Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Warmer, then Colder.

Enjoy the warmth these next few days, as they are going away.  Cold air will be returning soon.  And a chance for some light rain.  Models keep flipping and flopping, so no one really knows what to expect.  We have a Rex Block off shore developing and this will start the cold weather engine and variability.  But lets look at the day to day.  It is a balmy 40F at 8:20 this morning after bottoming out at just about 38F.  We will toast into the low to mid 60s today.  Nice.  Thursday looks even warmer.  Get out and get that Vitamin D, yo.  By Friday we start seeing a chance for clouds and rain.  And colder weather.

That Rex will start driving cold air south from the Artic.  It will arrive here sometime over the weekend.  Afternoon highs will drop back into the upper, then mid, then lower 50s.  Lows will slide down in the mid 30s.  By the middle of next week, we could see a return to some freezing weather.  The real question is whether we will get rain or not.  As it stands this morning, it looks like we will see some light rain move in from the north around New Years, and last through Monday or Tuesday.  Light rain.  As in we might total only a tenth or two of an inch over multiple days.  Other parts of the state fair better for accumulation, but this is not a big rain maker.  Maybe an inch in the Sierra on the West Slope and nearly that much in the San Bernardino in Socal.  Dress warm.  More to come.

Monday, December 26, 2016

Cold Again.

It was 34F at the San Jose Airport this morning when I dropped off my family at 6:20.  Lots of people checkin in on Southwest.  Shocked was I.  The sky is clear and the sun is now just up.  Gorgeous.  The ocean is a beautiful cerulean, and the east ablaze.  It should be a chilly day today.  With the sunshine, and lighter easterly breeze, it will feel warm in the right spots.  It might reach 60F in one of those spots today.  The swell from over the holiday weekend is fading out this morning, with maybe waist high surf left in town.  Not to worry though, as a new swell will fill in this evening an into tomorrow.  And the weather tomorrow will be much the same as today.  But with nice long period head high waves.

Wednesday morning will be not quite as cold, and by afternoon we should move into the low 60s.  Surf will be bigger as well.  With the winds continuing blowing offshore, it could be a nice fun day in the water.  And Thursday is looking even better.  Surf heights will drop a bit, but we could be topping out above 65F in the afternoon, which would be our highest forecast temp in a while.  Favorable sunny, warm (as in out of any wind, and maybe has some stone or asphalt radiating heat by afternoon) could see a 70F reading.  Toasty.  Get out and git sum.

By Friday, there will be some weather, but not on top of us.  The effect for us will be the ushering in of colder air.  The daytime high will drop back into the 50s, and even colder on Saturday.    By New Year's Eve, we might be talking about a chance of rain, or mountain snow.  The system lining up is a bit hard to get figured out right now.  It may be too far east to bring us rain.  It may hit the Sierra and not here.  Or just to the south.  Or north.  It is not a big state wetter.  I guess I'll need to return to this subject as we get closer.  For now, get outside and enjoy the bounty of Santa Cruz.

Friday, December 23, 2016


First, an apology for not posting up the past few days.  The family has been sick.  Me included.  When I heard the pitter patter on the roof at 5:30 this morning, I knew I should have found time and energy to post up.  Over the past few days this storm has gone through several forecast versions.  The final one yesterday was to push things in earlier and quicker.  So our rain day is today, with tapering over night.  Let's get down to the nitty gritty.

It is cool today.  Currently 47F, with a high projected in the low 50s.  Rain should persist through the morning hours, and taper a bit in the afternoon.  A cold front approaches around 4Pm, and we could see another round of heavy rain.  And colder temps.  Cloud cover keeps us warm tonight at about 40F.  All together we could still be looking at an inch of precipitation in town.  We are a third of the way there already as of 9AM this morning.  It also looks like we currently have a break in the rain.

This storm is likely to clear out by Saturday morning.  We could still see a few showers through the early morning hours, but clearing through the day.  We could even see sun by afternoon.  It will be chilly, and likely colder than today, thanks to the front moving through tonight.  Saturday night the lows drop down into the mid 30s.  The weather remains cool and sunny for the first half of the week, and then we can expect some warming, with temps reaching into the low 60s by mid week.  It will be lovely out when that happens.

All the storms for next week look like they will miss us.  One stays off shore; another moves through to our east.  Next chance for rain is looking to be around New Years.  More on that later.

We made a dent in the drought, across all sectors.  15% of the state is official completely out of drought, with nearly another 15% listed as Abnormally Dry.  The city of Santa Cruz is out of drought, but the south eastern portion of the county is still Abnormally Dry, with a very thin sliver of land listed at Moderate Drought.  We are moving in the right direction, and this current storm is bulls-eyed near the worst effected part s of the state.  Can't wait to see the next report.

