Thursday, December 31, 2015

Happy New Year's Eve

A little warmer out there this morning.  Only dropped to about 40F last night on the west side.  A bit cooler downtown.  But nothing like the past two mornings when it dropped down to freezing at our home.  The roof tops all around were crusted in white frost.  It almost had looked like it had snowed.  Almost.  We have a few more days of cold temperatures and dry times before we begin to see a shift back to a stormier, and slightly warmer, pattern.  Enjoy this sunshine while you can, as we are starting to see the engine of El Nino turning over.  It could be a very wet period coming up as storms begin to undercut the Rex Block to our north and west.  Let us look at some of the details.

Coverage is in at Kirkwood.  More snow coming for next week.  Game on.

Middle weekend, we begin to see a low pressure system develop to our west, displacing the high pressure just a bit to our north.  This first system will have a hard time moving ashore, and likely we will we see little, if any rain from this one.  Just some increasing winds on Sunday, as the storm looks like it will dive south and finally move east south of the border.  Northern Baja should get plenty of rain, with a little wrap around for SoCal.  Possibly a passing rain shower for us early Monday morning as the system bypasses the Central Coast.  But that is not all, as there is a second system hot on its tail and the door will have been pushed ajar by the first system.  That should allow number two to steam roll us.

The good news is it will be a little warmer.  The bad news is that it won't feel that way due to the lack of sunshine.  Rain looks like it should first show later in the day on Tuesday.  It will start off light, then turn moderate over night into Wednesday.  Then it should lighten up again overnight into Thursday.  And stick around through Friday, when we might see another short wave moving through.  Of course, all of this is still quite speculative at this point.  So, we will need to come back to these forecasts over the next few days.  Still, the general idea is that it will be a return to wetter weather next week.  Hope you enjoyed the sun.

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Lunch Break.

The sun is out there wight now.  A big swath of blue is out on the west side.  Nice time for a stroll to pick up some bread, a cup of coffee, or get yourself under the canopy in the Pogonip before more rain moves in.  We got a few tenths this morning, and are expecting a few more this evening.  Looking at the radar, there are more bands on the way.  Looking at the sky, it is still mostly grey.  I'd not expect this sun to last much longer than an extended lunch break.  Not quite a Don Draper lunch break, but like if you ask your boss for a little extra time because business is slow and the surf is up.  Not that it is today.  South winds have done their job of keeping families together today.  We are looking at an extended period of sunshine after this.  Sure, there are a few chances for a light sprinkle coming, but other than that, two weeks of sun sounds kind of nice.  More coming.

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

A quick break, then one more quick round.

Apologies for going off line.  I headed up to the mountains to weather out this storm, and was unable to get an internet connection to last more than a few minutes.  And I spent most of my free time, between schussing snow, with a shovel in my hand, dealing with the 54" inches of snow that fell.  Here in Santa Cruz we received over four inches of rain water since Friday night.  Not a shabby total.  This series of storms came in cold, and went out warm.  This has made an upside down snow pack in the Sierra, so if you ski tour, please use extreme caution.  Check out the Sierra Avalanche Center bulletin and maybe allow a few days for the pack to settle out.  For you resort skiers, expect a much thicker base the next time you venture out.  Now, for us here in Santa Cruz, here is what we can expect over the next few days.

The view the day after Thanksgiving.  Kusala Pows in fore ground.  Background now has six feet plus more snow.

Mild today, with some winds off the water.  I saw stars last night, so expect sun this morning.  It is in the low 40s across the west side and should warm up to the upper 50s today.  I'm not sure what it was like down here on the coast, but I know my family will appreciate a fair weather day.  We love snow storms, but after four days of white outs, it is nice to be able to see again.  But by tonight we will begin to see the rain moving in from the north with another bout of cold air.  Christmas Eve, otherwise known as Thursday, will be cold and wet.  And windy.  And gusty.  So, get your downtown errands done today.  Mid 50s.  Temp will drop into the upper 30s on Thursday night, and rain should finish up.  It currently looks like the heaviest rain will fall mid day.  About three fourths of an inch is expected.  Friday morning will be crisp.  Like 30F crisp.  As in it could actually drop below freezing.  With the sun coming out, Christmas Day (Friday) will be quite nice.  Mid 50s.

