Friday, February 28, 2014

Don't put away that rain coat.

A nice break happening right now, and it seems like the heaviest sustained rain is over for us here in Santa Cruz, as this systems took a good dive to the south this morning.  But it is not over yet.  A pretty strong looking cell is just a bit to the west of us.  Depending on its rotation, it could give us a good hit of rain in a few hours.  In fact, broken chances of rain continue through mid morning tomorrow.  And in some sense, they don't really go away.  But first, it fell pretty heavy here on the west side in the early morning hours.  We had a little erosion in the yard.  Just a touch, but what makes it significant, is the zone has pretty good drainage and still got swamped for a few hours.  Anyway, let's look at the rest of today and the coming weekend.

If you need a warm up, here is Punta de Mita, Nayarit, Mexico.

While the heaviest rains have likely passed, we could see a few more chances for heavier showers today.  But there will be breaks in the actions.  These breaks will become more pronounced by evening, but chances of passing showers continue through Saturday morning.  By afternoon, we could see blue parts in the sky, but parts of this storm may linger along the coast and in the Sierra through Sunday morning, providing at the very least, some cloud cover.  Winds subside today and over night.  Flooding chances decrease and the earth begins to absorb and move some of this water.  While we hang in the mid 50s today, the weekend could warm up to 60F.  Sunday, with the greater chance of sun, could be quite nice.  But carry some rain gear with you, as we are definitely not out in the clear.

Models still diverge for the coming week.  Chance of rain, greatest on Monday and Wednesday evenings.  I'll try to firm this up more soon, but it will be partly sunny, with chance of showers, and slight chance of heavier rain, and mild, through the week.  A new 20 inches or so of medium density snow has fallen in the Sierra.  Storms up there today will keep most terrain closed.  Saturday could be a great powder day.  With this storm moving quickly, a drive up in the morning might not be pure hell.  Tonight will be a rough one, especially with the traffic.  Be safe.  I'll try to tour around a bit on Sunday, conditions permitting, and report back.  And even if you plan to ski in the resort, if you have them, wear your avi gear.  Danger will be high.  Be prepared and stay safe.  More later.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Itsa gonna git wet.

Just a friendly afternoon reminder.  This storm is pack quite the wallop.  We will get wind.  And rain.  Certain areas are going to get a whole lot of both.  Flooding will occur.  As will power outages.  Cozy up and enjoy this one.  It has been a while.  But be prepared.  Know your area.  If you can remember how things used to be back in 2010/11, then make contingencies to survive that.  Please slow down on the roads and use caution.  If you are planning to chase the snow tomorrow, pack warm clothes, water, food, chains etc and estimate a much longer drive time.  GFS has trended wetter toward bringing us light showers next Monday and Wednesday nights, with much more north and even est of us.  More on that later.  For now, don't be too surprised if your wet corner of town gets over two inches and your buddies wet corner of the coastal mountains see over five by the time it wraps up Saturday.  In other words, expect a wet day and night on Friday.

Next system has sped up. Mid term the models still diverge.

Get out there this morning and enjoy a break in the rain.  Put on some stomping boots and hit the puddles.  They are going off right now.  The surf, on the other hand, is about as stormy, and dirty, as it gets here in town.  Next system upstream is now forecast to arrive by evening.  It could even be raining by afternoon.  This one is a whopper, and will directly impact SoCal.  While we will be on the northern fringe, we are still looking to get well over an inch from this system.  The big news, though, is the strong winds forecast for Friday.  Town could easily see 40 MPH gusts, with stronger winds over the open water and in the local hills.  The Sierra got about a foot of snow last night, and will get another foot this evening.  Along the crest, totals could exceed three feet by the time the precip wraps up mid Saturday.  Here in town you may want to prepare for power outages for the start of the weekend, as power lines and trees are likely to fall over the next 48 hours.  Good times.

More swan.

We should see clearing through the morning on Saturday, and the weekend looks pleasant, if cool.  Low to mid 60s with some breezes and clouds.  Here is where things are getting hard to get a handle on.  The GFS keeps most of the next series of systems to our north as high pressure noses in.  The Canadian and Euro, on the other hand, push more moisture over us.  It has been this way for several days now.  Basically, we still have a chance for lighter showery weather from Monday through Thursday.  All models are in agreement about the high pressure more fully developing by next weekend.  Could be a good time for an easy drive up to the mountains to enjoy all the new snow.

So in short, a strong, windy and wet storm will move in later today and into this evening, lasting through early Saturday morning.  Fair, cool, partly cloudy weather this weekend, with a chance of lighter rain through next work week.  Clearing and decent warming for next weekend.  And the long term fantasy models are suggesting more storm after that.  Good news for the water year, as we start to make some dents.  We will take a look at the drought situation after the weekend.  Now go stomping.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

On Track.

