epic, but things are looking pretty good for the surfer sect.  A raw swell will arrive today with a bit of chop in it.  Still, head high plus surf in town, with a bit more beef up north.  Another shows up on Friday, and looking a bit cleaner.  Saturday is looking like a prime day with off shores and a 3rd swell arriving.  This one is projected to be 8.5'@14sec from 300 degrees.  In case you are not sure what that means.  OB will be thumping.  So a great holiday weekend on tap if you like to ride some waves.

Small waves along Pleasure Point in Santa Cruz.

A quick skier update.  Conditions are pretty bare up there.  Heavenly and Northstar will have the best conditions, simply because they make the most snow.  It will be skiing on manmade this holiday.  Kirkwood is opening Friday with a short run and accepting season passes from any resort.  Squaw may open Red Dog and certainly exhibition.  Alpine to remain closed.  Boreal will have a run or two.  Sugarbowl opens Thursday and by Friday plans to run Lincoln.  Mt Rose is waiting until they have a run from the top.  Sierra and some of the smaller resorts will wait for real snow.  Regardless of what you do or where you go - be careful out there.  Stay on the groomers or know the dangers lurking under just a few inches of snow.

Enjoy the holiday and happy Thanksgiving.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Thanksgiving storm falling apart.

The storm slated for Wednesday evening, and into Thursday is hitting a brick wall after it tramples the PNW and NorCal.  Baby is splitting right up the middle, with the bulk of the storm to our north.  Southern branch is to weaken considerably, with very little moisture getting inland, and a chance that rain dissipate by the time everything reaches San Francisco.  Rain still probable for points north.  Light showery weather south through Monterey Bay.  Or at least that is what this morning's model suggests.  Not good for snow lovers, but could help improve on that surf and hike weather along the coast.  More details later.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Thanksgiving swell, Rainy week for NorCal and Splitting storms.

Nearly every year it happens.  It is almost like it signifies the start of the winter season.  This year we have already had a few decent sized swells.  And that is all this will be.  But compared to the last month of mostly dribble, we will be getting our Thanksgiving swell.  Thursday is also looking like conditions may be pretty good to get in the water.  And with everyone eating, drinking, and watching football games, the lineups tend to be thin.  Oh, and that rain may be keeping some folks inside.

A bit more swell than this is on the way.  Small days at Steamer Lane are still fun.

Around the Bay, the next few days look nice indeed.  A few clouds are out there, just to keep the sky interesting.  Mornings are crisp here at the coast, running just a touch under 40 degrees this morning, and the peak will just be about 20 degrees warmer, trying to reach 60F.  Ah, Thanksgiving weather to be sure.  And just as is likely this time of year, we are threatened with a rainy system for later this week.  On the very bright side, we are better off than NorCal and the PNW, who hare getting heavy rain all this week.  Down here, Wednesday we begin to see a transition, as more clouds begin to move in through the middle of the day.  Rain will creep south from Humboldt all morning, running over San Francisco later in the day. The last few days of model runs clearly show this storm splitting apart.  Most of the moisture is going into the PNW and south along the coast.  This is very much like the last few storms that have come through the region.  And like those, the exact dynamics and vectors are unknown.  What is different, is this storm is packing a lot of moisture, and where that moisture goes, that place will get wet.

Another empty beach.  Capitola Wharf.  Sure is peaceful around here once the summer crowds leave.

We actually got quite a bit of rain in Santa Cruz yesterday.  So we might get hit hard by this one regardless.  Point being, if this storm somehow stays together, and does not split up, it could be driven into Central California and the Sierra very hard.  That could mean dumps of rain and dumps of snow.  For now, let's assume it does split.  Tahoe could get starved.  If the southern piece of the split stays west, along the coast, very little moisture will move of the Sierra Crest.  If it is east, say about as far east or further, than yesterday's storm, Tahoe could see around a foot in the better spots.  It looks like snow over night on Wednesday and through the day onThanksgiving.  Just enough to make it pretty.  For you skiers, probably best not to wander off the WROD this coming weekend.  Colorado has already seen two fatalities.  One at Vail and one at Breckenridge.  Stay on those groomers, or know the risks.

Similar timing down on the coast.  At this early time, expect rain up to 6500 feet or so.  Depending on how everything pans out, timing could change significantly, but expect to see clearing later in the day on Thursday.  Starting from the north.  Friday high pressure starts to nose back in, and the holiday weekend is looking clear and nice.  There does exist the chance of additional waves on Friday and Sunday, but it will be a battle with the sunshine.