The weekend looks fair.   Saturday morning will be crisp.  Like 30F crisp.  As in it could actually drop below freezing. Mid 50s and more sun in the afternoon.  Sunday actually looks like a repeat of Saturday.  Perhaps a few more clouds as we see another system approaching from the north.  This one is expected to stay to our north, but we see a slight chance for rain on Monday.  After that, it looks like fair, mild weather through the New Year.

Friday, December 18, 2015

Faster, Wetter...

Another crisp morning.  Rain could arrive in Santa Cruz by evening.  It is already in Eureka and pushing into inland  NorCal.  Forecast amounts bumped up to half inch or more coming tonight into the morning hours.   A showery chance Saturday morning, then fair.  Sunday begins fair, but the next seven days we are expected to get two, or three, or four inches of precipitation.  At least it will be a bit warmer.  Maybe a short break Wednesday.  Details to follow.  Got to go make some breakfast.

Siena at sunset.  We should have a few nice ones, and a few wet ones, over the week.  

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Wet Train A Coming.

The engine arrives late on Friday.  The next few days will be cool and fair.  Cold in the mornings.  It was below 35F for almost four and half hours this morning.  That is cold.  A few clouds tomorrow.  Not really any chance of rain here in town.  Maybe the best slope in the Santa Cruz Mountains will see a sprinkle or two.  A little warmer tomorrow.  Upper 50s, compared to today's mid 50s.  Finally feeling like a real winter around here.  Friday may warm up to 60F, but clouds will be filling in earnest by mid afternoon.  And then there will be rain.

It is finally starting to look like winter for the first time in four years.  Looking from Kirkwood to Round Top.

----Okay, so I started this post yesterday.  It is a degree warmer out there this morning.  35.4F.  Toasty, eh?  A warm front arrives today so we could be climbing into the 60s the next two days.  Yay!  And tomorrow morning won't be as cold.  Likely staying in the low 40s.  This morning it looks like rain will arrive overnight on Friday with the heaviest precipitation occurring from about 5AM through 10AM Saturday morning.  Not a whole lot.  Perhaps a third of an inch, with some more in the local mountains and along the Big Sur Coast.  Perhaps a half foot of snow for the Sierra.  The small system will bring a cold front, cooling things back off.  But the series of systems coming our way keeps us under some cloud cover, and nights will not be as cold.  Sunday should see some sun, and likely will be a gorgeous day.

The coming atmospheric river is slated to hit the coast on Monday.  The forecast for the Jet Stream is all over the place.  At times directly over us, at other directly over Vancouver.  That is quite a swing.  The further south it aims, the more rain we will see, and the cold the air.  But ultimately this is looking like a warm event.  We could begin to see more rain as early as Monday.  The models this morning, suggest that the bulk of this round is going to stay north of us, and then slowly shift south through Wednesday.  Increasing chances of rain through then.  I will tighten this forecast up, as models start to show agreement.  Where there is agreement is in the shaky ground one week out territory.  A cold wet storm is forecast to dive south on next Thursday and last through Friday.  The QPF for this system is looking impressive, with several inches falling along the coast.  We have not yet seen a super wet system, so this may be the one.  Nothing but practice rounds so far.  in fact, we may be looking at an extended rainy period taking us into the new year.  Hope your ready.

Monday, December 14, 2015

Crisp, then warmer, then wetter...

Cold out there right now in the early morning hours.  36.6F to be exact.  Tomorrow morning will be even colder.  The day will be mild and stick in the upper 50s.  Still, it will feel much warmer than yesterday, with the sun coming out today.  By Thursday, we should see some warming and climb back up into the low 60s.  We also see some upper level clouds returning.  Lows climb into the low 40s. By Friday, the ceiling begins to lower  and we see a pretty good chance of rain coming on Saturday.  This one is looking like a very swift mover, and dropping maybe a third of an inch.  Nothing like yesterday's .86 inches that fell, but still a little more wet weather.  It should clear out of here for Sunday, but another several waves are hot on its heels.

