Monday, December 31, 2012

If models hold, high and dry for some time.

Chilly, right?  Balked on a chance to go full moon skiing last night.  I contribute a lot of things to that, but perhaps it was just because it was so cold.  Anyway, the chill continues regardless where you are in Central Cal.  The bright out look is that the models have progressed toward a drier solution for the coming week.  We are seeing a fairly decent sized high pressure filling in, and doing its part to split storms before they reach the coast.  It will stay cold, but by mid week, we will see some warmer.  Not much though.  The difference between 52F today and 58F on Friday.  There is a suggestion that by the 12th or so of January that a storm pattern could develop.  Too far out to say, and it could be more of a single hit as opposed to the fire house we received in December.  The New Year looks to start off on a fair weather set up.  We could, with luck see some warming over the next two weeks.  Nothing like 70, but we could find ourselves back to the mid 60s.

Birds at the Neary Lagoon are fun to watch.  This guy followed us down the boardwalk. 

When I left Santa Cruz yesterday morning, the surf was pretty much pumping.  Swell looks real fun over the next few day with an easterly wind.  Watch your tides, winds and swell, and you can be sure to score out there right now.  Snow is not too shabby either.  I fit in three lift runs yesterday afternoon.  Variable pack powder off the lift, with areas of wind buff and, and some shin deep semi-tracked a quick hike away.  The snowpack is easing a bit and picking up stability.  The backcountry is skiing really nicely.  It is still dangerous out there and the PWL, while buried deep, can still break.  Anyway, plenty of fun to be had.  Hope 2012 goes out well for ya, have fun next year.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Cold nights, cool days and periodic light rain.

Things cleared out today, and it should be sunny on Friday.  That cloud spare sky will allow for some significant cooling tonight.  It will be cold, and freezing temperatures are expected for any where but the coastal plane.  So, if you are in the hills, or even just slightly up the hill (say around campus) expect frost to a light freeze overnight tonight.  Sure has been a cold spell.  And it is not expected to let up anytime soon.  A cut off low is moving its way down the coast, and should brush our region by Friday night.  Light rain fills in late Friday and will continue through the day on Saturday, letting up on Sunday.  This will bring up the temperature a few degrees, but expect continued cold.  33F for a low and 52F for a high.  Or there about.  Tahoe could see a few inches to a half foot through the period.

Its Beach on a clear morning in December.

Sunday morning will bring clearing, but a second, weaker system moves in, brings some periodic drizzle.  Not much, but not high pressure either.  By evening though, high pressure will begin to nose in.  Cold air remains over the region and the years will end and begin cold.  It looks like another system is not forecasted for later in the week.  Sun should shine on Monday and Tuesday.  Wednesday will start clear, but clouds could move in by afternoon, and showers by evening.  This one looks a bit wetter than the weekend, but nothing like the storms of late December.  Thursday should be wet.  And continues chilly.  Hopefully by Friday we will be in the clear, and we could see a little bit of warming.  And as of now, it looks like we should see a week or 10 days of sun.  Yeah, right.  Will watch and monitor.  At least the teleconnections agree that that makes sense.  I will probably check back in, but if not, have a great New Year.

That is about it for the weather, but how about the snow and surf.  Looks promising.  The snowfall at the resorts are about 50% of annual average, so we have a good base from top to bottom.  The 5 or so feet from the last week and the 10-15 feet of snow that has fallen this month is being kept in great condition by the cold temps.  If you have not yet schussed this season, you should get on up there and make some turns.  Stay inbounds, or use extreme caution.  The backcountry is in a bit of sketchy condition and the dragon is lurking.  As for the surf, things look fun today and through the end of the week.  A big swell approaches for Saturday, and with luck, the winds could be light.  Could be.  We could also see this storm churn up a south wind, which would be bad for the surf.  This swell is big and breakers at exposed breaks will be in excess of 15 feet.  In town, it still looks sizable with a range of 5-10 feet, depending on where you go.  Get some, but be smart.  Currents will be strong, and due to the long period, it will have a lot of energy behind it.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Cool and wet, cool and wet. And a note to you snow sliders.

First, let us start off on a somber note tonight.  In the past few days, there have been several in bounds avalanches at north shore Tahoe ski resorts.  If you are headed out, please use caution, and understand that the resorts are unable to mitigate all risks.  The rain, and subsequent ice layer that formed back around Thanksgiving, has developed a very dangerous and persistent bed surface in the snow pack.  If you are choosing to go out and ski the steeper terrain, it would be wise to wear an avalanche beacon, avoid rollovers and terrain traps.  If you are not sure about what I am talking about, it would be best to stay on groomed and/or mellow terrain.  There have been two lived lost already.  Be careful out there.

