Saturday, March 30, 2013

If Only If.

This morning failed to give us sunshine as a band of moisture, a bit more than just heavy fog socked us in here on the coast.  Seemed like the forecast from last night was wrong, but alas, you just need to sleep in a little on the weekend, as the clouds broke and a glorious day unfolded here in Santa Cruz.  Simply awesome outside during the early afternoon.  For a moment, even I thought that the storm had pass.  But then I thought about it as I was enjoying the sunshine.  That is not likely.  This thing is of decent size and ambling along.  Turns out, this morning was just an early band behind which was a wake of sun until the system actually rolls upon us tonight.  I just looked at the radar and looked outside.  Radar suggests heavy precip just a bit offshore.  Looking out on the bay heavy grey clouds have already started to fill the sky.  Still sunny here along the coast, but clouds are out to sea and piling up on the mountains.  Looks like east coast weather out there.  In fact a thunderstorm is working its way across the Sierra west slope.  Good stuff.  So the forecast remains the same for rain filling in this evening and sticking around during the day tomorrow.  But, hey, maybe we will get blessed with more sunshine.  Always good to keep the hope alive.

Same raptor, from further away.  Its good to have a tow year old around to point out this stuff to you.

I'll take a look at next week maybe tomorrow night and report what I see.  For now, expect clearing on Monday with sun through midweek and rains returning for Thursday and the weekend.  Happy Easter.

Friday, March 29, 2013

Pesky Spring Forecasting

Once spring shows up, things get a little challenging when it comes to forecasting the weather.  Low pressures tend to break off from the jet stream, close up and wander around with little guidance.  So, how they actually will effect our particular locale becomes some what of a mystery until we are a day or two out.  Even then, things can also change drastically at the last possible moment.  We did pretty well this past week.  The showers showed up a little early on Wednesday night, and cleared out by mid day Thursday.  We are still on track for a stellar day today even though we had some thick coastal fog this morning.  That is now clearing, and a warm up is in process.  High 60s along the direct coast, with much warmer temps just a mile inland.  Expect low to mid 70s up on campus, and a toasty day in the usual toasty spots.  No wonder real estate is so pricey in LG and Saratoga.  And that awesome school district that actually values its teachers helps as well.  But get on it today or early tomorrow as we have a slow moving storm ready to drop some rain on us starting late Saturday.  And Easter looks absolutely wet.

A hawk rest atop a cypress pole in Lighthouse Field, Santa Cruz.

Temps won't drop too drastically though with this storm.  It is looking pretty warm as of this morning with the cool center of the low moving just off shore, pulling in warm air and moisture from the southwest, and then falling apart as it moves on shore.  Snow levels around 6500 to 7000 feet.  Rain at the lake, but snow at most of the resorts.  For us hear in lovely Santa Cruz, expect clouds to fill in around mid day on Saturday, with a few light showers by late evening.  Easter breaks wet.  Not a deluge, but expect a steady shower in the morning.  With a little luck, this thing will mostly move east by mid day, but one should plan on a grey sky and some light showers through Monday morning.  Good chance things will linger through Monday in the Sierra.  By Tuesday we will return to sunshine for a few days.  The low 70s of today fall into the low/mid 60s by Sunday, but rebound to the upper 60s by Tuesday, with perhaps 70F for Wednesday.  Still looking at another, larger, wetter storm to begin impacting us as early as next Thursday.  Looks like a few wet spring weekends are on tap.

Not much to report for surf.  Small, wind beat surf is expected for the weekend.  Nothing exciting on the charts.  Rains will muddy up the bike tracks.  Sure, some of you love that stuff, but please try to avoid creating giant ruts.  Once that stuff dries they harden into death cookies.  And the snow.  Well, we will need to see what this storm brings.  Nothing too soft out there on Saturday, except for those southerly exposures.  Some of the upper elevations resorts, like Kirwood, have gotten a few inches this week, so you might find a little wintery stuff out there with luck.  Sunday may fair better, but don't expect bottomless blower.  We may be done with that for the winter.  Of course, next weekend looks like it my get deep, but I wouldn't expect blower.  Have fun, get out today and Saturday morning and prepare for a little more rain.  Can't complain too much as this winter was damn dry and we need the rain anyway to beef up that snow pack.  More later.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Winter: "I think I can, I think I can."

