Saturday, February 27, 2016

All over the place.

Yesterday the GFS had my back, or little toe.  Today's run did not build my confidence.  Storm pattern still looked to turn wet, but hourly play out looked like a completely different forecast.  So, how it will all go is still very much a mystery.  Biggest thing to note is the storm forecast for next Thursday pulled way back.  What was looking like a moderate soaker, now looks like a mild wetter.  And that whole 'baton down the hatches' thing yesterday might have been a little overkill.  Sorry.  Still, it was good advice.  Especially if my toe was right.  Anyway, short term looks a little different, with less warming expected on Monday and early in the week.  We will likely still hit 70F in favorable parts of town, but not looking at much more than that.

Surf is pumping out there again today.  Go enjoy the show and remember to be careful out there.  Whether you plan to get int he water, or stay on the cliff.  This is a fun big winter swell.  Seems like it has been a pretty good season.  Surf will subside some on Sunday, but more swell is expected to arrive Sunday night.  What a run of juice.

Friday, February 26, 2016

Prepare For Rain.

If you are one of the smart ones, you have already begun to consider your plans for when another wet period sets in.  You may have even created an El Nino Kit back in October for the winter.  Might be a good time to make sure you still have it.  While we are still a ways out, my left pinky toes has got that feeling that something big is about to happen. In the mean time, more fair weather.  A little cooler today, with more clouds, than it has been, but still a fine winter's day.  Swell is still nice from that big WSW we saw arrive on Wednesday.  A new sizable WNW if filling in this evening.  So, that is nice.  Snow in the Sierra might be on the firmer side this weekend, with the cooler daytime highs, but the surf will be effected by a northwest wind swell, so it is a toss up on where to go.  Probably can;t go wrong either way.  Or it might be wise to take the weekend and prepare for more rain.

I'm curious how that point in the distance faired on this last swell.  Monterey.

I'm not talking about a one in done scenario.  I'm talking undercutting open door storm train.  I'm talking the real deal.  GFS is on board with me in the fantasy charts, although the storm for next Thursday looks a bit weaker than earlier model runs suggested.  So, there is that.  Before the storm, we see a warm up back into the 70s for maybe Monday, and likely for Tuesday.  More on that storm in a later post.  For now, I'm seeing a break after Thursday for the first weekend in March.  Then, it looks game on.  I'll follow up on this later, but use your time over the next week to do anything that needs to be taken care of before we see lots of precipitation.  I know it is my toe talking, but think in the range of about ten inches of rain in a week.  Maybe for a few weeks.  Yea.

Thursday, February 25, 2016


More swell is on the way.  This round just as large, if not larger.  Shifted slightly north of west, instead of slightly south.  Light morning breezes, with a moderate high tide mid day, makes for some nice conditions.  This next round will begin arriving in the morning Friday, and filling in through the afternoon.  Saturday morning we will still be seeing some plus size and long periods.    It could be a very good morning of surf with the tide filling in from 1.5' at about 7AM. Might even allow you to sleep in a little bit if you are hitting a spot that likes a bit more water.  High tide will top out around 1PM at just over three and half feet.  So, if your spot likes a fair amount of water, you might want to sleep in until mid day.  It does look like there will be some northwest breezes though, so earlier will be lighter.  But you might end up cloistered behind headlands at sunrise anyway.  So.  What is interesting is how these swell are tied to our weather.

Mt. Tallac.   President's Day morning. 

Currently we have this fat high pressure on us.  Last week, a system finally punched through it, and brought the state rain.  But the storm did little in the sense of displacing this shield of sunshine.  That is pretty typical around here in winter.  We need a full on shift of this high pressure to see a return to wet weather.  In the meantime, low pressure systems spin across the Pacific, generating swell, and getting bounced north well off shore.  Shield of sunshine.  This looks to continue.  In fact, these two swell producers will arrive in our region on Friday night and Sunday night.  Both looking to get pushed way north, as they weaken, and dissipate.  This will create gradients, and stronger northwest breezes for Saturday, and again Monday.  We may see some clouds.  Points north will get some lighter rain.  Off chance we see precipitation along the Sierra Crest.  It will be cooler over the weekend as well, with a rebound into the 70s likely on Tuesday.  All this ahead of a possible door opening to begin later next week.

