Friday, March 30, 2012

For a few hours this weekend, things are going to get crazy.

Enchanted snow forests are the best to hike through.
Wind, rain, waves and more are all on the way to make for some crazy coastal viewing this coming weekend.  Of if you are lucky, you'll find yourself at elevation where the snow will be falling to add the to two feet we've already received this week.  But before we get to that, the rest of today and most of Friday look pretty nice.   The sun, when it is breaking through the fog here in Santa Cruz, is absolutely warm.  Must be spring time folks.  You know what that means for the Sierra.  That sun is getting baked.  Expect more of the same for Friday when high temperatures will try for the high 60s.  We will have to see how that fog plays out.

Surf is looking fun this afternoon, and a bit of that could hold on through the first half of the day on Friday.  Some time late in the day, perhaps just after sunset, we have a hug fetch baring down almost directly on us.  Just the surf is going to get big.  Like really big, with 20-30 foot seas forecasted just a few hundred miles off the cost.  For those of us lucky enough to be on land, that could mean 15-20 foot (or bigger) short period swell.  Not great for surfing, but it will make a spectacular show.  Match that with some serious wind Saturday morning, and then some rain, it will be a great day for a storm stroll along West Cliff.  Just were your rain gear.

Speaking of rain, it starts to our north later on Friday and will spread south over night and through the morning on Saturday.  You may have an early morning window on Saturday to get out an beat the rain, but once it fills in, it looks like a pretty heavy band will sit on top of us for 6 hours or so.  Maybe make some plans for an afternoon movie, or grab a slicker and some Wellies and go stomping.  Rain should lighten up a bit, but last overnight, a maybe into the morning on Sunday.  On the bright side, high pressure moves in quick and the sun should be out by mid day Sunday.  The weekend will be chilly though, with a cold front moving in Saturday morning.  High 50s both days, but the sun will make it feel warmer on Sunday.  The start of next week looks nice, with mid 60s and sunshine.  But more storms loom on the horizon.

Casey pops off Ooops at Kirkwood.  Antics like this are likely on Sunday.

For you skiers, this past week 1-3 feet of snow has fallen at the resorts.  And snow is coming in this weekend.  Another 18 inches or so.  The not so great news is that at 8500 feet, it will be sunny and in the mid 50s Friday.  And it is almost April.  What that means it is will get baked on Friday and refreeze, hard, by Saturday morning.  While new snow is on the way, that powder from yesterday will be ice.  Maybe make for alate start on Saturday and let a few new inches of fluff fall before heading out.  With some luck, we might even get a bit before the lifts open.  Sunday should start out like a nice powder day.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Bell Curve

Snow ghost at the end of a 100" week.
If one were to graph the probability of rain over the next five days, "bell curve" wold be the simplest term to describe what was charted.  Today, Monday, it is going to be fairly decent out thee.  Pretty much, we can expect not to see any rain today down in Santa Cruz.  Get up north of the city, and it could be a little different.  Like a very slight chance in Santa Rosa.  But it is not what I would call a toasty day.  Not cold either.  Cool, crisp morning will warm up to just about 60F.  It will certainly feel a little warmer than that out of the breeze and in the sun.  A good day for a stroll or a ride.  If you have a chance to get outside today, take it, as this is the beginning of the ascent of the bell.

When graphing high temperature over the next few days, we would draw a slope slowly rising from the left to the right.  Tuesday should be a bit warmer than today.  Unfortunately, it probably will not feel that way, with a fairly full cloud cover moving in through the morning hours.  Rain likely, especially by afternoon.  And chances increase overnight and into Wednesday.  Nothing too heavy, but it could be steady like this past Saturday.  Daily highs continue to increase.  Say about 62F.  Rains taper to showers during the afternoon.  Some sprinkles, or brief stronger cells passing through, on Thursday.  By Friday we might even hit 65F and see the sun break back out.  Bell curve.  Maybe a foot of snow along the Sierra Crest by Friday.  Nothing stellar, but a few inches does not hurt.

