Monday, February 6, 2017

Wet, Warm and Windy.

Monday night is going to be a doozie.  Just got back from a wonderful weekend on the snow with the family.  Snow backs are in excess of 10 feet in the Kirkwood Valley.  The mountain is heavily covered, with most typical slopes off the ridge line completely filled in top to bottom.  This is the best it has been since 04/05 this early in the season.  The year my son was born (10/11) was big was well, but it had a 6 week drought into mid February, then really turned on through June.  With another 40 inches or more expected this week, it keeps piling up.  But let's take a look at this week's weather.

Rain and warmth today.  Not too crazy, as the first system of the week already moved through last night dropping a quick half inch on the west side.  Over an inch fell along the summit.  We drove 17 at the perfect time to get the most rain fall on my wind shield.  It was dumping.  Today will hit about 60F, then tonight we see some serious wind and rain.  Winds will ramp up from the southwest a little after sunset, with local gusts upwards of 40 mph.  Soon after those winds start up we will see a deluge.  If you are a highway 17 commuter, Tuesday morning is going to be hellacious.  Fully.  Over night tonight, the NWS is calling for 1-2 inches of rain in Santa Cruz, with more in the mountains.  That is a tremendous amount of water to fall on already very saturated ground.  Combined with high winds, we could expect more downed trees, despite having already lost all the weak trees earlier this winter.  And mudslides.  At the very least, check for road closures before you go.  Currently the forecast is for the heaviest rains from about 10PM Monday, through 10AM Tuesday.  But it is not like either the wind or the rain let up much after that.

Monday night will drop to only 55F, and Tuesday will be in the low 60s.  This is a very warm rain event, and snow levels will rise up past 8000 feet Tuesday.  This will result in quite a bit of upper elevation run off, and we should expect rivers to swell back up toward flood levels.  Rain continues through Tuesday night with a low again near 55F.  Wednesday will be kind of nice, considering.  Light rain, moderate winds, clouds and in the low 60s.  Might be a good day to get outside.  In fact, it will stay like that through Thursday morning.  Then, the next system arrives.  This one is looking a bit colder, but might take some time for that colder air to filter into Santa Cruz.  Rain begins up mid day on Thursday and last into Friday.  Details are sketchy, but it looks like by Saturday morning we should be in for a break.

All in all, we are looking at another 3-5 inches of rain over the next 5 days, with more in the local mountains.  The Sierra Crest is looking at 7-15 inches of water equivalent, with much of that falling as rain.  The highest peaks, above 9000 feet, could be receiving 10 or more feet of snow.  Crazy.  More details to follow.  Stay dry and stay safe.  Plan for power outages.  And copious winds.

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