Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Missed Us.

But there is a chance next week.  Kind of cool.  In case you are wondering, it is rain that I am talking about.  Not a total miss.  When we pulled into our driveway yesterday afternoon, and I stepped out of the truck, I exclaimed, "It's raining."  My son returned in his typical, up talking, long on the n, "no!  It is not."  I could not blame him for not believing me, this time.  It was so light, and fine, that is was barely more than a mist, but when you looked skyward, it lightly speckled your face.  It lasted ten minutes, and was limited in scope, as I could see the cloud it distinctly fell from.  The ground never wetted, and I collected no water.  I get more from a heavy fog.  Oh well.  There is a chance next week.

Still on track for some nice weather over the next few days.  A few clouds around tomorrow.  Just a few.  Warmer, in the mid 70s.  Not much in the way of morning fog.  That NW breezes lightens up a little bit, but remains quite brisk in the afternoon.  It gets a good bit warmer, and winds a touch lighter on Friday; it could be 80F downtown, with upper 70s along West Cliff.  Breeze will chill you out by the water, though.  Lighter winds Saturday, and perhaps some light, to even slack winds for Sunday.  Temps moderate, with low to mid 70s on Sunday.  It could be a great day though. We will even be seeing some south swell in the water.  More on the weekend later.  I need to get to bed.

Monday, May 15, 2017

Snow tonight.

Along the Sierra Crest.  And inch or more.  Maybe a foot along the higher peaks south of Tahoe.  Kind of cool for mid May.  Like many of these events, much of it will slip by us.  This one to our east, and south.  Still, we get some.  Clouds fill in tonight.  That, along with the winds, will keep the warmth at bay.  Or, rather, inland.  What little there is of it.  But, yay, Saratoga is warmer than Asilomar folks.  Anyway, it will be warm tonight.  Cloud cover can offer that.  Low temp of about 50F.  Good for seedlings.  Tomorrow, Tuesday, clouds increase and by later in the day we could see some very light, and sporadic showers.  High temp of just about 60F.  Rain chances and intensity increase through the evening, and past dark, but this is no rain maker.  Low, again, around 50F.  Total rain fall of less than a quarter inch.  If you have a rain collection system, and it needs to be adjusted, or engaged, you may want to do that this afternoon.  I expect to collect about 20 gallons by Wednesday morning, and while that is not much, it is much more than I've collected over the past few weeks.  Things change abruptly on Wednesday.

Once is Enough, Heart Chute, and the Sisters.  Kirkwood, California.  February, 2017.

As in the clouds clear, and we warm up.  Nicely.  Upper 60s and sun on Wednesday, and fairly breezy off the ocean.  In fact, this system pretty much swings through to our north and east enough that winds never shift out of the NW for any period of time.  They may swing a bit on Tuesday, but not forecasted.  Anyway, warm on Wednesday.  Warmer on Thursday and pushing 80F for Friday and the weekend.  At least downtown.  Beaches will be in the mid to upper 70s.  Winds back down each day and might even blow offshore in the morning Friday.  Plenty of wind swell out there.  Just need to find a window where the winds let off enough to go get at it.  Checking back in tomorrow.

Friday, May 12, 2017

Sunny and Breezy.

Today, Friday, broke with not a fog wisp in the sky.  At least by the time I looked out the window at 7AM, but based on the immense shine coming into my room prior to then, I believe it broke plenty sunny.  That has allowed for the warmest morning of the week, at 55F before 8AM.  The forecast high for today is 65F, but I'm willing to wager it get closer to 70F today, especially in those favored locations out of the wind.  Being out of the wind will be the big determinate today for warmth.  Gust of 25 mph are expected at the Marine Lab and along parts of West Cliff.  Just a few blocks inland will mellow things out considerably.  Get tucked up into Harvey West, and it might even feel calm for bits.  Still, I'd expect some gust find their way even into the most tucked away spots.  More of the same through the weekend, with winds lightening a bit by Sunday.  Spring.  Then it gets interesting.

Still plenty of snow up in the Sierra.  Glove Rock at Kirkwood.

Over the next few days we will be in the mid 60s, dropping to the low 60s Sunday.  This due to a rain system encroaching on us from the north.  This storm will be effecting the PNW and NorCal over the next few days.  And us as well in that it will suppress any warming.  BTW, I changed my mind on hitting 70F today after walking outside.  It is sunny, but that air mass is in fact quite cool.  By Monday a second system begins to move ashore to our north, but this one looks like it could scrape our region.  For us that will mean continued cold weather on Monday, but by Tuesday we could see a moderate period of light rain showers.  While this is no major rain storm, it is plenty big for mid May.  Be prepared for a little rain.  We rebound quick.  By the end of next week, we could be back up into the lower 70s.  I'll have an update sometime on Mother's Day regarding next week.  And for now, make sure you wish your mother a very happy Mother's Day this Sunday.

Sunday, May 7, 2017

Spring Like?

Pretty sizable wind swell in the water right this morning.  Local buoys are recording 15 foot plus at a short 11 seconds.  Local winds are pretty strong as well, creating plenty of surface chop.  Still, this is good size for May.    The rain storm passed well north of us yesterday.  Squaw Valley is still turning lifts (and will do so until July 4th and beyond) and received 7" of snow since yesterday morning.  Powder day!  Otherwise the weather is moving back into typical range for a few days.  Sort of.

Santa Cruz Municipal Wharf.

It will be on the cooler side with the afternoon highs reaching only into the mow 60s.  Brrr.  There will be periods of sun, but mornings could have a decent layer of fog.  Especially along the water.  Overnight lows will likely hover around 50F, unless we see stars.  In that case we will drop into the upper 40s.  Not quite cold enough to damage your plants and garden seedlings.  In fact, we will see a fairly nice week for a starting summer garden.  Those hot days we saw at the start of last week are tough on young plants.  More moderate weather allows them to nicely transition to a strong vegetative stage.  That makes them big and burly for flowering and fruiting.  As we head into the latter part of the week, we see another decently sized rain system push ashore to our north.  NorCal could get a decent little rain maker, with more snow for the Sierra.  After a record breaking year for rain fall in the northern Sierra, more is on the way.  Go figure.  Extremes.  Anyway, we should stay dry, but could see some southerly flow followed by cool air and strong north westerlies.  Transitions.

Wednesday, May 3, 2017


Okay folks.  Been a few weeks of some weather.  Been busy getting out in it.  The snow and surf have both been quite fun this spring, when I've had the chance to be out there in the elements.  In that time, we have shifted into full on spring mode.  A bit warmer than typical the past few days, and we will see an end to what my son was calling the "heat attack" since about last Friday.  Yesterday seemed particularly warm, but then again, we retreated to spend the afternoon at 4 Mile on Monday.  Always a bit cooler on the water's edge.  It was a nice afternoon for the beach.  Sunday late morning saw a bunch of people tide pooling in the exposed reefs at Waddell Beach during the low tide hours.  Anyway, we are here to talk about the forecast, not what was.

March contest atop Vista at Kirkwood.  Gorgeous warm sunny spring skiing day. 

A little less warmth today.  Still quite nice, but a good 5 to 8 degrees cooler than yesterday.  Mid to upper 70s and sunshine.  Winds look a bit mellower today, so that should keep the coast line feeling the same.  Those spring time winds have been in full effect with 20 plus knot winds blowing out of the north west on the outer waters, with 15 plus near shore in the afternoons.  Today those near shores stay below 10 knots for the most part.  Cooler air is moving in, and fog could form overnight into Thursday morning, especially over the water.  Thursday will hang out in the upper 60s, with southerly flow on the water, and fog perhaps hanging out through late morning.  Could be a chilly one after the heat attack of the last few days.  A small south swell is due to arrive this evening, so that might make for a good day of surf, keeping the strong NW at bay.  This is still spring-ish, but more summer like weather.  What comes next is perhaps a return to some winter-ish.

The passing system on Thursday, brings a return to gusty northwest winds on Friday.  Fog gets cleared out and it will stay in the mid to upper 60s.  Should be a cool, but not cold, blustery day.  A system brushes us to our north, bringing increased clouds for Saturday.  Not a full sky of grey, but for sure some passing clouds.  As the day wears on, the chance for a shower increases and then sticks around through much of the weekend.  And temps dip to a high in the low to mid 60s.  Not very spring like.  Winds will be quite strong on Saturday, but mellow a bit on Sunday.  Meanwhile, Tahoe is likely going to receive some fresh snow.  Sunday could be a shallow pow day, and Monday a transition day and Tuesday some prime corn.  Winter and Spring return.  