The GFS has been fairly bullish in forecasting a return to storm train conditions.  Still over a week out, so, little confidence when looking at this single model.  Yet, it has me wanting to look at others when I get a chance to hopefully this evening.  The seven to fourteen day track would best be described as quite wet, with the high moving well north, and the typical storm undercutting of an El Nino finally soaking the state.  One can only hope.

Oh - the Eddie ran today.  Check it out.  I have not yet had a chance to myself, but I heard there was some fun viewing.  That, and NBs was kind of crazy yesterday morning.  Always good to get the heart rate up.

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

A slightly different sort of wave.

More big swell to arrive on Wednesday.  This one is actually coming from the WSW, at 10'@17s.  As in a pretty massive southerly swell.  Should really light up our typical summer spots that can handle that much energy.  This the result from a low latitude NPAC system that just beat the hell out of the north shore of Hawaii.  Should be a pretty fun day.  Again, use caution and know your ocean limits.  More big swell to arrive late on Friday, but this time from a more typical WNW angle.  Should be good run of swell, although a little more onshore flow is expected for the weekend.  Continued warmth through Thursday, with day time highs in the mid 70s and morning lows in the upper 40s to low 50s.  By Friday we drop back into the upper 60s, as a system moves through to our north.  We could even see SW flow and clouds develop.  By early next work week, we could be back up into the 70s.  It must suck living some where cold (or hot) and seeing our awesome weather.

It is waterfall season.  

Monday, February 22, 2016


Almost average, but not quite there after this past week's storm sits the Central Sierra Snowpack.  Not bad, but not great.  At least when it comes to water that we need.  As far as the schussing goes, it is a good reminder that even an average year in Tahoe, is pretty damn epic.  Something like fifteen feet of snow so far at Kirkwood.  Thing is, this year we really need a robust snowpack to help us deal with this drought.  Not only does the spring and summer run off fill up reservoirs, it also seeps deep into the mountain soils and slowly quenches the thirst of the Earth.  All life is dependent upon water.  And while it is not wise to look more than a few days out, things are beginning to aline with my gut.  See, we typically get most of our water by now.  With March being the last month with fairly high precipitation averages.  And most of that typically falls in winter.  Come spring, our averages plummet.  But my gut tells me this year they will not.  Winter of 10/11 was big.  Well above average.  And it had a six week dry spell in the middle of it.  Six weeks.  We went 17 days just now.  Then a dump, and a good wetting.  Here it was pretty mild compared to say the period from Thanksgiving through Martin Luther King Day, but the state overall did well.  We have another 10 day stretch of sun.  But something has me feeling that come late next week, we are going to be seeing a return of some stormy weather.  Hope I'm right.  For now it is warm.  Go work on that tan tomorrow.

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Barely a nudge forward.

While the rain a few days back did slighty improve our states drought standings, it pretty much only pushed a few more acres into Normal and Abnormally Dry conditions.  While that moves some areas in the northern part of state out of Moderate Drought, that did leave untouched over 80% of the state in Severe, Extreme and Exceptional Drought.  Nearly 40% of the state falls in that final category.  Santa Cruz is merely hanging in Severe.  Point being, keep on paying attention to your water use.  I saw some lawn sprinklers going during the 17 day dry period.  Your lawn is really not that important.  We are headed into another prolonged dry period.  Currently, much of the state is at or above average precipitation to date for the water year.  That is good news.  But not good enough.  Santa Cruz and Monterey County are about at 140% of average, and we have only seen our drought levels drop from D3 to D2.  But more rain is not in our short term.

Brian takes in the view of the Sierra, looking south from just below Red Lake Peak.

In fact, this high pressure is looking to set up pretty damn solid.  The upcoming week looks epic, with highs in the mid 70s, with upper 70s likely for Tuesday and Wednesday.  Actually, I would not be surprised if we were to hit 80F, by the look of things.  Daytime temps should moderate into next weekend, dropping back into the upper 60s as the next system up stream weakens and falls apart before arriving.  Will still want to keep an eye on this system, as we are still six days out, and perhaps it could pick up more steam.  Not looking likely though.

