Monday, December 31, 2012

If models hold, high and dry for some time.

Chilly, right?  Balked on a chance to go full moon skiing last night.  I contribute a lot of things to that, but perhaps it was just because it was so cold.  Anyway, the chill continues regardless where you are in Central Cal.  The bright out look is that the models have progressed toward a drier solution for the coming week.  We are seeing a fairly decent sized high pressure filling in, and doing its part to split storms before they reach the coast.  It will stay cold, but by mid week, we will see some warmer.  Not much though.  The difference between 52F today and 58F on Friday.  There is a suggestion that by the 12th or so of January that a storm pattern could develop.  Too far out to say, and it could be more of a single hit as opposed to the fire house we received in December.  The New Year looks to start off on a fair weather set up.  We could, with luck see some warming over the next two weeks.  Nothing like 70, but we could find ourselves back to the mid 60s.

Birds at the Neary Lagoon are fun to watch.  This guy followed us down the boardwalk. 

When I left Santa Cruz yesterday morning, the surf was pretty much pumping.  Swell looks real fun over the next few day with an easterly wind.  Watch your tides, winds and swell, and you can be sure to score out there right now.  Snow is not too shabby either.  I fit in three lift runs yesterday afternoon.  Variable pack powder off the lift, with areas of wind buff and, and some shin deep semi-tracked a quick hike away.  The snowpack is easing a bit and picking up stability.  The backcountry is skiing really nicely.  It is still dangerous out there and the PWL, while buried deep, can still break.  Anyway, plenty of fun to be had.  Hope 2012 goes out well for ya, have fun next year.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Cold nights, cool days and periodic light rain.

Things cleared out today, and it should be sunny on Friday.  That cloud spare sky will allow for some significant cooling tonight.  It will be cold, and freezing temperatures are expected for any where but the coastal plane.  So, if you are in the hills, or even just slightly up the hill (say around campus) expect frost to a light freeze overnight tonight.  Sure has been a cold spell.  And it is not expected to let up anytime soon.  A cut off low is moving its way down the coast, and should brush our region by Friday night.  Light rain fills in late Friday and will continue through the day on Saturday, letting up on Sunday.  This will bring up the temperature a few degrees, but expect continued cold.  33F for a low and 52F for a high.  Or there about.  Tahoe could see a few inches to a half foot through the period.

Its Beach on a clear morning in December.

Sunday morning will bring clearing, but a second, weaker system moves in, brings some periodic drizzle.  Not much, but not high pressure either.  By evening though, high pressure will begin to nose in.  Cold air remains over the region and the years will end and begin cold.  It looks like another system is not forecasted for later in the week.  Sun should shine on Monday and Tuesday.  Wednesday will start clear, but clouds could move in by afternoon, and showers by evening.  This one looks a bit wetter than the weekend, but nothing like the storms of late December.  Thursday should be wet.  And continues chilly.  Hopefully by Friday we will be in the clear, and we could see a little bit of warming.  And as of now, it looks like we should see a week or 10 days of sun.  Yeah, right.  Will watch and monitor.  At least the teleconnections agree that that makes sense.  I will probably check back in, but if not, have a great New Year.

That is about it for the weather, but how about the snow and surf.  Looks promising.  The snowfall at the resorts are about 50% of annual average, so we have a good base from top to bottom.  The 5 or so feet from the last week and the 10-15 feet of snow that has fallen this month is being kept in great condition by the cold temps.  If you have not yet schussed this season, you should get on up there and make some turns.  Stay inbounds, or use extreme caution.  The backcountry is in a bit of sketchy condition and the dragon is lurking.  As for the surf, things look fun today and through the end of the week.  A big swell approaches for Saturday, and with luck, the winds could be light.  Could be.  We could also see this storm churn up a south wind, which would be bad for the surf.  This swell is big and breakers at exposed breaks will be in excess of 15 feet.  In town, it still looks sizable with a range of 5-10 feet, depending on where you go.  Get some, but be smart.  Currents will be strong, and due to the long period, it will have a lot of energy behind it.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Cool and wet, cool and wet. And a note to you snow sliders.

First, let us start off on a somber note tonight.  In the past few days, there have been several in bounds avalanches at north shore Tahoe ski resorts.  If you are headed out, please use caution, and understand that the resorts are unable to mitigate all risks.  The rain, and subsequent ice layer that formed back around Thanksgiving, has developed a very dangerous and persistent bed surface in the snow pack.  If you are choosing to go out and ski the steeper terrain, it would be wise to wear an avalanche beacon, avoid rollovers and terrain traps.  If you are not sure about what I am talking about, it would be best to stay on groomed and/or mellow terrain.  There have been two lived lost already.  Be careful out there.

Cool and wet weather continues for the Central coast through Wednesday.  Expect a rainy day tomorrow.  Highs should hover in the mid 50s for the next week.  Another foot of snow is expected at lake level, with two feet near the Sierra Crest.  It will be a brutal day tomorrow in the mountains.  Clearing should occur on Thursday, but showers could linger both on the coast and in the mountains.  Snow levels will be well below lake level, dropping down to almost 3000 feet by Wednesday evening. It will be chilly here in Santa Cruz.  Expect at least a short period of clearing with Thursday possibly being fair, and Friday starting off with a bit of sun.  The storm that was expected to stay off to our west and run into Southern California is trending east.  We should see a little bit of rain from this system, but heavy rain should be brief.  Not a whole bunch of moisture is expected to run over us, but this last storm is cut off from the jet, and is therefore hard to predict its path.  Updates to follow, but as of now it looks like moderate rain by Friday night, and showery weather on Saturday.  Some models suggest this thing is a slow mover and could keep us wet through the weekend and possibly into Monday.  More to come.  Regardless, it will be chilly through the period.

Steamer Lane, back in November, during the Cold Water Classic.  Fair weather returns for 2013.

While the surf is looking less than stellar with these storms, another large swell should be impacting our coast by the weekend.  Right now it looks like a large, long period (18 seconds plus) should hit Santa Cruz by Saturday.  If the current models runs are correct, we will be getting slammed by the final storm in the series, so conditions will be sub par.  If, on the other hand, the storms stays west, we should see strong offshore easterly winds, which could turn on the big wave breaks up the coast.  Time will tell.  As for the long term weather, things look to dry out with the new year.  High pressure should settle in and keep the storm track just to our north.  Not looking like a big boost in temperatures, but at least we will see a week of sun shine.  Or, at least that is how it looks now.  Merry Christmas, enjoy life and stay safe out there people.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Torrents. A nice Christmas Eve. And then more Torrents.

Today is a wash.  Oddly, the NWS has a warning for blowing dust today due to the strong winds.  Not sure where the dust is coming from, because we have puddles in our yard right now.  Been working on grading the land away from the house.  Let us say, it is a work in progress.  Still, looks better than the last storm, when the puddles were up against the foundation.  Lots more rain expected today, but we should see things lighten up over night, and for Monday, Christmas Eve, we could see breaks in the sky and a little bit of sun.  Expect a cool day, but is the sun does come out, it will feel warm around here.  Up in the Sierra, resorts are hoping to get out and on the hill tomorrow with a few more open lifts.  It has been a tough weekend up there.  If things do pop Monday morning, some folks will be out enjoying 3 or 4 or more feet of fresh snow.  Snow levels remained below lake level, so that is a plus.  The backcountry could be a bit sketch for a while with all the changes in snow density.  Know before you go.  Don't be a statistic, just because it looked so good beyond the gates.

While dangerous, cliff may also be beautiful.  Steamer Lane, Santa Cruz.

The break won't last long, with another wet and cool system moving into our region on Christmas Day.  Again, mid 50s.  Morning could be nice if this thing just holds up a bit, but expect rain by evening at the very latest.  Should be similar to today on Wednesday.  Maybe just a bit less windy.  Regardless, another stormy period will ensue.  Clearing could be hoped for by Thursday.  Models this morning are suggesting a bit of high pressure nosing in.  Once things clear out, it looks like next weekend should be fair, with mid 50s.  The NWS is suggesting a chance of showery weather, but the last few runs of the GFS suggest otherwise.  I'll update on this as the week progresses.  As for the skiing, it should be game on by next Thursday.  New parts of the hill will be opening and the snow should be fantastic.