Monday, April 17, 2017


A cold front swept through Thursday morning around 3AM last night, dropping temps from the low 50s to the low 40s in the period of an hour.  It dropped well over the forecast rain; just under 2/3 of an inch.  Friday cleared after the morning rain, and Saturday, as you know, was a very fine day.  It even felt warm and spring like.  The next system arrived early, with rain by about noon on Easter Sunday.  Again, the forecast was broken, and we again almost got 2/3 of an inch of rain.  That system mostly passed by 6PM.  Low fog and drizzle remain this Monday morning.  We have one more wave to pass through the region later today.  The forecast is for just a few showers this afternoon and evening, amounting to at very most two tenths of an inch.  That will likely be the case, but we have already exceeded the week's total forecast of on inch.  In fact, we are tallying 1.66 inch of rain in the past week.  That is 66% more than forecast.

Cool today for April.  Mid 60s.  In fact, you could feel the cool in the afternoon yesterday.  We went for a quick Pogonip stroll in the drizzle yesterday evening, and it was crisp until you developed some heat of your own.  That continues today, with mostly low clouds.  In fact, it continues through Tuesday morning, until about noon.  Then, clouds should clear to bring about a partly sunny afternoon.  It will be slightly warmer on Tuesday.  As those clouds clear out, it will allow the radiational cooling Tuesday night and we will drop into the mid to upper 40s.  And while Wednesday will be sunny, this will need to be over come to get those temps back up during the day.  Expect another day in the 60s for Wednesday.  We also have another system brushing by to our north on Wednesday, so we see a slight chance for some light rain in the evening.

Calm winters day at Cowell's Beach, Santa Cruz.

Then we have spring arriving on Thursday.  Sunny, warm and developing a NW breeze for the weekend.  It will be in the low 70s during the afternoons, perhaps even the mid 70s for Friday and Saturday.  It should be a nice run of weather, and needless to say, great planting weather for your summer gardens.  If you don't already have your early summer plants, like pole beans and lettuce, in the ground, this will be a great weekend to get that work done.  I was asked by a friend if I though this would be the last rain storm of the season.  With weather being weather, it is hard to tell.  The NPac jet is to remain active, but shift slight north.  Sorry Portland.  But, all it takes is a little wiggle to bring us some more of these spring storms.  Usually, they are not all that cold, or all that strong, so not too damaging to the crops.  Time to get your plants in the ground folks.  Unless, of course, you have a different plan.

No change in the drought over the past week.  I'll keep an eye out for this next week's report, but it does not look like enough, or any, rain is getting far enough south to help SoCal.  They are still in varying levels of drought from Santa Barbara south.  OTOH, NorCal has just broken the record for the wettest season on record.  And what is astounding is that it broke that record in April.  We still over 5 more months in the water year.  And while these tend to be the driest months of the year, we could still a an inch or few more to that total.  Winners.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Round Two Tonight.

We received almost two tenths of an inch of rain this morning.  Right around school drop off hour.  It has mellowed out, and there is almost sunshine poking through.  But there is not.  The sky is a light grey as of the noon hour.  Another wave, the stronger wave, of this storm is just offshore, and expected to swing through this evening.  Rain should fill in after midnight and in the early morning hours tomorrow.  Again clearing through the morning, but not as completely.  Showers could persist through the early afternoon on Thursday.  It will remain cool,  with highs in the mid 50s.  Snow is expected to fall in the Sierra overnight tonight and through the day Thursday, with up to a foot on the peaks.  Spring pow for Friday is expected.  And temps will remain on the cool side, only in the 30s on the mountains.  Upper 50s to low 60s on the coast.

Winter beach clean up.  Main Beach, Santa Cruz.

The weather is looking fair for the holiday weekend.  Friday will be cool, but the sun should come out.  Warmer for the weekend though.  Mid 60s and sunshine on Saturday.  Over night lows in the mid 40s.  By Sunday, we will see more clouds developing, and possibly some rain late in the day.  Another series of mild spring storms arrive late on Sunday.  Winter ain't over yet.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Several More...

Some heavy drizzle this morning.  Thick, big, random drops.  We are not expecting any accumulation; just a minor wetting.  Temps will be mild, in the mid 60s.  I do not consider this a rain day.  More like an east coast spring day.  But we do have rain coming our way.  The system, today is mainly to our north.  We do have a greater chance for some actual rain this evening, but that also looks slim.  What we will be looking at is an increase in the southerly flow.  It will have an easterly component today, but will strengthen and shift more southerly tonight.  The best chance for some actual rain will be Wednesday morning.  By mid day, we will be in the low 60s and see some sunshine.  Then, a storm hits us tomorrow evening.

Now, when I say storm, you are probably thinking of something significant.  After all, that is what we have experienced this winter.  This storm is more of a stormule.  Or stormella.  Anyway, winds turn westerly, up to 25 mph, and rain begins to fall late in the evening.  With some luck we could receive up to a quarter inch.  Just enough to maybe thoroughly wet the surface.  We may see some running or standing water, but only because the ground was so recently wetted.  Not an impressive system, other than it is coming in mid April.   Wednesday will be cooler with a high of only 60F.  Overnight lows begin to dip into the mid 40s.  Light rain could linger into Thursday, and even Thursday night.  That said, we should see some sun on Thursday, although it remains cool.  Light winds, turning south in the afternoon.

The river mouth has been surfing well this winter.  February day, after a storm clean up.  Main Beach, Santa Cruz.

It does look like we will have some fine weather for the Easter weekend.  Friday, the sun returns in earnest.  We also warm back up into the mid 60s, with upper 60s for the weekend.  Overnight lows also begin to climb and will be back to about 50F for the early morning hours on Monday.  Also climbing will be a chance for rain, as a second storm is likely to arrive Sunday evening.  This system is forecast to hit us more directly than the one mid week.  Still, it is not a huge rain maker.  Between the two of them, we might exceed one inch of precipitation.  Let's put the numbers at .41 inches for the mid week storm, and .62 inches for the system early next week.  We even see a third system approaching from the west next Wednesday, but this one looks like it will fall apart before it even reached us.

The bulk of both of these systems will hit NorCal and the Sierra.  So, more water up north and more snow for the mountains.  Kirkwood received 30" of snow last week.  They have a base of over ten feet right now.  Their parking lots are full.  But they will close for the season on Easter, for their earliest closing ever (except for one drought year).  Pretty lame of the Vail overlords.  But if you want to keep on enjoying this record breaking snow pack, you can still visit Sugarbowl, Diamond Peak, Bear Valley or Homewood through April 23rd, and SquawAlpine and Mammoth Mountain will be spinning lifts through the 4th of July this year.  Thank you for there still existing resorts that now how how to keep it real.  They should get a few inches of snow this week, and next.

The North Pacific is also remaining active through April.  We see more chances for rain on the charts, and more chances for waves.  In fact, this morning we have some solid swell in the water.  Nothing like last week on the 2nd and 3rd, but still, nice significant swell, especially for April.  Get out and enjoy what this winter has brought us.  You deserve it.  You made it this far.

Thursday, April 6, 2017

The Fat Lady Has Not Sung.

Rain has already moved into the region.  Light drizzle has been reported in SF, and light snow showers are currently falling along the Sierra Crest.  Winter is back folks.  Today will sit in the mid 60s and it will get even cooler for the weekend.  Rain comes in ernest tonight with over an inch forecast to fall before sunrise on Friday mornings.  NOAA is calling for up to two inches, but that seems a bit high.  Regardless, it will be a hefty amount.  After having several weeks of dry weather, the ground is set to absorb a good amount of water, but, and here is a big but, the water ways are still very active draining the ground already.  And the ground, while not super saturated, is still pretty wet.  So, watch out for flash flooding in the usual areas by Friday morning.

Fall Creek drainage, early February 2017, Felton, CA.  The redwoods love water.

Rain continues to fall during the day Friday, although lighter during the morning hours.  A second wave of the storm arrives mid day on Friday, and we could be seeing close to another inch of rainfall by sun down.  60F for a high.  Rain continues Friday night, but will lighten considerably by midnight.  Another quarter inch of so of rain.  And it continues into Saturday morning, tapering mid to late morning.  Fairly windy through the period, but at its worst tonight and Friday.  Near three inches of rain possible by the time it wraps up on Saturday.

The clouds clear out late Saturday, and we could have a cold night in the low 40s.  Cold for April.  If you have any plant seedlings started for your garden, think of protecting them with a floating row cover.  This will not be cold enough to kill seedlings, but could potentially stunt them.  Nothing worse than a pepper plant that never grows more than 10 inches tall.  Okay, I guess something are worse, but this is one you can make a difference about.

Sunny on Sunday (makes sense), and back up in the mid 60s.  Near 70F as we start the work week.  Yet, by Tuesday, we begin to see the effect of our active pattern, with the high dropping back into the mid 60s.  I am watching the forecasts for mid to late next week as a storm brushes by to our north on Wednesday and the potential for another big system to hit us for Thursday into the Easter weekend.  That poor bunny might have a night of rain to contend with whilst hiding her eggs.