Safety Tip:  Today, as is typical this time of year, the Central Valley has thick night time and morning fog.  If you need to travel through the area, give yourself time to slow down and drive safely.  Most of us coastal folks don't think of the valley as foggy, but tis time of year, they get a whole bunch more than us.  And it tends to be pea soup.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Get out and play this morning. More rain to come.

Again, the models and forecast all have different opinions about what will happen next.  It sure would be nice if the weather were just a bit more predictable.  But, if you are hoping to enjoy some outdoor activities this weekend, I suggest you get out there this morning.  It was another spectacular sunrise this morning.  Up in the mountains, Heavenly reported one inch of new snow, and Northstar got seven inches.  Both are open for some WROD skiing this weekend.  Down here on the coast, we have a cool morning and large waves.  This is the first significant swell to hit us in several weeks, so plenty of folks are excited about getting in the water.  Be careful, as this thing is pretty wild and raw.

The Giant Dipper and Ferris Wheel, Santa Cruz Boardwalk.

So, as I said, this morning should be nice out there.  Cool and crisp, but a great morning for a run, bike or walk.  Classic fall weather.  By later in the day, clouds will be filling back in, and at some point we could see the rain.  This next storm is mostly hanging out just off the coast.  The heaviest rain will be in the eastern quadrant, so when it touches down on the coast, things could get quite wet.  It all depends on where and when.   Still, expect rain starting this evening and overnight.  Or not until some time on Sunday.  My favorite model has this thing staying completely off shore until it is well south of us.  In this scenario, we only see a little bit of light showers from the wrap around, later on Sunday.  So that could lend us another great morning.  But don't count on it.  Get out there today.

(EDIT:  Today's models has this thing trending east.  We could get hit with a steady rain for Sunday.)

Morning November sky.  Stuff like this make getting out of bed easy.

Ridging returns for Monday and Tuesday.  Next week's storm is still up in the air.  We will get to that more, as we get closer.  And if you surf, today's large and raw swell will slowly subside today and through the first have of next week.  And by tomorrow, we should see south east winds setting up over the region, giving off shores to the right spots.  Go out and get some.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Calm before the storm. Timing Update.

You may want to catch a movie one night this weekend and stay dry.
Not much change from yesterday, although the GFS models from today keep us quite a bit drier.  Not counting on that, as those things seem to flip flop daily.  First storm is still looking to impact our region tomorrow some time.  Rain will fill in from the north, but the bulk of this storm is to stay north of San Francisco.  With luck, Santa Cruz could stay dry tomorrow (fat chance, though).  Expect morning rains north of the city, with showers spreading south through sunset.  Friday night, we should see rain across the region, ending late.  Say around midnight.

Saturday should start off dry.  The second storm is tracking down the coast.  GFS from this morning suggest the storm stay just off the coast until well south of here.  Not going to buy into that one either, but it would be great if it were true.  These coastal sliders are difficult to pin down.  Still,  late in the day, around sunset, rain should move into the coast near San Francisco.  Showers spread south, and clear out quickly behind it.  Sunday should start with some showers, but things look to dry out quickly.  So the weekend has a pretty good chance of being decent, especially early Saturday and late Sunday.  Plan accordingly.  And if you believe this morning's models, we could see just a sprinkle of rain.

Mid range still looks the same, with clearing weather for Monday and Tuesday.  Things begin to warm up in front of the third storm, which will be bearing down on us by late Wednesday.  This one is looking to pack quite a punch, with a lot of moisture associated with it.  While not as cold as the weekend, we may see the snow begin to pile up in the mountains with this one.  You may want to thing about your contingency plans if the power goes out on you for Thanksgiving.  These first wild storms of the season have a way of knocking down power lines.

We even have a little fall color down here on the coast.

I will have more on fall plantings up in the Market & Garden Report soon, but just a note for you here.  If you have any really young seedlings, cold and heavy rains can be a challenge.  An ideal time to plant some new lettuce or kale, would be just after the end of this series of storms.  Wait for the weather to pass, and get them in the ground just as high pressure moves in, the sun returns and the days warm up.  We may have another storm after Thanksgiving, but the models are not in agreement.  And even if they were, we are just too far out to say with any certainty.  Kind of like predicting the rain tomorrow.  Likely for Marin, good chance for San Francisco, and about a coin toss for Santa Cruz.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

1,2,3. Winter Weather Advisory is in effect.

