Thursday, January 31, 2013

January decides to extend office hours.

I was just talking to some folks in the park about how lovely our home is.  And winter time is one of the very best seasons.  Easy to say when basking in 70 degree sunshine with just a wisp of wind.  The weather today is perfect.  How lucky are we.  This is pretty normal winter weather for us.  When things dry out, and the cold get moved east, things get pretty darn awesome out there.  We also get rain in the winter.  And some cold.  But not a whole lot of that.  Especially with our storms being so warm.  Anyway, lovely day out there and expect more of the same through Monday.  Gonna be a bomber weekend folks.

Went to see the ducks again today.  Nearly Lagoon, Santa Cruz.

Warm, wind protected spots in Santa Cruz will be up around 70F at their peak this afternoon, as well as on Saturday and Sunday.  Monday looks warm as well.  We could possibly see some cooler air move in tonight with a passing very weak short wave to our north.  Maybe only 65F on Saturday, but bouncing back quickly.  Cooler right along the water and in the shade.  Hey, it is still winter.  But it will be a very pleasant weekend.  At least 50F in Tahoe and in the 40s at the resorts.  Reports coming in of sun softening snow, so mind your aspect.  Tuesday will be a little cooler, and by Wednesday, we see a few attempts of storms impacting our region.  Models are less than conclusive at this point, with significant variations in each run.  Still, we are seeing the chance of rain developing between Wednesday and Friday of next week.  You might want to make sure you clean up the backyard Sunday evening.  Someone's backyard should get dirty this weekend, because it sure looks like BBQ weather to me.

Hope some of ya had fun in the surf.  I was home nursing the flu, and I'm staying out of the water for a few more days.  Heard the kiteboarding was epic up the coast this past weekend.  Winds looking lighter over this weekend, but variable onshore in direction.  They might swing offshore on Monday.  Surf declining, but a new large swell to arrive for Saturday.  Been a great run.  Like January often is.  That is the thing about our dry spell.  It brings great weather, and we can often have a nice run of surf.  The January Thaw.  Moving into February now.  Expect things to change.  While clear weather is common in winter, I kind of think of February the wrong month for it.  More likely things will be tumultuous in a February.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Warming Trend

OF course, I've been bitten by the flu bug as were move through some very nice weather.  This week we see a decent warming trend with high 60s and possibly 70 by Friday.  I'll keep today brief, as I am about to return for some rest.  Strong NW winds today will keep things feeling cool with a high just about at 60.  That wind is a result of high pressure developing over the region.  Tuesday will be a bit warmer, but by Wednesday it will be quite nice out there.  And this is when life in Santa Cruz is at its best.  Sure, I hear all the time from folks living in Sunnyvale about how cold it is in our neck of the woods.  While summers may be mild on the coast, during there mid winter warm ups, we tend to post the highest temperatures.  And that is expected this week.  Winds will mellow by mid week, and it will get quite nice out there.

More monarchs.  Word is there are 10K at Lighthouse Field and only 500 at Natural Bridges.  Go figure.

Current models call for a storm to approach the coast for the weekend.  This first one is expected to split due to the high pressure bubble and go towards British Columbia and Baja, Mexico.  The second is expected to come across our region, and could pull in moisture from the Baja storm.  Monday and Tuesday of next week could see some wet weather.  More on these later.  Now back to sipping soup.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Showers linger. Mild, mellow and moist out.

Yesterday's system broke to pieces as it approached the coast.  Much stayed to the north, and a good portion went south, sparing the Sierra much precipitation.  Unfortunate for us, a piece has broken off and gotten settled in our basin.  This mornings sparse and sporadic showers have become steady and pervasive.  Still, they are only showers along the coastal bluff and not rain.  But it has been enough to wet the ground in most open places.  Expect this to continue for at least the next few hours and perhaps into the commute tonight.  In fact, as energy continues to spin ashore to our north, bit of moisture could be pulled into us as it is today.  This is to continue through the weekend.  Good news is it is still pretty warm out there.  The same mechanism that is allowing for the showers is keeping the air mild.  Funny thing is, as the system shifts, and we dry up, we will also see some cold air ushered in.

Went by these guys today and they did not mind the drizzle.  Neary Lagoon, Santa Cruz.