Right now, I am thinking we will see at least week of clear weather.  Can't really be further than that.  It is not like we have a solid blocking high forecasted.  Time will tell.  Possibly more rain by the middle of next week, or say, January 3rd.  It has been a wet season so far, and that is great news for snow enthusiast and water managers.  Just keep in mind this type of weather can create minor flash flooding and saturated soils.  With high winds, trees may down.  You could lose power.  Stay prepared.  Stay away and out of moving water.  And have a wonderful holiday to all and may good tidings fall upon your loved ones.  Cause we know rain drops will.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Continued Cold. Not So Continued Dry.

This could be the last fair morning in the next week.  Cold air prevails reminding us that it is winter out.  Magical sunrise this morning for sure with clouds starting to fill in around the Monterey Bay.  Red, gold, pink, blue and a touch of white color the sky.  The bay is cobalt.  Awesomeness.  But all that is about to change as a strong, persistent and wet storm moves into our region during the day today.  Rain, and cold for the weekend is the company line.

So, it will actually be a little warmer than it has been the past few days.  The clear sky has allowed any warmth generated by the sun to escape to the atmosphere.  With the rain comes clouds, and a little Mother Nature blanket.  But it won't be too warm.  Mid 50s through the rainy period.  Next break looks to be Christmas Day.  We could see over 5 feet of new snow by then in the Sierra.  So, goes without saying, that the resorts should be in really good shape for the holiday stretch.  This system will be getting more snow down to the lower elevations, so things should be well covered even below 7500 feet.  Git sum.

Evening session at Cowells Beach, Santa Cruz.

More rain looks likely to fill in by Tuesday and the following week.  Looks like we are in for a wet stretch.  Luckily, my French Drain is now 99.72% complete.  On another note, a large swell should begin hitting our coast late this morning.  Long period and looking like the biggest of the season yet.  Local winds will keep the surf pretty choppy and crappy, but if you like the view the amazing power of the Pacific, dress warm, and stand well back from the edge.  Too bad about the winds, 'cause this is a Mav's swell.  Oh well.

So, in short, today is not the end of the world, but the weather will be apocalyptic like.  Cold, rain, wind and an angry ocean.  Next post coming soon.  It was a rough week, and I decided to go ski instead of post.  Check out more pics at

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Rain tonight, cold tomorrow and fair for Thursday.

Short post tonight.  Light rain fills in from north to south tonight.  Likely to see moderate showers across the region for the morning commute.  Clearing possible for afternoon.  Looks like this one will be light here in Santa Cruz.  Good old south facing situation working in our favor.  Up in the local hills, expect a half inch of rain.  Down on the coastal plane and valleys, maybe a quarter inch.  Anyway, good chance of drier air by noon on the west side.  It may linger a bit longer in the central valley and mountains.  As cold air moves in behind the front mid day, snow may begin to fall on the higher local peaks.  Snow levels down to about 3500 feet.  Thursday we should see some sun, and slightly warmer temperatures.  More storms by the weekend, but these look even lighter than tonights.  But take advantage of any sunny breaks we have, as more cold and rain is expected next week and leading up to the holidays.  Snow should be skiing pretty nicely by then.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

That was nice, but more rain is in the forecast.

It has been a pretty damn good start to the water year with both OCtober and November coming in stronger than average.  But hey man, it is still fall, and I want some of the awesome weather.  This weekend did not disappoint with crisp mornings, a clear sky and fantastic afternoon weather.  Great times for getting outdoors for a ride, a hike, a surf or what ever.  Hope you had a good time. And if you were paying attention, and getting up in time, the sunrises have been so freaking good.  Blood red over the Salinas Valley and Monterey Peninsula, with just enough clouds to give it texture.  And sunset has been going off with a deep royal blue bay and shades of pink overhead.  Just wonderful.  I have plenty of photos to share with you guys, but there has been some issue with posting.  Might need to migrate to a new virtual home soon.

Anyway, the Monday should be more of the same, and Tuesday similar, but just a touch cooler.  High in the low 60s.  By Wednesday, a cold, dry winter storm will begin to move down the coast.  When I say dry, I do not mean it will not rain, rather, it will not rain, like, biblically.  We should see moderate showers develop on Wednesday and last through the evening.  By Thursday, we could be back in the clear, but it will be much cooler.  Maybe in the mid 50s, with over night lows dipping into the high 30s, except right along the immediate coastline.  Brrr.  A slow warming should be in effect, with upper 50s by Friday.  But then we see the chance of another system bringing us rain by next weekend.  Timing, and storm track still too far out to forecast.  Hopefully I can get another post up tomorrow with more details on the Wednesday storm.

Bike trails are running great.  Just wet enough to be fun.  Surf has been so so, but winds will be off shore the next few days and a small, mid period swell should give us some fun surf for Tuesday.  And up in the Sierra, we have a solid base above 7500 feet, and this next storm will drop about six inches of light powder at the resorts.  More in the higher elevations and along the crest.  With just a little luck, we could see a foot or so.  That will help resurface the mountains and get us into a good cycle for the holidays.  And as we look out mid and long term,  we could be entering a rainy pattern, with colder temps and freezing levels in the 5K range.  More to come.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Toady is a break. More rain a chance mid week.

Might get up into the low/ mid 60s today.  The sun is warm on the skin after almost a week of rain.  And heavy rain at that.  Areas to our north got hit real hard.  Feels like we got hit hard, but the plume of moisture hitting the southern Cascades was immense.  Shasta is blanketed.  Snow levels were pretty high with this storm.  Up along the crest a good three feet fell.  Don't get to excited about this weekend, because while it was some great base builder, it was not all that powdery.  Been a warm season up there so far.  Down here, in town we saw several inches of rain over the weekend.  Up in the local hills, areas received an excess of six.  That is a ton of water.  No reports have yet made it to me of major flooding or landslides.  We weathered this one pretty well.  My French drain worked as planned.

Tuesday should start off decent enough.  Clouds should be present by morning, but showers are not likely until late in the day.  In fact, this next system would really like to stay just to our north and barely brush us with weather.  Us snow overs are hoping it pushes a bit further south and pulls some cold air down.  In stead, things could warm up nicely on Tuesday ahead of the storm, and stay tepid through Wednesday.  Mid 60s are likely.  Showery weather is expected through the day on Wednesday.  Not rain like this last storm, but showers.  Less than a half inch, with the greatest amounts to our north.  As the storm pushes through, temperatures will drop and rain taper.  Thursday will be much like today, with a crisp morning and mild afternoon.  High pressure will build in, bringing back some light north west winds along the coast.  Clear through the rest of the week and weekend.  No real warm up expected at this point, but we could see something develop by Sunday or next week.  Next rain event is not in the near term.  Maybe by mid month.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Rain, Wind, Flooding, oh My. A Mayan Weekend.

This morning it was decent out.  After a long morning walk through Downtown, and along the deserted winter Boardwalk, our outing became rained out while checking out the ducks in Neary Lagoon.  But is was barely more than a heavy drizzle, and lasted only about ten minutes.  Another wave passed at noon.  Rain, heavy at times, will fill in today and tonight.  Santa Cruz, lucky to be in a shadow, might get only an inch.  The mountains around us could see up to six in the most conducive locations.  And it will continue to be quite windy.  Twenty, thirty miles per hour surface winds, with gust possibly up to 65 mph in higher elevations.  But it is important to note that this not just a high elevation wind event.  I saw yard umbrellas flying down the street the other day.  Lock your stuff down, or bring it in.  It is going to be one hell of a storm over the next few days.

With just a little bit of luck, this thing will clear out before the end of the day on Friday.  Not like, clear out, and give us bright sunshine, but I mean the rain will stop.  Or at least die done to a light drizzle.  Chances look decent for that.  But this thing is going to march right back in during the day Saturday and deliver us its strongest punch.  Get ready for some water folks.  By this time, the ground will be well saturated, the rivers will be flowing, and there will be no where for the water to go.  It will spill over, and begin to flood.  I guess my 97% completed French drain will get a real test.  Wish she were 100% completed.  Anyway, rain comes in fill back in during the day on Saturday.  Best chance for no rain is early in the morning.  As the final wave fills in on Saturday, wind and rain will persist through Sunday.  Another cool and rainy day.

