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.