Mid 60s at the coast and snow levels up above Lake Tahoe through Friday.  It will be a little cooler on Saturday, but expect to be down to the low 50s by Monday.  We could see the last band of snow showers on Sunday have some lower freezing levels, down to perhaps 4500 feet.  Nothing too cold though.  As the sun breaks back out in ernest next week, we will see a little warming, back up to about 60F.  With a touch of luck.  Looks clear through the work week, when we have a solid high pressure setting up.  By the first weekend of February, we see the storm track trying to set up, but nothing is certain at this point.  I'd put the odds on decent weather until at least the 5th.

For now, the surf is going off, with solid swell all week and through this weekend.  Right now the winds are light off shore.  Stronger on shores are expected for the weekend, but town will be clean.  Regardless, the swell is pumping, and another one shows on Sunday.  Go out and get some.  The next few days are freshening up the back country, and the surface condition inbounds will soften a touch.  By Sunday we could accumulate a half a foot or so, with another few inches by Monday.  If one of these cells sets up in the right corner, certain zones could get over a foot.  And I am sure the biking has gotten wet, but even in the drizzle, it was a great morning for a stroll.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Thaw to end. Winter's return is coming.

While Tuesday had nothing on the past weekend, it was still a very pleasant day.  Crisp morning air slowly warmed to near 70.  Stunning day with just a bit of cloud cover.  Those clouds should fill in through the night, but I don't think the rain will follow.  Mid 60s tomorrow, so a touch cooler.  And keep an eye out for showers, especially later in the day and into the evening.  It will be brief it is does come, with high pressure building back in on Thursday.  But that is not  a return to warm weather, and colder air filters in behind the storm.  At least the sun will be shining.  And Friday does not look any better.  In fact, it will be even cooler with clouds filling back in.  The good news is this system might just be enough to knock out the inversion and get rid of the dense cold fog in the central valley.

A duck takes flight in Neary Lagoon, Santa Cruz, California.

As for the weekend, things look less than grim.  We don't have any huge winter storm forecast, but a system will be dipping a bit further south and with a touch more wind than Wednesday's system.  It looks likely that rain will fill in some time on Saturday.  Probably late.  Don't expect a whole lot of water or wind with this one.  But enough.  Hopefully it does its thing overnight and clouds break on Sunday.  But, rain could linger into the morning hours.  Then clearing and cold for Monday.

Right now, next week looks dry under high pressure, but models are suggesting a return to a wet period by the start of February.  So, winter is on its way back in.  No more two week dry spells on the books for now.  But we still have some decent weather for the time being, and the swell is still hitting hard.  Sidewalks looked killer this evening.  And the crowds were all a bit down the road.  This past swell settle more tomorrow, but by Thursday, another boost comes in.  This one may be even bigger than this past weekend.  And offshores are forecast.  A third shows over the weekend, although weather issues may come into play.  And watch for some new snow over the weekend.  We may even see a dusting Wednesday evening, and a few inches by Sunday morning.  A slight shift in the storm track, and we could see a few feet.  Best guess tonight is 8 inches.  That is enough to give a surface refresh.  Get that sweater back out and welcome winter back for a few months.

Friday, January 18, 2013


Simply great weather is now on tap, and coming forth through the short term.  While 70F may be a little less likely to come by out there, it certainly is quite warm and very pleasant.  Very little, to light easterly wind, coming out of the valleys.  Sunshine is abundant.  And a decent sized swell is on the way.  The Maverick's contest is scheduled for this coming Sunday, as a moderate, long period swell is expected.  What makes them call for a contest with only a moderate sized swell?  I figure it is the combination of prime surfing conditions, with a calm ocean and light breeze, matched with the very long period aspect of this swell.  It will arrive tonight with a period in excess of 30 seconds.  Yup, that is right.  One wave every thirty seconds.  During the sets.  Which will be rare.  By sunrise, the period will be dropping through the mid 20s and the height will be about 5 to 7 feet.  Those will be jumping up to 15' plus waves in the right spots.  But due to the very long period nature of the swell, waves will be drawn to distinct focal points, and may spots will appear flat.  By Sunday, our usual long period spots will begin picking up the swell as it peaks in the 6-9'@20-22s range.  And the contest will be on.  Some spots by Capitola, West Cliff and up the coast will be really working this thing.  Have fun watching, or surfing.  Be careful out there.  These beast will really move a lot of water around.  Expect giant barrels for the contest.

