Wednesday, August 29, 2012

One more day of glorious Autumn, before Summer returns.

It may not yet even be Labor Day, but we are in the midst of enjoying several days of Autumn like weather here in Santa Cruz.  And it is awesome.  This morning my son woke up with a view of the stars.  Sure, waking up before the sun is a little less than awesome, but no fog allows us to watch that sun rise over the coastal mountains.  And that is awesome.  Perhaps more noticeable is how much more things warm up when we have the sun baking us starting at 7AM instead of noonish.  It got hot the past few days.  What a friend called perfect Phoenix weather.  Like mid winter for them.  Mid 80s and super dry.  The deck warms up.  The house warms up.  And for sure the mountain bike trails warm up.

But we have not yet seen the turn of the season.  Summer comes back to us tomorrow.  It tried Monday night, and failed.  But this time, the fog will roll in tonight, and do its thing.  Thursday, high temperatures should be a good 15 degrees cooler than today.  Yup, high 60s.  And it could get worse over the weekend as a south south west flow may keep the fog on us through the entire day.  On the other hand, this should keep the surface conditions good all day for the incoming swell.  That at least could help the crowd factor.

Nearing high tide in the estuary behind Drake's Island Beach, Wells, Maine.

For you mountain bike folks, the trails are in really good shape in Wilder and up at UCSC.  Englesman Loop in Wilder has been rerouted along its northern side, and the results are astounding.  About a 1/2 mile up the fire road, the reroute is a single track that keeps ducking into the forested canyon and back out into the meadowed hillside.  The really cool thing about it, is every time you pop back out into the meadow, you have an even better view of the Monterey Bay.  It is  great way to climb.  Things should stay pretty good out there until the rain comes, which should be still a few months away.

Great day in store for us today.  If you can, get outside early and enjoy that rare summer morning sunshine.  Foggy mornings and cooler days for the next week.  Maybe a few days of fully fog over the holiday weekend.  Hot and sunny inland.  Nice in the mountains.  Enjoy the holiday.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Low pressure pulls out the fog.

Monday started off spectacularly.  A friend commented on how you can tell it is winter when it is nicer on the coastal bench than it is in the coastal mountains.  I neglected to remind him that it is late August. Probably because it felt like a wonderful October morning.  After watching the sun rise, a morning stroll was in the cards.  Its ot like this is likely to happen again tomorrow.  Or for several weeks for that matter.  Summer is looking to make its return.  Before that happens, enjoy the warm up we are feeling today.

Low pressure that is hanging just north and west of us helped pull out the marine layer by developing a strong northerly flow aloft.  As that system dissipates and moves east, the usual north westerlies will return and deliver another round of foggy mornings.  Do not despair, as it does not look likely we will have the prolonged fog we enjoyed (or endured, depending on your outlook) on Friday and Saturday.  What we do get is a warm up today and the bonus that provides for the rest of the week.  Maybe 80F today.  Sure feels like that on my deck.  Mid 70s for the rest of the week.  Yup, todays warming allows us to stay above the 60s, at least through the weekend.  By Friday, thing cool down, but we should uptick a bit Sunday into Monday.  Up in the Sierra, the Labor Day Weekend it could be cooler than the coast, with upper 60s forecasted at 8000F and maybe 80F at lake level.

While today started sunny, and with a little luck, tomorrow will, fog returns later this week.  Main Beach, Santa Cruz.

Big news is the upcoming swell for the weekend.  It has been a while since we have seen much in the way of waves, so expect the crowds to be out there.  South swell should begin filling into California sometime during the day Friday with tiny quite long period swell.  Things pick up Saturday and by later in the weekend, we should be seeing nice, chest high to well over-head southy lines.  It is gonna be fun out there, but get to your secret spot early to avoid thousand of other who plan to be out there.  A little energy to follow through the first part of next week as well.  Get some.