A heard on the radio this morning some one say this is to be the biggest storm to hit California in three years.  I'm not sure about SoCal, but this thing will pale in comparison to March of 2011.  I had a post back then titled "Biblical." because the storm almost lasted for 40 days and 40 nights.  King Street was under 8 inches of water in spots.  That never happens.  This storm will not be that big, but it will certainly be the biggest since a run of storms we had in December of 1012.  But, with the way news in broadcast these days, with a sense of sensationalism, I can see why they choose the three year mark.  And I don't think the 12/12 system made much of an impact on SoCal.  Anyway, things are on track.  Light to moderate rain has already fallen on the west side.  Expect rain through the remainder of today and into the evening.  Best chance of a break in the weather will be late morning Thursday through afternoon.

A little snow stoke to get you amped for the coming storm.

Next, wetter, windier, stronger system to move in early Friday.  It may move fast through the area and allow some clearing Saturday, but it will drop a lot of water.  Snow in the Sierra in the 2-3 foot range.  Plenty of water headed down to SoCal, where the bulk of the system will hit.  This is very good news for our drought, as even with the AR event earlier this month, we were still below average for February.  This storm may be the boost we need to avoid being the driest water year on record.  It will not end the drought.  We need more.  But it will put a dent in it.  With the chances for more rain lasting through Thursday of next week, the prospects are feeling up.  Still not ready to make a call on the system maybe arriving later on Sunday.  A lot will depend on how these systems move through and how the temporary high pressure sets up.  Rain could stay mostly to our north, or give us a direct hit.  Hopefully I can get a better feel for it by tomorrow afternoon.  As it stands now, high pressure develops again around the 7th and last for at least several days, but models do suggest we could see more rain as we approach mid month.  Miracle March?  Hope is still alive.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Holy Crap! It is Winter!

I read recently about the over use of exclamation marks in blog posts.  It seems that many bloggers feel that way too many regular comments require an exclamation.  If feel mine, in the title today, are just and accounted.  While we did experience a decent atmospheric river event a few weeks ago, that was nothing compared to the coming storms.  Those of you who have prayed for rain are about to be blessed.  Not a whole lot of change in the forecast today.  One last tranquil day on Tuesday, but we will not quite escape the fog and cloud combo.  And it a bit cooler then yesterday morning.  This will be your last day to prepare for the rainy week ahead.  Pack in they yard, and get things stored away.  Pretend it is November or something.  Sporadic rain showers in the north by the morning commute on Wednesday, with widespread and heavier rain by the afternoon commute.  Thursday will see rain subsiding during the day, but the wetter, windier, cooler round two hits the state by early Friday.  Heavy rain last through the night and into Saturday morning.  Some clearing possible later in the day.  We are still looking at chances of more systems arriving Sunday, and now also on Tuesday and Thursday.  Let us get through the next few days first, then we will start to look at later in the week.

I just love this spot.  Natural Bridges State Park, Santa Cruz.

The coastal mountains south of Point Conception are forecast to receive over six inches of water by Monday morning.  Santa Cruz can expect about two inches, with the local mountains averaging four.  Several feet of snow in the Sierra, with freezing levels below lake level.  Not a terribly cold storm, but cold enough to get snow down to the base of the lower resorts.  If you are not an experience storm driver, you may want to hold off on going to the snow this weekend.  It will be slow going.  If you are a surfer, you will want to consider the run off we will be getting once this rain starts.  While some of the bigger creeks had a decent flushing a few weeks back, all lot of pollution is still waiting to get washed out to see with this system.  Bacteria levels will be high starting as early as Wednesday afternoon, and for sure by Friday morning.  And it will be victory at sea for the most part.  Might want to wait until next week when we could be seeing the start of some more long period west swell.  We plan to hit the Monterey Bay Aquarium tomorrow.  One of our favorite rainy day activities.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Increasingly increment weather. Power outages possible Friday night into Saturday.