As all of this is happening a large raw destructive swell will arrive on the central coast.  This thing will be short and mid period, so it will have a different look than a nice clean long period swell.  Waves and the ocean will continue to be choppy and stormy.  Yesterday, wave spray was coming across West Cliff Drive in several places.  This will be happening along with high tides over the next few days.  About 10:15 AM on Friday.  A little later each day.  Anyway, stay away from the cliffs and keep an eye on the ocean.  Don't expect much in the form of quality surf with south winds staying up above 15 knots all weekend.  And while talking about water, a reminder of flooding.  Urban flooding.  Roads will have water on them.  Standing puddles.  Hydroplane hazards.  Slow down and drive carefully.  Stay away from stream and river banks.  Turn off the sprinkler system.  Dress for rain.  Stay warm.  Stay dry.  Stay inside.  Whatever, just know it will be wet and stormy.

Monday things clear out with a chance of sun returning.  Maybe mid 60s by Tuesday.  Maybe more rain behind that, but not looking like this weekend.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Build your ark.

I am not going to say that it won't rain tonight, but it does not look very likely.  Maybe a sprinkle, as an advance band moves in.  We should also be in the clear for the first half of the day tomorrow, but when this thing fills in, it is going to be fierce.  We should expect a pretty rainy night on Wednesday and into the morning.  Maybe a bout a 1/4 inch of so, with greater amounts along the northern California coast and Cascades.  Afternoon, the low pressure system pulls back to our north.  Rain could continue north of SF.  Sometime on Frida, rain will again begin to push south.  Looks like light showers in the morning hours, but by afternoon, things should begin to pick up a bit.  

Not a lot of agreement in the models, but in general, we are looking at low 60s over the next few days.  Some suggestion of a cooler day on Sunday, but again, models are not in agreement.  Once the rain moves in on Friday, other than short, periodic breaks, it should continue through the weekend.  GFS is showing a very wet Sunday, but I am going with the opposition view and still feel like Saturday is the wetter day.  But really, who cares, it will be raining both days.  A lot.  All said and done, we could be looking at about 4.5 inches of rain in Santa Cruz.  Up to 6 in Marin, and Humboldt could be reaching toward a foot of rain.  Needless to say that flooding will be an issue.  Stay away from moving creeks, do not drive into moving water, clean your street drains, so on and so forth.  And with the snow level rising up about 8000 feet on Saturday, expect a lot of water in the rivers along the West Slope.  

Friday, November 23, 2012

Brilliant for the weekend, slight cooling, and storms as early as mid week.

Right now, it is pretty nice out there.  Mid 70s in town.  Light winds and good surf.  I know my deck is pretty toasty right now.  But we are up in the mountains where a little rain fell on the snow Wednesday evening.  powder has turned to hard pack, but there is plenty of snow to schuss.  Find your favorite early season groomers.  Kirkwood has three fun ones off chair 11, and there are turning 10.  Challenging skiing up there, but much better than expected.  That should continue until we get some more snow as early as Wednesday.  But for now, we are enjoying warm sunny high pressure across the region.  Even Seattle dries out for a few days after this weekend.  Down here, Saturday could be even warmer than today, but things moderate on Sunday.  Expect high 60s and sun through Tuesday.

Wednesday, things could begin to get interesting as a well spun storm begins to make its push south.  It won't really be upon us until Saturday, but the first wave of rain could push through Wednesday evening.   Timing still up in the air, but it is possible we could see a good deal of clear for Thursday and to start Friday.  So we are not talking about extended storminess until then.  That is for Santa Cruz of course.  Marin. and maybe even the city could stay wet through the period.  Then, back in Santa Cruz, as the bulk of the systems pushes over us Friday night, and into Saturday.  Expect mid to upper 50s, but heavy rain once this thing fills in.  Cold air drops down late Saturday leaving us in the upper 40s or low 50s.  Monday, more rain for the morning, with the storm pushing southeast in the afternoon.  Rain tapers from the north.

Will try to work out some more details as these storms arrive.  A little jog to the south, and we could have a very wet week.  A little jog north and things will be dryer.  Unless, of course if you think like a skier or boarder - then it will be warmer and wetter (as in heavy slop or rain).

Monday, November 19, 2012

Epic puddle stomping conditions.

Well, if you are into puddle stomping, today is about as good as it gets.  I went out with an aficionado today, and he stomped hard core for 30 to 45 minutes before taking a dive.  Good puddle formation, surrounded by dry land, with sunny warm weather.  Could not be better.  More of the same tomorrow, but clouds look to fill in late and rain coming overnight.  Best chances are to the north, looking likely in Marin, with a 50/50 chance around Monterey Bay.  Not a whole lot, and it will be clearing out on Wednesday.  Turkey Day looks mighty fine with a great weekend on tap.  Still looking at 70F for Friday/Saturday, with it being slightly cooler on Sunday.  Next week to start off fair.  Enjoy the long holiday weekend if you can.

Breaking clouds in the early morning light.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

A few days fair, one not so much, and then a good holiday.

The title has it all.  Read more for details.  The weekend's storm had a few semi breaks here on the west side, and the sun even came out Saturday afternoon.  By 7PM, clouds filled back in, and a quick, but wet system moved through over night.  We are looking at a clear sky this morning and feeling some crisp temperatures.  Nothing like last Sunday morning, but still, there is a nip in the air, as a cold front moved through late yesterday.  The next few days we should see limited clouds, moderate breezes and a fair amount of sun.  High temperatures hang in the mid 60s.

The storm track has moved to our north, still impacting Humboldt and the PNW.  It is wet up there.  In fact, we were just on the southern edge of this past storm cycle, and the bullseye was around the OR/CA border.  Folks in Portland are getting little reprieve.  Luck for us.  In fact, super lucky for us here in Santa Cruz, as we saw sun while Aptos and Watsonville had rain through sunset.  By late Tuesday night, the storm track will once again shift south to our region as another quick wet system moves through.  We could be the lucky folks again here in Santa Cruz, with mostly light, misty drizzle in the early morning hours, while areas around the bay get moderate rain and another 6-10" of snow fall in Tahoe.  By Thanksgiving, sun returns, and warming begins.  We could see 70F here in town by Friday and Saturday.  We are monitoring another set of storms that may begin to impact us as early as this coming Sunday.  Needless to say, we are in a fairly active phase.  It is all about where the storms go.

I used to call this sunset season, but now that I have an 18 month old, I realize it is sunrise season.  Santa Cruz Mountains.

So snow reports coming in from the ski resorts this morning are fair.  Ten inches to two feet have fallen during this cycle above 8000 feet.  Below that, mostly rain.  So the lower based resorts are not looking as good.  But, snow levels did fall to lake level late, so every one got at lest an inch of snow at the base.  This is good news for Mt. Rose and Kirkwood who say their base elevations fill in.  Good base building snow everywhere, so where the snow fell, it caked.  Regardless, with another storm on Wednesday, the holiday weekend should see some good skiing, especially where the upper mountains get open.  And the sun will be out, and temperatures will be in the mid 40s at 8000 feet.  Nice, comfy, Cali skiing.  No, it won't be epic, but if you like to schuss, and you have been waiting all summer, it will be fun.

Maybe some surf talk tomorrow.  Sure, there is some sizable swell in the water right now, but conditions are less than perfect out there.  But if you can get out there, go take a look.  It should be fun. Stay away from river mouths and outflows that have started to move with the recent rains.  Ecoli and other nasties are in the water this time of year.  Stay up current.  And don't forget to plant your garlic.  That stuff needs to be in the ground soon.  And yes, that is pumpkin pie baking in my oven.  Smells good, don't it.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Friday night quickie

Not must to report.  I was taken aback by a shower early this morning before 7AM, but that cleared quickly and we were able to get out for the morning stroll before some moderate showers filled in around 10:30.  By Noon we had a nice moderate rain, but that cleared out for the afternoon.  That might be the worst of it for Santa Cruz, as the tilt changes and favors other areas of the Bay.  Still likely to see moderate showers overnight tonight, with semi clearing during the day.  Another storm fills in for Sunday, but mostly bypasses the coast and focus in Tahoe.  Current forecast is for clearing Monday and Tuesday with the storm track north.  By mid day Wednesday rain returns and starts off the day wet on Thanksgiving.  That is still up in the air.  At the very least, things looks a bit warmer to start off the week after cooling through the weekend.  Active weather to say the least.

