A comparison of California’s extreme 2013 dry spell to the 1976-1977 drought

Filed in Uncategorized by on December 22, 2013 444 Comments

Current weather summary

A weak cut-off low pressure system brought some convective shower activity to parts of Southern California earlier this week, and a few locations received rather heavy (if brief) downpours. Unfortunately, overall precipitation was very insignificant for a late-December weather system in California and most places north of Santa Barbara saw no precipitation whatsoever. High pressure has since been rebuilding over the West Coast, with generally clear conditions and increasingly warm temperatures (approaching record levels in some places). With no meaningful precipitation expected through December 31st, calendar year 2013 will be the driest year on record in the state of California.

20131217_west_trd

 

The extraordinary persistence of the Ridiculously Resilient Ridge of 2013

Zonal (west-to-east) flow typically predominates during the cool season in this region, which directs storm systems that develop over the ocean toward the West Coast. While the storm track does often vary in latitude along the West Coast over the course of any given winter, southward excursions of the jet stream usually bring periods of significant precipitation to much or all of California, which account for the vast majority of all precipitation observed in the state. 2013, however, has featured rather incredibly persistent atmospheric anomalies over the northeastern Pacific Ocean and the West Coast of North America. The typical zonal flow over the Pacific has been much weaker than average and displaced well to the north, occasionally as far north as continental Alaska. This means that the storm track has largely missed the West Coast entirely, bringing well-below-normal precipitation to California, Oregon, and Washington while parts of Alaska are subjected to record warmth and heavy precipitation.

2013 500 mb geopotential height anomaly. (NOAA/ESRL)

2013 500 mb geopotential height anomaly. (NOAA/ESRL)

The proximate cause of this highly anomalous high-latitude storm track over the Pacific–as I have discussed in previous posts–is the Ridiculously Resilient Ridge of 2013 (or the RRR, for brevity). This region of strong and incredibly persistent anomalous geopotential height ridging is centered over the Gulf of Alaska but extends across much of the northern and eastern Pacific Ocean, and has been a coherent and distinct feature of the large-scale atmospheric pattern for over a year (beginning in early December 2012). This persistent ridging has resulted in a flow pattern that has deflected existing Pacific storms well to the north of California and suppressed the development of other systems closer to the state. Persistent ridges that disrupt the prevailing westerly winds in the middle latitudes are often referred to as “blocking ridges” because of their propensity to impede and deflect typical atmospheric flow patterns, and the RRR is no exception.

2013 zonal wind anomaly. (NOAA/ESRL)

2013 zonal wind anomaly. (NOAA/ESRL)

merid_anom_12-13

2013 meridional wind anomaly. (NOAA/ESRL)

Because this blocking ridge and its associated poleward (south-to-north) wind anomalies are centered well offshore, California has generally been in the equatorward (north-to-south) wind anomaly region and thus an unusual amount of our weather events over the past year have originated to our north or even northeast over western Canada. These dry and windy “inside slider” disturbances, so named for their over-land trajectory to the east of the more typical coastal route, have been responsible for the numerous offshore flow events that have contributed to record high winter fire danger in northern and central California.

Two tales of extreme dryness: 2013 vs. 1976-1977

One of the most vivid historical examples of drought in California is the two year dry period spanning 1976 and 1977. Precipitation during each of these calendar years, and during the 1976-1977 water year in particular, was extremely low–these were two consecutive years in which statewide precipitation was ranked among the top five lowest ever recorded in California. The 1976-1977 drought is notable for two reasons: the objective meteorological magnitude of the event in terms of the enormous precipitation deficit and also the enormous (and in many cases permanent) effect it had on human systems in California. The mid-70s drought garnered substantial media attention due to the regionally exceptional water shortages that it caused, with impacts ranging from the temporary cessation of agricultural activities in some parts of the Central Valley to the construction of an emergency water pipeline across the Richmond-San Rafael bridge in the Bay Area when local reservoirs ran almost completely dry. This drought event led to significant changes in water management practices in the state of California, including the development of more aggressive contingency plans for relatively short-term (1-2 year) periods with extremely low  precipitation.

precip_rank_1976precip_rank_1977precip_rank_2013

Above: Jan.-Nov. precipitation anomaly ranks; 1976 (left), 1977 (center), 2013 (right)

The present dry spell has been increasingly compared to the 76-77 drought. So, how exactly does 2013 stack up to the previous most extreme dry period in living memory? Precipitation-wise, the 76-77 event was characterized by two consecutive years with very low precipitation, while the present event consists of one modestly dry year (2012) and one record-dry year (2013). Notable is that 2013 is drier than any previous calendar year in the historical record by a wide margin (around ~20%).