The great thing about having a 20 month old, is that when you are out in the middle of the wilderness, and you hear a plane, you suddenly look up.  Sisters Saddle,  near Carson Pass, California.

Find a sunny, breeze protected spot and you will find 70F.  Martin Luther King day will peak this thing out, but we don't really see much of a noticeable cool off until Wednesday, as a system moves into the BC/PNW.  We don't see much of a chance of precipitation from this one, and just a limited amount of cooling.  Say the week ends in the low 60s.  By next weekend (25/26th) there is a chance of a little under cutting moisture moving in.  If this were to happen, it would start off warm, and cool off.  But nothing like the weather that started out the month.  And we don't see any real long term trends developing that would suggest the start to another rainy period.  Yet.  In fact, there is suggestion of another period of warmth.  Now, wouldn't that be nice.  It is nice out there right now.

Bottom line - go outside!  Do it as much as you can over the next five days.  If you get the holiday off from work, get stoked.  Skiing is still pretty decent, although we have had a few days of warmth.  Surf is going to go off.  Wait till Monday if you are not an expect.  Wait till Tuesday if you are a beginner.  Or even Wednesday.  And I have heard that Wilder is riding well.  I don't doubt it.  But, heck, it may be a little hot for a ride.  Just get outside.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

January Thaw.

I said it was here, but with literally freezing temperatures over night down to almost sea level, how could one really get away with calling this thing a thaw.  I guess there are no laws governing this sort of thing.  But the warm up is just around the corner.  It was a nippy 37F this morning at 8:30AM.  Wednesday morning looks like it will be a bit warmer.  And today will move into the low 50s, so that is a whole lot milder than the past weekend where we saw record lows in many locations.

Plentiful butterfly population.  No wonder it was my son's first three syllable word.

The long and the short of it is that we have improving weather on tap.  The blocking high will shift to our north, pulling warm air up underneath it.  Slowly, but surely, things will warm up.  No rain on the horizon.  60 on Wednesday, 65 for Thursday and 70 for the weekend.  Now that is thaw weather.  We may even see the snow in the mountains transition to spring like, so if you are going up, hit it Saturday before things get too crusty.  Expect 50 at lake level, and the 40s on the hill.  Sunshine is abundant.  Possible storms returning by months end.

Huge surf is coming to town for the holiday weekend.  Know before you go, and play smart.  This one will have a long wait in between sets.  Not a whole lot of waves per set, but they will be plus size.  Stay clear of cliff edges and stay high.  Don't be a statistic.  If you are into it, go watch Mavs.  It should be breaking, and right no conditions look prime.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Cold, but outlook sees a bit of warming.

Still some over riding clouds and a slight chance for showers Saturday night into Sunday morning.  Doubtful though, but the mountains could see a dusting of snow.  Continued cold weather, but winds lighten up through the day Saturday and turn easterly and light on Sunday.  Still cold, but we will see a bit of warming each day next week.  Mostly sunny sky by Monday.  60F by Friday and a pleasant holiday weekend looks likely.  Update at the beginning of the week.

Some monarch were around Lighthouse Field in December.  Good stuff.

Have a great weekend out there.  It may be cold, but you can have a lot of fun in this weather.  Try a nice hike up into Big Basin and check out a waterfall.  Or go for a ride and see how the single track is riding.  Bundle up and go schuss a mountain side.  The surf should be pretty decent as well.    And the yard work is never done.  You will barely work up a sweat with the chill.  Just get outside and enjoy the not rain.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

52/31 through the weekend. Yup, that cold.

You could say today is beautiful out.  Crisp, with a few puffy clouds around the perimeter.  Over all, visibility id good, and though a slight chance of a passing shower does linger, it, more likely than not, will be dry through the reminder of the day an into the start of the weekend.  The (very) cold front that passed through with the storm system last night has ushered in a nip.  Today, only the most wind protected and sunniest parts of Santa Cruz will break into the 50s.  In fact, with the breeze that developed, things seems to have dropped in temperature since around 10AM.  Yeah, this is the coldest airmass yet this winter.  Our neighbor has a throw rug over her rose buds.  Smart lady.  Often, with these systems, the cold last a day and a half or so, before the warm pump turns on.  Not the case this time.  While the strong winds of today will ease up, it will be Monday or more before we see anything in the mid 50s.  And the nights will be dropping just below the freezing mark over the next few nights.  Even at the coast.