It is a good time of year to enjoy a sunrise.  Looking south across the West Side and Monterey Bay.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

A whopper of a doozy.

Looks like we are for real in for some wintery mix over the next few days.  While not as cold as the last storm, this series of storms will bring some significant rains to the region.  Over an inch of precipitation forecasted around the Bay Area through Tuesday, with areas of getting over two inches.  Up in the Sierra they could see in excess of 4" of liquid water.  Don't worry, that is just a measure, some will fall as snow.  But first, the next few days here in Santa Cruz.

This first storm is a cut off low that is spinning right off our coast.  It is coming in from the south, so we could see rain a bit earlier here in Santa Cruz.  Still, my best guess right now is for showers to fill in in the early afternoon tomorrow.  Of course, you all should be ready for a wet morning commute, but I am feeling lucky.  But rain will come, so if you are a stay at home dad, and the day breaks without rain, get to the park early, because that could be it for a few days.  Friday should still be moderately warm, and in the mid to high 60s.  By the evening commute, the showers will be developing into rain.  Moderate rain overnight and to start the weekend.  Again, with a little luck, the rain will wash through quickly, and we could see a break on Saturday.  Low to mid 60s.

When the sun comes out after the storm, the magic happens.  Caples Lake as seen from the top of 99 Steps.  Kirkwood.

Another wave looks to pass through on Sunday, but currently this one looks to concentrate up in the Sierra.  Again, with some luck, we could be limited to light showers on Sunday.  Or we could get some rain.  Most likely, it will be wet.  Don't count on sun.  And don't count on it Monday.  Or Tuesday.  Or Wednesday or Thursday for that matter.  I'm not saying the storms won't break, but that the models are all over the place.  Different models forecast rain on different days, but each show at least some breaks in the storm.  All in all, I expect at least two inches of rain here in the Bay through week's end, with a possibility of more than four inches.  Check back here, and I'll do my best to keep you informed.

As far as snow country goes, this storm is relatively warm, but should be all snow at the higher based resorts like Kirkwood, and snow on the upper mountain of the lower based resorts like Heavenly.  Several feet up top by Monday morning is the call, with lesser (and wetter) amounts around the lake.  It should set up a fantastic base for the Thanksgiving weekend.  If you are looking for a detailed snow forecast for the Tahoe basin, you must go to Tahoe Weather Discussion.  He will have more detail than most folks need.

In short, rain.  Daily highs drop through the weekend and will be in the low 60s by Monday.  Best chances for non-rainy weather will be on Friday morning, mid day Saturday and Sunday afternoon.  Best to plan some indoor activities this weekend.  Or go ski.  Kirkwood opens with limited terrain tomorrow, but expect a quick expansion as the snow begins to fly.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Holy Smoke, but clear for a bit, then a real storm ushers in the holiday.

Holy (cold) Smoke is right.  Kirkwood, and the rest of Tahoe, got some snow.  Several feet of super low density snow has settled into several feet of base.  Add that to the October numbers, and resorts have pushed up their opening dates, with several opening tomorrow!  If you have been wondering if it is worth trying to ski on Thanksgiving, wonder no more.  Check out Powder Happy later this evening, for pics and story 3 days that would be in the top 5 from last season.  Oh, man,it was good.  But you didn't come here to hear about that.  What is the weather going to be like this week you wonder?

Almost there.  Kirkwood Mountain Resort, California.  

Continued clear and crisp.  Cool temperatures continue, but they do moderate a bit, with may some parts of town hitting 70F by Thursday.  With some luck.  Still, it is beautiful out, and it is sunny.  That is going to last for the next several days, but by Friday, a closed low will be off our coast, and spinning moisture inland.  As with any closed system, things are hard to predict, but showery weather looks likely for the central coast, with possible heavier rain in the southern part of the state.  Highs drop to just about 60F.  Saturday, it looks like we get a reprieve, but what is actually pushing Friday's storm inland, is the real winter storm that it behind it.  This thing is quite a bit warmer than the last one, and way wetter, pulling in a far amount of sub tropical moisture.  This could be our first real winter storm of the season.  Sure, I know the weather Channel has already named two (this one from this past weekend was called Brutus.), but this one coming up is for reals.

Sunday will be wet, with moderate to heavy rain throughout the day and across the region.  And then things just start coming in rounds.  As these bands swing in, we will have some breaks, but expect rain through the day on Tuesday, with clearing on Wednesday.  From there, it currently looks like we will be clear, while moisture streams in just to our north.  Details to follow as we get closer, but the jist of it is clear until Friday, which should be showery.  Maybe no rain on Saturday, but plenty of rain Sunday through Tuesday.  Clearing after that.  Yup.  That's it.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

On track for 40 hours of light showery weather.

Monarchs are here.
Pretty much little change in the forecast.  You can feel the chill today, and in fact, fog has filled into the Monterey Bay.  It is quite out there.  Even the swell has dropped significantly from yesterday.  Thursday will see showers fill in down the coast starting around mid day.  Santa Cruz should have some sort of precipitation by night fall and for the evening commute.  The next few days we will be hovering in the high 50s.  Today, with a little luck, will break 60F.  Heaviest rain should occur over night on Thursday.

Friday will start cold and never even really get warm.  It does look like this storm will not bring a whole bunch of water with it, so showers breaking apart in the morning Friday.  We could even see bits of sun here in Santa Cruz.  We also may see a dusting of snow on the peaks around San Jose.  I don't think it will get cold enough to dust the hills around Monterey Bay.  But maybe.  Night fall should bring clearing, and if it does, the coldest temperatures of the season yet.  Saturday will be very crisp in the morning, but things will start to bounce back, and a decently nice weekend should be on tap.  Saturday will hit mid 60s, while Sunday and Monday could see 70F.  That is about as good as it gets next week, with a chance for more rain late in the week.

This is not an ideal storm for building our snow base up, but we take what we can get.  The resorts will be firing their guns, if you are into that sort of thing.  With the storm track staying pretty far south, and cold air about to help with the man made, we should see most of the major ski hills open up for the Thanksgiving holiday this year.  Much better start than last season.  And with a little help from Mother Nature, we could actually see a decent natural base by then.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Fricking Gorgeous November Weather. For another day or two.

Holy cow, you cannot script days like today.  Sunrise was beautiful.  Air warmed up quick.  By 9AM we were hitting the pool.  It was hot at the lunch table.  Actually hot.  The air was still.  Town was in the 80s and West Cliff had just a touch of coolness from the Pacific.  Coldwater Classic was running, so the world's best competitive surfers were out putting on a show.  The waves up the coast were some of the biggest yet this season.  And tomorrow looks like more of the same.  Might even get a bit warmer.  All this, just days before we are looking to get our second storm of the season.

More snow is on the way for the high country.  Silver Lake looking quite.

Monday's low 80s will be mid 70s on Tuesday, and high 60s by Wednesday.  Sun continues.  Tuesday night we could see lows dip into the high 40s.  The real chill comes later in the week.  Thursday could start off with sun, and it does not look like the rain will fill in until later in the day.  You may want to check back here in a day or two.  Good chance that light, some what consistent rain will fill in late Thursday and last through mid day Saturday.  The heaviest and coldest rain will be on Friday.  Highs will linger in the 50s, will lows will drop into the mid to low 40s.  By Sunday, the sun should return, and with it a bit of warming.  Not charted for like what we have today, but mid 60s on Sunday and maybe 70 by Monday.  Current thinking is sun through at least the first half of next week.

Surf folks - the surf is up ad the winds are off shore.  Go get some.  Monday will see the swell dropping and by Tuesday we will be back to mostly head high surf.  The storm later in the week should really start the wind machine, so that end of the week does not look promising.  Snow folks - looks like we should get another round of base builder.  This thing is look a touch cooler than ideal, but it is at least coming in semi warm.  It is all added bonus to the 2-3 feet we have already received this season.  Here is to a good opener.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Splitting. Then clear through the weekend.