Kirkwood looking tasty on Sunday after the first two feet of new snow.

Still way to far out to tell for sure, and each model run has slightly different ideas.  Sometime around next Monday a series of very wet storms could impact California.  We are looking at seven day QPF exceeding ten inches in the wettest locations, and several inches here in Santa Cruz.  SOmething to get ready for.  Luckily there won't be a lot of folks doing the commute as it will hit during the holiday week that many businesses are closed.  Keep an eye on these systems.  If they come, these are they type that knock out power, blow down trees, flood low lying areas and create general havoc.  More to come.

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Raining today

Sorry for the lack of post yesterday.  I drove up to the snow to see how it looks.  Kirkwood now has opened Chair 10 and has all of its frontside terrain open for the season.  Best place to go for steep riding right now.  Anyway, I got home late, and tired.  So.  There is rain today.  Moving in much quicker than previously forecast.  I just took a look at the GFS, and based on that, we should expect showery weather during the day, with the heaviest rain coming after dark and through midnight.  Up to an inch and more in the mountains.   Rain clears out by morning, so while the  roads will be wet Monday morning, the windshield won't be so much.  Cool though.  This one has a much colder air mass associated with it.

Upper 50s today and clouds keep tomorrow morning from dipping much below 40.  Through Wednesday we stay in the 50s and see overnight lows dropping into the mid 30s and creeping toward that freezing mark.  It will be crisp for sure.  More to come.  Possible storm next weekend.

Friday, December 11, 2015

A little shy.

Yesterday we hit .48 inches of rain on King Street.  Today it is only recording .14.  So we are well shy of that one inch mark.  A nice day on Saturday with some clouds.  Enough to make it gorgeous out.  Cool, but with the sun shining, it will be warm by afternoon.  Get out there and enjoy the day.  The surf is huge and burley.  Waterfalls are flowing.  The forest will be alive.  The butterflies will come out.  Rain returns by Sunday evening.

Thursday, December 10, 2015


I'm listening to a report on the emergency preparedness of the Bonny Doon community.  It makes for a nice El Nino story, for sure.  In fact, there is some indication that the El Nino pattern will kick into gear later this month.  For now, we will need to suffer through these mellow, cooler storms.  A third of an inch here on the west side so far.  Rain began around 5AM, and lasted through 7:30.  There are more bands out there, so I don't think we are done with this wave.  Watch the sky, and be ready for showers and rain throughout the day.  Kind of expect the heaviest, most sustained rains are behind us for today.  We have already received 2/3  of the forecast amount for Thursday.  Cool air is moving in with the front, so we won't see much warmer beyond the 57F we have right now.

 GFS still forecasting another band arriving tomorrow morning.  I'd be willing to gamble that it too will arrive a little early, and before sunrise.  NOAA is calling for lighter totals tomorrow, but not their model.  Regardless, it should start off wet.  A break for Saturday.  It will definitely be worth getting out.  The local  mountains will get enough to get the waterfalls going again.  There will be puddles to stomp.  Perhaps enough cloud break to make for a wonderful sunrise and sunset.  And with more rain on the way, along with increasing  confidence in prolonged rain, take every moment you get to get out and about this winter.  It is going to be a big one.

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

48 Hours.

It will be warm tonight, with temps staying in the 50s in town.  Current forecast is for rain to push south along the coast, arriving in Santa Cruz sometime between sunrise and noon, with the heaviest rain in the afternoon and until dark.  Lighter amounts overnight.   The day will be blustery, with strong southwest winds and temps only warming into the very low 60s.  Cozy up. Maybe a half inch of rain, but favored to the south facing mountain slopes.  Clouds overnight, but not much rain, with a low in the mid 40s, thanks to the cold front that moves through during the day.    Another wave is lined up for Friday morning, bringing another half inch through the day.  And while things do dissipate after noon, there could still be some showers into the evening.  Cooler, but not as windy.  Highs in the upper 50s.  So, that is about the next 48 hours.

