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!

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