Remember the 10 days of sunshine I promised.  I'm taking that promise back.  But first, no real changes for tonight.  This storm is splitting as it approaches, so best guess is weak rain showers in the early morning hours, with little lasting past afternoon.  We may even get to see the sun.  Today's morning fog transitions to clouds, so very little blue for us today.  Just a dusting of snow up in the Sierra.  If you want an idea of what the last storm gave us, check out the post on Powder Happy.  It was fun up there.  And we may have more coming.

More of that snow in the trees stuff.  It was so beautiful up there.  Route 88, California.
The mid and long tern models keep playing with cold systems dipping south over the next few weeks.  This morning's run suggest a moderate cold storm coming in around next Thursday evening.  Now, we all know you can trust a model, so don't plan around the forecast just yet.  Another system moves down the coast 4 or 5 days later.  The point is, it looks like we could, in fact, see that early start to winter.  I'm busy digging my French drain and am back to that project in five minutes.  Get your stuff done.  This weekend will be an excellent time to do so.

Friday through at least Tuesday look sunny and warm.  Morning fog will keep it a bit cooler to start the weekend, but by Sunday we should be seeing some of that great fall weather.  Clear mornings and near 80.  Monday looks like a beauty.Tuesday is not too shabby either.  More soon.  Stay dry and be safe out there tonight.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Rain late Wednesday and into Thursday. Clearing after.

So we are in a bit of an odd week, with anther storm brewing just off the BC coast and wanting to push south and upon us.  Instead, Sandy out east is pushing west, not allowing our current weak high pressure to move east, and in the end, making it act like a strong high pressure.  Unfortunately, it is slowing the advance of this storm, and weaken it as it approaches.  I say this unfortunate, because in another scenario, this thing would sweep over us pretty quickly, and get hung up in the Sierra for a day, giving us more base building snow.  What we get is rain on the coast, warm temperatures and maybe a few inches right along the crest.  Rain on our new snow pack would pretty much be the suck.

Early morning in Santa Cruz County, looking south toward Monterey.

Thick fog cleared out mid morning on the west side, and things are warming up nicely.  Expect the more of the same tomorrow.  Highs just above 70F and lows almost down to 50F.  Wednesday cools with the approaching system, but not too much.  I don't think it is going to feel wintery, like last week did.  Mid 60s.  The bulk of the rain is going to fall along the Northern California coast.  Marin and points south should see the rain move through on Thursday.  Showery weather could slow the roads.  San Mateo county and points north could see up to half an inch in the morning.  Current models suggest we are only looking at about a tenth of an inch here in Santa Cruz, as this clears out by Thursday night.  Still, depending on what Sandy does, timing could be slowed down.  Expect snow up above 8000 feet to last through Thursday night.  Total accumulation will be about 3", up high.  Rain at lake level.

After that we should be back into the mid 70's by the weekend, and today's charts suggest a nice solid high pressure setting up on us.  And a good swell making machine for a week plus.  Fingers crossed.  We could use some waves.  And fine weather.  A return to the 80s in 10 days is not out of the question.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Yes, Please, Ms. October.

OMG.  I love this month.  It just truly rules.  A little rain and snow to get the winter juices flowing and then a weekend like this.  Why would you want to be any where else in October.  Tomorrow, Sunday will see somewhere in Santa Cruz county break 80F.  I really do believe.  Today we were at 4 Mile beach just before noon and it was absolutely splendid out.  Beach weather.  Okay, maybe not, holy cow, it is so hot I need to escape the furnace and head to the beach weather, but a nice day to hang out in your shorts and get some sun rays.

First snow in the Sierra.  Route 88.

Sunday should be the peak, but we stay in the mid 70s through Tuesday.  Cooler air moves through Wednesday ahead of a storm that could bring us rain for Halloween night.  Thursday morning looks like it will start out wet, but clear again by Friday.  More on those details in a few days.  November is coming in zonal, so we could see another wet pattern for starting as early as Sunday, November 4th.  Election day may get rained out.  Lots of exciting things to watch, but for now, enjoy a little sunshine baby!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Wrap it up.

First, a edit for last night's post, which I was just reading

 I am not thinking we will hit 70 here on the weekend, expect perhaps along the immediate coastline.  Downtown and the upper westside, though, could be toasty.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Two Feet.

Yup.  That is about what is being reported so far up in the mountains.  Boreal opens Friday is all goes as planned.  That will be it for a while, as Vail has purchased KW, and we can no longer expect early opening, just because there is snow.  Anyway, they would not have yet received enough to turn the bull wheels as it is.  More is on the way.  Rain should fill into the Bay Area overnight and last through the first part of the day.  Expect showers for the morning commute.  This is not a particularly wet band, so rain will not be that hard.  In fact, we (again) could be spared the worst of it here in Santa Cruz.  Still, expect clouds, rain and cool temperatures here tomorrow.

Well weathered cypress in Lighthouse Field, Santa Cruz.

Today turned out pretty nice as the showers cleared out before sunrise.  And what a sunrise, with clouds ringing the Santa Cruz Mountains.   And while the clouds filled in for a few hours this morning, things cleared pretty well by mid day.  And it felt warm.  Got to love that California sun.  So, when will all this end?  It looks like we should see clearing across the region, starting along the coast, late in the day Wednesday.  Cool air lingers on Thursday, but with some luck, and sun, we should be in the mid 60s.  I am not thinking we will hit 70 here on the weekend, expect perhaps along the immediate coastline.  Downtown and the upper westside, though, could be toasty.

Mid term things are looking clear and sunny through Monday.  Storms continue to cruise across the Pacific, but the jet stream stays to our north, at least for a few days.  Just going to say this now folks.  It looks like there could be another storm coming in, with heavy rain.  And it could be right around the end of the month, or, as your kids call it, Halloween.  Be prepared for a wet night.  You may want to work on your contingency plan.  And this one looks a little warmer, which could spell the start of a really good base.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Drying to come, but no real warm up in sight.

I think the real big news this morning is the rain, but the mid and long term look interesting as well.  We may have seen the Turn, and I for one, now hope for an Indian Summer.  Funny, how folks in other parts of the country think of September and early October as that time of year.  For us, November and December can be super nice, but now things are looking more and more likely that we will indeed get an early winter.  I have been denying it for months, as I am not that interested in analogs, but now the models, and indeed reality, suggest that it may be true.  More on that.  But first, the rain.

We won't see a morning sunrise for a few more days here in town.  Looking across the westside.

Rain filled in for the morning commute.   We may get lucky here in Santa Cruz, as some blocking kept us from the heaviest rains this morning.  SF and points north east of there seemed to take the brunt.  Roads are slippery, as to be expected, and more is on the way.  Mid day we are seeing a break, but it is still expected to see the heaviest showers to come later today.  Hard to believe when I look out the window and see sun in the sky and northwesterly wind.  But when you look at the NorCal radar, there is an obvious band offshore of Humboldt.  And that should come across us this evening and overnight.

Basically, the rain will lighten up during the day on Tuesday, with showers and moderate rain moving through in bands.  Maybe a burst during the night.  More of the same on Wednesday.  A few models suggest we could see clearing here on the coast by early morning Wednesday, but others suggest continued rain.  We will need to keep a close eye on things.  Low 60s mid week, warming to maybe 65 by week's end.  What looks sure is that we should be pretty clear of clouds by Friday.  But a big warm up is not in the forecast.  Sunny and mid 60s through the weekend.

We see another chance of rain coming as early as next Monday evening.  Chances are not much to get too excited about, but it does suggest a much more southerly jet stream compared to a few weeks ago.  I for one, hope that is wrong and we have another round of warm, excellent weather.  Sure, an early winter would be nice when considering the snow, but I'm not done enjoying the beach.  And neither is my son.  But if snow is your thing, then you might like the two plus feet forecasted.  I know I'll try to get a piece of it once the storm winds up.

I'll have a short post tomorrow to get the details on Wednesday and Thursday.  Expect wetness.  Dry Friday and through the weekend.  Cool, but not cold.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Drive Safely People. Rain Possible by Sunday Evening.