Harbor light, late in the day.  Seabright Beach, Santa Cruz
Three storms lining up out in the Pacific to come into our neighborhood.  Are you excited about that or what?  Hopefully after this line up we see a return to some more placid weather for the first half of December.  Of course, time is what will tell.  For now, be prepared for a week of off and on rain.  Heavy at times.  Today was quite nice, and we should see more of the same for Thursday, albeit a slight bit cooler, and windy by afternoon.  Clouds roll in through the evening.  Then things get pretty consistent with the rain and cold.

Friday looks likely to start off with a bit of rain, although it may hold off until mid day.  In fact, I think it will (but that is what I said last week).  Regardless, rain will come in at some point on Friday.  And cold along with it, with highs struggling to reach 60 along the coast.  It will be even colder as you head up into the coastal mountains, with freezing levels dipping down below 3000 feet.  By Saturday morning, we could see some snow topped mountains along the high peaks around the bay.  Saturday should clear up, but it is going to start off real cold.  Not a whole lot of moisture with this one.  Maybe a half inch of rain down here, and a foot of snow (thanks to those cold temps) along the crest.

So that is number one.  Number two is close behind, and will move in through the evening on Saturday. This one is to track south just like last week's storm.  So real wet along the coast, but not much making its way toward Tahoe.  Maybe an inch of snow up there.  We should see a fast moving storm, with close to 3/4 of an inch falling over night.  If we are lucky, this thing will keep on trucking to our south, and Sunday will see clearing weather.  But is this thing slows down even just a bit, rain will start later and continue through the day on Wednesday.

Redwood canopy in the Pogonip, Santa Cruz.

Monday and Tuesday see mostly sun, and crisp weather.  Hello fall.  Might get a few good cold mornings.  If you are in an area prone to frost, keep an eye out.  Right now it looks cold, but not quite freezing.  Then along comes number three.  Just in time to make some fun for the holiday.  We are still a week out, so this is just chit chat, but what looks like a large, strong, wet and warm storm may come our way.  This is what we will need to really get those ski resorts up and running.  Timing currently looks like rain starts for the north bay mid day Wednesday and spreads south to Monterey by late evening.  Snow begins in the mountains around sunset, and continues through Thanksgiving.  Everywhere looks stormy for Thursday.  On the plus side, high pressure ridges in on Friday and through the rest of the weekend.  Could be a great weekend and some great skiing.  Or not.  Check back here for updates.

So it is easy.  Thursday, nice. Friday, rain.  Saturday, nice morning, rain late.  Sunday, rain morning, nice late.  Monday & Tuesday, nice.  The rain after that.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Break continues through Thursday. Rain returns for our weekend, and beyond.

Great time of year to stroll fire roads through coastal hardwoods.  Pogonip.
So, if you are a Thanksgiving skier, you are probably starting to get an little antsy and fear you will be riding on the White Ribbon of Death, or otherwise known as a man made strip of snow.  Fear not, as we still have a chance to get some natural snow before we carve our turkeys.  As for you fair weather loving folk, you can begin to fear, as our rather wet and cool November will continue.

It is beautiful out there today, and except for last Friday's rain and wind, things have been decent.  Not quite like some of that October weather we had, but as we edge toward December and winter, the shorter days and Pacific storms make it that much harder to reach 80, or 70 even.  Still, mild weather with highs around 60 should continue through the middle of the week, with the change again coming on Friday.  A cold front will push down the coast, with the bulk of the storm moving inland well to the north of us.  Still, this system is broad enough for us to get some good showers on Friday and see some of them lingering through Saturday.  And it is going to get cold, with high temperatures in the low to mid 50s along the coast and in the valleys.  Cooler up high.  Santa Cruz could see a frost early on Saturday morning, with lows dipping into the low to mid 30s.  Freezing levels could dip as low as 2000 feet.  Say hello to snow capped peaks San Jose.  Of course, a lot still will depend on where the core of this system comes inland.