Surf continues to hit solidly, but the new local weather conditions are wreaking havoc on it.  It was an amazing late March, early April run.  And it continues.  It will be big today and over the weekend as both long and mid period swells peak.  Add in the developing WSW wind swell and you have some serious surf.  It all should settle and clean up a bit early next week, as we see a smallish, but big enough to be fun, south arrive early next week and potential for another long period WNW mid next week.  Hopefully during those sunny calm days before the storms.

Monday, April 3, 2017

Or Maybe Two.

GFS has backed off a bit for the Friday storm. Not much.  A bit.  And it brings in a second storm for Monday.  The Friday-Saturday storm looks like the bigger of the two, but it is a string of weather.  This warmth and sunshine should continue through Wednesday.  In fact, Wednesday is looking quite nice, with lighter winds and mid to upper 70s.  Thursday we drop back into the 60s, with more clouds and increasing chances of showers as we head toward sunset.

Brian taking air near Carson Pass.  March 26th, 2017.

Likely, rain will hold off until sometime after midnight, or on Friday proper.  It could get quite heavy at times, lasting into Saturday, and dropping well over an inch of rain.  Maybe two.  Right now, it looks like one and three quarters inch, here in town, by Sunday morning.  Temps in the mid 60s, dropping to the low 60s on Sunday.  Another round of rain comes in early Monday morning.  Mostly showers.  More cold air, keeps the temps in the mid to low 60s.  Light rain through the day, less than a half inch in total.  Maybe some showers lingering on Tuesday morning, but clearing out after that and back to high pressure and sunshine.

Surf has been off the hook the past few days.  Swell will subside, but a south fills in for Tuesday.  A more local NW fills in late Wednesday and Thursday to lighter winds.  This nice run of spring surf could continue.  Conditions will deteriorate as we head into the weekend.  

Sunday, April 2, 2017

One Last Hurrah.

Spring is having a hard time staying sprung.  A solid winter swell arrived a few days back and another is filling in today.  The fog this morning feels kind of like summer, although the strong NW winds from a few days back is kind if spring like.  The weather this week looks variable.  A cold front will pass through this evening, but it is unlikely we will will get any rain.  A touch cooler tomorrow, but barely.  Low to mid 70s through the first half of the week.  Then, as we head toward Friday, it looks like we could get a for real winter rain storm.  Preliminary forecasts is for rain to begin on Thursday night and to get heavy on Friday.  There will be some gusty winds associated with this storm.  Over an inch of rain, with a good chance for over two inches.  The Sierra is looking at three plus inches near Tahoe, and up to seven inches in the mountains of northern California.  I'll update this as the week goes on.  Now it is time to go get some of that fine wintery surf.

Scotts Creek, Early January, 2017.  Love that winter swell.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

5.5 Inches

We are nearing the end of a very wet winter season.  We are just five and one half inches of precipitation off the record for the Northern Sierra 8 Station Index.  In a average year, we get about 7 inches of rain between April 1st and the end of the water year on September 30th.  Last season we got over 10 inches during this period.  It makes sense that the northern half of the state is completely free of drought.  The only hanger on is the very souther portion of the state, which may see a slight shift when the new report comes out later this week.  Slight, as not much of last week's rain systems got that far south.

Sea Urchin, 4 Mile Beach, Santa Cruz.

We are on track for some fine weather this week.  It still looks like we will miss the rain here in Santa Cruz, but we have that outside chance for some light showers on Thursday.  Today is looking quite nice.  As is Wednesday.  The real humdinger will be on Saturday, as we are looking at possibly hitting 80F, with sun and possibly some lighter winds.

We are still looking at a return to inclement weather for the following week.  We are still 7 days out of the forecasts, but the models seems to have some agreement, and we are several runs into that agreement.  There is building confidence of some light rain early in the week, with moderate storms approaching late in the week.  Check back here for the latest.

Monday, March 27, 2017

A Fair Few Days Ahead

There are still a few clouds out there this morning, but the sun is shining.  It is currently about 58F at noon, and we should hit the mid 60s this afternoon.  It will cool off some tonight with the clear sky, down into the mid 40s.  Tuesday and Wednesday we will get clear into the low 70s.  It would be stellar out of not for the moderate to strong northwest flow off the ocean.  Sure seems like spring.

Spring pow at Carson Pass, March 26th, 2017.

We do have a solid not very spring like swell hitting this afternoon with long period and some decent size.  About six foot of swell.  Well overhead by late today.  Too bad about those winds.  Still, should not be hard to find some decent surfing town over the next two days.  Cooler still expected to arrive on Thursday as a storm passes just to our north.  Looks this morning as if we will have a chance for showers on Thursday, clouds and a high back in the 60s.

Don't fret, as we rebound quick, with sun and very warm temps returning for Friday and the weekend.  Mid to upper 70s, then low 70s on Sunday.  And also don't expect an abrupt end to winter.  GFS this morning is looking very active for next week.  Can't be sure just yet how south the storm track will be, but we could see a few to several days of rain the first week of April.

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Trending Dryer and Warmer.

A quick Saturday evening post.  The storm for tomorrow evening is still in the books, but it is look quite a bit dryer.  About a tenth of an inch, perhaps a little more, late at night, perhaps after midnight and before sunrise on Monday.  I know; run on.  It will likely remain cool on Monday, in the mid 60s or a little armer than Sunday.  The morning on Monday will still have clouds, but sun should increase by afternoon and the starts will shine Monday night.  It will be cool as well, in the mid to low 40s.

Tuesday is looking pretty nice right now.  As is Wednesday.  Models are suggesting high pressure and warmth in the 70s.  A wave moving through to our north might cool us a bit Thursday, but the rain is looking to stay well north.  And east.  As it still right now we could see another long period of dry and warm weather settling in.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Just a Hair Above Pi

3.16 inches of rain for Santa Cruz since the break in the dry weather.  Scotts Valley received 4.93 inches.  Interestingly enough, that squall we had the other morning that dropped nearly and inch in just over an hour, did not produce as much in Scotts Valley, but it otherwise rained much heavier there during these storms.  These storms did much better than forecast when it came to rainfall amounts.  While the ground has had a few weeks to dry out, it is still saturated and it dod not take long for water to be running in the streams and roads.  Still, there has not been any signs of significant flooding, as our water ways had a chance to clear.  We have a gorgeous day about to unfold, with sunshine, mild temps, light winds and a fun little swell in the water.  Thursday looks very nice.  The next storm upstream will not begin to affect us until sometime on Friday.

Kirkwood Valley, April 17, 2016.  There is about 15 more feet of snow on the ground right now.  

There seems to be some more agreement this morning that clouds will move in overnight.  The rain should hold off during the morning hours on Friday, but when this storm does hit, it will be fast and furious.  The bulk of this system is just to our north, where they will get hit hard on Friday afternoon. Here we can expect some strong winds in the morning, maybe going slack in the afternoon, with up to an inch of rain in town, with more in the mountains.  Rain continues overnight, but clears out quickly on Saturday morning.  Totals in town could exceed 1.5 inches.  So this is a quick, big hit.  Followed by a nice weekend.  Sun comes out, and we warm a bit

Rain looks like it will return on Sunday evening and last into Monday morning.  This storm is now looking to be a bit mellower, but as we have seen this week so far, spring time is hard to forecast.  Up until yesterday afternoon it looked like we would clear out for the week after Monday, but we now may be expecting some weak waves moving through.  Something to watch.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Squalls and Switcheroos

Last night between 3:10 and 4:10 in the morning, we had a pretty damn good rainfall.  More than 8/10th of an inch in that one hour period.  Impressive.  Kind of nice that one did not come through during the commute hours.  It is raining now, but at a much slower pace.  Yesterday, we received a total of just more than a half inch and we are already above 1.1 inches for today, getting us near a total of 3.3 inches this week.  That is significantly more than what I, and other outlets, forecast.  And these strong spring storms are not just here in Santa Cruz.  There is a water spout warming off shore, as well as hail warnings across the central part of the state.  I heard these storms were particularly strong in SF, in the central valley and along the west slope.  Last nights heavy rain system has not yet impacted the Sierra, but we are getting way more precipitation from  these storms than the ski resorts.  Squaw is reporting 6" yesterday and none over night, with Kirkwood at slightly more at 9", with 1" overnight.  They just are not making up to the crest before splitting apart.  We will need to watch today's system as it runs up the mountains.

As for us, we should see an end to the rain in the next few hours.  That does not mean we could not see a shower or two in the afternoon.  It just means that rain becomes much less likely by late morning.  Normally, I would say another tenth of an inch or so, but honestly, looking at the radar, it could easily top a quarter inch.  There are still some pretty strong cells near us.  After the rain, winds turn out of the west and could get gusty.  Sun pops out later today, and the high will be in the low 60s.  Could be a nice afternoon.  I bet a walk around Fall Creek would be nice.

