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.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012


That is the best way to describe today.  Sure, Monday was no Sunday (which was fricking awesome), but today was cold.  Dense fog has filled in from the southwest flow, and new, cooler air has moved into the region.  Good news is that while the air will remain chilly, the sun looks likely for at least the next two days.  Lets say Wednesday will be sunny and in the mid 60s.  We may even see the sun rise.  thursday will be similar, but just a touch warmer.  And while foggy mornings return to close out the week, things will warm up into the 70s.  Maybe.

Just another view of the wharf and boardwalk with Mt. Madonna standing tall.  Santa Cruz.

Long range looks good, as the models are pretty consistent with fall like weather returning for next week.  We even are seeing a series of decent sized storms trailing just south of the Aleutians.  Cross your fingers for sun, offshore and swell later next week.  Regardless, the weather is starting to make its turn for sure.  Summer is coming to a close, and the fine weather of fall should soon be upon us.  October is already booked with visitors.  November is filling up.  It just took a over 15 years for the New Englanders to figure out how great our autumn is around here.  Bring it on.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

That weekend was pretty epic.

Micro climates are funny.  It was darned cold up in the city on Saturday while we were enjoying bright, hot, late summer sun.  Not really a fall pattern on us yet, but the lack of fog sure warmed things up.  Now, if we could only turn off that wind machine.  Later this coming week, we could see lighter winds, but only because a little fog is going to settle back in.  Hard to say exactly, as little shifts in the guiding high pressures can switch things pretty quickly this time of year.

While the surf has been flat at Mitchel's Cove, the kayaking has been superb on the morning glass.  West Cliff Drive, Santa Cruz.

Some fog and clouds may for tonight, but Monday should start off pretty clear here in Santa Cruz.  Another fine day will be on tap with temperatures pushing into the high 70s.  That cooler air mass won;t be on top of us until Tuesday, so lack of much fog and warm air gives to hot days.  West Cliff was baking today, as was Main Beach and the Boardwalk.  Summer fun is still going on strong around here.  By Tuesday, we see an eddy flow filling in, giving us light south breezes, and the chance of a marine layer pushing up and into town.  Highs start to top out around 70F through at least Thursday.  GFS is suggesting fog getting the boot for next weekend, and the result would be warming.  NWS is not seeing this solution yet.  Check back here for updates this week.

Mountain Biking has been pretty killer recently.  Get on out to Wilder and around UC for some great trail conditions.  Try the new single track reroute along Englesman's in Wilder.  It is a perfect climb, and a decent descent.  You will not be disappointed.  Looks like biking will be your best bet this week, as the swell we saw over the weekend dies out on Monday.  Not much more than wind swell for the rest of the week.  Maybe a little bump mid week from the NW, but don't expect much.  Not to worry, as the NPAC is waking up and we will soon get more of what we enjoyed over the weekend.

In short, still summer like weather, although we could have a few more days of clear mornings.  In general, if the day breaks clear, expect a high of 75-80.  Otherwise, plan on 70F.

Friday, September 7, 2012

So much for that fog.

Friday opens up clear and clean.  Sun is shining this morning.  Gonna go hitch up the stroller and get out there to enjoy some morning sun.  Get sum.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Coming just in time for gourd season.

Yup, you heard it here.  Fall is on the way.  Yeah, sure, at first we will just get bits and tastes of it.  But its coming.  First, though, we need to endure another weekend of summer.  In fact tomorrow, Friday, parts of the Santa Cruz coast may never see the sun.  There is a chance that the fog will hang in there all day.  Better chance for sun on Saturday.  Once the fog clears on Monday, we may not see it for a few days.  And we may see the off shore breezes of autumn develop.

Another fishing vessel in Gloucester Harbor.  

So, tomorrow, Friday, stays pretty cool with a well developed marine layer.  High temperature will fight to reach 70.  Southerly flow aloft is what keeps the moist blanket on.  As that dies out, we see a bit more warming on Saturday, before a cooler air mass fills in.  Not much cooler, but a bit cooler.  Good news is that with more sunshine each day, high temps hang in there at about 70F.  Tuesday and Wednesday mornings could be real nice.  If you like sunrise, here will be your chance to score some.  Might just need to get the stroller packed up the night before to get out on it early.

In other weather news, a north west ground swell will hit over the weekend, arriving late on Saturday.  Of course, it will hit earlier north of the city.  This thing is not super large, or super long period, but there will be some fun waves with head high conditions on the north west exposed coast.  This includes Ocean Beach, and the coast south to Santa Cruz.  Be careful if you are headed out to the coast this weekend, and remember, always keep an eye on the ocean.  If you are planning to get some surf in, hit it early as we still have onshore conditions.  We need to wait until Tuesday for the chance of the off shore breeze to develop.  Signs of fall, none the less.  Soon we will need to start talking about wrapping in up and preparing for rain.  Still another month plus for that.

Foggy Friday.  Better weekend.  Awesome middle of next week.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012


Did you hear thunder this morning?  Nope, your not crazy.  Inland folk may have seen a little lightening as well.  It down poured this morning in Santa Cruz.  For about 20 seconds.  Weird stuff.  My apologies for not warning any of the readers.  I saw something a few days ago about slight chances of the remnants of hurricane such-and-such could run ashore around Point Conception.  Well, I paid it little head, as I was headed away for the holiday and thought, sure, that might happen.  It did not.  Rather it moved ashore well north of the point, and that is what gave us the energy to have thunderstorms today.  Pretty cool stuff.  Good chance for this moisture to add energy to the usual mountain summer afternoon thundershowers.  For us down along the coast, just some pretty clouds will be left for us to enjoy.  The rain storm is over.

Cape Pond Ice in Gloucester Harbor, Massachusetts.  Carving ice from the pond and shipping fish since 1848.

Otherwise, things are kind of boring around here.  Low of 53.  High of 71.  Fog clears late morning.  All week.   That about sums it up.  No real difference to note upon.  If you surf, there is small swell on the way to replace what has faded from this past weekend.  Friday sees a small short period northwest, and early Sunday we get a small, almost long period swell coming at us from the Gulf of Alaska.  This is a sign of the turn.  The low pressures inching into the gulf have grown stronger over the past few weeks.  Another fetch is forecast to set up in that region over the weekend, driving rain down to the US border by the start of next week.  While the high pressure makes a bit of a rebound after that, we continue to see storms moving through the long term models.  Some of the fantasy runs suggest decent waves and calm fall conditions by mid month.  A fantasy.

For now, summer continues.  Windy in the afternoons.  More so than over the past few days.  That sun is still warm, and the fog is still wet.  Enjoy.

Edit:  We just had a 5 minute thunder shower here.  Clouds look dynamic.  Maybe more this afternoon.