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Big Change: Rainy Xmas Eve.

24 hours of model divergence and agreement have led me to believe what popped up yesterday.  It now looks like we will not have a sunny day on Saturday, but instead a very wet day as a cold storm finds a weak spot in the high pressure and drives south.  But first, cold again this morning.  Surprisingly sustained cold.  It dropped below 40F at 2:30 AM and bottomed out at 34F around 4:30AM.  What was not typical is we then saw some warming, and then as the sun came up, temps dropped again.  As of 8:30, it is 37F outside on the west side of town.  Although, I would assume sensors that receive early morning light would be registering closer to 40F.

No change in forecast through Friday morning, then clouds begin to fill in, with increasing chances for rain.  By night fall, we should see the front edges of the storm.  This system is expected to bring wide spread rain to the entire state.  Good news.  About an inch plus here in town.  Up to three inches along the Sierra Crest and up to 2" in the San Bernardino Mountains.  The worst drought effected areas of the state seem to get the least rain, but still a solid .25 to half inch.  It will be fun watching this one.  More detail on it tomorrow and Thursday as the solidify.

After that, we are now seeing more systems lining up from early next week starting on the 26th.  We will need to watch these, but it certainly is looking like a wet finish to 2016.  At least the entire year is not the worst ever.  We so need this water.

In other news, Kirkwood is 100% open.  Upper mountains of other resorts are looking good.  So you can easily get your schuss on over the holiday break.

Monday, December 19, 2016

Cold 22.

It is a cold 22F on Eduardo Avenue in Ben Lomond.  Yikes, yo.  That is cold.  It is about 32F here on the Westside at 7:15, but is temps did dip below 30F for one and a half hours earlier this morning.  Yike, yo.  That is cold.  The cold air mass from the weekend was chilled further due to radiative cooling of the clear sky.  It will be a good bit warmer tomorrow night, but temps will still dip into the 30s.  By Tuesday night we are warming back into the low to mid 40s.  What ever plants make it through this morning will likely make it through until the next cold snap.

Drought conditions remain the same as of last week's update.  The monitor releases reports on Thursdays, so last week's storm was not recorded in the report.  Thursday's system was fairly widespread through Central and into many parts of Southern California.  It was significant enough that it should have some small positive effect on the drought.  We currently have 60% of the state in Extreme or worse drought.  20% still is listed at Exceptional.  The majority of that region is to the south of us, although some areas to our east and north are still effected.  We still remain listed as abnormally dry.

This week will have no rain.  Maybe on Christmas evening, but more likely next Monday, we could see our next rain system.  This one looks small, but packing a little punch and picking up moisture.  Still way to far out to do much more than say that, and hope.

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Warming with Building Swell.

Nice offshore conditions today.  Cold out there.  Happy Valley was in the upper 20s.  Escalona Drive near the west end bottomed out at 30F this morning around 4AM.  It warmed up to 40F around 8:30AM, and we topped out in the low 60s around 3PM.  I was on a cliff north of town at that time, and the sun felt warm on my face.  Other than that, it felt cool.  Tonight will be cold again, but things turn a bit milder beginning tomorrow.  Winds will be light, and mostly offshore from the north east the next few days.  A series of building swells arrive with the first starting tonight.  Head high up the coast.  Another fills in later Tuesday, with maybe a few head high sets in town by sunset.  By late Wednesday, a sizable swell will begin hitting, with waves well overhead in town, and double overhead plus up north.  Then on Thursday, the winds turn more on shore,  though light.

Thursday, a storm moves through north and east of us.  This will keep things from warming up much, and perhaps even cool things back down.  Weather looks clear through Christmas Eve.  Then we may see a shift back to wet weather.  This time cold wet weather.  Enjoy that sunshine out there.

Saturday, December 17, 2016

Very Crisp, and Snow Report.

34F as of 7AM on King Street.  I forgot to house my Padron. Too cold to go out and see if it was damaged.  The crazy thing is that I planted it as a summer crop, but the thing keeps on going strong.  And producing.  Until maybe last night. Like I said, it is cold out there. It hovered in the upper 30s most of the night, before dropping around 5:30AM.  So, it will not be a prolonged period of cold.  Things should be warming up shortly as the sun comes up.  And we are going into a run of fair weather for the coming week. With caveat.