This thing is on.  The GFS has this thing upon up late Sunday and could make that Monday morning commute a bit interesting.  Folks, leave for your destinations early on Monday, as the first real rain of the season is going to lift all that accumulated oil and muck out of the road and create slicks.  This is what causes accidents - people in their usual hurry and slippery roads.  So, enough of the PSA, and for now, get ready for the storms.  The important thing to note today is that the arrival of rain has moved forward and it looks like we could see some by late Sunday.

Sunny days and clean surf are gone for the week.  May they return by month's end.  Steamer Lane, Santa Cruz.

Rain will arrive on the northern California coastline late in the day on Sunday and will push south.  By midnight we should have some rain here in the Bay, especially Marin and points north.  Once it fills in, it will fill in quickly with the heaviest precipitation falling in the afternoon on Monday.  This is a real rain event, with upwards of an inch in San Francisco.  South, here in Santa Cruz, we could be spared he worst.  But it is worth noting that the local mountains should get enough to push open all the creek mouth, which means poop in the ocean.  Check water quality reports before going for a surf next week.

The short of it is that things look pretty likely that rain will be around for us on Monday, through the night and into the morning hours on Tuesday.  And it will be chilly.  This weekend is cool, and foggy, but it ain't raining, so get outside and enjoy the day, tidy up that yard, or finish one last project.  Today's high 60s will drop by Monday and Tuesday where we be working hard to get out of the upper 50s.  Looks like things will clear up during the day on Tuesday, but not too much.  And this is where the models keep flipping back and forth, so it is hard to say what will happen next.  Some runs, the low pressure that is going to be pumping in the rain retrogrades and keep all precipitation to our north.  Other runs, this system stays upon us through the end of the week.  In the first scenario, we see sun returning by Wednesday and a nice warm up through the week's end.

In the more likely solution (say 51% to 49%) we will still see a bit of clearing for late Tuesday and into Wednesday morning, but the sun isn't really going to come out.  By mid day Wednesday the rain clouds will be moving back in.  It won't be quite as cold as the first wave, but it won't be warm.  These are pretty cold storms for October.  Thursday will be cool and wet, with clearing by late in the day.  Friday will be a day of transition to sunshine and warmth.  Last weekend of October looks nice.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

More rain likely. Significant rainfall possible.

Man, Autumn is awesome.  The past few days is what it is all about here on the Central Coast.  Can you give me an 85 degree day on the beach with no wind?  Can you give me a whole bunch in a row?  Surf has been small, but oh, so much fun out there, with glassy conditions all day.  And with that air temp, you don't even feel chilly.  Well, that is about to go down the tubes.  Today is awesome, so go grab a piece of it.  By tomorrow, on shore winds return, and with them, so does the marine layer.  It will almost feel like the dog days of summer around here, with foggy mornings, and breezy, cool afternoons.  Actually, it won't even feel like August, with that sun so low in the sky, the few hours of solar heating we get won't really warm things up much.  Todays high 80s are tomorrows mid 60s.  And Saturday looks like more of the same.  But don't worry, that fog won't stick around long.

Damn Seagulls!  They take all the best seats.  West Cliff Drive, Santa Cruz.

Confidence is building that by early next week we will see our first storm of the wet season.  Yeah, I know we got rain a week back, but that was not the real stuff, and you know it.  A few minutes of rain one evening and then a few days of low fog and drizzle.  Blah, really.  We did not get much water from that, and event the dry farmed tomatoes stuck it through.  If this thing comes in as forecast, then tomatoes are done.  Different models and different runs of the same model continue to show slight differences in the details, but is safe to assume that by the weekend a low pressure will develop in the eastern Gulf, right along the BC seaboard.  This system will pull in cold air and pick up moisture as it moves south, just off the coast of the CA/OR boarder.  By Monday evening it will be sending in bands of rain into Northern California, quickly spreading south.  A strong precipitation band will come across our air late Tuesday and/or early Wednesday.  Some models suggest another band, slightly weaker, coming through on Thursday.  Some models show high pressure building in by then deflecting the storm north.  Current and previous runs of all models suggest high pressure, and clear weather for the following weekend.  All done we should see wide spread rain of one or more inches across the region, snow in Lake Tahoe and several feet along the Sierra Crest.  Seriously.  In mid October.  We are still 5 days out on the Tuesday storm, so keep in mind, it is a period of seasonal change, and would not be odd that tomorrow's run has a completely different solution.  But prepare for rain.

This would also mean more cold air filtering in.  Highs of mid 60s over the weekend could drop to mid 50s by early in the week.  By Wednesday the air should moderate a bit, but if the storm stays upon, more cold air will filter south.  Regardless, by Friday things should be warming back up toward 70 and the sun should return.  Long term models show a pretty strong high pressure setting up us, as well as strong lows coming across the Pacific on the 40th Parallel, before getting deflected hard north just before our coastline.  That would result in super fine weather and solid west swell for the last week of the month.    Stay tuned.  Things are getting exciting.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

After the rain, there is always the sun.

And man, what a sun that is.  Things are getting toasty out there today with mid 70s by mid morning already.  Could be a mini scorcher.  Mid 80s in town tomorrow and Thursday.  Mid 90s plus in the local mountains.  Pretty darned nice October weather has settled in for this week.  It really does not get any better than this.  We even see the winds blowing fairly lightly the next few afternoons with calm conditions on Thursday.  Yes, it will be nice out there.  But, alas, all things change, and things will be bit cooler by the weekend.  So get out on it mid week if you want to score a beach day.  Friday is back into the mid 60s, and we could be seeing foggy mornings on for the weekend.

Looking over the edge at West Cliff Drive, Santa Cruz.

The charts are suggesting something interesting next week, with a storm system approaching the Central Coast by Tuesday.  First, I am not feeling a whole lot of confidence in the models, but this is what we are seeing on them today.  By Sunday a low pressure begins to develop in the eastern Gulf of Alaska.  It grows in size and strength, pulling up a lot of moisture into in and then begins to move down the coast Monday.  From the looks of it today (one week out) a good size slug of moisture will fill in on the North Coast early Tuesday.  Over night rain spreads down to the Central Coast and snow into the High Sierra.  We are talking inches of rain, with over 5 inches of precipitation modeled near Tahoe.  Seriously, if temperatures cooperate, this could set an early base up there.  But chances right now are low for this solution.  I'll keep an eye on it and report back here later this week.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Pitter patter scores one for the NWS.

Actually, I did not concede I was mistaken when I first head the heavy singular drops hitting the canopy.  Even when I stepped outside, the deck was barely bespecked (while not really a word, it should be) and I was hit by only two, three, maybe four drops.  Even an hour later when the towels were wet on the deck rail, and a small pool of water was forming in my Croc, I did not concede.  This thing will be over soon, and the ground will barely be wet in the morning.  And I was right.  The grass at Lighthouse Field was drier than after a heavy foggy night.  But, then, just after noon I heard the grumble of thunder, and I looked out in the distance, I could see rain falling in the mountains up behind Aptos.  So, I geuss it really did rain around here.  Sure, we have yet to receive round two here in Santa Cruz, but we were also one of the driest places around the Bay.  Ya Santa Cruz!

The paddle before the storm.  Non-native wildlife.  West Cliff Drive, Santa Cruz.

Things are already clearing up again out there.  Sun is breaking through to our north and west.  This little fun system will continue moving south down the coast today, bringing rain and T-storms to the coastal communities of Southern California.  They, in fact, will likely get a bit wetter.  And then this whole thing sweeps east, possibly sending another plume into the Sierra Nevada, where the heaviest rain fell last night.  Sun fills in behind, and another great weekend should be on tap for us.  Expect temperatures bouncing back into the high 60s and possible low 70s by Sunday.  Friday has a chance of south winds and that would give us a bit of fog.  But my money is on sun.  Lotta good that did last time.  Next week looks to start out fair.

I keep hearing about the jet dipping south, a cold fall and early start to the rainy season.  I still don't see it, and the talk of the town big system that is to usher in a 1000 years of winter on the 15th, does look like it is going to slam hard into the coast, dropping a think, wet slug.  In the Cascades.  Been on that track for a week now.  I'm mostly impressed that this storm was modeled 10 days ago, in one form or another, and has been in the models nearly every run since then.  We still have five days to go, so a lot can change, but seriously, it does not like ti will be even close to us.  ANd there is nothing behind it other than the indication of a big, blimpy, blocking high setting right up upon us, which usually mean the finest of fall weather.  More in that in the next update.