Be prepared people.  This will be the first storm since December of 2012 that will have a significant impact along the entire California coastline.  This morning's thinking is the weekend storm will move further west into the state.  We should see copious rain from north to south, as well as west to east.  This is a good thing people.  This week's systems are undercutting the high pressure that is currently in place, with the jet directed right across us, then slightly south of us.  This big thing I want to share this morning is the strong southerly winds we will experience with these storms, especially on Friday night.  While the soil is again decently drained, just a few feet down on our slope, the soil is well wetted.  Things will saturate quickly with these systems, and by Saturday morning we could see the right combination of wet ground and gusty winds to start knocking down some trees and power lines.  If you have lived in Santa Cruz for a while, you know about these events.  It can take a will for PG&E to get stuff back on line.  And there is a lot of dead wood up there, seeing we have not had one of these events in well over a year.  These storms are quite different than the one two weeks ago that delivered a ton of rain to a very small portion of the state.  This one will be moving right off the Pacific and will spread a decent amount of rain across the entire state with many regions averaging over two inches.  About that much, or a bit more here in town.  A good amount more in the coastal mountains.  I would not be surprised is the best spots top 5 inches locally.  Sunday morning might be a good time for a waterfall hike, if we get a big enough break.  By Tuesday, it will be prime time check out the local creeks cascade.  Not much change from yesterday, but here are some details.

More flowers, more winter.

Fog did not really impact us in Santa Cruz this morning.  Should warm up nicely today.  If yesterday felt like summer, today feels more like winter.  Almost 70F and light winds.  Costco parking lot should top 70F and be toasty mid day.  Fog looking to rebound for tomorrow morning and much cooler.  Low clouds stick around through the day.  Rain on Wednesday.  Moderate south winds. I still think showers will be wide spread by mid day, but some spots will see in as early as the morning commute.  A good half inch by Thursday morning, when precipitation backs off a bit.  Clouds should continue but some breaks of blue could occur.  More rain fills in Friday, with very strong and gusty winds.  Parts of the coast could see 50-60 mph gust.  Big Sur should get hit the hardest, but we will feel it here in town.  Rain through Saturday morning, then the worst of it will be over.  Maybe a break late in the day Saturday and through Sunday morning, before a third, but weaker system arrives Sunday.  More on that one as we work through these first two.  It looks to be clear and warming by Tuesday.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Okay folks, here we go.  Another interesting week we have on tap.  When we woke up this morning, just back from south of the border, my wife looked out the window, and commented on how it looked like summer out.  And it kind of feels like it.  Except the wind is not quite coming up to summer time proportions as the fog pulls out.  Which is nice, as we had some small swell in the water today.  Have you ever noticed how cold the water around here is?  Luckily, the air warmed up into the upper 60s when the sun popped out around 11AM.  More of the same tomorrow, with possibly even lighter winds and a touch warmer air.  Then on Tuesday, we see more fog, but clouds fill in through the day, so we likely will not see afternoon sunshine.  And cool air moves down the coast, along with an approaching storm system.

Mid winter flowers bloom in Santa Cruz.  While not Mexico, it sure is pretty nice here too.

Wednesday will be cool, and wet.  We could see rain move in the early morning hours, but I imagine that would be mostly in the north part of the region, in the hills and splotchy.  Precipitation spreads over the region late morning, and becomes widespread by afternoon.  Snow in the Sierra.  About a foot will fall by Thursday morning.  Here in town we could be looking at over half an inch, more in the local mountains.  San Francisco and Marin will likely see over three fourths of an inch, and areas north could get an inch or more, with the bullseye around Point Arena.  Not a whole ton of water, but very much welcome.  Rain will spread south through the state down to about Point Conception.  Wednesday will be in the upper 50s and the night will be in the mid to upper 40s.  Thursday will be drier, but we still have a chance of rain.  Low 60s.  Another storm is hot on the tails of this first one, so don't expect too much clearing.

Right now it looks like the entire state will get a pretty wet system hitting starting early Friday and lasting through Saturday.  Several inches of rain forecast from the north coast well down past Point Conception, with rain falling down in northern Baja.  About a half inch in L.A., which is really good news.  The storm will be driving south and not getting to far inland.  Maybe another foot for the Sierra.  Some forecasts suggest more with a total of three or more feet at the best locations along the crest from the two storms.  Good for water and good for ski resorts if that comes to pass.  And another system is slated for Sunday into Monday.  Timing on that still a bit too far out to tell with much accuracy.  After the third storm, we should see some clearing and return to high pressure.  In short, rain off and on starting overnight on Tuesday and lasting for a week.  Hey, it almost sounds like winter.  What ever that is these days.

Friday, February 21, 2014

Continued mild, then rain in the forecast. Yay!, maybe.

Gawd it is hot out today.  At least here on mainland Mexico it is.  Back in Santa Cruz (California, that is) it is quite mild.  Mid 60s for the weekend, with a bit of south flow on Saturday, brining a decent chance of fog.  It will be warm in the Sierra, with maybe 50F at lake level in Tahoe.  Not great for the snow pack.  Temps begin to drop a bit to start the week.  Fog clears out as well.  Low 60s early in the week and continued clear.  Clouds fill in through Tuesday evening, with a decent chance of light to moderate rain on Wednesday.  A good rain fall is expected for the state by Friday and lasting perhaps through the weekend.  As of now, it looks to clear out next Monday with high pressure filling back in.  Not loving that long term forecast, as we really need way more rain.  Hopefully the models are failing at this forecast, like they have so many times this season.  I'll take a more in depth look at things when I get back state side on Sunday.  Until then, enjoy those 60s.