Plenty more snow coming for this location on the Sierra Ridge.  Up to six feet some are saying.

I'll briefly speak of the weekend and storm to come.  Saturday is looking like a nice day, without a good chance of rain.  Another, colder system is still slated for late Sunday.  Have you replaced your wind shied wipers yet this season?  Might be worth the investment.

Tuesday, December 8, 2015


Not much change this evening.  It is going to rain Thursday.  Read yesterday's post if you wish.  Models do have it arriving perhaps a little earlier, and bring perhaps a bit more rain.  But not a whole lot of change.  Rain could begin overnight Wednesday, into Tuesday morning.  You should be prepared for rain by know.  Slickers and such.  Yard picked up.  It will be windy Thursday, with southwesterly gusts.  As it is now, we have wet weather through the Tuesday, with perhaps not rain on Saturday.  Then more is forecast to come in next Friday.  So, yeah, rain is on the way.  I misspoke yesterday when I evoked El Nino, as these things, as pointed out elsewhere, are cold.  More of the La Nina varietal.  Anyway, be ready for rain.  More details tomorrow.

Round Top on Thanksgiving.  About to get several more feet of snow.

Monday, December 7, 2015

Gravy Train.

We are now less than three days out until the beginning of a series of storms like we have not seen in years.  Depending on how you look at things, with just a little bit of luck, we will be very wet around these parts through the end of the year.  If memory serves me right, December of 2012 was pretty wet.  Too bad the rest of the year was not.  But let's take a look at the next week.  Tuesday looks great.  Similiar to today.  A fine autumn day.  Mid 60s with some sunshine.  It will feel nice when the sun is out.  Upper 40s for morning lows the next few days.  Right now it looks like rain will push south into Marin County late on Wednesday, waiting until the early morning hours to push through Santa Cruz.  And it should stick around through the bulk of the day.  Commutes are likely not going to be fun on Thursday.  Colder air arrives with the storm.  Low 60s.

This zone may be filled nicely come next Tuesday.

Currently the outlooks if for some sporadic lingering showers on Friday.  Cloud cover will the morning from getting too cold.  Mid 40s, warming only into the upper 50s.  But dry through the mid to later part of the day.  So, that is round one.  As of today's GFS, a wave pushes through Saturday, during the day, bringing more light rain.  And then we see a break in the evening through the middle of the day Sunday, when an even colder storm dives down from the north.  Current models runs have this one just far enough west to pick up copious amounts of moisture, and we could see moderate to heavy rain late Sunday and into Monday morning.  Another bummer commute time.  Showers could linger through Tuesday, or Wednesday even.  With another cold storm trying to line us up for the following Friday.  And another on the 23rd.  So, yeah, a gravy train.

Nothing is for certain yet.  Big surf again on Tuesday.  Still plenty of size left for Wednesday.  Rain for Thursday.  Maybe a break Friday.  Rain Saturday.  About an inch here in town by then.  Another half inch coming Sunday night.  Two inches plus in the local mountains.  Four to six inches (which is just about that many feet of snow) along part of the Sierra Crest.  Perhaps ten inches or more in the bullseye in Del Norte County.  Best looking water outlook we have seen in a while.  Not just based on those numbers, but the look of things to come.  El Nino is trying to bust down the down.  Let us wish him luck.

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Big Swell.

As a kid, when we would see an abnormally large set coming our way, one of us would yell, "tsunami swell!"  And we would all scratch for the horizon.  Given this was in southern Maine, it was likely not exceeding eight feet.  The waves that are arriving this evening was of a whole different caliber.  West Cliff may not be huge on Monday, as the bulk of the energy is coming from the north, but it will be plus sized.  Big long period swell is arriving overnight.  One of the bigger swells we have scene in years.  Go on down and enjoy the show, but always stay a safe distance from the water.  And never turn your back on the ocean.  She will whip you.  Swell should peak in the morning hours, along with the high tide.  Expect some coastal flooding and erosion tomorrow.  As the tide pulls out, the swell will still remain large, and there could be some solid surf in the afternoon.  Again, this is the real deal, so use your head.  Know if you belong out in the waves.  Ig you are looking for something a little bit more manageable, there is a mile of points east of 41st Avenue that will have less size.  But, then again, it will be much larger in that zone than typical.  And there are a few spots that can toss you onto the reef.  So, again, use your head.