Weekend is still up in the air.  A series of two fairly strong systems should approach the coast.  Models have been shifting this system further north the last couple of runs.  A direct hit could bring us more rain.  Heavier.  But a northerly track slams Portland, leaving us with a slightly warmer, much dryer system.  Other than chance of rain this coming weekend, things are still up in the air.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Rainy weekend. Little new snow. More rain next week.

Find something else to do.  Great day for a visit to the museum tomorrow.  Sunday does not look much better.  Rain showers are moving in tonight.  And this storm is going to drag its heals and slide on down the coast.  Nothing driving it, as it is closed off and the jet stream is a bit to the north.  So, what often happens with these types of systems is that that shift into the coast, and then work their way south, keeping a steady rain right along the coast.  Nothing too heavy, but steady from mid day Saturday through the evening.  What's on tap for Sunday?  More drizzle.  Yay.

Gulls enjoying the breeze along the coast.

The good news is it won't be too cold.  Low 50s on Saturday and a bit warmer on Sunday.  Even warmer on Monday, when we will see a bit of sunshine even.  Basically, Monday is the day to get outside for a walk, or tend to some yard work.   Not gonna be steamy, but we might see 60.  Tuesday could warm up even a bit more, but expect rain through Wednesday.  Thursday and early Friday look like just clouds, but more rain looks to be approaching us here on the coast.  In short, a wet forecast for the next week.  Might see some real snow accumulation by the end of the week.  More on this coming Friday a bit later.

So to sum it up, this weekend is going to be wet.  Most consistent rain starts mid day on Saturday and last through the evening.  Best chance of dry weather will be in the morning.  Sunday looks like showers.  Next week looks wet after a quick break on Monday.  Thursday will see the next period of not-rain.  More rain looks likely to start off next weekend.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

More coming our way.

Rain that is.  Short post today, as we have some business to attend to.  But just wanted to put up a post about the coming rain.  Things look pretty good for us in Santa Cruz.  Slight chance for some showers overnight tonight and into the morning on Thursday.  Chances increase significantly as you head north.  Even just a little bit.  Nothing too exciting, as the center of this system is up in Oregon.  Still, showery weather for the city, the capital and some light flurries in Tahoe.  Kind of warm though, so not much will stick.  Things clear out for Friday.

Next system moves through later on Saturday.  We could see some rain as early as Saturday morning, but it looks like it will hold off until the evening.  Sunday looks like a cloudy, wet day.  Nothing quite like the meat of the last series of storms, but wet none the less.  Not the best of weekends coming up.  And by then, things will cool down a bit.  But not cold.  Say mid 50s here by the coast, and low 30s for Tahoe.  Overnight we could see high 30s here and teens in the mountains.

Next week is looking more wet than dry, and the month could close with another series of strong storms.  We will get to that soon.  For now, be prepared for some light showers tonight and for the morning commute Thursday.  Friday looks like a sunny one, but the weekend could be a wash.  If you can, plan for Saturday morning to enjoy the outside before the rain comes in.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Sierra doubles season snowfall in March.

With the month having almost still two weeks to go, the central Sierra has seen its snowfall essentially double in March.  Official snow plot reports will come out soon, but with over 100" along the crest in the last eight days, we have seen a huge change.  While still short, we are on the plus side of 50% of average and we are clearly finally at mid tide.  For you snow schussers, the bigger lines are really starting to fill in.  If you are one of the lucky folks enjoying the bluebird today, you win.  If you got to ski over the weekend, you can also claim a win.  And I will also like to suggest that anyone driving in snow or rain to use extra caution.  Lots of big accidents out there this weekend.  Lots of inexperienced snow drivers out there this weekend causing all sorts of trouble.  Learn how to drive in the snow.  Here is the secret, drive slow, smooth, about 20-30mph, and don't keep hitting your breaks - that is what is causing you to skid.  End rant.  I got home at 2AM last night.