And finally, if you are going near the water today or the next few days watch out for large rogue swells.  A swell is in the water today, having traveled all the way from Russia.  Not a huge one, but with long 20 second plus periods.  These waves will be infrequent, travel in groups, increase in height dramatically while approaching the coast and have a significant impact water levels.  Do not get sucked out to see, and watch from a safe distance.  Or, if you know how to have fun in the waves, go get some.  Winds will be mostly light, especially in the mornings and waves will be fun sized plus for the next several days.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

NWS calls 30% chance, I say slim.

Holy cow, what another example of an awesome day it is outside.  Looking across the water this morning, I took a moment to thank God for such beauty.  How could you not?  Don't worry, I'm not going to get all spiritual on ya, but it is damn gorgeous around here.  Sunny and light winds dominate the coast.  Air mass is a bit cool, so the early morning hours are a bit crisp, and may even dip below 50F in the chilly pockets.  Afternoon highs are hovering just about 70F.  The real big news this post is that the butterflies have begun to arrive.  We say a few random Monarchs in an alley way near Natural Bridges, so we decided to walk down into the grove.  It ain't crazy epic yet.  Just a few here and there.  OTOH, we had them all to ourselves for the good part of an hour.

Another grey day at Natural bridges State Park.  Good news, is that when the sun shines, the butterflies come out.

Fog threatens to return tonight, but my money is on an early burn off if it does show.  Light west sea breezes should keep things pretty clear, but if they dip southerly, we will get socked in.  As we move into next week that upper level low starts to crawl right over us.  Now, there is a lot of chatter out there about rain coming in next week.  And sure, there is a chance.  Pretty slim one, but it exists.  This so called storm system is pretty dry for something coming from over the ocean.  What is sure to happen is that we will have out temperature drop a bit.  Things cool off by Tuesday.  Low 60s.  And we could see a good deal of cloud cover.  Of course, this is Santa Cruz, and I am betting we will see more weather like today, a little bit cooler, with a few more high clouds running, but essentially like today.  South of us has a greater chance of seeing rain, especially through mid week, as does the Sierra, who may get a few inches Thursday night.   But don't listen to me, prepare for rain.  NWS says it is most likely to come Tuesday, but I think Wednesday morning looks the wettest.  As is a quick, light, drizzle.

Things clear up by Friday, and currently it looks like we could get into a warm, offshore event by next weekend.  Seems about right for mid October.  Don't put away your bathing suit just yet.  in fact, while some outlets are calling for a cold fall and early onset of winter, we still don't see any significant storms hitting us in 16 day models runs.  As always, after 3-5 days out, these models are not very accurate, but that storm around mid month continues to stay north.  Sorry Portland folks who we recently bragging about sunshine and stuff.  Anyway, it looks like we should stay pretty nice in the month of October, but that could always change.  Good time of year to be on guard.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Dude, it is freaking cold out. And a chance of showers lingers.

Come on man.  Where did my autumn go?  These past few days were spectacular.  Hot at our house, clocking a cool 96F at 3PM on Tuesday.  Word is it hit 104F on Monday.  A bit cooler down at the waters edge, but well above 80F during the middle of the day.  And even yesterday broke clear.  We watched the sunrise and were out the door as soon as possible.  Good thing too.  As we strolled across Lighthouse Field at 8:30AM, it was toasty.  Felt like another scorcher was in the works.  Around 9AM a light, cool breeze began to come from the south.  It felt nice.  And then we saw it.  Way out on the horizon.  The fog.  It moved closer, the breeze increased and temperatures dropped 15 degrees by noon.  And now, it is chilly.  Cold even.  And more is to come.

This fog is from a south wind that was drawn by an upper level low approaching the California coast.  Over the next few days, cold air will be ushering in.  This should be the coolest day for us along the coast, but the Sierra is seeing a significant shift in season.  80 degree high temps from this past weekend will be replaced by days struggling to get into the 50s.  Overnight lows will be skirting with freezing at 8000 feet.  And with a chance of showers early next week, we could see the first dusting on the higher peaks.  Some outlets are calling for a cold fall and early winter.  I reject that option and prefer to see sunny, balmy wonderfulness.  But that is not is store for us this week.

So this is dated and all, but we were lucky to have clear skies when the Space Shuttle flew by.  Lighthouse Field.

Highs in Santa Cruz should reach into the low 60s today.  Fog remains around through the day.  Slight chance of clearing later, but don't expect much sun within a mile of the Pacific.  Warmer tomorrow and for the weekend, but lack of sun will keep things from getting much past 70F.  Next week, the temperature remains about the same, but that upper level low will start to draw moisture over the Central Coast.  Greatest chance for precipitation will be in the Sierra and along south west facing slopes.  We are not expecting much, and it may just seem like foggy drizzle, but get your self prepared, just in case.  Right now, I am putting my money on us staying clear of it here in Santa Cruz, with onshore flow south of us pulling moisture up into the Sierra and leaving a nice little dusting on the peaks.  I'm also thinking it will help sweep the zone clean and set us up from another bought of great weather about a week from now.

For you surfer types, winds remain lighter and south for the rest of this week.  A little swell is in the water today and the south gets a bump up.  Things will get small through Saturday, but another round of small long period NW is on tap Sunday.  The big news is the storm forming near the date line today and dropping south, setting us up for a possible solid west swell late next week.  Like I said, fall is here.  It is swell season.  And as these storms begin to make waves, they start to reach further and further down the west coast.  A good sized storm will roll in sooner or later.  There is still rain on the models for the 14/15/16 of October, but as of now, it is staying north of here.  Still, while the track tends to move north or south with each run of the models, it always is there.  Rain, real rain, cannot be too far away.  

Cool and foggy this week.  Warmer by the weekend, but still not a whole lot of sun.  Maybe some light rain early to mid next week.  Hopefully hot and sunny after that.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Welcome October. Ah, but pesky summer wants to hold on.

Okay, technically it is not summer holding on, but rather a fall pattern that brings summer type weather.  But until that happens, we are experiencing some of that epic October weather.  I moved to Santa Cruz during an October.  I thought I had found Heaven.  Mornings just a little crisp, to help wake you up.  But as soon as that sun begins to hit, things start to warm up, and by late morning it is toasty out along West Cliff.  Mid 80s by afternoon in town, but a sea breeze should keep things from warming up too much, and keeping the beaches cool.  I heard on national news about our above average temperatures.   It is not that warm.  No downslope action happening, but it is a nice fall day out there.  More should continue on Tuesday.

Sunny days and plenty of swell in the water.  Folks are pretty happy around town.

But that is about it for now.  Low pressure starts to approach the California coast and brings with it a damp, cool marine layer.  Tuesday will feel much colder with the high staying sub 70.  By Friday we could be looking at mid 60s.  Brrr.  Right now it looks like the coming weekend will have foggy mornings to start, with maybe sunny afternoons.  And cool.  We will look at that more later in the week.  Right now the buzz in town is the epic weather with a great SSW/NW combo lighting up the breaks in town.  It is pretty sick out there this morning and should be decent through the first half of the week.  More WNW and S swell is on the way later in the week.  Not as big, but it should be keeping it fun sized out there.

Wish I could report more on the MTB trails, but, with the surf so good, I have not seen much of them.  They should be holding up pretty nicely.  Things are nice and dry.  But that could be changing.  Some mid term models have showery weather arriving on the coast during next week.  Best chance for rain right now looks like hump day (Wednesday, duh).  Beyond that, the fantasy charts have us getting slammed with a full on winter storm October 17/18.  Not counting on that one, but it is worth monitoring this pattern.  Let us hope we get to enjoy some fall weather this year before winter comes.  I like that sunshine.

In short, get outside today and tomorrow.  Do not falter.  It is simply the best out there.  Even if you miss daylight, go look at some stars.  Better yet, take a moon lit hike.  She is up early and bright right now.  By Tuesday evening the marine layer will seep back in, and by Friday it may be pretty darned grey and wet.  Cross your fingers for a return to proper fall weather like today.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

It may feel like mid summer today, but I promise, we see more fall soon.