A series of storms are lined up behind this one, so we can expect turbulent weather through next week and Thanksgiving.  Or at least plan on it, including adding some driving time as you head to your holiday destinations.  I don't really want to do too much predicting on the long term, but models have a significant storm coming into the region next Wed/Thurs, so those big travel days could be difficult.  More look to line up behind them, through the end of the month, before high pressure, and fair weather returns for early December.  It could be just what the resorts need to get their season started.  For safe bets, Northstar, Heavenly and Mammoth all plan to be in operation just prior to Thanksgiving.  The rest of the resorts really rely on natural snow to get up and going.

Sunset on Main Beach in Santa Cruz.  In summer thousands pack this beach.  Now, just like 5 walk it.

So, the rest of this week.  Sun and cool mornings around 40-45F.  Day time highs around 60-65F.  A little warmer in the best spots, and a little cooler in the west facing coastal locations.  By Thursday evening, clouds dominate and showers may fill in.  Watch that evening commute.  Cooler, in the low to mid 50s, on Friday and through the weekend, with chance of rain (greatest on Friday).  Slight warming after that, but more rain currently in the forecast.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Thursday morning update. Good news. Storm tracking south.

Are these sky shots getting boring?  I've just been loving the clouds.  West Cliff.
This morning broke with another amazing sunrise.  Not quite a double rainbow quality, but edging near.  You need to be up and ready to enjoy them, as they come and go so quickly.  A partly cloudy sky was perhaps what made it so beautiful earlier.  Currently we have a variety of clouds up there, but there is still plenty of blue.  And there is more good news, as the models shift the storm track further to our south.  The Bay Area is now expecting only a half inch of rain or less.  Most of that falling Friday.  Even the NWS has significantly decreased their precipitation forecast.  Using their numbers, 20% chance tonight, and 60% during the day Friday - for showers.  By Saturday the forecast is back down to 20% chance.

Temperatures are to remain the same, with low 60s for Santa Cruz as a high and mid 40s for a low.  It will be a little chillier in Scotts Valley and other locales in the Santa Cruz mountains.  By Sunday, we should return to a mostly sunny sky.  The same for Monday.  Long term, we are looking a similar weather through the first half of next week, with another storm possible for the weekend before Thanksgiving.  Perhaps we will have snow to open the resorts on Turkey Day.  At the very least, we are having an interesting November for weather.  I mean, seriously.  The east coast has a hurricane and a snow storm brewing at the same time.  Glad I'm in California.

Edit.  Most recent model runs really have this thing headed south.  San Diego and Baja get the brunt, and we barely see it.  Late Friday showers could be all we see, and then some lingering moisture on Saturday.  Sunday's wave looks to be way north and east of us.  Could be just enough weather  to give us epic sunrises and sunsets.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

The NWS and GFS disagree as to when, but both concur that Rain is Coming.

More fine weather along West Cliff Drive.  
I tend to lean a bit toward the GFS and assume that the NWS is hedging its bets.  Better to claim rain and get a bit of prolonged sun, that vice versa.  They both pretty much agree that the brunt of this system is coming on Friday.  NWS gives about an 80% chance of rain coming overnight on Thursday.  The GFS hold off until Friday afternoon.  GFS concentrates the storm into about a 18 hour period, whereas NWS predicts showery weather, even persisting into the weekend.  What this tells us is that the models are having a hard settling on a solution for the storm track over the next few days.  Be prepared for a wet Thursday evening commute, but don't complain if Friday morning is pleasant.

Today was pretty nice out there.  Not hot, but warm in the sun.  And cool in the shade.  Very autumn.  Short term is a mess.  Thursday will begin quite nice.  Rain may show in the afternoon.  At the very least, some clouds will fill in.  Friday looks to be mostly rainy.  Most likely we will either begin clear and have heavy rain late in the day or, if rain starts early, things will be more showery in nature.  The weekend looks like a clearing trend, with the possibility of no to little rain.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Tuesday morning. Cold on tap.

More autumn weather along West Cliff Drive, south looking at Lighthouse Point
Man, this cold air does not want to budge.  Frost warnings were around again last night, and will be posted again tonight.  Not as cold as this past Saturday morning, so if you did not get hit then, you probably won't get that cold this time.  The day started sunny, so things should warm up a bit.  Ahead of the next system, warm southern air gets drawn to us.  Wednesday and likely Thursday will be in the high 60s to around 70F.