Next, consider the broader anomalies observed for several important atmospheric quantities. We already know about the incredible persistence of the RRR in 2013, and many readers may be familiar with the remarkable persistence of the observed patterns during the 1976-1977 drought as well. But a particularly amazing aspect of the present dry spell is that the 2013 large-scale anomalies are now clearly visible on a timescale greater than one year. This is highly unusual given that the typical variability of weather patterns is on timescales much shorter than one season, let alone one calendar year. Plots depicting the observed 1-year geopotential anomalies for 1976, 1977, and 2013 are featured below. (Note: all of the following figures are derived from the NCEP reanalysis using the excellent plotting tools on ESRL’s website. Also, values for 2013 are for the full year up until December 18th while 1976 and 1977 are full-year values.)

1976

1976 geopotential height anomaly. (NOAA/ESRL)

1977

1977 geopotential height anomaly. (NOAA/ESRL)

2013

2013 geopotential height anomaly. (NOAA/ESRL)

Interestingly, the year-long anomalies for the 1976-1977 drought appear to be quite different from the 2013 extreme dry period. In fact, there even appears to be some persistent troughing (low geopotential height anomalies) in the same region where very large positive anomalies have been present this year. But it’s also well known that the winters of 1975-76 and 1976-1977 did indeed feature periods of strong and highly-persistent ridging over the eastern Pacific that were associated with very dry conditions along the West Coast.

Taking a closer look at the observed conditions in winter 1976 and 1977 (December-March), a different pattern emerges–one that does exhibit persistent ridging along the West Coast but of a much lesser magnitude than the RRR of 2013 and centered further to the east. Also, the winter 76-77 pattern exhibits a more “wavelike” pattern in geopotential height anomalies than 2013–there are negative (troughing) anomalies in the West Pacific and also over eastern North America. But the zonal wind anomalies during the 75-76 and 76-77 winters are actually quite similar to those observed throughout calendar year 2013, suggesting that a large northward shift in the storm track was responsible for the extreme dry conditions in both instances despite the large qualitative difference in geopotential height patterns.

1976-1977 winter geopotential height anomalies. (NOAA/ESRL)

1976-1977 winter geopotential height anomalies. (NOAA/ESRL)

It appears, then, that the RRR observed in 2013 really is a pattern distinct from that observed during the 1976-1977 drought. Just how rare is this hyper-persistent ridging in the Gulf of Alaska, then? The NCEP reanalysis goes all the way back to 1948, with the caveat that interpretation of data predating the use of Earth-observation satellites in 1979 is subject to larger uncertainty, especially over the data-spare Pacific Ocean. After examining composites of annual geopotential height anomalies for each full calendar year since 1948 (link to large file here), I find several instances where persistent ridging or troughing lasting a year or longer is present in the Gulf of Alaska, but no instances that even come close to the intensity or spatial extent of the anomalous ridging present over the Gulf of Alaska during  2013.

zonal_anom_75-76 zonal_anom_76-77 zonal_anom_12-13

Above: zonal wind anomalies (1975-1976 (left), 1976-1977 (center), 2013 (right) )

The first year of the reanalysis (1948), interestingly enough, appears to be the most analogous to the recent observed pattern (data uncertainty caveats aside), but even in this case the 2013 anomaly is of considerably higher magnitude. Thus, the data suggest that the persistence of the RRR in 2013 may be unprecedented since at least 1948, and the observed pattern is actually rather different than that which was in place during the 1976-1977 drought.

 

Is there any hope for significant rain in California?

In the short term, the unfortunate answer is a pretty definitive “no.” The operational medium-range forecast models are pretty unanimous in projecting a continuation of the mean blocking ridge over the northeastern Pacific for the next 1-2 weeks, with high-amplitude flow anomalies continuing to bring exceptionally dry conditions to the West Coast and exceptionally cold conditions (in the downstream trough) over the American Midwest and Great Plains well into January.