Enough of how awesome the snow is.  Did I bother to mention it was several feet of blower?  Anyway, sun broke out here in Santa Cruz this morning, and except for a few clouds to enhance the sunsets, we can expect it to stay that way.  Still chilly to start of the week, but the forecast is looking to hold.  Few clouds, and a warming trend.  Another wave from this past weeks storm system could move in late tonight or tomorrow morning.  So clouds should increase, and we could even see some showers.  In fact, storms will continue to pound our friends in Portland all week.  Wednesday should be nice and warm.  Mid 60s.  Yay!  Later in the week, things cool down just a bit, but we should stay in the 60s.  Chance of rain moving in by Friday night.

In short, we have at least a brief period of milder weather.  Storms to our north could bring showers Tuesday (and also Thursday), but likely we will see just a few clouds.  Warmest day this week Wednesday.  Storm track could shift back on top of us for the weekend, but that remains to be seen.  And we have snow.  Today and Tuesday should be real good, but warmer temps later int he week, combined with March sun, should send us into spring like conditions.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Rain tapers starting today. Showery weather for the short term.

It ain't over, till it is over.  Another wave moved through Santa Cruz last night and again this morning.  I think we are out of the thick of it, as this later one moves south.  Wrap around could still bring in showers, but mostly light in nature.  Light snow showers will effect the slopes south of Tahoe this afternoon.  While the cold air sticks around, things will not be quite as wet as the past few days.  But it won't exactly be dry.  Showery conditions persist through Tuesday morning, with each day looking more and more likely to stay dry, as the jet slowly shifts storms to our north.

By Wednesday we could be looking at mostly sun and warming weather.  Say breaking clouds and mid 60s.  The small ridge could keep us dry for several days,  but we are finally in the midst of winter.  Rainy weather likely to return before next Sunday.  Currently it looks like the storms should come back in Saturday evening, although this could shift several days in either direction depending on the strength of the ridge that builds in late Tuesday.  More on that later.

The big news was the heavy rain and snow last night.  Three to four feet of snow fell in the last 24 hours along the Sierra Crest near Tahoe.  This is simply the biggest snow event of the year.  Reports of stoke are coming back from the slopes.  But the really good news will come in the next few days as we see the reservoirs starting to fill up.  It will be interesting to see how the rest of the month fairs, and what the snowpack looks like on April 1st.  Even though we were at less than 30% before last week, we could be on par by months end.  That would be something.

So, in short, more drizzle for the rest of the weekend and to start out next week.  Things begin to break apart on Tuesday and Wednesday looks warm and sunny.  Mild and mostly sun through next Saturday when we see the chance of another storm moving in overnight.  More later.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Just getting started... Sun by Tuesday.

Yeah.  It is raining out there.  Been pretty steady since Tuesday evening.  Today is a bit lighter than yesterday, but the real heavy stuff is still to come.  Another wave fills in today, with tow more hot on its heals.  Moderate rain turns to heavier rain as the second wave moves through early Friday morning.  Then a third wave is accompanied by a pretty strong cold front.  Late Friday, and into Saturday morning we will see the heaviest rain period of the winter thus far.  Keep an eye out for urban flooding, and if you plan to be on the roads anywhere, please slow down and be super careful.  And if headed to the snow, look at my last post.  Be prepared.  Don't be a Donner.

Bluebird powder days are not coming this weekend.  Maybe Tuesday.  Near Kirkwood, California.

Another inch of rain will fall in Santa Cruz during the strongest wave late Friday through Saturday morning.  Today will see a high in the mid 60s, Saturday in the low 50s.  I did mention a cold front.  It will be a chilly and wet weekend.  Sunday will not be quite as cold, not quite as wet.  But it won't be warm and sunny.  We will need to wait till Tuesday for something that resembles that.  Monday will continue showery, cloudy and cool with highs maybe in the mid 50s.  Tuesday and Wednesday will break into the 60s and the sun just may come out and shine for a few days.  After that, it looks like we could have another series of storms creep south by Friday.  We will need to watch and wait.  More rain through months end.  Finally, we are getting our share.