Long title, but that about sums it up.  If you want more details, please read on.  Lots of interesting stuff happening out there.  We had our first solid swell of the fall season.  By many standards, this thing was small, but it was still waves.  More is on tap for this coming weekend, and the weather looks good as well.  Let's break it down.  The fog of the last few days is burning off this afternoon.  Things remain cool today, with mid 60s along the water's edge.  Much warmer as you move inland.  It has been hitting  80 in Saratoga this week.  We should see fog return tonight, but burn off will happen much earlier.  Slight chance for seeing a sunrise, but that will need to wait until the weekend likely.  Mid 70s on Friday.  The weekend should be sunny.  High 70s on Saturday and we should see a peak into the low 80s on Monday.  Things cool off a bit as we move through next week, but we should stay in the 70s.  And for the most part, things are looking sunny.

For the most part.  Hurricane Miriam is currently ripping up off the coast of Baja and even sending some small swell north.  As she enters cooler waters, the storm will spread apart.  Most moisture will pull across the desert toward Texas, but there is a slight chance that upper level winds will pull a slug up the coast and into the Sierra.  Very slight chance.  But if it comes to pass, we could see some clouds and maybe showers along the coast.  And the highest peaks could see a dusting of snow.  Like I said.  Slight chance.

Remember this spot from the Lost Boys?  Where Michael learns that he is a vampire.  Well, I've only seen this guy on foggy days.
Long term models, which tend to tell little, suggest storms quieting down a bit in the NPAC.  Small systems continue to pop up, and roll across, but mainly in the north and never really getting much traction.  Surf could be on a down turn after this weekend, and we still don't see any chance of winter storms or rain in the near term.  OTOH, October is here, and things can change quickly.  We got hit by a pretty good storm last October.  hard to remember when we got so little rain all winter.  Point is, winter is coming.  Start getting prepared.  One thing worth doing, if you have them, is cleaning your gutters.  But save that for another weekend.  This one is going to be fabulous.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

West Swell.

There is a surf movie called Big Wednesday.  It is not the best example of writing or acting out there, but it does pin the topic of west swells pretty well.  For anyone who likes to surf in California, the swells coming straight out of the west is what it is all about.  Sure, 95%, or more, of the time swells are coming from the deep south or out of the north-north west, but the west swells are the best.  Part of it is the fact that these swells seem to fill in every where.  When we get one, everywhere from along the coast will light up.  Another part of it is the time of year that they arrive.  Early fall.  Summer's flat doldrums become a memory, but even more importantly, they tend to arrive during fine, calm weather.

The days of groveling on fat, wide, boards for small summer waves are coming to a close.  Fall is here.

A decent sized, long period, west swell is due to arrive along the Santa Cruz coast some time on Monday.  Sure, we already have waves in the water tonight, but by tomorrow night, we will have some significant waves.  In town, these will show at perhaps a few feet overhead.  Kind of like a really good summer swell.  North of town, we could see some pushing into the double over head range.  And these are long period swells, packed with lots of energy.  Use caution when approaching the ocean the first part of this week.  Remember, this is the time of year that people tend to get too close to the ocean and get swept in by large waves.  As this first round backs off, we see some small south swell later in the week, with another south behind that for the weekend.  And the charts suggest another decent Gulf of Alaska storm this week, sending another westerly swell for the weekend.  Good times if you surf.  And the wind is too be light to boot.

As for the weather, it looks like we could continue to see some fag right along the immediate coast.  Light south winds keep that marine layer close, but with a bit of luck, we could see the winds shift into an offshore flow, blowing out that fog and returning us to sun.  The good news is that it is a different sunny pattern than last week, and we could see daytimes high slowly start to climb.  By next weekend we could be back into the mid 70s and sunny, offshore weather.  Could be a stellar weekend to close out the month.  Who cares.  I'm so excited about the surf this week, that hail would be fine.  Not really, but almost.  Anyway, fog lingers for another day or two, with high 60s.  Sun returns and mid 70s by Saturday.  Nice weather.

Oh, and the apples are off the hook right now.  Empires, from Billy Bob Orchards on sale at Saturday's Westside market.  Delicious.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Getting the gears oiled and moving...

Holy cow, this morning's run of the models is inspiring.  The storms systems moving through the northern Pacific continue to morph, yet stay, in the models.  Each run continues to support the forecast of a storm train that begins forming today, with the first real significant system of the fall season developing by this Friday.  A Date Line storm forms at about 45N and makes an arc east south east to about 160W, before lifting north through the Gulf of Alaska.  This is followed by another series of storms through the entire model forecast period.  While any specific forecast much beyond 72 hours is pretty much useless, the trend showing suggests a change of season is happening.  And you know what that means for us.

Well, this week, we have a persistent upper low offshore pushing a heavy marine layer on us, and the typical summer high pressure gradient developing, blowing the fog out in the afternoon.  You know the drill.  Wet, damp, foggy, chilly mornings, followed by a mild, sunny, breezy, beautiful afternoon.  This week, at least early, I expect temperatures struggling to reach 70 across the county.  Sure, up in the mountains it is warm - and, in fact, if you wish to escape the coolness of the coast, you need just drive a few miles up the local hills.  It has been getting warm up there.  But, now, back on topic.

The fishing fleet has been out on the bay.  Lighthouse Point, Santa Cruz.

The good news, is that these projected storms begin to take shape, and control of the open ocean waters, the shape of the west coast high pressure bubble begins to change.  It is suppressed from the north, and can bulge out over us, giving us the golden months of the year.  Okay, so the south west low pressure does not completely disappear by this weekend, but it does look like that by the earler part of next week, we see a shift toward a different, less foggy, weather pattern.  Fingers crossed.

But I want to leave you thinking og three things this week.  First, then coming change is the first step toward winter.  That should come along in another several months or so, but what the fine fall weather should remind us of, is get the outside jobs done.  Once winter comes, it can be tough to get out there.  Don't let last year's mild winter lessen your resolve.  Also, get you outside playing going on.  Second, it is Pink Lady season.  Keep an eye out for these gals.  They are popping up all over the county.  And finally, the sunset last night was spectacular.  We are entering sunset season around here.  Keep an eye out for night with a few clouds to maximize the awesomeness.

Saturday, September 15, 2012


Still pretty bland weather out there.  After coming out of a work week of foggy, damp mornings with war, breezy afternoons, we are looking forward to maybe a change by the beginning of next week.   Maybe not so much.  Fair chances for a bit less marine layer next week.  I'm not ready to claim sunny, fall like mornings just yet.  But, if our bubble of high pressure could just push out the low pressure in the sooth west, things would change for the better.  But what is really interesting is what is happening closer to the poles.

One of these days, I'll get this shot the way that I want it.  Until then, Lighthouse Point, Santa Cruz.

Both the south and north Pacific are growing in activity.  Surfers, do not rejoice yet, as a lot of these systems are pointed away from us.  None the less, things are brewing.  Of greater interest to us, as it impacts out local weather is what has been developing just south of the Aleutian Islands.  Last weekends wind swell was a result of some of this activity.  Low pressure has gained a significant foot hold in that region, and depression centers and gales have been rotating through.  Most are getting deflected straight north through Alaska and Canada.  But a few have rolled well enough to send us a few waves.  As we move through this coming week, the models suggest a depeening low pressure.  Some real wave makers.  As this happens, the high pressure that is dominant along our coast in summer, will be pushed south east, out of the Gulf of Alaska.  When this happens, it ridge over the south west, and we start to see a warm off shore flow devoid of fog.  That is what we are waiting for.  The awesome season.

For you wave searchers, if this comes to pass, you will find what you are looking for.  The fantasy charts between 10-16 days out suggest a super storm, created by the convergence of two dynamic systems, stretching hundreds of miles across the Gulf of Alaska.  Yup, if that happened, we would get some serious swell.  But don't count on it.  The take away here is the weather is in motion and suggesting a switch to a more fall like condition.  Hell, the mountains around Vancouver have snow on the peaks.  It ain't summer.