Another pic of last week's snow to keep you excited for rain.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Mid 60s, Mid 40s, Mostly Clear

Posting this up from Mexico, where it is much, much warmer.  Especially the water.  It has been a while since I felt warm in the ocean with just a pair of board shorts on.  Even when the waves are minimal, it sure feels nice.  Back home, where I was hoping we would get another 10 inches of rain while I was gone, it is now looking high and dry for you folks.  In short, mild weather.  Mid 60s for the week, with the weekend looking like the warmest days.  Mid 40s at night.  There are likely some clouds around today with a small system moving through to the north.  Rain is not likely for our region, although Tahoe could see a few passing flakes.  Not even really a dusting of snow, though.  NorCal should get some light rain into the early morning hours on Wednesday.  As that system moves through, Santa Cruz should clear out and stay that way through early next week.

Cars queue into Kirkwood as the storm clears after the first dump of the season.

There is still a strong suggestion in various models that we will see a pattern change before the end of the month.  Confidence is still low, especially considering how poor the models have been performing.  I will take another look at these over the next few days and post up a forecast later in the week.  As it stands now, we could see a southern shift in the jet stream with storms moving in right off the Pacific.  This is a good pattern set up for cold, wet storms.  If this were come to pass, we could see a week, or more of moderately wet weather.  This would be good for California and good for winter.  More later.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Everything is trending dryer.

I guess for some folks, that is a nice sounding headline.  Me?  I want some more rain.  We very much need it.  Looks like we will still get some, but as of this morning, it looks like a few sprinkles.  Not that it is all sunshine and bliss out there.  Pretty grey in fact.  And it does look like we will work our way out of that today.  It even feels like rain out there.  We are still on track for the first round of rain later tonight.  Not a whole bunch.  Maybe a quarter of an inch in the best location in the coastal mountains.  More like a drizzle here in town.  Half a foot in the Sierra atop the crest.  Some runs have a bit more falling up there, but they still all look well shy of a foot.  A nice refresh.  That is a bout it.  Cooler air fills in with this system.

The mid week storm looks less and less likely to give us much more than a bout of light rain Tuesday night or Wednesday morning.  The Thursday system will miss us and be guided north according to this morning's GFS run.  Not a whole bunch of hope out there for any significant rain, let alone moderate amounts.  There is something out on the fantasy charts for the end of the month, but I'm not counting on that sticking around for more than a few runs of the forecast.  Looks like we are back to the old, "there looks to be a storm about 10 days or so out," that soon is off the charts with a new 10 day wet solution teasing us.  In the mean time, this week is going to remain active just to our north, so the PNW is getting some goods.

Surf, on the other hand, is slowly get shaped back up.  Local conditions will keep us well out of the epic category, but we are seeing an increase in mid period swells, with some chances of bigger and longer period swells for the mid term.  Hell, we might even get that high set up upon us again.  Mind as well.  If it is not going to rain, let it be a beach day.  On another note, I will be traveling much of next week, so updates may be a few days apart.  I'll try to drop in, take a look at things, and let you know what is on the books.  Still chances for showers twice next week.  Any big change, I'll let you know.  And I keep an eye on month's end, just in case we start getting lucky.

Friday, February 14, 2014

A misplaced 'quite" and a game of cards.

Yesterday, I originally typed something along the lines of, "tomorrow morning will begin quite a bit foggier," and then went back and deleted the "quite."  Well that was a mistake.  It felt like August this morning.  Cool, damp and thick.  Even the surf was small and weak looking when I drove by Pleasure Point.  Oh well.  Most of that cleared out around 11:30 and the sun is out now.  Otherwise, not a whole lot to report today other than the models continue to pull back slightly on rain amounts.  Still seeing that chance for showers Saturday night, into Sunday morning.  Not that much down here, but it still looks like the ski resorts could be getting several inches to maybe just shy of a foot up along the crest.  It will be colder snow, but not so cold such that it won't stick.  It will be a nice set up for the holiday week.  Nicer than it is now, as it rained along the crest last night.  I imagine it is quite firm out there this morning.  Unless of course, it never refroze.  Anyway.

A winter fog creeping in along the coastal mountains.  