Some one was saying a while back that once winter left the east and was replaced by spring, then winter would finally settle in here on the west coast.  Well, storms are still running up the Appalachians, so I guess we will need to wait a little longer.  The attempts at rain this week are looking pretty weak as of this morning.  The storms that were going to come near us are either falling apart or veering north.  The best chance for showers this work week is still going to be during the day on Thursday, but I would not count on it.  In other words, don't turn off your sprinklers yet.  It seems like since December, nearly every storm that has been forecast in the models either comes in weaker with each run, or just drops off the charts.  It is like winter decided to take the winter off.  Guess we will need to get serious about some spring showers.

Waste water treatment near Neary Lagoon.  Looking pretty in the sunshine.  Odor is a different story.

So, this week will have some clouds in the sky, especially along mountain tops.  Get enough elevation and you could pull out a sprinkle or two.  Get up above 7k, and those showers will be snow.  Not enough to do much more than make the trees look pretty.  Then things look like they will clear out and warm up on Friday, as a slightly more significant systems winds up off our coast.  We could be in the low 70s here Friday, and not too shabby the rest of the week.  In fact, these disturbances are not allowing the marine layer to move in, and end up giving us much warmer and nicer weather.  It was toasty today in Depot Park around noon.  Like T-shirt warm.  So, that storm.  Saturday we should begin with some sun, but clouds and showers should fill in through the evening.  Easter Sunday is looking wet, as this slow moving system sits over the region.  In fact, right now Monday also looks wet.  Maybe 3/4 of an inch of rain during the period and a foot of snow at the resorts.

Now, as I said up above, the long range models have been pretty poor at forecasting storms this winter. That said, a few different programs are starting to show more significant activity starting around April 4th.  So, as it looks right now, Tuesday through the end of the week looks to move from fair to wet.  By the weekend, we are seeing a sizable storm rolling over us.  Can't count on that water yet, but I just wanted to have it on your radar.

To recap, fair and mild this week, with chances for showers, greatest on Thursday.  Friday could be bomber.  Weekend starts fair ahead of a system that could keep us wet through Monday.  Then a short break a bigger, wetter system.  Stay tuned.  Things are starting to get interesting.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Bring it.

We need it.  Sure, that sunshine outside that helps foster one's sense of spring is an added bonus to the every day life here along the central coast.  But we need rain.  And a snow pack.  The fabulous weather that we have been enjoying since the brief spell of rain last week (and was around for quite a bit prior to that rain) looks to be coming to a close as we enter the coming week.  The week will start off with a nearly summer like feel, with foggy mornings clearing to warm, yet breezy afternoons.  Mid 60s continue.  Clouds fill in Tuesday evening and showers are expected by morning in the north bay.  The Tahoe region could see light snow beginning on Tuesday evening.  And with a little luck, a wet period will commence.

Carp in Neary Lagoon looking like ghost fish in the silty water.

Make some plans for indoor activities or put on your puddle stompers.  You may even be able to turn off your sprinkler system for a week or two.  This is not some super wet storm train kind of deal setting up.  More like an unsettled pattern.  Storms begin sweep through to our north Tuesday, dragging their soggy bottoms across our state.  Right now it looks like Santa Cruz can expect showers around mid day Wednesday through Thursday.  By Friday, a small system will start wrapping itself up off the northern California coast.  That system should begin pressing south and then east, slowly moving through our region.  After a brief break on Friday, we could see more significant rain coming for the Easter weekend.  But what is really interesting is how the models remain active going into week 2.  Let's finish off the month wet, and start the next one the same way.  A few weeks of rain could really helps us out in the long run.