The GFS projects that the high-amplitude blocking pattern will continue. (NCEP)

The GFS projects that the high-amplitude blocking pattern will continue. (NCEP)

With such an extraordinarily persistent blocking pattern seemingly entrenched over the Pacific, it will take a very significant change in the overall flow pattern to disrupt the current status quo, and such a change is just not on the horizon at the moment. With reservoir levels now starting to drop very rapidly and certain water districts calling for at least voluntary water rationing measures, the exceptional dry spell of 2013 appears likely to continue into at least the early part of 2014. Stay tuned.

© 2013 WEATHER WEST

Tags: , , , , ,

10 Pingbacks/Trackbacks

  • snow755

    I wounder if are rainy season can switch I noted some summers can be wetter the are fall and winter. Season thank too the monsoon we get in the summer time and cut off lows that help bring that moister N in to the foot hills and mts and some times the valley

    • http://www.weatherwest.com/ Weather West

      It’s very unlikely that the timing of the rainy season would “switch” from winter to summer in California, but it’s possible that an increasing fraction of overall precipitation could occur “out-of-season.” Our rain/snowfall derives mostly from extratropical cyclones during the cool season. The semi-permanent subtropical high over the Eastern Pacific prevents such storms from making it to California during the warm season. Warm season precip in California is almost always convective in nature (i.e. showers and thunderstorms) and is associated with either remnant moisture-energy from Eastern Pacific tropical cyclones or a westward push of the North American Monsoon. There have been some notable exceptions in the past few years, such as the atmospheric river event in NorCal in June 2013. It’s possible that summertime precip could increase if the monsoon strengthens, or if more tropical cyclones decay closer to California, or if those rare “winterlike” storms during the warm season become more common. Even under fairly extreme climate change scenarios, though, California would probably remain cool-season precipitation dominated.

      • snow755

        Her is some in you don’t see all the time and this is vary rare. This is a PDS. Wind chill warning

        URGENT – WINTER WEATHER MESSAGE
        NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE TWIN CITIES/CHANHASSEN MN
        1014 AM CST SUN JAN 5 2014

        …HISTORIC AND LIFE-THREATENING COLD AIR HAS ARRIVED…
        …THIS IS A PARTICULARLY DANGEROUS SITUATION…

        .A WIND CHILL WARNING REMAINS IN EFFECT FOR CENTRAL AND SOUTHERN
        MINNESOTA AND WEST CENTRAL WISCONSIN THROUGH NOON TUESDAY.

        THE COLDEST AIRMASS SINCE 1996 IS MOVING INTO THE REGION AND WILL
        BE WITH US INTO TUESDAY. WIND CHILL VALUES TODAY WILL RANGE FROM
        30 BELOW TO 45 BELOW ZERO. TEMPERATURES TONIGHT WILL BOTTOM OUT IN
        THE 20S AND 30S BELOW ZERO WITH ONLY A SMALL RECOVERY ON MONDAY.
        THE ARCTIC COLD TONIGHT AND MONDAY WILL BE ACCOMPANIED BY BRISK
        NORTHWEST WINDS. THE COMBINATION OF THE COLD AND WIND WILL PRODUCE
        WIND CHILLS OF 50 BELOW TO 65 DEGREES BELOW.

        THIS IS A LIFE THREATENING SITUATION IF YOU BECOME STRANDED. WIND
        CHILLS COLDER THAN 50 BELOW CAN CAUSE EXPOSED FLESH TO FREEZE IN
        ONLY 5 MINUTES. COVER AS MUCH FLESH AS POSSIBLE WHEN VENTURING OUT
        OVER THE NEXT FEW DAYS.

        THE GUSTY WINDS WILL ALSO BRING AREAS OF BLOWING SNOW TO MUCH OF
        THE AREA THIS AFTERNOON AND TONIGHT. WIND GUSTS MAY REACH 35 TO 45
        MPH OVER WESTERN AND SOUTHERN MINNESOTA. AS A RESULT…VISIBILITIES
        MAY BE REDUCED AT TIMES TO LESS THAN A HALF MILE…WITH NEAR
        BLIZZARD CONDITIONS. THIS WILL BRING AN ADDITIONAL LEVEL OF DANGER
        TO ANYONE STRANDED.