Surf is pretty much victory at sea with all of these storms running up on top of us.  Even if you can find a protected cove that is working, keep in mind that we have a ton of rain water run off right now, and because we have not had a lot of rain, that water will contain a lot of junk.  Think of it as not flushing the toilet for a while, then... you get the point.  The ocean is pretty crappy right now.  Best bet for outdoor fun, if you can handle the hellish drive, it to get some snow.  Sunday if best bet for decent road conditions, lifts running and a mix of snow surfaces.  If you are the storm day riding powder hound, you may prefer Saturday, but expect road and lift closures to hamper the fun.  Or put on a slicker and get out for a walk in the forest.  It is Ewok magical out there right now.  Watch out for fairy dust.

Rain, and more rain.  Things get wetter.  The past few days were just a tease.  Heavier rain by Friday morning.  Even wetter by afternoon.  Dropping temperatures.  Snow levels below 5000 feet by Saturday.  Lighter, more showery weather Sunday.  Powder day.  Showers last through Monday.  Then we get a break for a few days.  Time to stroll West Cliff, cause more rain to follow.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Winter Storm Warning. Biggest one yet. Be Careful!

It is finally here.  The last wave did sweep through the Sierra and left behind a few inches along the western slope.  Not much, other than a few clouds, seemed to happen down by the coast.  But one look out the window this morning, and you clearly see that is all about to change.  Thick clouds and wind filled in last night.  A few showers have passed through, but it is not too wet out there.  With some luck, we could see mostly drizzle today.  Not much more.  Depends how this thing sweeps in.  The Sierra will bear the brunt of it, with six inches at 5000 feet and several feet along the Sierra Crest by late Wednesday.  That six inches will soon get washed away, by the next round that hits Thursday.  Freezing levels are going to rise up to near 8000 feet.  Several more feet above that before this thing really starts to ramp up on Friday.  And into Saturday.  In short, it is going to dump.

Glove Rock about to get plastered.  A crazy week ahead at elevation.

Now, I know a lot of folks have been itching for snow, and finally here it comes.  Multiple feet.  Over a hundred inches by the end of the weekend.  Just want to say, that driving conditions, especially Thursday through Saturday are going to be miserable at best.  Traffic, accidents, white outs, chain controls - you name it.  Unless you are very experienced at driving in very stormy conditions, you may want to think about waiting it out.  More snow is on the way through next week, so you may want to wait until next weekend, which could be sunny.  Snow will taper on Sunday, but the road crews will have been working hard all week.  So if you do go up, plan accordingly.  Add 50% to your usual travel time.  Pack extra clothes, blankets, food, water, emergency kits.  And don't forget your chains, and to slow down.  This thing is going to get gnarly up there.  And if you do go up, bring your powder boards. Anything less won't even cut it.  Unlikely you see much in the way of groomed terrain.  It is going to be a whopper.

Details for down here.  Clouds and wind today.  Drizzle and chances of heavier rain as the day goes on. About 60F today.  It will get heavy overnight and through the first half of Wednesday.  Then maybe a break before the next wave comes in Thursday and through Friday.  Things warm up to almost the mid 60s on Thursday, before dropping to the mid 50s on Saturday.  Rain will be heaviest late Thursday and Friday. And it continues on Saturday, before turning to more sporadic showers on Sunday.  It stays cool through the weekend.  Next week starts of kind of wet.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Do you remember last March, when I used the word "biblical"?

Well, it is going to get wet.  Real wet.  Today's brief reprieve should not fool anyone.  That jet is finally going to dip south, ride up on over us, and valet in the wave train that has been slamming BC all season. For better or for worse, it is now our turn.  Get out those wellies, slickers and brellas.  And if you plan to head for the snow, bring a shovel (and a ton of other supplies), cause your gonna be digging.

Get ready for a cake battering.  Only rocks showing in a few days will be the pinnacles.

First wave will come upon us this evening and build through the day Tuesday.  Pretty much non stop rain through mid day Friday.  For details on the snow, check out here or here.  But it is going to pile up.  Rain could be failing around the Tahoe base resorts ('cept Rose and Vailwood), especially on Thursday.  Cold piles in Friday and drops freezing levels down below 5500K.  And to be honest, it does not look like things will let up much through the weekend.  There is talk of it being a 100" week in the Sierra.  There is talk of maybe another one behind it.  We could easily see our annual snow fall double next week.  And perhaps triple by month's end.  Miracle March is a saying hello.