Temps are moderate with these storms next week.  Snow levels look high, but well below 8000 feet, which is basically the altitude we measure the snow pack from.  A few inches here.  A few inches there.  A foot or more through the work week, which a chance of feet by next Monday.  If the storms continue into April, we could start measuring this series in several feet, which would bode well for our water sheds as well as the skiing crowd.  There has been a dearth of powder days this year.  In week 2, we could be looking at colder temps, which would mean lower snow levels and lighter pow up high.  But in the mean time, we are seeing a decent south swell rolling through this weekend, with a series of modest north wests filling in starting tonight.  More of the combo swell kind of thing with decent winds in the morning.  Nothing great, but fun, reasonable surf, none the less.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Rain Tonight

It started just about 6PM over on the east side of Santa Cruz this evening.  Sporadic, yet heavy drops at first.  By 8PM, on the west side, a steady rain was falling, and water had begun to run in the streets.  This feels a little wetter, and a little earlier than expected.  While this is not near urban flooding levels, watch for standing water on your morning commute.  Some should accumulate in the usuals spots by then.  Crossing my fingers for a little more water with this storm, as we could really use it.  While reservoirs are at near historic average, the snowpack is very thin, especially on southerly slopes.  We need a like spackle.  What snow falls tonight will be heavy and wet with high snow levels.  Cooler air tomorrow lowers freezing levels to about 6000 feet.  With some luck, a bit lower.  Still looks like rain through the morning hours tomorrow, with some mid day clearing.  Still, expect chances of rain through the evening.  This thing will clear east to west, and areas to our north (sorry Portland) may see rain continue through the week (and weekend).

Oh, and it looks like some cooler air may move over the area for later this week.  So those 70s may be gone and replaced with mid 60s.  While good for the snowpack, I was looking forward to that beach weather.  South swell has started to show along the coast.  It is pretty minimum right now, but folks were having fun on it.  Several different swells should overlap, and by this Friday, we could be looking at some head high or more sets.  Watch the wind with this storm.  It will blow in every which direction. Get it offshore, at the right spot, at the right tide, at the right time, and you could be finding some nuggets.  Me?  I'm thinking when my window opens I'll be chasing the snow for a few days.  Have fun out there, and stay safe.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Storm Lite, then Glorious.

I mean, it really depends on what you like.  For you fair weather freaks out there, this will turn out to be a fine final week of winter.  Technically, it will be the first days of spring that are fine.  Our raging storm has everything it takes to be a banging wild time, but that is being reserved for our friends in Portland.  It has been dumping up there, and continues later this week.  Timing wise, it looks like rain will hold off until overnight on Tuesday.  Read, good chance your Tuesday evening commute will be sans rain.  Still, cloudy weather should be in the cards by afternoon, and it would not surprise me if we say a brief band of showers in the evening.  Chances increase drastically by midnight.

Wednesday will have moderate south winds, cool air (say high 50s/low 60s) and rain, especially in the morning hours.  The coast line will see a break in the showers first.  With a little luck, we could see sun poking out by afternoon.  For the equinox, sunshine should be dominate as temperatures reach back into the mid 60s.  Warming trend continues with 70F for Friday and low 70s in Santa Cruz for the weekend.  And to start the following week.  And a note on the long term, April could start off with a good dousing of rain.  But we have all heard that before.  For now, plan an indoor activity for Wednesday, and keep an eye on the sky late Tuesday.  Otherwise it is California dreaming, and don't forget to pack your bikini if you are gonna be around next weekend.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Storm is a coming. But the next weekend looks even better than the last.

Happy St. Patty's Day.  Let me know if you are in need of any more boiled cabbage.  Anyway, we have an interesting week lined up for us.  Monday is a continuation of this past weekend, with mostly sunshine, with a few passing high clouds and mid 60s on the coast.  Duck out of the mid day north west wind, and stay in view of that sun, and it will feel pretty toasty out there.  Need to get a little yard work done this week?  Take care of it tomorrow, as rain is on the way.  Not a whole bunch, but rain none the less.  This storm is looking to come in warm, so no need to worry about a freeze.  Tuesday we should still be mostly dry.  Clouds fill in, and we could see showers in the afternoon or evening.  The bulk of this system to arrive Tuesday night.

Evenings at the beach are just plain old good fun.  4 Mile Beach, Santa Cruz.

