Thursday, November 29, 2012

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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Build your ark.

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

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

Friday, November 23, 2012

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

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

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

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

Monday, November 19, 2012

Epic puddle stomping conditions.

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

Breaking clouds in the early morning light.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

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

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

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

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

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

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

Friday, November 16, 2012

Friday night quickie

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

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

Thursday, November 15, 2012

A whopper of a doozy.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

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

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

Almost there.  Kirkwood Mountain Resort, California.  

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

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

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

On track for 40 hours of light showery weather.

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

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

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

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Fricking Gorgeous November Weather. For another day or two.

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

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

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

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