Down here, well over an inch of rain through Friday in the Cruz.  That means the local hills will be expecting 2 plus in certain spots.  Marin is looking at 2 or more inches.  And a 7 inch moisture plum runs from the OR/CA border to Lake Tahoe.  Things drop of quickly as you head south.  Big Sur is looking at just about a half inch.  This is a NorCal event for sure.  More on short term details (like quick periods of rain breaks to get out and enjoy some fresh air) and long term notes soon.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Spackle, finally, we hope.

So if you like to ski or board, you have probably had a pretty rough winter so far.  Some of us are great at making lemon aid.  Perhaps that is in part based on a chef background.  I know another great cook who has had a great winter so far.  Anyway, things could be changing.  We could be looking at several feet os spackle graces the hills.  Not only would this give several more feet of base, moving us into a mid tide situation, and opening up new lines, but an event like this could extend our ski season by several weeks in spring.  It might be enough to keep the resorts open and riding decently through their scheduled closing dates.  Not to mention allow the high country season to actually open up this May.  But really?  Can this be serious?  It is like already in the high 60s outside my front door at 9AM.  Snow?

Evening sky

OMG.  Did you get a piece of today?  Do you still have a window.  Get out there and do something, even if you just sit on a stoop and sip a 40.  Surf last night was pretty small and weak, but oh, what a lovely, lovely evening it was.  Today will top that.  I would not be surprised if it hit 75 up in the fields by campus and parts of the Ranch.  As forecast, Saturday should be a bit cooler, but still mostly sunny.  Although, I should mention we could see some morning fog along the water.  The storm period still looks progressive through the week.  Clouds on Sunday.  From there on in, highs look to top out at 60F.  Hence the spackle.  Freezing levels will be up above Lake Tahoe at times.

Sunday sees clouds and maybe some light rain.  Chances increase Sunday night through Monday.  Still not all that likely in Santa Cruz.  Thanks both to shadowing and axis orientation.  It looks like the jet will be going SW to NE, and the main line of the hose remains north.  Getting ready Lumerians.  You little hill is going to get drilled.  Sooner, or later, that spray line will pivot, and/or shift south.  More on that later.  Another wave move though, this one a bit wetter, but still focused north of here, will move through.  Good bet by then that indoor activities will be the best call.  Wednesday could see a bit of reprieve, and even warm up if the sun is allowed to show.  Next wave comes Thursday, and this one looks to hit us more directly.  As well as Tahoe.  And too note, it looks a bit warmer than the previous.  Here is your spackle maker.  Hopefully the previous layers of snow handle the loading.  And more possible after that.

So, get the hell outside today.  If you miss today, enjoy tomorrow.  After that we are looking at perhaps the first real rainy period of the winter beginning.  This thing has chances of lasting several weeks.  Get prepared.  You may even want to tidy up the yard this week, and put away those summer toys.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

No Warnings.

Yup.  Currently, no warnings, notices, advisories or other communications are posted up for our region on the NOAA site.  That mean we are in the midst of a few placid days.  The cold is finally starting to abate today.  Warming trend not to be quite as significant as previously advertised.  We still might see 70F here in the protected corners of west side Santa Cruz, but most spots will be just shy of that mark tomorrow.  Regardless, Friday is going to be stellar.  The weekend starts out pretty nice.

Some days, the surf is small and playful, and beautifully lit.

Winds from th past few days are gone.  Calm and warming today.  Might get into the mid 60s.  Calm and even warmer on Friday.  Some afternoon breezes build.  Saturday again starts calm, but a bit cooler.  Highs back in the 60s.  So far, so good.  Then we see a bit of a pattern change.  Our nice high pressure will once again begin to go on the move.  This time shifting westerly.  At first, a bit of the bubble might stay on top of us.  In the early morning hours of Sunday, a wave will move across the coast.  Likely that rain stays in Marin or northeast of there.  This is not a little storm, so we should still expect some southerly winds developing and cloud cover.  I'd even expect some of the local hills to trap a little moisture.  Not much more than drizzle.  Of course, this thing could always dig a hundred miles further south and we then would see heavy rains.  Another wave late Sunday night and into Monday morning.