First, let's talk about the snow that fell over the last storm.   A solid foot to foot and a half fell above 9000 feet with the Thursday night system.  It rained up to 10k during the day, then the freezing levels dropped a bit in the afternoon, and then plummeted to below lake level by Friday morning.  Three inches of wet snow was reported at the base of Kirkwood.  The surface conditions are less than ideal, but the upper mountains are plastered with a solid base layer.  This is a good start, as long as new snow is able to bond to the existing snow surface.  Otherwise, the new snow will slide.  All in all, resorts got a lot of coverage above about 8500', which is good for the coming holiday break.  Now we just need a cold storm to resurface it all. If you are headed out to schuss, be careful at lower elevations (below 8500') where crees are still exposed and there are plenty of holes not yet filled in.

As we go into the weekend, things remain cool and sunny.  We will warm slightly next week, but expected to hang in the low 60s.  Enough clouds to keep the sunrise and sunset going epic.  Perfect winter conditions.  We could even see some swell return on Monday.  And offshore winds.  Storms try to move through to our north and east, but we currently look dry through the holiday.  More to come on that as we are talking about the 7-10 day range.  Stay tuned.

Friday, December 16, 2016

One Plus. Sun Returns.

We received just over an inch of rain yesterday; most of it in the afternoon.  There were two notable squalls in the morning.  One around 9AM, and the other around 11:30.  Then the winds moved in.  And solid coverage of moderate rain from early afternoon past nightfall.  I was outside around 9PM, and it seemed like the rain had stopped.  Friday morning is gorgeous.  You can't see across the bay yet, but the blue sky is poking out.  We could still see some showers move through this morning and early afternoon, but should be in the clear by dark.

Before I get into the forecast, another thing to note is that on Wednesday, we collected .2" of water.  It basically drizzled through most of the day.  Much wetter than anticipated and forecast.  I had thought we might get a brief shower or two move through and bring maybe a .1", but this was a surprise.  Made it hard to vacuum my car as I had planned.

Anyway, moving forward, the weather looks like classic winter as we near the Winter Solstice.  It will be cold out the next few nights with temps a mile inland of the ocean dropping in the low 30s, near freezing levels.  This could bring a heavy frost in low, wind protected areas.  Especially those that don't get much sunlight this time of year.  Say, like the area near the train engine at Harvey West.  Or a nook of your backyard.  It would be wise to protect sensitive plants over the next few nights.  This is the time of year we see those Banana Trees look suddenly very unhappy.  Cool days in the upper 50s.  Sunny, mostly.

Things warm up, especially at night (Tuesday night low of 44F), by early next week.  We are going into a week long period of sunshine after today.  Maybe.

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

King Tides, Rain and Coastal FLooding

We've had a little rain this morning.  Less than a tenth of an inch.  That was last nights storm, between 1AM and 5AM.  The next round comes in this evening.  Kind of.  It still looks like the heaviest precipitation will hold off until mid day Thursday.  But first, very light drizzle through this morning today.  Cloud cover sticks around, but warmer air allows us to get in the low 60s.  Light drizzle possible over night and into the morning.

We are expecting heavy rain from mid day Thursday into early Friday morning.  Two inches. This morning's forecast of the GFS is even wetter.  While the highest tides of the season are occurring today, we will see our best chance for coastal flooding during the high tide Thursday night.  With all that rain coming down, onto already moist ground, the creeks will swell, and a lot of water will run to the estuaries and ocean.  Watch for a flooding.  The commute on Friday morning could be a tough one.  Leave early and give yourself time.

And enjoy those King Tides.  Low tide this afternoon is right before sunset at 4:30 at a negative 1.5 feet.  If you like seashells or tide pools, this afternoon is going to be great.  With at AR well to our north, you can also stay relatively dry.

Still expecting clearing out on Friday and a cool, clear weekend.

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Gone North.

The AR has shot north and should impact the NorCal coast through mid day.  We could see a sprinkle down here during the daylight hours, but forecast is for less than 2/100", so that is pretty slim.  Low 50s as of 9:30AM.  There is some mild air today, but with the full cloud cover this morning, it does not look like we will get out of the 50s today.  There was a break earlier, and the sun shone through, and it was awesome.  But that has passed.  The ocean is calm today with small swell, and light southerly winds.  Great light out there for taking pics.  Hoping to resume that soon.  As for the weather, rain will fill in tonight, but only lightly.

AR tend to be long and narrow.  Unlike a cyclonic storm, they focus a lot of precipitation along a very narrow path.  This one being aimed centered at about Point Arena, will only bring us light rain tonight.  About a tenth of an inch.  And it will be done by mid morning.  Yet clouds remain, and a second system begins to take shape off the coast late Wednesday.  This one is cyclonic, and will pick up the moisture offshore from the AR, before moving ashore and wetting most of the state.  Unlike ARs, cyclonic storms tend to be robust and wide spread with over all lighter precipitation effecting a greater area.  But, with you pick up all that moisture contained in the AR before moving ashore, you tend to pack a greater punch.