A fun day in August.  Monday is going to be much, much, much larger.

Other than that, not a whole lot to report.  Thursday still looks wet.  Sunday does as well.  There was a model run this afternoon that made it look like it would stay north, but moved back toward a wet solution on the 18hr run.  Fine tuning as we get closer, but rain arriving late morning Thursday.  Half inch plus in town.  Inch plus in the hills.  By Friday afternoon.  Heavy showers Thursday afternoon.  Could be a bad evening commute.  Showers lasting into Friday.  We could see the sun return on Saturday and offer a nice day.  Mild.  Even Sunday could begin fair, but a colder, slightly drier storm could push down from the north during the day.  Rain likely in the evening, through Monday morning.  But more on that later.  Look for some big surf tomorrow and an epically splashy sunset.

Saturday, December 5, 2015

A brushing, then a busting.

Moderate chance for some light showers tomorrow as the current system coming ashore in the PNW brushes up against us.  Light accumulations are all that are expected locally.  As in measuring in hundredths of an inch.  And we see a continuation of this mild weather.  Clouds should clear by evening, and we might even see some sun to start the work week.  In fact, temps will warm back up into the mid 60s through Wednesday.  Could be several pleasant days before the train arrives.

Kind of missing those warm summer day we had in 2015.

The models have all been pumping up the Thursday system over the last 24 hours.  We will want to watch what the next 48 hours of runs bring before we start to call for heavy rain, but it certainly looks like we could be seeing some decent rain fall.  Timing currently looks like it should begin some time Thursday morning.  Another cold front will knock the temps down to the low 60s Thursday, and likely upper 50s on Friday.  Showery weather continues, and it looks like another system will be hot on its heels arriving sometime Saturday. There will barely be a day's break after that, if the models are right, with more storms arriving Wednesday and next Friday.  Of course we are getting out into the fantasy land there, but it is starting to look like an El Ni no fueled pattern with warmer storms coming in off the ocean.  Until that next Friday one.  That is looking like another Alaska system, as in bringing in more cold air.  Likely not as cold as the one that arrive just before Thanksgiving.  But hard to tell at this point.  Get ready for some rain.

But for now, enjoy the mild weather and solid surf.  Surf has been subsiding since yesterday, but another large pulse of surf is expected to arrive Sunday evening.  This one looks even bigger than the last and we could be seeing some ten foot at seventeen second period swell.  That is Mavs big, and that break will probably be pushing some 25 footers Monday morning.  West Cliff will be well OH, with plenty of DOH surf.  Even bigger at Middle Peak.  Even the east side of town will be seeing some real size with this one.  And there is more out the back, arriving on Wednesday, but by Thursday surface conditions will take a big hit.  So get it while it is good.  And stay tuned.  Storms are just around the corner.

Thursday, December 3, 2015

'bout a quarter inch

Just about a quarter inch around here on the west side.  A good half inch once you get yourself up into the local mountains.  Almost an inch of rain fell in San Lorenzo Park near Boulder Creek.  Quarter inch around Watsonville.  Seemed like this round really favored the hills.  It came down pretty good near my house, starting at about 11AM until just before noon.  It took a break, and then it came down in sheets for five or ten minutes just before 1PM.  It was an impressive torrent.  Clouds are still thick as of 8PM, and we could see a few light showers, especially on the slopes, before it wraps itself up tonight.  Westerlies are blowing this evening, but should lighten by morning.  So should the cloud cover.  Tomorrow looks nice with mostly sun, and warming up to the low 60s.

A cooler morning on Saturday, due to the clear sky, but we should be looking at mid 40s and low 60s as the range as we look into next week.  Maybe a passing shower Sunday afternoon.  Another chance again Wed/Thurs of next week.  And another chance on Friday.  Definitely worth monitoring.  Tomorrow looks like a powder day for Tahoe.  Places like Kirkwood, that already have a solid base, will be riding nice Friday.  A warm up on Saturday will take its toll on quality of surface conditions, but with more showers in the forecast, it should not matter too much.  We still need to build that base.