Cool and wet weather continues for the Central coast through Wednesday.  Expect a rainy day tomorrow.  Highs should hover in the mid 50s for the next week.  Another foot of snow is expected at lake level, with two feet near the Sierra Crest.  It will be a brutal day tomorrow in the mountains.  Clearing should occur on Thursday, but showers could linger both on the coast and in the mountains.  Snow levels will be well below lake level, dropping down to almost 3000 feet by Wednesday evening. It will be chilly here in Santa Cruz.  Expect at least a short period of clearing with Thursday possibly being fair, and Friday starting off with a bit of sun.  The storm that was expected to stay off to our west and run into Southern California is trending east.  We should see a little bit of rain from this system, but heavy rain should be brief.  Not a whole bunch of moisture is expected to run over us, but this last storm is cut off from the jet, and is therefore hard to predict its path.  Updates to follow, but as of now it looks like moderate rain by Friday night, and showery weather on Saturday.  Some models suggest this thing is a slow mover and could keep us wet through the weekend and possibly into Monday.  More to come.  Regardless, it will be chilly through the period.

Steamer Lane, back in November, during the Cold Water Classic.  Fair weather returns for 2013.

While the surf is looking less than stellar with these storms, another large swell should be impacting our coast by the weekend.  Right now it looks like a large, long period (18 seconds plus) should hit Santa Cruz by Saturday.  If the current models runs are correct, we will be getting slammed by the final storm in the series, so conditions will be sub par.  If, on the other hand, the storms stays west, we should see strong offshore easterly winds, which could turn on the big wave breaks up the coast.  Time will tell.  As for the long term weather, things look to dry out with the new year.  High pressure should settle in and keep the storm track just to our north.  Not looking like a big boost in temperatures, but at least we will see a week of sun shine.  Or, at least that is how it looks now.  Merry Christmas, enjoy life and stay safe out there people.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Torrents. A nice Christmas Eve. And then more Torrents.

Today is a wash.  Oddly, the NWS has a warning for blowing dust today due to the strong winds.  Not sure where the dust is coming from, because we have puddles in our yard right now.  Been working on grading the land away from the house.  Let us say, it is a work in progress.  Still, looks better than the last storm, when the puddles were up against the foundation.  Lots more rain expected today, but we should see things lighten up over night, and for Monday, Christmas Eve, we could see breaks in the sky and a little bit of sun.  Expect a cool day, but is the sun does come out, it will feel warm around here.  Up in the Sierra, resorts are hoping to get out and on the hill tomorrow with a few more open lifts.  It has been a tough weekend up there.  If things do pop Monday morning, some folks will be out enjoying 3 or 4 or more feet of fresh snow.  Snow levels remained below lake level, so that is a plus.  The backcountry could be a bit sketch for a while with all the changes in snow density.  Know before you go.  Don't be a statistic, just because it looked so good beyond the gates.

While dangerous, cliff may also be beautiful.  Steamer Lane, Santa Cruz.

The break won't last long, with another wet and cool system moving into our region on Christmas Day.  Again, mid 50s.  Morning could be nice if this thing just holds up a bit, but expect rain by evening at the very latest.  Should be similar to today on Wednesday.  Maybe just a bit less windy.  Regardless, another stormy period will ensue.  Clearing could be hoped for by Thursday.  Models this morning are suggesting a bit of high pressure nosing in.  Once things clear out, it looks like next weekend should be fair, with mid 50s.  The NWS is suggesting a chance of showery weather, but the last few runs of the GFS suggest otherwise.  I'll update on this as the week progresses.  As for the skiing, it should be game on by next Thursday.  New parts of the hill will be opening and the snow should be fantastic.

Right now, I am thinking we will see at least week of clear weather.  Can't really be further than that.  It is not like we have a solid blocking high forecasted.  Time will tell.  Possibly more rain by the middle of next week, or say, January 3rd.  It has been a wet season so far, and that is great news for snow enthusiast and water managers.  Just keep in mind this type of weather can create minor flash flooding and saturated soils.  With high winds, trees may down.  You could lose power.  Stay prepared.  Stay away and out of moving water.  And have a wonderful holiday to all and may good tidings fall upon your loved ones.  Cause we know rain drops will.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Continued Cold. Not So Continued Dry.

This could be the last fair morning in the next week.  Cold air prevails reminding us that it is winter out.  Magical sunrise this morning for sure with clouds starting to fill in around the Monterey Bay.  Red, gold, pink, blue and a touch of white color the sky.  The bay is cobalt.  Awesomeness.  But all that is about to change as a strong, persistent and wet storm moves into our region during the day today.  Rain, and cold for the weekend is the company line.

So, it will actually be a little warmer than it has been the past few days.  The clear sky has allowed any warmth generated by the sun to escape to the atmosphere.  With the rain comes clouds, and a little Mother Nature blanket.  But it won't be too warm.  Mid 50s through the rainy period.  Next break looks to be Christmas Day.  We could see over 5 feet of new snow by then in the Sierra.  So, goes without saying, that the resorts should be in really good shape for the holiday stretch.  This system will be getting more snow down to the lower elevations, so things should be well covered even below 7500 feet.  Git sum.

Evening session at Cowells Beach, Santa Cruz.