With lows in the upper 40s, it is not a bad period to drop some seedlings.  At least it is a good time to get out and work that garden, and start on your prep for spring.  Turn in that green manure.  Work that back.  Plant some lettuce.  My dill is loving this weather, but I fear it might go to seed.  Some kale did.  Keep that winter garden moist by collecting the water that usually goes down the drain as you wait for the hot water to show up.  That is all you will likely need.  Anyway, enjoy this fine, fine weather.  With some moderate surf this week, and off shore winds, it is the perfect time to go explore.

Saturday, February 20, 2016

At home, online, with a working computer...

And the weather is starting to get a little more interesting.  At least it was for a moment, with a little rain, a bit of wind and plenty of snow up in the Sierra.  Even the east side seemed to get hit pretty well.  That bodes well for our water collection, bringing us back up to about average.  Too bad we are looking at another week long dry period on our hands.  Well, at least the weather is going to be nice.  The heat wave we saw lasting through last Tuesday is not returning so soon, but it is quite fair out there today.  Mid 60s, sunny and fairly calm.  We could see a little onshore breeze coming up, but nothing much.

Round Top, a day before the recent snow.

It looks like it could warm a bit more for Monday, but nothing much more than low 70s.  That does not look like it will last long, as some milder air moves in as early as Tuesday.  Right now there is not a whole lot of agreement about what is in store come next Friday.  We could see a weakening system impact us, or we could see high pressure reign supreme.  Still a lot of talk about a a break through coming into March, but only time will tell.  At least the state got a few inches of water from this last storm.

Wednesday, February 17, 2016


So, I kind of forecast this a few days back before I hit the road to the high Sierra.  Been absolutely stunning sweet corn harvesting up here.  Until today.  Stormy.  Warm, but cooling off.  A few inches of snow fell this morning, but currently it is just brisk.  Taking a break to take advantage of internet.  Slow internet.  I guess borrowers can't be complainers.  Anyway, the warmth is taking a break.  This storm is not really all that cold, so don't expect anything crisp.  Highs are back down in the 60s and lows in the mid to upper 40s.  Breezy and rainy tonight.  The storm should fill in more fully overnight.  This looks to be about a inch plus system for Santa Cruz.  In fact, the entire coast line down to L.A. is looking at that much rain.  Three inches in northern areas of the state and along the Sierra Crest.  A solid rain maker.  Much needed after weeks of sun.  And this one looks so more El Nino, whit the quick heavy hit and departure.  This things slams overnight, and clears by mid day.

Court enjoying the winter corn harvest in the Sierra.  Yesterday.  Things sure look different up here today.

When I say clears, what I mean is that most of the heaviest rain and wind will occur between midnight and 6AM.  By 6PM, there could breaks of blue.  There is a slight chance that we could see additional rain impact the county on Friday, but it looks more likely that storm will remain north and bring only some clouds and perhaps a period of drizzle.  On the other hand, the mountains are getting a much needed reset today and tonight.  Snow showers are likely to linger through the day Thursday, but forecast are for half a foot plus at lake level and up to two feet on the crest.  Friday perhaps a few inches on the mountains.  Could set up for a great weekend.  And even if that sun does come out to beat on the snow, at least it is still February.  Enjoy the storm.

Friday, February 12, 2016


That is right folks. 0.22% of the state is no longer even abnormally dry.  Over 5% is out of drought (as in just abnormally dry).  This is good news folks.  Not great.  Just good, as we slowly move toward a more normally moist state.  Let us hope that we see a return to the weather we had through December and January.  This sunshine is starting to get boring.  For now, we need to endure it for at least another five or six days.

Congratulations to local Nic Lamb on winning the Titans of Mavericks.  Surf is up the next few days, but NW breezes will cross it up.  Still looks like we are on track for a toasty Monday and some rain by Wednesday night.  More to come.  Enjoy this spectacular weather.