This morning's model run suggest this thing is only going to clip up here in the Bay Region, on its way to  Los Angeles.   They will get the bulk of the rain, and duration of this storm.  That is not to say that we remain unscathed.  We should get a pretty good dose of rain Friday evening, into Saturday morning.  Still looking at around an inch of precipitation.  Two plus for areas south of SLO.  Big Sur could be a mess this weekend.  The Santa Barbara mountains could see over 3.5 inches.  So this thing is wet, but moves pretty fast through our region.  Saturday sees clearing, but weak bands of moistures should continue to move through perhaps all weekend.  Still, expect mostly clear, and a bit crisp.  Highs will range from the mid 50s to low 60s.  Monday looks to be sunny.  More tomorrow, as this thing keeps shifting.  Perhaps it will miss us all together.

Models are beginning to hone in on this current solution.  The storm will pass us, just west, out to sea, heading south.  Our best best, is brief, heavy, warm rain.  Cooling air will fill in behind.  We may see off shore winds develop.  A slight shift east, and we will see earlier, more prolonged and colder rain.  More tomorrow.  Enjoy these next few days.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Models all over the place. Wednesday and Thursday to be a bit Warmer.

This kind of weather brings rainbows, and a few double rainbow moments.
This morning's guidance has the mid week storm staying off the coast through Thursday, and then moving onshore Friday evening, well south of the region.  The reason this storm's track keep fluctuating, is that it is a cut-off low.  It is not be driven by the jet stream, and acts in an fairly unpredictable way, similar to a tropical storm.  Slight shift in other weather systems can drastically effect its track.  So, actually, we won't have a good hold on this one, until it is on top of us.  Still, based on what we can see this morning, the brunt of this storm is going to slam into the coast south of Point Conception.  The entire California coast will get rain.  Lightest way up north, with less than a 1/4 inch.  Around the Bay we will experience from .5 to 1.5 inches.  The L.A. Basin could receive well over two inches, and San Diego getting about a half inch.    Sorry, SoCal, but you lose on this one.  On the other hand, Tahoe should only getting a dusting of snow, and Sacto a drizzle of rain.

Of course, if this thing shifts even 50 miles to the east or north, and the results will be drastically different.  Be prepared for anything this coming week.  I can say with confidence that the weather will stay fair through Wednesday, with each day warming up a bit more than the day before.  It will not be as chilly as this past weekend.  As the storm approaches from the north and west, it will draw up warm southern air in front of it.  This could have us seeing high 60s to low 70s by Wednesday.  Now Thursday is really up in the air.  If this storm tracks inland further north, over our region, or even near Big Sur, we will begin to see rain on Thursday.  Otherwise, Thursday will look like Wednesday.  Kind of the calm (and kind weather) before the storm.  By Friday, regardless of track (unless this thing stays off shore, and we get no rain) we should be seeing rain at least by the evening.  As the rain moves in, the air cools, but not terribly so.  Low to mid 60s.

Saturday could remain showery and cool.  Things look to clear by Sunday, but this thing could hang over us.  Even if we do clear up, we could still see a band or two over moisture briefly move over the area, as everything shifts east to the Rockies.  Another change in the models this morning is a through setting up over the east coast by Wednesday of next week, allowing for a strong high to raise up over us.  This would mean a return to continued dry weather.  But take no credence in this yet, as yesterday we had several small storms hitting us before Thanksgiving, with the last one moving through on the 21st.  Worth watching for you roofers and bird watchers out there - or anyone who'd like to see more of the awesomeness of autumn.

Before the storm.  Calm and clouds along West Cliff Drive, Santa Cruz.

Kelly Slater claimed his 11th world title (for reals this time) in San Francisco yesterday. The Rip Curl Pro is planning to run the final day of competition today.  Waves look to be several feet overhead, with just a bit of warble and bump in the mix.  We are in a decent run of stormy surf currently.  If we get another high pressure set up upon us, the storm corridor north of Hawaii should open up, and we could get some clean longer period surf for a bit.  In the short term, it is brief periods of calm in between the winds.

Nice today and warming.  Quite pleasant by Wednesday.  Thursday is a crap shoot.  As is the first half of Friday.  Rain likely by week's end.  Brief, but strong.  Clearing around Sunday.  long term up in the air.

Edit to note that the Central Valley, especially the Sierra West Slope, is experiencing heavy fog this morning, and this could persist through at least Wednesday.  Hopefully, this coming storm will knock out the inversion developing.  If you plan to drive through the area, plan ahead, and leave early.  Visibility will be impaired.  Yup, it is that time of year again.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

More on the Way, but a nice one Today.