What happens next is still a bit of a question, but it looks like each successive system digs a bit further south.  And they all have a wallop of a punch.  Tuesday and Thursdays currently look like peak days of storminess.  These systems are looking like they may draw some warmer air in.  Not warm like in the 70s, but warm, as in warm for a winter storm.  We should be seeing high 50s at the coast and a freezing level up around 5-7K.  Maybe even warmer than than.  We will fine tune this as we approach next week.

Other days the surf is raging, and the points are on fire.

Great few days on tap.  Get it while it is good.  Greater chances of poor weather the second half of this weekend and next week.  Don't even get me started on later in the month.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Technically, it is still winter.

Seriously, the spring solstice is not for another two weeks.  We are in the last days of winter, but you can't really tell by looking outside.  It is already quite warm this morning in the Cruz.  But don't get too excited.  Another brief shot of cold and rain moves in tonight and tomorrow.  Today we could see high temperatures reaching back up to 70F.  It was 77F on the west side yesterday afternoon at 4PM.  Wow!  Clouds fill in tonight and rain soon follows.  Cold tomorrow, with highs not reaching into the 60s.  Add some strong winds that come out of the north tonight, and you have the recipe for a winter's day.

Sun rising over the Red Cliffs ridge in Kirkwood Valley.

Brief is the best way to describe this next round of winter.  The storminess will clear by afternoon and the clouds will break up overnight.  And that will allow it to get cold.  Low 30s across the county and below freezing as you head up into the coastal hills.  But that will be short lived as more warm ir pumps into the region starting Wednesday.  Low 60s for mid week and 70F by Friday.  Even warmer in the right spots in the Santa Cruz mountains.  And to boot, the weekend could be quite nice, if just a bit cooler.

Pay head though, because winter is far from over.  Right now we are starting to see the signs of a large, wet and strong storm system talking aim at us for early next week. Think Tuesday.  More on this later.  For now, cold and rain Monday night and Tuesday.  Very cold Tuesday night.  Warming, sun and excellent weather to finish out the work week.  Another nice weekend ahead.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Brillant, briefly.

How beach day Batman.  I mean, seriously, it is great out there.  And it only going to get better.  Breaking the 70 degree mark today and pushing up to, and maybe through, the low 70s on Sunday.  Match that up with a light wind regime and sunshine, and you have some excellent late winter weather out there to enjoy. Only thing missing for a true California Dreamin' day is a perfect eight foot swell.  Alas, if you are hungry and search, you can find something to ride on.  Or you could just head up the Sierra with everyone else and enjoy some fresh snow and spring skiing days.

Early evening is a great time to stroll the bluffs just north of Santa Cruz.

This weekend is the best of it.  Monday should still be fairly warm, but the highs will drop back into the mid to high 60s.  This cooling will be more drastic by Tuesday, as a fast moving storm system moves through mostly to our north.  This thing will dip down south enough to fill in some clouds, drop the daytime high to about 60F and give us a chance for some sporadic showers.  If things look any different than this, I will be sure to post it up here.  For now, the greatest chance of rain lies well north of San Francisco.  Tahoe could receive a few more inches of snow.  Enough for a refresh of the surface conditions.  A rebound is in the cards for Wednesday with daytime highs jumping back up into the mid 60s.  The work week looks to finish out nicely.

Or one could just stay in town and watch the storm clouds roll in/

Long term we are looking at the chance of some bigger storms entering into the picture by late next weekend.  This will really all depend on where the high pressure bubble sets up off the coast.  If it hugs the coast, the storms will be pushed north, like the one forecasted for this coming Tuesday.  If it shifts to the west, as projected by some models, the doors will open and we could see a longer series of bigger storms come crashing in.  It would be nice to get a bit more snow up in the mountains to allow us the great spring skiing many come to love in the Sierra.  And the water would be nice as well.

For now, enjoy the awesome weather this weekend.  A bit cooler next week.  All sunny and mid 60s except for Tuesday when we will see clouds, 60F and a chance at light rain.