Next week is not as wet looking as it was a few days ago.  I know I was hoping for more torrents, especially seeing as I will be traveling in a tropical climate then.  It looks drier, but not dry.  And it most certainly looks colder.  So starting Saturday,  we get much cooler air.  High of 60F if we are lucky.  Light rain over night and slightly warmer temps for a few days.  Tuesday, cold air pours in, advancing in front of showers.  High just about 60F.  We see a chance for more light rain Tuesday night.  The Sierra will get hit with another round of snow similar to this weekend's.  Nothing special, but every inch counts, and this will help to continue to improve surface conditions.  Cold by Wednesday with a high sticking in the 50s.  Even colder Thursday, as we see another chance for a brief period of rain.  It currently looks like that by Friday we will see high pressure returning to the region and by the following week, we could see a return to the conditions that we had in January.  No, it won't be suddenly hot.  That took several weeks to develop.  But it will be dry and warm.  Nice, but not really what we need right now.  Still no sign of an extended wet period.  Pray for rain.  That great super wet storm basically put the northern portion of the state at 50% of average, for the month.  The southern half got pretty much nothing out of it.  We need way more and are currently sitting at 25-30% of average for the water year.  As is the snow pack.

I'll still keep an eye out for next week.  With a little bit of luck, we could see that system drive a bit further south and bless us with one of those big, cold systems that would give us all hope of winter sticking around a bit.  We need more than a single big storm right now.  We need ten or fifteen of those.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

One hit wonder?

The potential for significant rainfall and mountain snow over the next week is decreasing.  Was the super washer of last weekend all we get out of the month?  I sure hope not.  I'd like another number one song please.  Even if it is not as wet as the season debut.  Before we get into all that, get outside first.  It is gorgeous out there today.  The sun is shining.  The birds are singing.  It is warming up to the upper 60s.  It is quite nice.  Tomorrow will start with a bit more morning fog, which will keep it a touch cooler, but we should still reach into the mid 60s.  Then some cooler air moves in as a storm tries to dive south out of the Gulf.  We still see a chance for some rain here on the coast, but with the storm still further north, and our back to the Santa Cruz Mountains, we may not actually get more than a drizzle in town Saturday night, into Sunday morning.

This guy charged me pretty hard when we were walking along the other side of the pond.  

 As of this morning's run it looks like we might get brief passing showers and Tahoe a few inches of snow.  It will be cooler with Saturday having a high of just about 60F.  Snow levels could drop down below 4000 feet by Sunday morning, so it will be a great refresh of the slopes.  If you head up for the holiday weekend, the best days look to be Sunday and Monday.  Things clear up down here on Sunday, and it will get quite nice.  Sunshine and mid 60s through Monday.  Could actually be some fun surf on those days with what looks like light morning off shores and mid sized mid period swell.

Storm for next week is looking less wet and weaker as well.  Still a chance for some variety of rain from Tuesday evening through Friday morning.  I'll post up more on that tomorrow or Saturday.  Looks like rain is still in the cards, but with fewer and lighter showers.  Later runs may push the whole thing further south again.  Time will tell.  And it would be nice, as with a direct hit we could get two or more feet of cold powder snow.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Yeah, so no seventy.

Truth be hold, I was feeling hopeful.  You know, for a taste of what we had a few weeks back.  Not that I want continuing drought, but it is nice when it warms up between storms.  Especially if you are not going to be skiing for a while.  But alas, that pesky fog, and some cloud cover, will keep us relatively cool.  That rain is well north of us.  But it like a hose again.  Aimed well at the northern portion of the state.  So that is good, as in more water.  We climb to the mid 60s today, and upper 60s Thursday, but you will be hard pressed to find a 70F reading in town tomorrow.  Fog will continue to linger along the coast this week.  It has been looking thick over toward the east side and Aptos the past few days.  Maybe less fog by the weekend, and another potential rain system breaks through the high pressure.  This one coming from the north west and bringing cooler air.

This a nice walk on a cloudy day.  Even handles a drizzle quite well.  At the best motorhome park that I know of. 

Still not that much of a chance of rain from this one in Santa Cruz, but we could see passing showers early morning on Sunday.  Thursday still looks the warmest with cooling through Saturday.  Highs to drop to the low 60s by then.  As the storm sweeps inland, it could pull in slightly warmer, wetter air.  Tahoe could get a nice few inch topping of colder snow to refresh the feet of cement that fell last week.  Cold set up for a nice holiday week of skiing.  Still, this thing is looking to be too far north to give us much water.  Monday and Tuesday will warm up a bit and high pressure will build and clear most of the clouds.  Big news is the maybe big, cold, wet(ish) storm that is possibly upstream.  Remember, the models have been all over the place lately.  They did forecast this past weekend, but not very accurately when it came to the timing of details within the storm.  But it was a huge, multi day storm, so, it was kind of law of averages thing.  But it did predict quite well the large scale features of the storm, such as total water, start and end times.  So, it looks like we could get a nice large low pressure developing int he Gulf of Alaska swinging cold rain systems right on top of us starting mid day Tuesday and lasting through early evening Thursday.  Will watch this one.