More rain looks likely to fill in by Tuesday and the following week.  Looks like we are in for a wet stretch.  Luckily, my French Drain is now 99.72% complete.  On another note, a large swell should begin hitting our coast late this morning.  Long period and looking like the biggest of the season yet.  Local winds will keep the surf pretty choppy and crappy, but if you like the view the amazing power of the Pacific, dress warm, and stand well back from the edge.  Too bad about the winds, 'cause this is a Mav's swell.  Oh well.

So, in short, today is not the end of the world, but the weather will be apocalyptic like.  Cold, rain, wind and an angry ocean.  Next post coming soon.  It was a rough week, and I decided to go ski instead of post.  Check out more pics at

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Rain tonight, cold tomorrow and fair for Thursday.

Short post tonight.  Light rain fills in from north to south tonight.  Likely to see moderate showers across the region for the morning commute.  Clearing possible for afternoon.  Looks like this one will be light here in Santa Cruz.  Good old south facing situation working in our favor.  Up in the local hills, expect a half inch of rain.  Down on the coastal plane and valleys, maybe a quarter inch.  Anyway, good chance of drier air by noon on the west side.  It may linger a bit longer in the central valley and mountains.  As cold air moves in behind the front mid day, snow may begin to fall on the higher local peaks.  Snow levels down to about 3500 feet.  Thursday we should see some sun, and slightly warmer temperatures.  More storms by the weekend, but these look even lighter than tonights.  But take advantage of any sunny breaks we have, as more cold and rain is expected next week and leading up to the holidays.  Snow should be skiing pretty nicely by then.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

That was nice, but more rain is in the forecast.

It has been a pretty damn good start to the water year with both OCtober and November coming in stronger than average.  But hey man, it is still fall, and I want some of the awesome weather.  This weekend did not disappoint with crisp mornings, a clear sky and fantastic afternoon weather.  Great times for getting outdoors for a ride, a hike, a surf or what ever.  Hope you had a good time. And if you were paying attention, and getting up in time, the sunrises have been so freaking good.  Blood red over the Salinas Valley and Monterey Peninsula, with just enough clouds to give it texture.  And sunset has been going off with a deep royal blue bay and shades of pink overhead.  Just wonderful.  I have plenty of photos to share with you guys, but there has been some issue with posting.  Might need to migrate to a new virtual home soon.

Anyway, the Monday should be more of the same, and Tuesday similar, but just a touch cooler.  High in the low 60s.  By Wednesday, a cold, dry winter storm will begin to move down the coast.  When I say dry, I do not mean it will not rain, rather, it will not rain, like, biblically.  We should see moderate showers develop on Wednesday and last through the evening.  By Thursday, we could be back in the clear, but it will be much cooler.  Maybe in the mid 50s, with over night lows dipping into the high 30s, except right along the immediate coastline.  Brrr.  A slow warming should be in effect, with upper 50s by Friday.  But then we see the chance of another system bringing us rain by next weekend.  Timing, and storm track still too far out to forecast.  Hopefully I can get another post up tomorrow with more details on the Wednesday storm.

Bike trails are running great.  Just wet enough to be fun.  Surf has been so so, but winds will be off shore the next few days and a small, mid period swell should give us some fun surf for Tuesday.  And up in the Sierra, we have a solid base above 7500 feet, and this next storm will drop about six inches of light powder at the resorts.  More in the higher elevations and along the crest.  With just a little luck, we could see a foot or so.  That will help resurface the mountains and get us into a good cycle for the holidays.  And as we look out mid and long term,  we could be entering a rainy pattern, with colder temps and freezing levels in the 5K range.  More to come.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Toady is a break. More rain a chance mid week.

Might get up into the low/ mid 60s today.  The sun is warm on the skin after almost a week of rain.  And heavy rain at that.  Areas to our north got hit real hard.  Feels like we got hit hard, but the plume of moisture hitting the southern Cascades was immense.  Shasta is blanketed.  Snow levels were pretty high with this storm.  Up along the crest a good three feet fell.  Don't get to excited about this weekend, because while it was some great base builder, it was not all that powdery.  Been a warm season up there so far.  Down here, in town we saw several inches of rain over the weekend.  Up in the local hills, areas received an excess of six.  That is a ton of water.  No reports have yet made it to me of major flooding or landslides.  We weathered this one pretty well.  My French drain worked as planned.

Tuesday should start off decent enough.  Clouds should be present by morning, but showers are not likely until late in the day.  In fact, this next system would really like to stay just to our north and barely brush us with weather.  Us snow overs are hoping it pushes a bit further south and pulls some cold air down.  In stead, things could warm up nicely on Tuesday ahead of the storm, and stay tepid through Wednesday.  Mid 60s are likely.  Showery weather is expected through the day on Wednesday.  Not rain like this last storm, but showers.  Less than a half inch, with the greatest amounts to our north.  As the storm pushes through, temperatures will drop and rain taper.  Thursday will be much like today, with a crisp morning and mild afternoon.  High pressure will build in, bringing back some light north west winds along the coast.  Clear through the rest of the week and weekend.  No real warm up expected at this point, but we could see something develop by Sunday or next week.  Next rain event is not in the near term.  Maybe by mid month.