Long term, high pressure is to control our part of the Pacific for at least a week.  Low pressure continues to try to make inroads to the most northern part of the Gulf of Alaska, as well as the northwest Pacific.  Maybe 10 days out we could see some systems building in further south.  The models suggest this a bit, but it is really too early to tell.  Still, it is not odd to see a few mid sized storms run into the PNW come mid September.  For now, a few foggy mornings and warm afternoons.  Enjoy.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Bundle up Santa Cruz.

It is cool and foggy out there.  Early morning hours bring a light drizzle.  Brrr.  So, this is summer on the Central Coast.  Feels like the fog bank of 2010 has returned.  But that is not the case.  We must endure a few more days of fog not really burning off along the coastal bench, and then things will clear back to normal.  Or at least what has been the norm so far this August.  Sure, there will still be fog, but it won't be as cold and it won't last as long.

A one, two punch of low pressure systems moving through the Gulf of Alaska are in part to blame for the current weather.  While these systems will stay clearly to our north, they are pumping cool, moist air  down the coast.  As the wind gradient gets suppressed by the storms moving across the north edge of the high pressure, we don't have the requisite on shore wind to blow out the fog.  So it sticks around all day, and the mornings are especially cool and damp.  So, for Santa Cruz, we see low 50s and high 60s as the daily range.  Things should warm slightly as we move into next work week.  Mid 70s by next week.  The storms get pushed inland between Alaska and Portland.  Most rain will fall in Canada, but some could spread south through the Cascades.  If you want to avoid the coolness here on the coast, you can just head inland.  Mid 70s in the Santa Cruz Mountains, as well as in the Sierra Nevada.  Even warmer in the inland valleys.  They are still in the 90s.  I'll take a little fog.  It has been excellent mountain bike weather.  You can even go mid day.

In short, less fog and warmer weather after we move through the weekend.  In the long view, models keep projecting continued low pressures moving through the north eastern Pacific, the Bearing Sea and somewhat into the Gulf of Alaska.  Each model run can see changes in the forecast.  Regardless, the models are beginning to pick up on a possible pattern change developing in the north.  It could be a fluke, or it could be the start of the Turn.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Signs of a wind up.

So, nothing much new to report.  It is August.  The mornings will see some early morning low fog along the coast, lifting to higher fog by mid morning.  Sun will come out some time around the lunch hour.  The onshore winds will pick up through the afternoon.  High along the water in the upper 60s, low 70s downtown and on the coastal shelf.  High 70s and low 80s as you head into the mountains the better spots around the Bay.  The interior is still warm with highs in the mid 90s.  Basically, the same weather we have had all month.  Sure, it is a bit cooler than a few weeks ago, but not much.

Best time of the day is when the fog pulls out to reveal a beautiful day.  Municipal Wharf, Santa Cruz.

By late in the work week, another low pressure system will works its way into the Gulf of Alaska, perhaps sending a short wave our way, along with some cooling.  Any precipitation from this thing will stay well to our north and east.  It may also cut off and linger off our coast.  That would bring cooling as well.  By mid next week, high pressure makes a resurgence in the Pacific basin, but again next weekend, more energy organizes in the Bearing Sea and makes a dive for the south and east.  Chances are good for a second system to develop in the Gulf.  While this one would also stay well north, it is stirring the pot.  We don't expect much of a shift in the weather pattern, but if these storms were to increase in strength, it would suggest seasonal change.

Now is the time of year to enjoy the garden, the long days and great weather.  But it is also the time of year to start looking at your summer task list and make sure you hit all the top priority items.  Such as clean the gutters.  For me, it is build a French drain.  Others may be planning on building a terrace, cleaning the garage, going on an epic ride, or enjoying a day at the park.  No waning whistles yet, but start thinking about what you want to accomplish before the rain returns, and get 'er down.

Same old weather, with slight cooling through the week.  Although, not much, so really more of the same.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

High Pressure fills Pacific like over inflated ballon!