Thursday will be a fine day.  No rain in the forecast.  Just a mostly sunny sky, and mild temperatures.  Again in the low 60s, but with more sun out, it should feel quite pleasant.  We are even expecting mimimcl winds, with a slight on shore in the afternoon.  The switcheroo for this week is having the Friday storm back to arriving earlier.  My confidence in timing is low.  The models have moved the timing of this system back and forth over a 18 hour period.  If today's runs are accurate, this storm would be arriving during the day Friday and gone by Saturday morning.  It also suggest a weakening system as it arrives.  Last Sunday this looked like the biggest system of the week.  Now it looks like the smallest.  For planning purposes, expect rain as early as noon on Friday, and possibly as late as sunset in Saturday.  And plan for two tenths to and inch plus of rain.  More on this tomorrow.

We see a quick break and then another storm for Sunday night.  Currently this is looking moderate, and lasting into Monday.  Then clear through Thursday, with another system possible next Friday and Saturday.  We are certainly getting our spring showers.  And for all ya'll who are bummed about the return to rain, after we are out of drought, remember these two things.  First, the aquifers are not full, and we still need more rain to replenish our ground water in the state.  And second, the later in the season that we receive moderate rain, the greener the landscape come summer, the less dust in the air, and the shorter the long period each year when we get no rain at all.  Spring rain for the win!

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Waaaaaay Overproduces.

Early afternoon yesterday saw the early arrival of steady rain that then lasted through much of the night.  Here on the west side we are currently sitting at 1.65 inches of rain, with more bands still on the radar.  This is a bit more than the quarter inch that that the GFS forecasted, even with its earlier start.  Looking at the radar this morning, I'd expect sporadic rain showers throughout the day.  Some of these could be thunderstorms and produce hail.  I'm still thinking about a quarter inch through the day, even though we had that significant rain last night.  That said, if one of these bands stalls on us, that quarter inch could easily shift to the half inch plus plus range.  We are still supposed to see another round of heavy rain starting this evening, which could bring close to an inch of rain.  We should easily break the two inch total mark by tomorrow morning.  Maybe pushing in on three.  BTW, it is raining much harder in the mountains with nearly double our town totals in Scotts Valley.

Wednesday the rain should let up by mid day, and we are still expecting that sun to come out later in the day.  Thursday looks dry and pleasant.  Currently, it still looks like the next system is to arrive sometime Friday afternoon and last through Saturday morning.

It is warm up in the mountains right now.  Most resorts received rain at the base.  Squaw is reporting 2" of snow at High Camp.  Wet snow.  Kirkwood is reporting 4"at the top and 3" at the base.  And it will snow up in them parts most of the day.  We should be looking at a foot of dense snow by the end of the day.  Moderate winds blowing, so that will help smoothie out the mountain.

Hope ya'll are ready for a wet day and a wet week.

Monday, March 20, 2017

Let's Call it Moderate.

The models are calling for rain to start sometime after dark.  This morning we already have a brisk southerly breeze, so it would not be outlandish if we saw some rain earlier in the day.  Still, after looking at radar, I am thinking we will get through most of the day dry.  By this evening, we should first see some moderate steady rain, slowly turning to more shower weather by Tuesday morning.  This is not a big storm, and with some luck, we could get a quarter inch over night.  The light rain will continue into the day Tuesday, but we are not looking at a heavy deluge, so we may see some breaks and dryer periods.  I would still plan for wet weather through the day Tuesday, especially in the morning.  Overall, we are looking at less than a half inch of rain here in town and about that amount in the mountains. We then follow with a short break on Tuesday night.  Temps will be cool through the period, with lows in the low 50s and highs in the low 60s.

The models diverge a bit on the arrival of round 2.  It will likely bring with it colder air, arriving either Wednesday or very early Thursday.  As it is now, I am thinking it will be dry, but cloudy Wednesday morning, with light showery weather, especially to our north and south by mid day.  That rain fills in more overnight, and we could see brief, heavier rain for early Thursday morning.  This should clear out by late morning Thursday, and we could see the sun peak out before it sets.  The highs will be just about 60F, and the lows drop back into the upper 40s.  We could see another quarter inch with this system.

There is even more model divergences with the third storm coming in for the week on Friday.  The GFS has pushed it back another twelve hours, with the storm arriving on Friday night, into Saturday morning.  If this is correct, we could have a pleasant day on Friday, with some sunshine and associated warming.  Not that much warming, as clouds will for sure be filled in by mid day.  This system is looking slightly stronger than the combo earlier in the week, but recent model runs have cut back on that strength.  The rain will be heaviest here Friday night (according to the GFS) and just to our south by Saturday morning.  We are looking at about another half inch.

A fourth system could be coming our way for Sunday evening, into next Monday.  This currently looks like the mildest of all the storms, but is still a week away.  Overall, we are looking at about an inch and a half of precipitation over this coming week.  Pretty minimal by this winter's standards.  But, of course, it is spring, so, perhaps, this is the new norm for the spring.  Light to moderate rain, with breaks in between.  As it stands now, it looks like we could get sun next week.

Before I close it out, just wanted to mention that less than 10% of the state is still in drought, with just about 1% of that listed as Severe.  We still have nearly another 15% Abnormally Dry, but we have come a long way this winter.  Hopefully we can not look at our state's infrastructure and start preparing for the next big drought.

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Wet-like week ahead.

It has cooled off some, but we still had very pleasant weather on Saturday.  Fog starts us off this Sunday morning, and when that burns off it will reveal clouds.  We stay firmly in the 60s today.  The work week looks fun, with two different storm systems trying to impact our region.  There is rain to our north today and that should persist.  It does not move south until late on Monday, when the axis turns as the storm begins to move ashore.  It will bullseye to ur north, but we should see a decent amount of rain here in Santa Cruz.  It arrives late Monday and will be steady for a few hows overnight, then we see more sporadic showers during the day Tuesday and into Wednesday.

Actually, looking at the last 24 hours worth of GFS runs, it is hard to foretell what will happen mid week.  The latest run suggests about an inch of rain between Monday night and mid day Wednesday.  We see a short break from there until mid day Friday, but during this break, we could still have showers as the air mass will remain active.  Going into this next weekend, we could see a significant storm arriving Friday and building in strength towards night fall.  Over an inch if forecast to fall mid day Friday through the Sunday morning.  Then we see another break.  I say break, as the current models runs suggest more storms coming in next week.  All of this needs to be fine tuned, so check back here Monday morning for an update.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Summer or Winter?

It was a beautiful run of warm, sunny winter days, then, it seemed summer arrived, with fog moving in, and settling in the low spots.  The fog has burned off this afternoon, and a moderate NW wind has kicked up. So very summer.  This does not last long.  Even though we are fast approaching the final days of our winter, the season is not yet ready to give up it's grip.

It stays mild for the next few days.  Low 70s, upper 60s will be the range today and tomorrow, and through the weekend.  The first in a series of storms being pushed ashore will arrive late on Saturday.  This one will be mostly to our north, keeping things on the warmer side, and keeping any rainfall on the lighter side. We could see light showers pass through Saturday night, clearing Sunday morning. A tenth of an inch or so. Afternoon temps will settle more clearly in the upper 60s for both days.  The clouds never fully clear out before more move in on Monday, along with cooler air.  Highs will drop in the low to mid 60s.

The low Monday night will still hang in the low 50s, but likely overnight, or sometime Tuesday morning the second storm for the week should arrive.  It could be gusty winds out of the south, and moderate rainfall.  Not heavy rainfall, just a few tenths through the day and into Tuesday night, and into Wednesday, and perhaps Wednesday evening.  Totals could add up to 3/4 of an inch.  I'll watch this, as that is up from a few days ago.  And there is much more rain expected in coastal mountains north of Marin.  If that shifts south, it could be wetter.

Thursday morning looks like it will be in between storms.  It is going to hang off shore for a bit, to pick up some moisture, and make sure we have not forgotten what winter is like.  It comes ashore Thursday evening, and by Friday morning it looks like heavy rain here in Santa Cruz.  It currently looks like it will last through Friday night at least, with a total of a couple inches.  It won't clear, but slowly breakdown, during the day Saturday.  Sunday looks clear.  This storm is 7-9 days away, and it is spring time.  Confidence is low in the forecast, but certainly something to pay attention to.  If it does come to pass, we could see a return to driving issues in the state.  Stay tuned folks.  Here she comes for week.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Mild, For Now.

Mild might be the wrong word.  We peaked at 84F on the west side yesterday with a full 5 hours above 80F.  Not too shabby for mid March and technically still in winter.  We were still at 56F at midnight last night and currently hovering at just about 50F.  Yesterday morning was a bit cooler. Today looks similiar.  Put on some sunblock and get out there and pick up some vitamin C.  This won't last for ever.  Summer will be here soon enough.  But before then, we will see a storm move through to our north this week, bringing rain to the northern portions of the state, and cooling us down a bit.  Wednesday and Thursday will drop down into the upper 60s, perhaps low 70s.  It will be 10-15 degrees cooler than today.  Noticeable.  But no rain for us locally.  Perhaps a bit more breeze.  There will be some clouds, and even fog for Wednesday.  Partly sunny and clearing on Thursday.