Like I said, this storm is warm, so we are still looking at highs in the 60s.  Wednesday will be the coldest and wettest day of the week.  Morning commute should be quite a show, as with this winter being so dry, most of ya'll have probably forgotten how to act when the roads are wet.  Drive safe.  In the Sierra, a good foot could fall up on the peaks.  Maybe a bit more with some luck, but as of today, the storm track is a bit too far north to really deliver a wallop.  Rains begin to back off during the day Wednesday, clearing from the coast to the mountains, or west to east.  Maybe some showers in the evening, and clouds overnight.  We could wake to sunshine on Thursday.  And if that happens, temps will rebound into the high 60s.  The real nice weather will wait for the weekend as 70s return to the coast line.  Sunday could be down right balmy.  More stuff on the charts for late the following weekend, but that is really too far out to guess at right now.  And stay tuned.  I'll try to post tomorrow and nail down the timing and intensity of this thing.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Spring for Now.

Ah, it is so nice out there right now.  So nice.  Out in front of our house it has been hitting 70F or more during the best few hours of the day.  And the wind is only going to get lighter.  The morning fog is keeping things cool.  And the afternoon breeze has kept them from becoming too warm.  With that marine layer and north westerly it sure feels like spring around here.  And the same goes for Tahoe with a high in the 60s expected for today.  Slightly cooler over the next few days, but you shouldn't feel much of a change until Sunday.  No, it won't be cold.  Not yet.

Oh, and those winter sunsets are still going off.  4 Mile Beach, Santa Cruz.

Okay, so that is not the whole story.  I mean, we should hit 70 through Friday.  Mid to Upper 60s by Sunday.  See?  Chilly.  But seriously, a more significant weather change is looking likely by late on Tuesday.  Cool air and shower weather could arrive overnight.  About 60 on Wednesday and colder on Thursday.  Rain for next Thursday.  Speculative, all, speculative.  I mean, we are talking over a week out.  But it is on the radar.

For now, warm sunshine with just one more day of morning fog to endure.  I tell you, though, it is pretty as it lifts in the morning.  The surf is flat.  So there is that.  The snow is corning up.  Bike trails should be good until the next rain arrives.  A little wind is coming for the weekend if you like to fly a kite.  Go for a hike, do some yard work, get off the couch.  It is fine out there.  But keep an eye out for wintery mix net week.  Could be a powder day coming up.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Battle of the Bulge, or Sunshine!

If one were to look at the weather maps of the north eastern Pacific basin this morning, a distinct blob of high pressure is set up upon the western shore of the North American continent.  Pretty impressive is this bulge.  Enough so, that the storms out in the central Pacific that are trying to organize, instead, butt up against this bubble and unwind at their energy it thrown north into the Arctic.  Not a great surf maker is this pattern, but the weather is going to be gorgeous.  Stupendous even.  70F today once you get just a bit off the coast, as in the Santa Cruz mountains or over in Los Gatos.  Heights peak on or about Thursday.  I expect 75F here on my deck, around 70F on West Cliff and upwards of 80F in select locations over the hill.  Temps to hold through about Saturday and then a slow decline to end the weekend.  Next week is still up in the air.

Hiding in the shadow of the lighthouse.  Steamer Lane, Santa Cruz.

Really, it depends on that bulge.  It is still winter, and there is still plenty of energy rolling out of Siberia wanting to wind up as they cross the great ocean and unleash torrents of rain and snow upon the Sunshine State.  Let's hope they do, because we need some.  A system on Sunday will try to push south down the coast.  We could see rain develop for the first part of next week.  It could last all week.  But, we could see another sunny, albeit cooler week, just like this one.  We will need to keep an eye out, as the solutions are varied.  But don't expect more of this warmth we are going to get this week.  Enjoy your beach weather while we have it.  Hell, by Thursday, even the sea breeze looks to lighten considerably.  Through on some sunblock and get your vitamin D on.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

That Cold is Cold.

Man, if you watch the micro forecast you could go crazy.  Storm speeds up, storm slows down, storm jogs east.  We had some rain last night, but by sunrise at our house there were even a few breaks in the clouds.  My son and I headed down to the Monterey Bay Aquarium to try and avoid the showers.  It was splendid down there.  Have not seen a drop all day.  The chance still lingers upon us.  It looks like it could rain at any moment out there.  Tahoe has received over a half foot already, and it looks to persist in the Sierra.  The airmass came in a bit cooler than forecast a few days back.  There is a chill out there.  Good for the snow.  Still expecting a warm up for the weekend and chance for another system late next week.  Keep your guard up.  We could still see showers here through Friday, and don't really expect much sun until at least Friday.