Late Wednesday night, into Thursday, we will see a decent does of rain.  Will need to fine tune, but it looks light through the morning hours and turning on mid day, and staying on past dark.  We could see two inches over the period.  Adding not much from earlier in the week, that is a much smaller total that the 4 or 5 is was seeing on earlier forecasts.  This is mainly because that narrow AR moved from being centered on Half Moon Bay, to Point Arena.  Had it stayed closer, we would be getting drenched in just a few short hours.  Instead, we have a a few mild days to enjoy being outdoors.

Clearing on Friday, with a crisp sunny weekend on tap.

Monday, December 12, 2016

Models are finicky.

This morning, the AR is pointed further to our north.  This will mean lighter precipitation through the first half of the week.  Due to the flips and flops, I won't go in to it much further than right than to say expect later arrival of lighter rain with warmer temps.  I'll put more detail into it tomorrow morning, after the 6AM model runs.  The good news is we may see more semi clear weather going into Thursday morning, as opposed to a regular showery condition.

Things are looking good with our water year.  We should be close to 50% of annual average by the end of this week.  At the end of November, we were already at 25%.  Locally, we are year to date about 150% of average.  The NOAA climate center was forecasting a drier than average Dec-Feb.  We are not yet two weeks in to that 13 week period yet, but it sure does feel like a good start.  If NOAA is correct, we should expect so much drier periods coming soon.  Yet, the operational models has more possible storms 10 and 14 days out.  While those are the fantasy charts, it does indicate a greater chance for that outcome than a blocking high.

More details on this week tomorrow morning.

Sunday, December 11, 2016

That was a primer.

Two and half inches here on the west side between Thursday and Saturday.  Saturday afternoon saw the heaviest rain with rates up to a 1/4" per hour.  That is some pretty solid rainfall.  The last set of rain systems did not budge any of the drought.  It will be interesting what the next to reports show.  The 12 percent of the state that is out of drought is in NorCal, where even more rain fell.  Where we need this rain is south of us.  But rainy it will be for this coming week.  At least for us.  Another atmospheric river is taking aim, soon to be followed by a storm from the north.

Tomorrow will be a good day to get outside.  Mild temps, some clouds and glorious sun.  Get a glimpse of it, or you'll need to wait for the weekend.  Expect low 60s on Monday, after a crisp morning in the low 40s.  How chilly it ends up being will depend a bit on that cloud cover.  The more stars you see tonight, the chillier the dawn.  Tuesday begins like Monday, but with more cloud cover.  By mid day the AR will bullseye in San Francisco, bringing moderate rain for the evening, turning heavy after night fall.  The hose continues into Wednesday morning, before shifting more toward the north mid day.  Lighter rain could continue through the day.  We see a break late Wednesday into Thursday morning.  Then a strong northern storm picks up all that moisture and runs across all but the southwestern most portion of the state.  All in all we are looking at three to five more inches of precipitation this week.  And huge mountain snows.  More on that later.

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Totally Different Morning.

Almost 50F at 6AM, with almost an inch of rain already on the ground.  Temps found a minimum of about 47F last night, around midnight, and began creeping steadily around 4AM.  It will warm up to about 60F today, which would be much warmer than it ever got yesterday,  which barely hit 55F.  Although, today, there is rain.  Always hard to tell on our radar, but there does not look like there is a bunch out the back.  Still. expect a fairly wet day, with light to moderate showers possible, which chances decreasing toward evening.

Rain showers are likely today and Friday, tapering off through the night and into Saturday morning.  It is possible, with a second wave hitting late Friday, to see some showers last until late Saturday.  Sunday and Monday look like partly cloudy and cool days.  Another Atmospheric River takes aim at NorCal early next week.  The forecast keeps moving this thing up and down the coast.  Best guess is that it hits some where north of us.  AR are narrow, but when they hit land mass and mountains, they disperse a bit.  This will be another warm rain event; likely warmer than than today's  If that AR hits further north, we will just see clouds.  If it shifts south, we could get a lot of rain.  A lot.  As it is right now those five inches should fall well north of here.  We will need to watch this as it gets closer.  I'll post up again tomorrow if I can, but will be traveling to he mountains for the weekend.  Not sure if I'll get a chance while up there, but stay tuned anyway.