Wednesday, December 2, 2015


The storm tomorrow will not stick around long.  There is still some vacillating of the models, shifting the bulk of the rain back and forth between the coast and the Sierra.  Kind of warmish out there today, but with increased cloud cover, it sure feels mild.  A warmish night, with the lows hanging in the mid to upper 40s.   Thursday will feel chilly though, and see little warming.  Rain is likely, with the greatest chance in the afternoon.  It is also likely that the rain will be moderate, but brief.  The bulk of this system will be to our north and, to a certain degree, to our east.  Heaviest rains expected on the west slope and foothills of the Sierra.  NOAA has a winter snow warning up, with accumulations up to 15 inches at pass level.  Back to us in Santa Cruz, the rain is likely to be over by evening.  The commute will definitely have wet roads, but you may not need worry about driving in the rain.  Certainly it will clear up over night, with the clouds clearing out through Wednesday morning.  And we return to placid, crisp weather.

Currently it looks like the storm arriving next Monday will be deflected north.  There has been some talk by a few forecasters about the RRR (Ridiculously Resilient Ridge*) re-affirming itself, but I think that is just hogwash.  Yes, there is a ridge, but it sure ain't the RRR.  First, things are actually breaking through this one.  Second, it is set up well east of the RRR, and actually centered over land.  Third, that is not at all unusual for this part of the season.  It is barely December.  Even in big winters, it is not uncommon for the first rain/snow to hold off until now.  But, whatever, it does block the system arriving to start next week.  But not so much the one that is expected to arrive late next week.

Until then, Thursday looks stormy, but from Friday through the middle of next week, it looks mild.  Friday and Saturday morning will see lows in the low 40s, but that rises to upper 40s by the start of the work week.  Afternoon highs bounce around the low to mid 60s.  Another chance of rain next Thursday.  And a slight chance on Monday.

Tuesday, December 1, 2015


Droughts are hard to break.  The represent several seasons of lower than average rain and snow fall.  The one we are currently in is quite exceptional, and we are far from seeing any significant dents in it.  The good news is that we have seen slight improvements since the start of the water year.  The bad news is that we have only seen slight improvements since the start of the water year.  99.86 percent of the state is in drought, but (looking for a silver lining) we have seen a drop of over 10% for regions effected by what is called Exceptional Drought, or D4, as compared to one year ago.  So, at least we are slowly moving in a the right direction.  What is interesting is that so far this year most of the excess water has fallen south of us.  That is due mostly to the odd tropical incursions into SoCal we saw during the summer.  NorCal has seen less than normal amounts of water so far tis water year.  Hopefully all that is about to change as we see a number of systems lining up that should effect the state to our north.  In the meantime, we are getting ready for some rain to arrive later this week in Santa Cruz.

Surf is up.  Get out there and enjoy.  Respect the ocean, and use caution.  Swift Street.

Not a whole lot of change in the forecast.  Models are shifting all over the place.  Confidence is high that we will receive rain on Thursday.  Confidence is low regarding timing and amounts.  Rain is likely mid day Thursday.  Possible as early as Wednesday evening and into Friday morning.  Amounts range from .1 to one inch.  So a lot of variables.  Hopefully we can see the models agree on a solution by tomorrow, so we can update the forecast.

Swell is pumping out there right now.  A moderate long period swell is providing overhead surf for West Cliff, and DOH to DOH plus surf at locations west and north of town.  A light east wind is keeping the swell very clean.  This is a solid, powerful swell.  If it is beyond your skill set, please play it safe, and stay ashore.  On the other hand, if if you like solid waves, get out there and get some.  The water is warmer than the air right now, do don't be dissuaded by the cold.  Things will begin to settle down a bit today, but conditions remain epic through mid day Wednesday.  Don't wait until Thursday, though, as the approaching front will add a lot of junk and multiple swells to the water.  New swell and improving conditions for Friday and into the weekend.  Get some.