Checking out the surf at Steamer Lane in Santa Cruz.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Another Round of Big Surf

Surfing Bird.  Steamer Lane, Santa Cruz.

Not much change in the forecast today.  Fog this morning burns off late morning.  Cool.  Thursday's showers looking more sporadic and Friday to have a bit more sun.  Again, this could change in the next day.  Big news for today's post is another long period swell to hit our shores late tonight and through the day tomorrow.  Biggest late Tuesday.  While heights will max out near seven feet, breakers could reach upwards of 15 feet.  Mavs has been breaking consistently on the lower tides.  West Cliff should have a pretty good show.  Surf wise, southerly winds building on Tuesday should do a little damage to conditions, but we may still get a window before that happens.  Keep an eye on the ocean, don't turn your back, and use caution when approaching over the next few days.  Still looking forward to a nice weekend after the work week.

On another note, the Sierra got a good dumping of snow yesterday, considering we had sun.  Four to Six inches along the crest.  A good start for the week.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Goodbye, Sunshine...

I keep getting these songs in my head whenever I think about the weather.  Yesterday morning you'd be hard press to describe it as anything but complete awesomeness.  By late afternoon, cooler air moved in and clouds and fog filled in along the coast.  This morning started off grey, but as the wind picked up, the sun came out.  Seriously felt a little like spring.  But that was just an illusion.  Still, yesterday, around noon, I stood on a cliff a good 10 miles north of town, on the exposed coast, watching waves and suddenly feeling too hot due to the warm air and warmer sun.  It was amazing out.  Did't hurt that the swell was pumping.  Anyway, today was quite a bit cooler, as a storm drops a little wet snow up in Tahoe.  Sun is out and will stay out for tomorrow.  Then things begin to change.

Monarchs still holding court at Lighthouse Field.

Tuesday will begin dry, but clouds will filter into the region with rain beginning in the North Bay in the early afternoon.  Through the evening hours it will spread south, perhaps reaching Santa Cruz by night fall.  More likely we will be spared until late in the night.  By wednesday widespread showers across the region.  About 1/4 around Monterey Bay and 1/2 in SF.  Higher amounts at elevation, with over an inch in the Sierra.  Resorts to receive about a foot of fresh.  This is not a particularly cold system, so the powder will be of the heavier variety.  Upper 50s along the coast.  Showery weather likely to persist on Thursday with a high around 60F.  By Friday it looks like it will be mostly clear, with a chance of passing showers.  The weekend looks great, breaking back into the mid 60s with plentiful sunshine.

Long term is still up in the air.  Complete your outdoor tasks today.  Or tomorrow.  Get ready for a few wetter days.  No monsoon, but not like it was yesterday.  Hope you got out and played.

Friday, March 1, 2013

Digging Deeper.

So I know last night I said we have a great weekend on tap.  And really we do.  But there is a small caveat.  And amendment to the forecast.  But, really, let us not worry about it too much.  So, the long and short of it is that we may get a rain shower on Saturday night.  Listen.  I really do not think it is likely, but each model run over the past few days suggest the storm that is expected to pass to our north, may actually did down the coast a bit before pushing inland.  Tahoe to get an inch.  So, kind of a powder day this coming Sunday.  We might see a shower in the evening.  But it will be swift.  And my money is going to go on it missing us to the north.  I mean, just look outside.  Who would want to ruin this weather.  Still expected fair weather on Sunday.

More Seagull.

Still too early to lay it down with confidence concerning next week.  Again, my money goes like this.  Rain will arrive overnight on Tuesday, arriving from the north.  Marin will get it in the evening hours, and the south bay will see it before dawn Wednesday.  Showery weather possible for Thursday and Friday.  Clear-ish weather for next weekend.  Book the chalet.  It is gonna be a return to winter in the Sierra.  More on all that stuff later.  Enjoy the next few days.  And clean up that yard work.  By mid month we could be seeing a monsoon pattern setting up.