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Marine Layer, Or "It kind of feels like June"

I even felt a distinct mist fall on my arm in the Trader Joe's lot this afternoon.  I can see the marine layer filling the bay as I type.  It was warmer feeling today.  Especially early, before this high fog filled in.  So, I guess it does not really feel like summer, as it was sunny early, and the breeze is not blowing it out.  Rather on.  Anyway, The Eddie was called off, so this swell arriving might not be so massive.  just regular massive.  Should be a good show tomorrow up off of Half Moon Bay.  Winds are a bit stronger out of the NW in the afternoon than I would think ideal.  Just makes it a bit meaner I guess.  Town should have some size tomorrow.  Again a High Surf Advisory has been issued.  Go check out the new West Cliff sidewalk blow hole.  Just from a safe distance.

Fog could be thick in spots Friday morning.  Low about 50F, and an afternoon high about 70F.  Fog burns off early I suppose, but that depends much on the breeze.  Which looks light.  Less fog by the weekend, but pretty much the same dealio.  Then it gets warm for Washington's Birthday (or Monday).  We are still looking for significant cooling and some lighter rain for Wednesday or later in the week.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Back Online.

Let's see, what did I miss?  It got pretty damn warm around here.  Things started to normalize toward a more typical wintery dry spell temperature today.  It will continue to do so.  Sort off.  Upper 60s and low 70s continue through the work week and weekend.  Massive swell turns on the titans of Mavericks on Friday.  Light winds should accompany that contest.  High pressure fills in further, driving a northerly breeze, and very slightly cooler temperatures over the weekend.  We are looking at some epic winter conditions.  Friends have reported that the Cowell's sandbar has returned in excellent shape.  Makes sense.  There is a lot of sand out there.  Let's see where it goes after this weekend.

Six Kilos last February.  

Monday is looking quite warm.  Mid to upper 70s warm.  Yeah, so forget about that normal thing.  Out on the mid term view, we do see models suggesting that we could return to wet weather in California as early as next Wednesday evening.  That will drive cooler temperatures and could deliver rain to our region.  Something to monitor, as that will be much different than the past and coming week of glorious sunshine.  Water wise, we are just about on target for the water year, entering this dry spell above average and exiting below average, but overall, on target.  And with rain looking to make its return to the state in perhaps about a week, we could be moving in the right direction again soon enough.  Enjoy this wonderful spell of mid winter warmth, and get ready for round two to enter the picture.

Monday, February 1, 2016

Something special this sunrise is.

What an absolutely stunning morning on the Monterey Bay.  Today will be blustery, cool and fair.  Ample sun.  Ample chill.  Did you feel it arrive yesterday.  Along the backs of gusts.  It is a bit calmer this morning near shore, but there are still some brisk winds out to sea and along ridge tops.  Expect it to pick up a bit in town with the day, although, not as brisk as yesterday afternoon.  This air mass came in strong.  The attempt to over ride it with a quick low pressure punch looks a bit more likely this morning.  We could be seeing some showery weather on Tuesday, as this systems rides the coast.  Nothing epic, but not a dry sunshiny day.  Timing looks like mid-day through evening.  Total accumulations less than two tenths of a inch.   After that it looks like it go dry.  At least most likely.  It is El Nino, and you can rarely predict when you have an undercut coming that can knock you out.

Yesterday was a big rain and snow day in Southern California and along the east slope of the Sierra Nevada.  It is 37F currently in Ontario, California.  For those who do not know, Ontario is west of L.A., and not at elevation.  It is just cold in the valley there.  It is colder atop the Palm Springs Tram, registering at 14F.  Bakersfield received nearly an inch of rain.  Santa Barbara a bit less.  Reports above one inch and up to three in mountain locations.  We will need to see how this settles out and get a sense of the degree of the drought.  And while the next week looks dry, we could see storms returning early than expected.  Stay prepared.  More rain is very likely on the way.  The outlook for March is almost scary wet.  Good thing long term views are usually useless.

I'm turning in my computer to the techs for a few days.  Hope to post again by Thursday, but that will depend upon finding another keyboard.  After another day of clouds and maybe showers, we return to sun and warming.  Mid to upper 60s by Saturday.