Thursday, November 21, 2013

First rain clears for a crisp few days, and a fair weekend ahead.

Well, that was fun.  Nothing too serious, but enough to make some of us stop worrying about an uber drought or water jinx or something.  We collected almost half an inch of rain in our yard on the west side, and areas in the Santa Cruz Mountains exceeded and inch over the past few days.  Cool air is moving into the region, an although the sun is back out, we won't be climbing much above 60F today.  A strong wind event is setting up over the land mass today with very blustery conditions in the Sierra, where the Tahoe resorts got about a half foot to a foot of fresh snow, with Kirkwood reporting in with 18 inches.  More on the whole snow sliding thing below.  Strong winds are expected down near the coast and in the local hills with a NNE direction.  Over the water, things will be quite a bit mellower, and in fact, right now we have some fresh solid wind swell and calm local conditions.

Big Dipper, Santa Cruz Boardwalk.

Winds remain strong through Saturday morning, keeping us cool with arctic air.  As the breezes subside into the weekend, we will warm back up through the mid 60s, but don't going expecting more than that.  We should remain on a fair and sunny track through at least next Tuesday.  Models being models have been flaky recently.  Here is the gist of things.  A storm is to form in the Gulf of Alaska around Monday, and will pick up plenty of water and begin moving south and east.  This thing could go over and east of us, or west and under us, or right on top of us.  This morning's GFS has the storm hanging right on the coast and dumping a good rain on Santa Cruz next Wednesday, and into Thanksgiving.  Could make for some serious driving headaches.  Anyway, I'll be watching this for sure, as we plan to be on the road next week.  So check back here for the holiday forecast to form up.

As for the mountains and snow sport folks.  So, yes, some fresh snow fell on the resorts, but not nearly enough to get things opened.  Heavenly and Rose should open this Friday on a few man made runs.  Northstar and Kirkwood are putting their opening on hold, but may still be open this weekend.  Good money has them, and others, spinning lifts before Thanksgiving.  That arctic air I mention is really going to drop temperatures overnight the next few nights and allow for copious snow to be blown from guns.  So, sure, you should be able to make some turns within the next few days.  But don't go expecting much in the form of off piste to be opening up.  Unless we get lucky next week and get another storm like the past few days.  But even then, off piste will be limited to resorts directly along the crest like Kirkwood, Sugarbowl, Squaw and Alpine.  Still, it is a good chance to stretch the legs and knock the cobwebs off your sticks.

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