Was gonna go check the surf today, but tweaked the back a bit when I went to pick up my son in a shop this morning.  Took the 16A home.  Stayed on past our stop, when up the hill, circled campus, and go dropped off back at the bottom.  Little dude was stocked as he ate his lunch.  Anyway, cancelled surf check.  I hear there is some small surf, best early, when the winds are light and you can get in at the exposed coast.  Mid period stuff.  Not slop, but nice razor sharp lines either.   Looks like something more substantial is coming for the weekend, but if that storm comes across us, winds could be an issue.  Hell, if I could go this evening, I would.  No sign of returning to the awesome pattern we had back in January.  But that is a good thing.  The current pattern brings water, and more potential for water.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Put a dent in it.

Barely, but a dent none the less.  Portions of the state got plenty of water.  Portions got none.  I was out of town, so I can't really say what it was like in town.  It started to rain mid morning on Friday.  By early afternoon, we were on the road and on our way up to Kirkwood.  I can say it snow a lot, and that it even rained a bit at 7800 feet.  But basically it snowed a lot.  About six to eight feet of heavy, wet, dense snow.  This will be good for the skiers, and it will be good for the water reserve.  The northern portion of the state did very well, and some areas received more in this past week than they did in all of 2013.  So, what is on the way?  Actually, we look like we are going to have a fairly nice week of fair weather, with a few chances of storms poking through.  And we could have some improving surf conditions on the way with a touch of swell.  Looks nice, actually.

It snowed.  A bunch.  People are jumping for joy.  PM Gear Kusala Pows will get you there.

Tuesday it will be fairly warm, with a low in the mid 40s and warming up to the mid to upper 60s.  Some clouds aloft as a storms moves through to our north.  Actually, this is another atmospheric river, although a good bit weaker, and also pointed a good bit more to our north.  While this will pour water into OR and the extreme northern portions of the state, we might get a nice mini bubble setting up on us.  So, yeah, that means warm air, and some off shore mornings.  Wednesday should push into the upper 60s..  Morning off shores with a slight afternoon sea breeze will welcome a head high (maybe a touch bigger in the morning) westerly mid period swell.  Could be fun.  Thursday also looks nice, with the air a bit warmer and the surf a bit smaller.  By Friday we see a bit of a cool off with another system pushing cold air and clouds south.  Right now it looks like the rain will stay to our north with this system too, with more sun and warmth by Sunday.    But watch out for this one.  It looks like it could punch through the high pressure.  If that were to happen, we could see some rain sweep through on Sunday, which would also keep us cooler.  Mild looking to star next week.  But, several models, for several runs, suggest at a large scale, cold trough setting up about the middle of next week.  Could be another decent round of rain.  Not likely to be nearly as much water for the state as this last system, but this could be what we need to get the snow down to the lake.

So, in short, a decent week.  Warming through Thursday.  Hey, think we can hit 70F?  Cooler into the weekend.  Chance for cool rain Sunday, or sun and warming.  Looks like a quick thing regardless.  Maybe something big to monitor around the 20th.

Friday, February 7, 2014

Wet, wet, wet weekend ahead.

Just a short post today, as I prep the car, family, and myself for a drive into the blizzard.  More water in the forecast this morning, and rain has already filled back in along the coast.  We are on the southern edge of this thing here in Santa Cruz, but we could still be looking at two or more inches of water.  Even more than that is expected in the Santa Cruz Mountains.  Be prepared to deal with downed power lines and that sort of mayhem.  With no storm like this since December of 1012, you never know what tree is going to falls once that soil saturates.  Expect some minor flooding, especially in urban zones that can't handle a bunch of runoff.  Part of the north interior portion of the state are expecting over ten inches of rain, or snow equivalent.  Thank you very much.  Snow levels are currently around 5500 feet, but will rise up above 7000 feet during the weekend.  Maybe higher.  We could be up in the (very) low 60s here on the coast.  Things will cool off again Sunday night, dropping the snow level back down below 6000 feet.  So that means we will be seeing plenty of water flowing out of the foot hills the next few days.  We get a break Tuesday, with low to mid 60s and sun.  Looks like another round could be on the way as soon as Wednesday or Thursday.  I'll post up more after tis weekend.  For now, I'm going to go enjoy the storm ride.

Snow ghost will be aplenty this week.