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

37 Degrees.

The Walnut Street weather gauge reported a scant 37F this morning at 6AM.  That is chilly enough for a little frost in spots.  Chilly enough for me.  It feels cold outside right now.  In the areas further from the ocean, and up the hill a bit, it is likely much colder.  Not much change in the forecast except perhaps it is a little wetter.  And maybe arriving a little earlier.  Regardless, today is your last day to do work to clean up your yard and put things away.  Rain looks like it could swing through tonight briefly, ahead of the main system.  Friday is also looking wetter through out the day.  The forecast looks active in the mid and long term, so be prepared for an extended period of wet weather.

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Cold, Wet & Wintery.

Lows in the 20s in the inland valleys, with lows in the 30s out by the coast tonight.  Protect your sensitive plants and be sure your outdoor pets have a warm place to sleep.  And actually, things warm up as the next storm system approaches late on Wednesday.  This first round will bring copious rain across the region, with the heaviest rain falling mid day Thursday through mid morning Friday.  We will be in the 1.5" zone, give or take, and areas in the local mountains could exceed three inches.

Yesterday I was asked about snow.  In the Sierra.  It does look like we will get widespread rain up to about 7000 feet, with snow levels dropping below that only very early in the storm and at its tail end on Friday.  While the heaviest precip is falling, freezing levels are expected to be between 7k and 9k.  That is pretty high, as only four resorts have lifts that go above 9000 feet in Tahoe.  For places like Rose and Kirkwood, with their higher bases, there is potential for top to bottom snow.  About a foot at the bases (due to high snow levels t time allowing only for rain) and up to 2 1/2 at their peaks (where it should be all snow through the entire event).  The good news is that snow levels are expected to drop starting late Thurs/early Fri.  This will allow the storm to set up correctly with the densest snow  at the bottom, with fluff on top.

Then, for the weekend, it currently looks fair.  We could see a little bit of rain and mountain snow, but it looks like that moisture will fall else where.  Starting as early as Sunday night, a series of small systems begin hitting the coast just to the north of SF.  These storms will slowly push south during the week, bringing us increasingly heavy rain when they do.  I'm looking out into that fantasy range of 8, 10, 12, plus days out, but it looks like it could be a wet week ahead.  Not just a one or two day system, but next Monday through the next 7 days has a variety of wet solutions.  In fact, by Saturday the 17th, the models would have you believe the entire state is getting a solid wetting.  How cool would that be?  More on that as we get closer.

Monday, December 5, 2016

Water Coming.

Chilly and chillier.  Cold dry storms move aloft and to our east, keeping things chill in Santa Cruz.  The sun is partly out, and when it shines on you, it does feel warm.  Overnight we will drop to the low 40s tonight and mid to upper 30s Tuesday night.  Day time highs hang sub 60F.  Wednesday night will be much warmer, due in part to cloud cover, and more due to warm air filling in from the south ahead of the next rain system.

We are still a few days out, but it looks like we will be on the south side of the bulls eye with rain moving in some time on Thursday.  The heaviest rain looks like it will come after night fall Thursday, and into the morning hours on Friday.  Depending on how that bullseye moves and shifts, we could see over an inch of rain here in town, with two plus inches in the local mountains.  The West Slope of the Sierra Nevada has a large swath of area with four or more inches of rain forecast.  This could be a good water delivery for parts of the Central Valley still in Extreme Drought.

It has been a week plus.  Prepare for the rain.  More to come.

Friday, December 2, 2016

Cool Week, Mild Weekend.

It has been chilly.  Cold even.  My padrons are happy enough in their quickly erected plastic sheeting green house, but even the mid day has been chilly.  If you are out of the sun, is is cold even.  It dropped down to 38F around 2AM this morning, but it is already 44F.  Yesterday, in fact, hit 70F on King Street, for about 20 minutes.  Never did it feel that warm; that thermometer must be in the sun  More of the same today.  Mid 60s, cooler in the shade and warmer in the sun.

We see a little warming over the weekend, then another cold dry system hits us early next week.  Not much daytime warming, but the nights will only drop to the mid 40s.  Then on Tuesday, high temps stay squarely in the mid 50s.  Very slight chance for very light rain, as this system moves east of us.  Very slight.  We see a better chance for rain next Thursday, but we are over a week out right now.

It looks like we could be headed into a prolonged dry stretch.  This last round of rain had not impact on the drought, so we are still in a pretty dire situation state wide.  Continue to conserve.  I'll post up more when I have a better look at next week.  Pray for rain.  In the meantime, get out side, get some exercise, work in the yard, cut down a tree.  This is great weather to exert yourself and not sweat too much.  Oh, and the sun rises and sun sets have been stunning.