Oh, my.  What a high pressure system building in.  Looks just like summer in the North Pacific.  High pressure dominates the northern latitude waters from Japan to Anchorage, to Seattle to Mexico.  And then some.  Before that happens, just one more small area of low pressure, just off the California coast, needs to be squashed.  And that process may just help pump in some thunderstorms into the interior.  Watch out for it tomorrow evening Valley's.  South facing slopes are the best bet for good activity.

Fishing vessels hang just off the rocks as the tide drops at Drake's Island Beach, Maine.

High pressure builds in strong, but ten days out, if the models were to be believed, low pressure begins to make inroads near Kamchatka and the extreme north Gulf of Alaska.  In the fantasy charts, those things build and become impressive (for August) 16 days out.  Not that this is likely to happen, not that it effects our local weather all that much (hey it is summer), but it could be a sign of changes to come.  As high pressure begins to loose hold in the North Pacific, and low pressures systems begin to crawl across the ocean, soon after, we begin falling into a fall like cycle.  Which, IMO, is an awesome thing here on the Central Coast.  Cool, clear, crisp mornings, followed by warm, calm beautiful evenings.  And the fog is almost non-existant.  So, because of that, when things get boring in summer, I keep an eye out on the ocean.

For us, continued warm and fog.  Not much change from what we have been experiencing.  Right now, there is talk of more sun on Sunday.  So, the weekend could be nice.  Ben pretty nice out the past few days.  Last evening was gorgeous up north.  Waves, seals and sunsets.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Cooling trend ahead.

So, by Thursday, Merced may see their high temperature finally fall below 100F.  LIke, it is only going to be 99 degrees out.  So chill.  For us coastal dwellers, that could manifest a lingering morning fogs and highs in town in the mid 60s.  You folks in the Santa Cruz Mountains should be in the comfy 80s.  Afternoon thunderstorms is the name of the game in the Sierra where highs at South Lake will stay in the mid 80s through week's end.  All in all, not much of a change going on, other than a drop in daytime highs each day of about 1 degree Fahrenheit.

In a fishing town.  Gloucester, Mass.

Details here in Santa Cruz is continued mid 70s to finish the weekend.  Currently 73F out.  I've gotta say that we have such perfect weather around here for going outside and doing something.  Sure, it is not really east coast beach weather with 90F humid air and 72F tepid water.  But, it is perfect for a run, bike, paddle, surf, hike, jog, scamble, stroll, ride or walk.  Go out there and get some.  Cooling through mid week, with Wednesday and Thursday being coolest.  Say about mid 60s.  Nights stay mild in the mid 50s.  We could see a bump up by next weekend into the mid 70s again.  Like I said, pretty perfect.

If you are up in the mountains, and especially if you are enjoying the outdoors, keep your eye out for afternoon thunderstorms.  They can brew pretty quickly, and even hide behind the next ridge, and catch you off guard.  Should be pretty nice up there with 80s at lake level and 70s up above 9000 feet.  I hear the wild flowers are spectacular.  And the mountain biking is riding pretty well from reports I've been hearing.  

Thursday, August 9, 2012

So, maybe not so much more of the same.

Things warmed up here in Santa Cruz over the past few days.  Nothing like the interior, but it has been a bit too hot to wear jeans downtown at the Farmer's Market.  It this is not really what we have been seeing around here just before my return from Maine.  I did my job, and brought some of that heat back with me.  But the humidity stayed properly at home.  Something that makes a hot day so much more nice, is a little dry air mass.  Thunderstorms are cool and all, but that is why one visits the East.  But, enough musing.  What about what is going on locally.

At one of the country's oldest continuously working seaports, Cat Eyes exits the Annisquam River.  Gloucester, Massachusetts.