We rebound back into the low 70s for Friday with a mostly clear sky. Should be pleasant.  By Saturday, another system moves in from the north.  This one a bit closer.  We could see some breezy conditions and more cloud cover.  Rain is not likely here on the coast.  The Sierra could get some light rain and snow.  But, again, not likely. Clouds are though.  And some wind.  This system takes the weekend to move through.  After that we get barely a short break as we are looking at a possible return to rain as early as Monday night.

There are several systems lining up on the models for next week, with bigger, wetter systems for the middle of next week.  Nothing like the deluge of early this winter, but something to plan for.  Moderate rainfall for Central California and only very light rainfall for the still drought stricken portion of the state to our south.  At this point it looks to clear out by the weekend of March 24.  As we move through the next few days, we will start getting more details on these coming storms.  Winter is still here folks.  And spring can be quite wet as well.  If you recall, March 2011 was a very wet month.  And April, May and June continued to have strong storms that year.  Stay vigilant.

Thursday, March 9, 2017


It hit 75F today on Walnut and King.  It was warm.  Gorgeous weather.  So lucky are we to get this break after such a long period of cold and rain.  The snow that fell on the Santa Lucia does not look like it lasted long.  It was thin and things got warm.  Expect the West Slope rivers to get up to speed with a March thaw over the next few days.  It will be about 70F along the coast, with it noticeably warmer in pockets just inland.  It hit 83F in Scotts Valley today, for instance.  The Central Valley was not as warm.  It is kind of the opposite as summer time.  The cold air in winter pools in the valley, and it takes a lot more energy to warm up that entire zone.  Lodi topped off at 76F.  Fun little fact that we tend to get the warmest warm days in winter, right down by the coast.  These warm days look to continue right through the start of next work week.  By mid week, we could see some cooling as the storm track tries t move south.  No real consensus on storms or weather a week out.  Slight chance a shift back to wetter weather by next Friday, March 15th, seems like the call at this point.  But, this stuff, now?  Enjoy.

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Spring Transistions

Spring does not begin for another two weeks, but as far as weather patterns go, we are in the spring transition period.  It is a difficult time of year to forecast more than a few days out.  What is even more interesting is how it can be fair in Santa Cruz and armageddon in the Sierra.  Sunday would be an example.  We spent the day romping around the Pogonip, occasionally feeling a cold drop of rain, but rarely two in a row.  Rainbows were the name of the game, and while it was quite chilly out, it was far from stormy.  That very same day the three hour drive from South Lake Tahoe to Concord took a friend 13 hours.  With Interstate 80 closed, the entire basin had to exit down 50, creating insane back ups.  Add to that swirling snow, strong winds, whiteout conditions and hidden (cause white on white is basically invisible) snow berms and things conspired to create one of the worst driving days of the winter.  And we were enjoying rainbows.

A good amount of snow fell in the Sierra.  Kirkwood was reporting upward of three feet.  With 88 closed in both directions, this sounds about right.  Ski resorts will be opening additional post storm terrain today.  It was a cold storm.  And while the sun and warmth of mid week will turn much of that to spring conditions by the weekend, we are in the midst of an epic winter.  I'd expect that it won't just be ceasing on the 20th.  Although, the rest of the work week certainly looks fair.  As well as the weekend.

Forecast trend is for the storm track to remain to our north in the PNW.  They should have a week of heavy precipitation.  The track moves north, allowing some warming into the upper 60s mid week, but by Friday, the tack dips a bit further south, suppressing warming.  Expect mid 60s Friday and Saturday, with possibly some brisk cool winds. Cooler on Sunday and Monday.  Mostly sunny through the period, but some clouds running over head possible Friday night.

Thursday we could be in the low 70s.  So, if you are craving a beach day, find a wind protected cove and get your tan on.  Regardless, it will be nice and warm.  Remember sunblock!

Monday, March 6, 2017

As Forecast.

Did I forget to emphasize how chilly it would be?  It was sure crisp out yesterday.  We went for one of our usual hikes, and while we were moving quite briskly, it was still cold with a flannel on through mid day.  Still, it was a fantastic day for a hike.  Wonderful winter light, running water and a pair of foxes made it quite nice.  Also having mostly a break in the rain helped as well, as when the few drops did fall, they were very cold drops. There was chatter about snow at the summit.  Snow levels were down to about 1500 feet at times over the past 36 hours.  I'm hoping when the weather clears by late today we might see some brief white capped mountains.  It would be brief, only because we would not accumulate enough snow for things to stick with this system.

Chilly this morning, but reasonable.  40F here in town.  In the mid to upper 30s in the local mountains.  It is 14F this morning at Kirkwood.  So not super cold.  Some light to moderate showers are falling this morning.  These will likely be short lived, but a thin spotty band is effecting from the middle of Monterey Bay and up the I80 corridor.  We might collect a tenth of an inch more.  All told, the region received from a few tenths of an inch up to a half inch, from the rain Saturday night through today.  Today, Monday, will be mostly cloudy, with breaks toward afternoon.  We could see some light showers.  Highs will stick in the mid to upper 50s.

Clouds continue to thin this evening, a the low will again be about 40F.  Then we go into a quick warming trend, with a high by Wednesday in the upper 60s.  The storm track remains quite active, just to our north, suppressing warming.  We will settle into the mid 60s on Thursday and Friday with continued sunshine.  We could see more clouds on Friday, and a chance for light rain as early as Friday night and into the weekend.

Models are continuing to suggest a return to a rainy period by and during next week.  I'll keep an eye on these systems, and as of this point have little confidence in outcomes.  Even the weather for this coming weekend is still a little too far out to forecast.  Check back here.

Friday, March 3, 2017


Nearly three fourths of the state is completely out of drought, or listed as Normal.  Of that 25 plus percent that is not Normal, about half of it is listed as Abnormally Dry, with almost nine percent is in Moderate Drought and the remaining four percent is still listed in Severe Drought.  This is good news, but that is still 4% that is severe, and that happens to be along the coast near Santa Barbara.  We do have rain coming in for the weekend, but most of it will fall in the areas listed as Normal.

It looks like the rain will return tomorrow.  Before we move into that, I just want to take a moment to appreciate how warm it was today.  It got up to 69F here on the west side of town and topped off at 75F in Scotts Valley.  It was nice.  It will be cooler tomorrow.  Much cooler.  A cold front will hit and keep temps from getting out of the 50s tomorrow.  The day will start cloudy, and we should have rain falling before dark.  This swift mover will come in strong and could drop a half inch before daylight on Sunday.  Sunday morning will start in the mid 40s and warm to the mid 50s as rainfall lightens through the day.  Rain should back off before dark, and the winds will gust out of west during the day.  We could see some 30mph westerlies.  Strong, but nothing like those last two storms. Sunday night will be chilly.  We could see some showers.  We could see some stars.  Temps will drop in the 30s.  How many stars we see will likely determine how cold it gets.

Monday the models diverge.  I'm feeling the sunshine returning.  Some suggest drizzle.  Everyone clears things out by Tuesday night, which will be a cold one again.  High pressures works to keep storms jus to our north and east through the next work week.  So we could continue to see some clear and cool weather.  GFS has an inside slider hitting the Tahoe region next Friday, but we remain dry.  The winter is still active, and we could be see a train of more significant storms arriving late next weekend, starting around the night of Sunday, March 12th.  This is way out in fantasy land, but there are some big storms on the charts for that week.  Stay vigilant.  This weekend will be winter lite.

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Relax, It Is Still Winter.

This sunshine is amazing.  It has coupled with a colder air mass, best felt early in the morning.  It is currently 37F out side my house at 6:45AM.  Crispy, as my son likes to say.  Things warm up nicely through the middle of the day with that abundant sun shine.  Mid 60s is the call for today.  Tuesday hit 66.6F.  Scary, eh?  Similiar weather continues through the work week.  There is not much swell in the water, and the winds are kind of spring like out of the northwest, but the weather will be fine.  And morning conditions decent.  There is a little bit of early season south out there if you are up for chasing waves.

By Friday, we begin to see a system push out of the Gulf of Alaska, bringing brisk winds on Saturday and wet weather by Sunday.  The models keep ramping this one up, and we could be looking at a half to nearly and inch of rain late in the weekend.  The storm currently looks like it will wrap itself up prior to sunrise on Monday.  The commute could be rough, but after 10 days with less than a quarter inch of rain, the ground might be ready to absorb much of that water as it falls.  How cool would that be?