Thursday, February 6, 2014


The angle at which these storms come onshore will make a big difference in how the rain falls.  Well, today's system came in at the right angle for us to get some rain.  Nearly an inch has fallen already on the west side.  Enough to get some minor urban flooding.  Water was pooling up in the streets this morning.  And it also has kept the air quite cool.  Still not above 50F at 10AM this morning.  Up in the Sierra snow is falling again, but the bulk of this system is pushing down through the central valley.  Rain has lightened up to showers already, and we should see a bit of clearing this afternoon.  There is already a bit more light in the sky.  Next system will begin to impact us later tomorrow, but that does not mean we won't see more rain before then.  Continued cold today, and tonight.

Snow piles up in the Sierra.  Finally.

Sometime tomorrow a much strong system will come ashore just to the north of us.  This system will be tapping into moisture from the tropics.  This is what the rainy season around here is all about.  Be prepared for some wet weather this weekend.  This one will also be quite a bit warmer, with rain falling in Lake Tahoe.  With luck, the resorts above 7000 feet will be getting snow.  Rain arrives on Friday, and builds overnight.  Saturday morning will be warm, with temperatures pushing to the upper 50s by afternoon.  Heavy rain continues into Sunday, which will be even warmer.  Snow levels may rise up above 8000 feet.  Sunday evening, cooler air moves in, and rain continues.  Monday morning will be cooler, with snow levels back around lake level, and rain backing off.  Dry by mid day.  Or something like that.  Temps back up into the 60s by Tuesday.  We might even see some sunshine.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

The AR hits hard just north of us.

Heavy rain event now expected with some confidence for this coming weekend.  Over eight inches of liquid is expected along the coastal range just north of Point Arena.  Much less down here, but still a copious rain event.  Even by normal standards.  This is expected to be the strongest storm since December of 2012.  Back in that month, we had several of these storms in a row, starting around Veteran's Day.  So, currently, this is a singular system, and our ground is very, very dry.  Some run off is expected, but flooding is unlikely.  At this time.  We could have more upstream.  Wouldn't that be nice?  As for now, we have a smaller system to look at first.

This is my last one of the pre snow valley.  Chair 10.  Opening soon?  With another foot coming, we can only hope.

Get out and enjoy this morning, if you can.  Clouds will increase this afternoon and evening.  Showers may develop overnight, but the heaviest rain will show during the day tomorrow.  Almost an inch for the Santa Lucia and Big Sur.  Over a half inch expected locally, with a bit more in the Santa Cruz mountains.  This is a wetter solution than yesterday's.  Still a good ten inches expected along the Sierra Crest near Tahoe.  The skiing is just getting better and better.  Friday does not look like it will have a chance to develop much sun, with on system moving out, and another on its way in.  In fact, we could even see showers during the day.  The big one upstream could bring rain through the entire weekend.  We will take a look at this one more tomorrow.  For now, get out and enjoy that sunshine.  It might be a few days.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Waffles for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

It has been tough watching the forecast model runs.  It seems like the set up for the next week keeps on waffling with every six hour run.  So, really, it is a guessing game at this point.  So, I thought I'd play.  So here is my guess.  High cloud cover was thicker than expected today.  That north west breeze was cool, and it never really felt all that warm today.  Cold air is in place.  Cold tonight.  If you are up in the hills a bit, say Felton and the such, you could see temperatures dipping down to freezing, and a bit of frost in the morning.  Wednesday will stay in the 50s, although it may be a bit warmer that the past two days with the impending storm pull warm air in underneath it.  Clouds are likely.  Showers will start impacting the northern coast around night fall.  Rain moves into Santa Cruz overnight.  Cloud cover keeps overnight lows in the 40s.

Red Cliffs on MLK Day.  Almost looks November.  That is all changing.

Right now it looks like the heaviest precipitation will fall Thursday midday.  About an half inch in the Santa Lucia based on the most current run.  A bit less here, as the mountains help shadow us from this one.  Now, with that said, these models waffle every one.  The 0z run for tomorrow could show something different.  But that is the gist of it.  Clearing overnight Thursday, with Friday being our best bet at sunshine.  Still hanging out in the mid 50s.  Friday night will be another chilly one with the clear sky.  Another system will be hot on the tails of Thursday's, with an atmospheric river setting up to hit the west coast.  The exact location, hell, even the general location of this AR is proving hard for the models to get a grasp on.  It will hit somewhere between Washington State, and San Francisco.  Most likely it will be slightly north of us.  Lassen will get plastered with six or more feet of snow.  Maybe.