Storm clouds gather above the Santa Cruz Boardwalk and Mt. Madonna.
 Not a whole lot of new information to report on this morning.  It is super chilly out there this morning, with Pope Valley reporting 32F, Napa Airport 38F, Santa Cruz 40F and SFO 47F.  The sky is not super clear this morning, but that kept the temperature from dropping even lower, and it gave us a super spectacular sunrise.  I'd rate what is going on outside right now as a 8 out of 10.  And it just keeps on getting better.  Super awesome.  Almost like a double rainbow moment at my front window right now.

The rest of today, Saturday, should be pretty nice.  Things will warm up a bit once the sun gets higher in the sky, but don't expect anything too warm.  Mid 50s to maybe low 60s across the region.  By early evening, we should see clouds, and perhaps a bit of rain.  Good chance the rain will hold off until after sunset, and the bulk of it will come over night.  Sunday morning could be a bit wet, but things will dry out through the day.  Next week is still up in the air, but it regardless, things look chilly.  Possible rain by Thursday or Friday.  More on that later.

Snow for the mountains.  Perhaps another 6 to 12 inches tonight at the higher elevations.  More of this light blower, non-base building snow.  Boreal is open today if you want to get some lift served turns.  The ski season starting will be more dependent on what happens over the next few weeks.  The good news is the cold will continue, so what has fallen and what will fall tonight, will stick around for the near term instead of melting off.  That is not to say that it will not blow away, as this stuff does not stick.  The possible next few storms through the middle of the month may have heavier snowfall.  This morning, the teleconnections and models still suggest a few more weeks of turbulent weather.  Time will tell, but it looks more wintery than autumn like through the 20th.

West Cliff Drive getting the very last bit of the day's light as the storm approaches.

Surf wise, the swell is up.  Mid period NW filled in late yesterday and will stick around for the weekend.    Conditions are on the stormy side, but it is nice to have a little swell in the water.  Last Wednesday was a great day for surfing.  The Rip Curl Pro at Ocean Beach had great conditions.  Kelly Slater (sort of) won his 11th World Title, proving what an amazing athlete he really is.  Seriously.  He is almost 40 and still creaming the young crop of up and coming pros.  If you are up in the city, and have the time, check out the contest.

In short, fair Saturday, rain over night and into Sunday.  Clearing around mid day, and through the first half of next week.  Lows in the 40s and highs in the 50s to low 60s.  Possible rain returns later next week.  Possibly heavy.

Friday, November 4, 2011

A Foot of Snow up high. Beautiful Sunset on tap for this evening. Sunday morning brings some more rain.

Santa Cruz Boardwalk on a sunny and 75 degree November hump day.
Kirkwood and Squaw reporting up to 10 inches of snow up high, and the Uber Cam shows that it is still falling.  Plenty of folks are gearing up to getting on it for tomorrow morning.  If you are one of them, be careful out there, as this stuff fell light and dry and you will sink right through to the bottom in many places.  Best be skiing on some glacier like substance, as opposed to a granite like substance.  More rain and snow comes over the weekend, so Sunday looks like it could be even better.  For you folks who think skiing includes the use of a loft, then you still have a few weeks to wait, as resorts are only now beginning to assess snow making potential and get things up and running.

Down here on the coast, the sky is about 50 percent clouds.  Just about perfect for getting some pictures of the sky.  And continued clearing may set up for one of the better sunsets so far this season.  Hope you find yourself outside, or in view of it between 5:30 and 6:30 tonight.  Saturday morning will be decent, if very cold.  Along the coast we could even seen a few locales dip into the high 30s.  Frost advisories are out for valleys in Marin and Monterey.  The morning sky should break nice and blue.  But another system is on its way and clouds will be present by evening, and more rain comes over night.  This second storm looks a bit lighter in precipitation than last nights.  Still, another good sprinkle should occur, and things begin to clear late in the day Sunday.  Monday should be nice (and still chilly).  And that could last through mid week or beyond.

The sky was on fire in front of the approaching storm.  It is sunset season, baby.