Models keep flipping around, but next week I think will be mostly dry again.  Like I said, models keep flipping, which is not an oddity as we move into spring.  It does look like by the following weekend, we could see a return to rain and storms.  As it is March, and we are looking at fantasy models, I do not hold any confidence for anything after next Monday.  For now, enjoy the sun, mid day warmth and prepare for rain on Sunday.  

Friday, February 24, 2017

Trending Dryer

Just a short update this evening.  It is cold in the mountains.  It is cold in town.  The storms are trending toward the west and most rain is expected to fall off shore.  The GFS is calling for a few tenths of an inch through Tuesday.  The Canadian model is much wetter, but still just barely reaching a half inch.  NWS has cut back on their forecast as well.  Expect wet weather over the weekend, but don't let that stop you.  It will be light and maybe nothing at all.  In other news the hopes I had for 70F seem squashed.  This high pressure is going to provide some warming, but mid 60s is really the best we can hope for.

I'm going to keep it short and go stoke that fire.  It was 0F outside this cabin when I woke up at 7AM.  We saw ice crystals vaporizing when the sun hit and it was actual cold smoke.  So cool.  Or cold.

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Showers and Ballon.

Cool weather continues over the next few days.  Mornings are especially crisp, with lows in the mid to upper 30s.  If you are a bit inland, and low, and shadowed, it could be cooler than that.  Tie Gulch would be an example.  They dropped to 29.8F this morning.  The day should be otherwise pleasant on Friday with plenty of sunshine.  The winds will pick up to a moderate speed from the south tomorrow, ahead of an approaching storm.  This one does not look like it will hit us directly, but we could see wrap around moisture filling in during the afternoon on Saturday.  It won't be much.  Perhaps a few tenths of an inch by mid morning on Sunday.  Whatever doe come, it should wrap up by late in the day Sunday.  This thing is is a cut off low, so we could see it miss us completely, or hit us more directly.  Sunday night a second round might swing through, but this one currently looks even lighter.  It could have lasting showers for the Monday morning commute.  Normally, this would not be much of a concern, but with our water loaded earth, something to consider.  About a half inch total from Saturday through Monday.  The cool thing is snow levels will be low.  Below 3000 feet at times. So we could be enjoying some snow on the mountains around the bay again next week.

Here is the awesome news.  By Tuesday, the storms clear out and high pressure begins to set up on Central California.  A nice fat bubble of high pressure.  The week will begin on the cooler side, but we could see some real warming with that early March sun.  We will be back in the 60s by Wednesday and shooting up to the mid and upper 60s by late in the work week.  And get this.  It may stick around through mid month.  Yes, we actually may see not one, but two weeks of sun.  A chance to dry out.  That would be awesome.

I'm up in the Sierra right now.  There is so much snow.  A tremendous amount.  Drought is only recorded in less than 17% of the state.  Only 4% of that Severe.  We still have about a third of the state listed as Abnormally Dry, or in drought, but that is an awesome improvement over where we started this water year.  Lets hope the infrastructure holds up.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

That's So Cool.

Currently 45F out at 8:45PM.  That is the coolest evening temp we have seen in a while.  Snow is still falling in the Sierra, and freezing level is dropping to 5000 feet or lower tonight.  Clouds are above my house, and today we received moderate rain.  Around noon we had a quick downpour, and it seemed like we were going to get a deluge.  My faithful gauge in Scotts Valley recorded a quick bout of rain around 6AM.  Together with the mid day squall, and a short minimal burst around 7PM, we are looking at a half inch total.  That puts this particular location at near 25 inches for the month, or over an inch a day.  I recall writing something like this in January.

We still have a chance for rain tonight, but it is not likely and not more than a tenth of an inch.  Tomorrow we will see clouds and sun, and it will be cool in the mid 50s.  Temps drop into the upper 30s for the first time in a while tomorrow night as the sky becomes mostly clear.  It will be crisp come Thursday morning.  The day will be even cooler, and the night even colder.  We could see temps drop down to 32F just a mile or two inland.  Town will bottom out around 35F.  Friday is more of the same, but not quite as cold.  Clouds return sometime on Friday night and we are looking at the chance for another storm Saturday through Monday.  Models are not agreeing on a solution for this period, but it looks likely we will at least get some rain during that period.

At least it looks sunny for a few days after that.  At least it does now.  A few days ago I though this coming weekend looked clear. We need some time to dry out.  The water year is near record breaking.  The ground is very wet.  The roads are sliding away.  We need a break.

Monday, February 20, 2017

Holee Sheets.

This is the storm.  The calm is now gone.  Rain started as expected, with just over an inch by sunrise.  Then it mellowed a bit with with just over an inch and a half by noon.  As we approach sunset, we near two inches for the day.  But is is jamming out there right now.  We lost another section of roofing this afternoon as those winds whipped up.  I wish we had a wind gauge, as we are on a south facing slope and exposed to the southwest wind.  I'm pretty sure it was whipping though here with gusts over 45mph.  The gauges down on King Street were clocking gusts up to 28mph.  The Harbor is currently clocking 35mph.  Long Marine Lab is at 34mph, but had a gust of 60mph around 4:45.  Even more impressive was an 80mph gust at 5Pm in Panoche, in souther San Benito County.

A redwood tree fell across all four lanes of Highway 17 this afternoon.  The San Joaquin River was expected to exceed flood levels today.  Oroville is maintaining itself, but the spillway continues to erode.  In flow is expected to exceed out flow by about now, so we will need to see how that goes.  This rainfall right now is pretty warm, so that is not good.  Tonight will be interesting across the region.  Plenty of wind, but we have likely at the peak of it right now.  It will mellow a bit overnight, but still be strong tomorrow.  GFS if forecasting several more inches overnight.  Radar is full right now.  It feels like it is raining pretty hard.  Still, the main AR is shifting south, so we might not sustain.  The rain will back off quite a bit tomorrow.  But plan for some rain, at least through the morning.

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Quiet before the storm.

It has been a mellow day.  About two tenths of an inch of rain.  Not really all that much.  In fact, it was a good day to spend outside.  Monday is a holiday.  Which is good.  It will keep many commuters off the road.  Rain showery weather continues this evening and then around midnight we get slammed.  Strong winds will be blowing by morning, with gusts up to 40mph forecasted in town.  I lost some of my deck roofing during the last system.  I'll need to see how my patch work holds up.  That rain I mentioned will be heavy.  We have over four inches forecasted by night fall on Monday.  I think the GFS is coming in a bit strong, but it has us right in the bullseye.  Be ready for some major flooding Monday.  Today's very light rain was running all over town, and pooling up.  Now imagine twenty times that much.  Or more.  Things are going to get real (as if they have not been real enough).  Sure glad right now that I live in town, and hope for the best for those in the hills.

Monday will be very stormy, with strong winds, and very heavy rains.  We are forecast to get over one inch per six hour period from midnight tonight until midnight tomorrow.  The strong rains start to back off in the very early morning hours Tuesday.  BTW, temps are forecasted in the low 60s Monday, and upper 50s Tuesday.  Moderate rains continue through the early part of the day Tuesday, then back off to more showery weather.  The real storms pass.  Wind will be lighter on Tuesday, around 15 mph.  Rains break by night fall.  Wednesday morning will likely still have clouds, but just as likely not have rain.  Cooler day, in the mid 50s, with one more system moving in mid day.  Good news is this one is pretty mellow.  Much less water (as in like maybe a half inch) and much less wind.

Sun comes back out Thursday and cooler air settles in with daytime highs in the mid 50s and overnight lows in the low 40s.  Not December cold, but cold.  The GFS has gotten pretty bullish with a Friday afternoon to Saturday night storm.  Will need to watch that.  In fact, it suggest wet wether through the following Tuesday (Feb 28th).  These are new developments.  Clear after that through the fifth of March.  Then more water.  Seriously.  Can't make this stuff up.

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Over Produced.

Crazy storm.  We had lots of wind.  I lost portions of my deck corrugated fiberglass roof.  Lots of rain.  Yesterday came in how Thursday was expected.  Rain was slow to start in the morning.  We just had tremendous winds.  I was watching the eucalyptus grove across the way, expect things to drop.  Then just before noon the deluge began.  Rain fell at a steady pace, well past night fall, and we ended up exceeding that one to two inch forecast with a total of 3.09 inches by midnight.  In the early morning we received another .41 inches, for a total of 3.5 inches with the storm.  That exceeds the one to two forecasts by NOAA.

February has been a wet month.  18.7 inches so far, and we still have several big water events on the horizon.  This water year is currently the wettest to date, and if we continue along this trajectory, it will be record breaking by magnitudes.  Climate is certainly changing in the state, with our longest recorded drought period followed by at least an above average, if not record breaking year.  Seems like our state is going to have to figure out better water management and retention systems.