Anyway, expect Saturday to break chilly, with some clouds.  Clouds increase during the day, and rain to begin in the evening.  It could be quite heavy at times.  Again, the most current run has the hose aimed at the Mendocino coast with three plus inches forecast for the system.  If that is what happens, we will see moderate showers through the day Sunday, with warmer air temperature.  Perhaps as warm as the low 60s.  Overnight lows rise back into the mid 40s.  Currently, the heaviest rainfall is expected Sunday night.  Rain likely continuing Monday morning during the commute, and letting up during the day.  Currently it looks like sun returns for Tuesday and Wednesday, with a high in the mid 60s.  Maybe more rain for Thursday.  But more on that later.  Right now we will be focusing on the potential three day rain event this week.

Still a whole bunch of 'if' in this forecast.  If the AR shifts a few hundred miles north, we will likely see light showers, or even no showers, and fairly warm (mid to upper 60s) air.  If the AR shifts a few hundred miles south, we will be cooler (upper 50s) and very wet.  Like in several inches of rain fall wet.  Right now, we are right in the middle, and should expect about an inch of rain from this event.  The good news is it currently looks like northern portions of the state will received a bunch of water.  But, of course, we still need a whole bunch more.

Quick view.  Cloudy and cool Wednesday.  Cold rain Thursday.  Cool, and some clouds on Friday.  Warmer on Saturday, but more clouds. Rain likely later in the day.  Even warmer on Sunday, with rain showers.  Rain to start the day Monday, but with some clearing.  Tuesday and Wednesday are warmer with decent sun.  But, we are in a very dynamic pattern right now, and will continue for the next few weeks.

Monday, February 3, 2014

That was nice, eh? More to come.

Right now it looks like that for the current week we will go back and forth between chances of rain.  Yesterday's system came way more onshore than expected.  Rain not only fell along the coast, but in the interior, and the Sierra south of Tahoe received a few inches.  It is still showering down along the Mammoth Crest this morning.  FInally some water for the state.  We need much more.  With a little bit of luck, more is on the way.  Today, Monday should be mostly sunny here in Santa Cruz, with a high in the mid 50s.  The clear sky will drop us into the upper 30s tonight.  More of the same tomorrow.By Wednesday, another system will push through the high pressure.  This time coming from the north.  We should see an increase in clouds, and slightly warmer air.  While, technically, we have a chance of rain by evening, and more so on Thursday, it looks like this one will scrape by to our north.  It will bring in more cold air.  Friday looks sunny, and mid 50s.  Then we see the chance for something more significant.

Speaking of significant, my very unscientific rain gauge in the front yard collected over a half inch of rain from the past few days.  The bulk of that from yesterday.  Personally, I'm not sure what it was like in town yesterday.  I thought about posting up a gut reaction to the heavy cloud cover I saw when I was getting into my car at 4AM on Sunday.  Alas, I was headed up to take a look at the snow, and had not the time.  My apologies.  It sure looked like it was going to rain.  What I can tell you know is that we now have a start to a snow pack.  We were headed back to an area called Super Bowl.  And we were denied, just like the Broncos.  A good portion of our route was just too rocky, but then again, our route was not along a low tide zone.  So, we skinned and boot packed  our way up a couloir and around back to wind exposed bowl.  The skiing was decent, but we found the best snow in wind protected trees.  Coverage is still thin, but the right zones are now skiing very well.  With additional snow this week, things could be really fun next weekend.  The big question is whether we will be seeing sunshine, or dumpage.

There are more than a few groomers open at Kirkwood these days.

A large scale low pressure is developing in eastern Gulf of Alaska.  It will grow and intensify, before starting to move southeast later on Friday.  It will be well to our north to begin, but it is moving towards us.  As of right now it looks like we will see mostly sun Friday evening and into Saturday morning.  Or high pressure will do its best to keep this storm to our north.  Several models are suggesting that it might not be able to stop this one.  Anyway, it is still too far away to tell for sure.  If you are going up to the Sierra this weekend, start being prepared to deal with storm conditions.  Several folks had white knuckles and a real hard time getting home yesterday when a lot more snow fell than expected.  Anyway, chance for heavy rain moving in Saturday night or Sunday.  What makes this one real interesting is the large scale low should stay in place most of next week (10th-15thish), rotating storms into the west coast.  This could spell out a very wet period for us, similar to early December of 2012.  Nothing super epics, say like March of 2012, but significant.  I hope the hose keeps going through the 22nd, as we will be out of town that week, and I hate missing the 70s and sun here in town.

Anyway, sun through Wednesday morning, then clouds with a chance of rain.  Clearing on Friday.  Cool all week.  Clouds maybe developing Saturday, with maybe heavy rain Sunday.  Low Pressure develops in the Gulf of Alaska next week, either driving torrents of rain upon us, or, pumping up our high pressure again, keeping us high and dry.  While I love sun, I pray for that rain to maybe get us a little bit more back on track.