Next week's storm keeps showing up uncertain.  It could stay off the coast and drive its way toward Mexico, or it could shift inland as far north as Marin, and drench the coast, and dump snow in the Sierra.  Or, it could do something in between, such as just drag down the coast, drop rain and bring cold.  It would be a bummer to get a lot here, but not in them hills.  More on this one as we progress through the week.  Just another thing to note as of this mornings.  Models are beginning to suggest continued toughing near the coast, with the high shifting west.  That would give us continued turbulent weather, and halt any warming.  It is possible that this storminess could continue past next week.  Interesting, to say the least.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

On Schedule. Rain this Evening. And getting Colder. Ice Wine anyone?

More birds near Natural Bridges,
This continue on track.  Rain fall totals look a little less on this morning's models, for the first round of storms.  Light and scattered rain moves in from the north late this evening, and filling in overnight.  Some spots around the Bay will get a 1/4 inch or more.  Especially the westerly facing slopes.  Shadowed areas, like Santa Cruz may only get a drizzle to tenth inch.  There is potential for more, but it currently looks as if this thing will not be drawing up to much water.  But it will be cold.  Temperatures drop all day, and we will be in the low to mid 40s overnight.  Showers for Friday morning, and clearing in the afternoon.

Clearing will be an issue for farmers.  Clear skies, with a cold air mass, and we start to see the signs for a frost or freeze.  Good chances that Napa Valley and other well protected coastal valleys will see a solid frost on Friday night, and even a chance for a freeze.  This will have an effect on the wine grape harvest for sure.  As well as effecting other warm loving plants, like tomatoes, eggplants, peppers and more.  We may see these dwindling in supply.  Check the Market Report in the next few days.

Saturday will remain cold and brisk, but otherwise nice, with mostly sunny skies.  Clouds return in the evening, as the second wave of cold rain hits in the early morning hours of Sunday.  More clearing for Monday, and the first half of next week could be quite pleasant; expect similar to Saturday.  Not really beach weather, but it is November after all.  Sure, yesterday was a beach day and in November, but come on.  Let's be realistic.  By late Wednesday or Thursday, another storm is expected to move down the coast.  The models are having a hard time getting a good read on this one (and it is still a week away), but it does look like it is carrying a lot of water.  Currently it looks like this thing will come ashore by Santa Barbara and drench the coast.  We look moderately wet.  Still other models have this thing staying off shore and dissipating.  It will be a cut off low, so models will remain variable.  Regardless, good chance of more cold, wet weather a week out.  After that things slowly rebound and warm.

Okay powder hounds.  Biting at the bit to get some early season turns.  Don't count on this one.  Yes, the cold will helps those resorts inclined to, to turn on the snow guns.  But the mother nature aspect will be mostly light blower and thin cover.  Not what we need to lay down the base and open up some terrain.  At least these first two storms.  At most we are expecting a foot at the Sierra Crest by Monday.  And this stuff won't stick.  Next week's storm is still too far out, but I'm not expecting anything epic.  Still, Boreal, Northstar and Heavenly should be blowing snow and be ready to go for the middle of the month.  And with the extended period of cold weather, and very cold nights, they may be able to lay down some significant WROD for you to get out and turn on.

Wednesday was a beautiful day along West Cliff Drive.  75 degrees and sunny.  In November.  Want some?

In short.  Rain tonight and Friday morning.  Cold, getting colder.  Friday and beyond will be in the 50s.  Friday night will see a frost in many areas.  Protect you plants.  Santa Cruz down to 40.  Same in the city.  Napa will be 30-35.  Cold.  Some clouds Saturday.  Rain Sunday morning.  Clear Monday through mid week.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

One more day of Sun, before the Rain and Cold. Friday Night Frost.

The Rip Curl Pro got off to a good start this morning at Ocean Beach in San Francisco.  The morning was cool, with just a bit of coastal fog that burned off early.  Offshore winds blew for most of the day as it warmed toward 70F.  It was another nice central coast autumn day.  Wednesday should fair about the same, and the easterly winds may persist through the entire day.  Thursday will be a day of change.

More bird action at the lagoon near Natural bridges State Park.

Models continue to project that by Thursday, we will begin to cool off and see some morning clouds.  Scattered showers and thunderstorms move from north to south across the region by the afternoon.  Rain and cold over night.  Friday will start off with showers, but coastal zones should see some clearing by afternoon.  And then a clear night is expected, allowing temperatures to drop.  Many valleys will see their first frost of the season.  If you have tender plants, you may want to get out there and protect the.  A second wave moves through on Sunday.  More cold, and possibly more rain follow next week.