Looking at the models there is still hope for some sun breaking out late in the day today.  Showery weather should stick around, with several tenth of an inch possible.  Right now it looks like Sunday morning will be pleasant, with perhaps some winter sun.  Clouds deepen through the day, and we could have a rainy afternoon, although it looks on the lighter side.  The real rain arrives overnight, and by midnight or soon after, we will see very heavy rains.  This is another AR event, aimed just to our north.  We could easily see several more inches from late Sunday through early Tuesday.  Winds are again expected to be quite strong.  From Tuesday on, things are starting to look much better.  It is not like the rain will completely stop, but it will not be quite so strong.

In fact, Tuesday, we could be experiencing a little break between systems.  Maybe some light showers.  Maybe some sunshine.  Another wave moves in Tuesday night and lasts through much of the day Wednesday.  This one is still significant, but much less dramatic, less windy, and less wet than Monday.  Showers Thursday morning, and then some magical clearing.  Current model runs keep us dry through the following weekend, or ten days.  Imagine that

Friday, February 17, 2017

Deluge Update.

Actually, we will get one to two inches.  Looks like the Euro wins.  GFS had us in the hole between rain to our north and south, but the whole thing is rotating north, and bingo, we are wet.  Looking at the radar, we are far from the worse of it, but there is not a clear out just yet. We could see these heavy rains and gusty winds through this evening.

They are calling for up to a foot at the peaks of the Sierra, but I would not be surprised to hear bigger totals.  Regardless of the measurement, it will be thick and zesty.  Be careful if you are on the road today, whether that be Highway 17 or a Sierra pass.  Things will settle down by morning.


Winds came up around 4AM, and they are only getting stronger.  They are south easterly this morning, shifting more south westerly and building through afternoon.  It is quite a day out there.  Not that much rain has fallen yet, but forecasts are calling for one to two inches today.  There is a tremendous amount of rain falling to our south over a large area; from Big Sur to Los Angeles.  This storm is mostly south of us, but it is a whale of a storm.  This coming week will likely eradicate surface water drought in 75% of the state, by the time it is all said an done.

Rain will fall through the day today, but I'm not expecting to see that one to two inches.  There is still a fair amount of precipitation north of us, that will move south.  Regardless, by night fall, things will likely be showery.  Saturday morning could begin a little wet, but sunshine will come out mid day.  A cold front coming in today will keep temps cool tomorrow, but that sun will be nice.  Get it while you can, because clouds move in quickly overnight Saturday, and showers arrive for Sunday.  Those showers turn to rain Sunday night and Monday looks like another whale of a storm.  Just a little colder than this one.

Showers persist through Wednesday.  It looks like we get a short break on Thursday, with one more chance for rain next Friday.  After that, the long term model runs suggest a solid high pressure setting up.  We could be enjoying more sunshine soon.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Swift in the Night.

Got that wrong.  I kind of saw it late last night but failed to post.  You know, sleep called.  In fact, pretty much all the forecasts failed in the duration of this event.  The main band went through quickly  in the pre dawn hours.  Dropped about a half inch in town and and inch in Scotts Valley.  Less than expected, but quicker than expected.  I don't have a full update today, but will review models this evening hand hope to post up again tonight.

Expect showery weather this afternoon, but mostly clear.  Go out and enjoy.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Humpday Transition Day.

We are headed into a week of rain systems starting tomorrow.  Yesterday's warm sun has shifted to today's mild cloud cover.  Light precursor rain moves in just around sunrise tomorrow.  If you are a lucky commuter, you'll be on the road before the rain shows.  Don't expect such a clear afternoon commute.  Heavy rain will be hot on its tails, and by noon time, we should be in the midst of a downpour.  Expect an inch or more during the day time hours tomorrow.  By dark, much of this system will be south of us, and we will just be in its showery tails.  Much cooler tomorrow with temps struggling to hit 60F.  The sky remains mostly cloudy overnight.

Best day off from school ever.  Sunshine, recent snow and no wind.  Kirkwood Resort, California.  

Friday morning will be warm, in the low 50s.  Rain fills in by mid day.  This storm comes in from the west well south of us, with a bullseye south of Point Conception.  Still, we should see a half inch or so of rain during the day Friday.  NWS is calling for rain by sunrise, but the GFS holds it off until sunset.  I'll spit the difference with a call for noon.  Watch out for this one, as when it does come in, it should come in quickly.  This system is a slow mover, with rain continuing overnight and through the morning on Saturday before seeing it back off much.  We could see over two inches accumulate before it finishes off.  Some time during the day Friday the rain turns to showers, then broken showers, and then clearing out near sunset.

Next system up stream arrives Monday morning, with several rounds rotating on shore through Wednesday.  A lot of rain falling, and a lot of snow piling up.  Good news for Oroville and our saturated state is that snow levels are expected to drop down to 5000 feet or lower by Tuesday, and prior to that hovering around lake level (6200') for much of the precipitative period.  This means less water flowing into our river ways, and less rain falling on snow, or saturated soils.

I'll keep an eye on how things play out, but expect rain tomorrow.  If we are lucky, not until sunset, but it could start before sunrise.  Different models find different solutions even just 12 hours out.  Plan for rain early, but I think we have until almost noon before it starts.  Hope I'm right.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Too Much Rain?

Enjoying that sunshine?  Good.  We took the day to head to the snow and enjoyed a lazy Monday at Kirkwood.  There is a ton of snow up there.  The mountain is caked.  The banks are high.  There is really no need for more, or anywhere to really put it.  The same could be said for water down here.  The reservoirs are near capacity. The Oroville spillway is compromised, and has led to the greatest evacuation in California history.  If that emergency spillway were to fail, fifty feet of lake water will flood the central valley and much of Sacramento.  This would be catastrophic.  Highway 17 is still under a land slide, and having driven past it Sunday and again Monday, it looks like they have done no work to clear it.  Commutes are taking an extra hour.  This winter has been intense.

Kirkwood snow bank.  

Enjoy today.  Sunny.  Patchy fog in the morning will conspire to keep us in the upper 60s, but a few lucky souls will find a 70F reading.  Wednesday will see clouds moving in, but still plenty of sun and mid 60s.  Thursday is a rain day.  Best bet is for a lunch arrival of the next rain system.  Luckily for Oroville, this will be a mostly coastal storm, but they will start dealing with more in flow still.  Here on the coast we could see a good inch fall between noon and midnight, and then a quick drying out as the storm moves south quickly.  These coming storms are much cooler than last week and temps will stay in the upper 50s Thursday.  Cooler temps will also slow inflow for Oroville, as less rain on snow and more snow on the ground means less runoff.  Phew.

We see a short break on Friday morning, then another round arrives.  This one looks like a bigger, wetter system, but we may only see a half to three fourths of an inch here in Santa Cruz.  I will need to look at this again as we get closer, but as of now, the Friday storm looks to be concentrated to our east and south.  This is good for drought relief.  Rain lasts through mid day Saturday.  Breaks in the rain look short lived.  We see a showery system for Monday, and a decent rain maker for Tuesday into Wednesday.  Things kind of clear out Thursday, but wrap around moisture is to persist for a few days.  A blocking high does try to set up in place by Monday the 27th, but it looks like a wet week ahead, with rainfall totals of about four inches locally, and a southern bullseye near Santa Barbara of eleven inches.  Winter is far from over.

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Sun and Warmth; Then More Rain.

It was a really strong start to the month water wise.  I found a gauge that was working here in town this past Thursday and Friday.  We received a little over four inches on the west side, perhaps topping eleven inches of rain since the previous Thursday.  That would be a bit more than was recorded in Scotts Valley.  Regardless, that is a hefty amount of water.  It is one third of our annual average, in just eight days.  That may help make sense out of the road closures due to downed trees, land slides and major sink holes.  Route 35 now is impassable with a major sink hole over 50 feet deep and at least 50 feet across.  The mountain side just literally disappeared.  The San Lorenzo was rushing out of its mouth on Friday.  A sandbar is set up at Cowells.  The waterfalls and creeks are raging.  And that gorgeous sun is out and shining this week.  We will be in the upper 60s today and Monday, with a good chance of hitting 70F on Tuesday.  Nights are crisp in the low 40s.  It dropped to 39F last night in my neighborhood.  Anyway, this weather is going to shift as a major trough sets up on the west coast on Thursday, opening the storm door and allowing colder air to move in.

Route 35 wash out, near Los Combre Rd.  Indefinitely closed.  Photo:  CBS SF

Wednesday will be our transition day, and will begin quite nicely.  The high will be in the mid 60s, just a touch cooler than Tuesday.  Clouds will begin moving in aloft later in the day and into the evening.  It will stay warm Wednesday night with that cloud cover, sticking in the low 50s.  We are still several days out, but lets take a preliminary look at next Thursday and through the weekend.  It looks like we could see some light rain begin next Thursday morning, with moderate rain moving in late in the day and lasting overnight into Friday morning.  An inch or less here in town.  Almost insignificant consider the last two series.  Still, this could be enough to create some commute headaches on Friday morning.  It does look like the rain pushes south by Friday sunrise.  We could have a decent day on Friday. Not sunny, but not rainy.  A brief break though, as the next system pushes ashore Friday afternoon or evening.  This one is going to hit south of us, but we will still get some rain.  It currently looks heaviest overnight, with showery weather persisting during the day Saturday and into Sunday.  From there the breaks look minimal, with a series of storms pushing in Sunday night and Tuesday morning.