In case you have not noticed is ti darn near hot outside in Santa Cruz today.  We could easily see mid 80s across town, with high 80's in those wind protected zones like downtown.  West Cliff should break 80F as well.  While today may be the peak of the warmth here on the coast, we will still be seeing high 70s and maybe low 80s for the next few days.  Saturday looks especially nice.  Even though it will be the start of a cooling trend, and lead us back into foggy mornings, the wild will stay calm through most of the day.  Oh, and that fog.  It should remain off the coast over the next few mornings for those lucky enough to be facing southerly.  That is, of course, assuming the eddy flow does not get too strong.  In that case, south winds will put a damp blanket over town and cool us off a bit.  Always good to through a little weather guy double talk in for good measure.

The real story is the heat wave going on inland.  Pinnacles National Park could exceed 115F over the next few days.  Now, that is pretty darn hot.  Humidity or no.  The San Joaquin Valley is also going to be hot with 110F plus the next few days and sticking above 100F for at least fiver.  The foothills will only be a slightly better temperatures only in the mid to high 90s by Monday.  You will need to get up to some real elevation to cool off.  Tahoe will see an epic lake weekend with highs in the upper 80s and lows in the upper 40s.  Expect some real daytime heating and over night cooler.  Be prepared if you are out camping.  Up at 9000 feet, highs will still staying in the mid to upper 70s and nights could be a bit warmer, in the mid 50s.  Thank you night time inversions.  By early next week, things should moderate a bit, but strong high pressure keeps us warm.

As per protocol, the incoming traffic waits their turn.  The Creole Miss enters from Gloucester Harbor,
passing Ten Pound Island Lighthouse.

So, in short, an awesome weekend on tap.  Today and tomorrow are bakers.  Saturday is nice and sunny.  Fog should make a bit of a come back Sunday, but if things hold off, the sunny warmth could continue into next week.  Finally, a touch of summer here, at home.

Monday, August 6, 2012

More of the same.

After spending two weeks traveling around New England and enjoying summer weather that is best described as hot and humid, with afternoon thundershowers, it is about time that we head home.  So, I took a closer look at things, and what I found was what one would expect from Santa Cruz in August.  Foggy mornings, with afternoon clearing and low 70s.  In other words, more of the same.  But let me see if I can make this just a bit more interesting than that.

Turns out that sea gulls eat more than just bread crumbs and potato chips.  Wells Beach, Maine.

There is a little surf in the water, and more to come.  After what has been a lack luster south swell season, things are starting to look a bit better.  A SW swell is arriving through the day today and should fill in at the waist to chest high range.  By Monday, a steeper, more southerly, and much larger swell should hit.  Expect a peak on Tuesday, with top spots showing in the over head range.  But also know that these steep swells show up at fewer locations, so unless your surf spot can pull in from the 175 degree angle, you could be looking at flat conditions.  I'd tell you were to go, but I actually think that might be your job to figure out.  Anyway, that swell should settle out through the week, but we are seeing more storms in the southern Pacific, as well as some extra tropical action off of Japan, which could be giving us more waves for the end of the week and into next weekend.

Something of interest to note is the continued low pressures that have been in the Gulf of Alaska this summer.  Both the short and long term forecasts show some sort of low pressure system flirting around up there.  Nothing big enough or strong enough to break down our typical summer high pressure.  Nor really of interest for surf, other than some possible small, mid period swell.  Still, high pressure has not had a lock down on the north Pacific this summer.  I will continue to keep an eye on things up there to see how things adjust as we move through the summer and into the fall.  While many of us still think of August as high summer, the days have been getting shorter for some time, and we are almost half way to the solstice.  This is the period when things transition and storms begin to fuel in the colder latitudes.

Living the (good) seagull life.  Drake's Island Beach, Maine.

So for now, enjoy your Santa Cruz weather.  If the fog is getting to you, then head up the hill.  Felton has seen a lot more sun, and Boulder Creek even more so.  Or take some time to hit a river in the central valley or camp in the Sierra.  Or, you could just fly across country to see what humid feels like.  Now, I am off for one more beach day.