California Chute in Emigrant Basin, near Kirkwood, California.

The thing that is keeping the cold in place is the cyclonic system just off the coast.  If this thing were to shift just a bit east, it would give us a cold shower.  Looks like that is most likely to happen next, as the system begin to get picked up and moved out on Sunday.  Might be a cold, drizzly morning.  So, if you are planning a morning jaunt this weekend, aim for Saturday.  But keep an eye out regardless.  While moisture starved, this thing could give us a light burst any moment.  And with such cold temps, we could be seeing snow in spots.  I'd look at the hill tops Sunday morning if anything comes of the rain in town.  After the weekend, we start to see the high pressure build on us in earnest, and a slight warm up begins.  Mid term, MLK weekend is looking likely to be mild.  As in warm and not stormy.  But that is way too far out to tell at this point.  But as it looks now, we are in the January Thaw.  Perhaps we could get the big wave machine thingy turned on.

Actually, the long term models do not look good for that.  They are not horrible, but the storms coming across the dateline look well wound up, but small.  Perhaps some smaller, long period swell will develop.  But it does not look like monster swell.  And while the skiing is in great shape right now, things will deteriorate with no new snow and cold temperatures.  For a while, that cold will help, and in the back country, it will keep things in great shape.  As for the resorts, I'd go this weekend and not wait for the holiday.  There will be less crowded slopes, and they will still be soft.  Another week out, it will start to get pretty firm.  If you want to see what it like was near Kirkwood over the past week, check that out here.  I'm thinking the surf could be pretty fun here this weekend as well, with lighter winds expected and small swell.  Bike trails are starting to dry up nicely.  And if you want to garden, you can start get soil prepared.  You will want to wait a bit before planting.  It is chilly out there.

Monday, January 7, 2013

One last system, then it is time for the January Thaw.

It seems that almost every rainy season comes in three acts.  Act I would be its arrival.  Sometimes it comes in early, like this year, and with a vengeance, filling up reservoirs, tipping creeks, flooding downtowns, raining up high, and eventually piling up snow.  The snow is deep in Tahoe.  Maybe that is why I have been lax on posting.  Kind of did not follow up and warn about that Saturday night thing.  My apologies, the powder was deep.  But, I'm back at it now.  Tomorrow will continue to be cool, although it may get a little warmer than it did today.  Can anyone say 60?  With some luck.  And that looks to be the last warm day this week.  Damn, it sure is winter.

Taking flight near Lighthouse Field,  Santa Cruz.

Another storm moves south across the region Wednesday.  This one is going to be cold, and we could see a dusting of snow on the local peaks.  Get ready for some beauty Thursday morning.  It looks like this storm is pretty moisture deprived, so light showery weather is what is expected.  A lot less water than this past Saturday evening.  Still, it looks like rain, most likely points north and east.  Up to a foot of super light blower powder could fall along the crest, with several inches at lake level.  For out local mountains, it looks more like a few inches in the best locations.  Expect freezing temperatures trying to reach down to the coastal bench, but more likely staying up on the ridges.  Thursday will be chilly, with most locations staying below 50F.  A slow rebound can be expected through the weekend, topping out around 55F.

I'll get a post up about the snow soon, but damn is it good up there.  They got a few inches this past weekend, and a few inches coming mid week.  After that it looks like we enter a dry spell lasting until at least the MLK weekend.  So, if you are thinking about heading up soon, I suggest that you do it.  Even with the continues cold temperatures, things are starting to firm up a bit.  The riding is great, but we are starting to see the need for more fresh snow.  On the positive side, that finally gives us our ten days of sunshine as we prepare for Act II.  That often arrives toward the end of January, or the beginning of February after several weeks of dry to mostly dry weather.  It is the heart of winter.  It is when we tend to see the biggest surf, coldest days and deepest snow.  Get ready for it.