We are looking at weather 4 to 12 days out, so confidence in any outcome starts low and decreases as we look further out.  Regardless, it does look like more rain will be coming our way.  The models have backed off a bit in the long term, but we should still plan for several more inches of water this month.  And it is only February.

Friday, February 10, 2017

A Ten Inch Week.

Technically, it was over 7 plus days, with rain starting mid day last Thursday, and ending early this Friday morning.  Also, technically, it was 10.81 inches of rain on Monte Fiore in Scotts Valley.  All my local west side rain gauges seemed to get over whelmed at some point during this past week's systems.  And technically, it did not rain at all on Wednesday, so all that rain fell across less than seven days total, if you cut out the break day.  Regardless, wow.  And it feels nice to be at the back end of it today.  The rain has subsided.  We may see a few broken showers during the day today, but that is not likely.  The main AR is well south of us, currently impacting from Big Sur to Santa Barbara.  It is also more wide spread and less defined than yesterday.  Meaning, the rain is not as intense inside the band.  A secondary band is impact NorCal near Cape Mendocino.  That could shift south through the day, but it is not likely to get much further south than Jenner.  That is not to say it could not move this far south; just not likely.

Van in hole in road.  Skyline Road. Why I suggest staying off the mountain work arounds when the highway is closed.   Photo:  Alicia Lopez-Nulph, pulled from Mercury News.

We are looking forward to a return to sunshine for the weekend, and for the next five days.  We need that time for the ground to have water percolate down toward the aquifers.  While much of the state is out of surface water drought, we still need to fill those underground caverns.  Recent NASA data suggests that the Central Valley has sunken during the drought due to loss of ground water, up to 20 inches in some locales.  Not sure if refilling will see the ground swell again, but it is concerning.  Speaking of surface water drought, things continue to improve, with 38% in moderate drought, 10% severe, and less than 2% in extreme.  No where in the state is listed as Exceptional, and 12% is abnormally dry, with the remaining 41.5% (I rounded off) completely out of dry conditions.  This is as of this past Tuesday, so next week we should see even greater impacts, and I would expect to move completely out of the Extreme category.

The next five days will feel awesome.  Low 60s to start tomorrow, but each day warming a bit through Tuesday, topping out in the upper 60s.  I still hold hopes for hitting 70F, but I might need to sit in the Costco parking lot to feel that.  Rain expected to return by next Thursday, and from what I have seen, it could be another wet period lasting 5-10 days.  This time colder.  More to come.

Thursday, February 9, 2017


2.6" as of 6:45.  This AR has stalled its north-south movement in the last hour, and if anything, has shifted back north a bit.  We are in the bullseye currently, and we can expect several more hours of heavy rain at this point.  Rivers are swelling.  The land is sliding.  The roads are under water.  Expect issues with mountain roads to arise overnight.  If you must commute over the mountains tomorrow, leave extra early, go extra slow, give extra room, and bring extra good luck.  Things will improve vastly by afternoon and into the weekend.

Afternoon Update: AR Hits

Rainfall rates have been at over a 1/3 of an inch an hour for over two hours now.  At times approaching four tenths of an inch per hour.  That is solid.  The AR has just hit us in earnest.  Based on watching the radar this morning and afternoon, this system is shifting south very slowly.  So we could be inside this stream for several more hours.  I expect that we will be approaching the north side of the AR before dark, but just barely.  OTOH, the last hour saw very little southerly shift, so we could be seeing a stall.  If that were the case, we could see heavy rate for several more hours, and even into the early morning hours Friday.  So far we are at 1.15" in Scotts Valley.  We could easily double that during the rest of the storm.  Roads are hazardous and getting worse.  Buckle down for the day as much as you can.  Avoid high speeds.  Look for standing and running water.  Maybe work from home tomorrow.  If you can.  

4:25 UPDATE.  Looks like we are more than half way through this thing.  Slightly.  Expect several more hours of rain.  Rain rates drop to nearly a 1/4 per hour (oh, so slow) for a bit but recently ramped back up to 1/3 inch per hour.  Current total for today 1.63 inches of new rain since 11AM.

AR Inching Southward

Currently another powerful Atmospheric River is taking aim at the NorCal coast, and that water maker is inching southward toward Santa Cruz.  We could see rain filling in as early as later this morning.  This thing looks very wet on radar, so once it does take aim at us, we could be looking at rainfall amounts totaling up to two inches by night fall.  It remains mild today at about 60F.  The evening commute will be a challenge, so leave early if you can.  If you are in need of an outdoor activity, go right now; this afternoon will be quite stormy.  Southerly winds are gusting to 30mph along West Cliff Drive.  Expect the San Lorenzo to swell again.  Sandbars are being built.  Cowells is back in, so once we get some fine weather, could be a fun beach.

  Rescue efforts in Felton.      photo: Dan Coyro - SC Sentinel

Rain will be heavy this afternoon and evening, tapering a bit after bight fall.  By the early morning hours on Friday, the AR will be well south of us, and we will only have some lingering showers.  The morning commute will still be something to contend with, as that will be prime time for landslides to again close the road.  A massive landslide near Surgarloaf is still blocking most of the north bound lanes, and is not expected to be cleared until at least Monday.  Luckily we are going to see 5 or more days break in the rain.  We can expect up to three inches here in town before the rain subsides tomorrow.  More in the mountains.  With some luck, this thing will move quickly and keep us below an inch of new water.  We could use the break.

Friday begins with showers, and ends with maybe some misting.  Cooler air moves in during the day with a cold front.  Friday night, the starts will come out and temps will drop into the low 40s, after hanging in the mid 50s all week.  It will feel crisp Saturday morning, but that sunshine will feel so nice.  As it stands now, we can expect sunshine and fine warming weather through next Thursday.  My hopes for hitting the 70s looks squashed, but we stil can expect mid to upper 60s through the middle of the work week.  It is not much time to dry out before the next set of systems, but it is better than nothing.

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

5.83" in 24 Hours.

It is kind of hard to track this much rainfall.  I've seen three gauges go down on the west side this week and last.  One of them was certainly off when it recorded over 50" of rainfall yesterday.  A station at Monte Fiore near Scotts Valley recorded 5.83" of rain in a 24 hour period beginning at 3:48PM on Monday.  Actually, the vast majority of that fell prior to 11AM on Tuesday, so really a 19 hour period.  That is a tremendous amount of water, and one result was a swelling and flooding of the San Lorenzo River.

The mighty San Lorenzo.  Photo:  Ed Schuhl, Cohabitat Building.

Since Sunday, we have collected 7.37 inches of rain in Scotts Valley, and over 8 inches at the summit. Today and tomorrow morning we are in for a little break. Light misty drizzle could continue today, but not expecting much more than a few tenths of an inch.  We could see a few moderate squalls.  It is warm out there, with lows never dipping below 56F last night on the west side.  Pin pointing when the rain will come back in is not easy.  The GFS models are suggesting a break until mid day Thursday.  The NWS service is forecasting heavy rain returning tonight after 10PM.  That is a pretty big gap. I'll split the difference and say that heavy rains will move in early tomorrow morning.  Caveat here is we may see a mild morning.  Regardless, we are looking at one to several inches of more rain by the end of day Friday.  There is potential here for a a five day total of nearly 10 inches of precipitation.  There is potential here for a record breaking year.  Just read about that in the long term.  

This weekend is going to be awesome.  The storm moves south on Friday, hitting the drought stricken portion of the state (we can say that now).  Mid to upper 60s warming to low 70s on Monday.  We could be looking at 5-7 days of sunshine.  Yipee!  After that there is a a lot of agreement on the models that we could return to a very wet and wild, and possibly cold run of weather.  Winter is here.  I would seriously take this coming week to dry off, and get some sunshine on your skin.  Prep, and prepare, as this next round will be falling on this supersaturated soil, with our rivers and lakes already filled.  We've been lucky in my neighborhood with only one brief power outage this season.  That can't last for ever.  

Highway 17 is has opened back up today, after closing due to a massive mudslide yesterday.  Many commuters spent the night in San Jose as Highways 9 and 152 closed as well.  Travel over the mountain on back roads is not safe during these systems, so please stay safe when we see these closures.  A large truck was hit by the Highway 17 landslide and road over the barrier into the opposite lane.  Serious power here.  Plan for traffic delays on Friday.