        MNZ042>045-049>053-058>063-066-068>070-076>078-WI Z014>016-023>028-
        060015-
        /O.CON.KMPX.WC.W.0001.000000T0000Z-140107T1800Z/
        TODD-MORRISON-MILLE LACS-KANABEC-STEARNS-BENTON-SHERBURNE-ISANTI-
        CHISAGO-MEEKER-WRIGHT-HENNEPIN-ANOKA-RAMSEY-WASHI NGTON-MCLEOD-
        CARVER-SCOTT-DAKOTA-LE SUEUR-RICE-GOODHUE-POLK-BARRON-RUSK-
        ST. CROIX-PIERCE-DUNN-PEPIN-CHIPPEWA-EAU CLAIRE-
        INCLUDING THE CITIES OF…LONG PRAIRIE…LITTLE FALLS…
        PRINCETON…MORA…ST. CLOUD…FOLEY…ELK RIVER…CAMBRIDGE…
        CENTER CITY…LITCHFIELD…MONTICELLO…MINNEAPOLIS…BLA INE…
        ST. PAUL…STILLWATER…HUTCHINSON…CHASKA…SHAKOPEE …
        BURNSVILLE…LE SUEUR…FARIBAULT…RED WING…AMERY…
        BALSAM LAKE…RICE LAKE…BARRON…LADYSMITH…HUDSON…
        NEW RICHMOND…RIVER FALLS…PRESCOTT…MENOMONIE…BOYCEVILLE…
        DURAND…PEPIN…CHIPPEWA FALLS…BLOOMER…EAU CLAIRE…ALTOONA
        1014 AM CST SUN JAN 5 2014

        …WIND CHILL WARNING REMAINS IN EFFECT UNTIL NOON CST TUESDAY…

        A WIND CHILL WARNING REMAINS IN EFFECT UNTIL NOON CST TUESDAY.

        * THIS IS A PARTICULARLY DANGEROUS SITUATION.

        * WIND CHILL VALUES: 35 TO 65 BELOW…WITH THE COLDEST READINGS
        TONIGHT AND MONDAY MORNING.

        * IMPACTS: EXPOSED FLESH WILL FREEZE IN 10 MINUTES WITH WIND
        CHILLS OF 35 BELOW…AND IN 5 MINUTES WITH WIND CHILLS OF 50
        BELOW OR COLDER.

        * OTHER IMPACTS…AREAS OF BLOWING SNOW ARE POSSIBLE AS WINDS
        GUST AS HIGH AS 35 MPH THIS AFTERNOON AND TONIGHT.

        PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS…

        • http://www.weatherwest.com/ Weather West

          Very impressive.

  • sc100

    Man, even the sprinkles for next week are drying up.

  • lightning10

    I thought all this ridding would cause a huge source of moisture to hit the somewhere in the West Coast at some time. I guess that isn’t true.

    I guess I am just going to sit back and enjoy the Phillip Rivers show today.

    • http://www.weatherwest.com/ Weather West

      It’s been quite wet at times in upper B.C. and S.E. Alaska, since storms are getting redirected far to the north. Overall, though, storm activity in the E. Pac. has been quite low recently…

      • craig matthews

        My uncle is up in Fairbanks and says they had freezing rain there the other day. Some unusually warm moist air from the south must be overriding a shallow pool of cold air over the snowpack. Can’t believe that much warm air is being pushed up that far north.

        • Dan the Weatherman

          The warmer air is being forced poleward in the SW flow up and over the RRR into Alaska, displacing the cold air there and sending it down into the Midwest and eastern U.S. in the downstream trough in this very amplified meriodonal pattern.

    • donnak10

      And get to look at rainfall. Even if it’s only on television.

      • lightning10

        It didn’t even rain/freezing rain as much as forecasted for the game.

        • donnak10

          True. But I’ll take whatever I can get! At least the sun didn’t glow.

  • alanstorm

    Actually, a “little bit of rain” will make the coming freakish fire season worse. Right now, the brush & grasses are dry or dead from fall. No rain so nothing has grown since. 2 months minimum of solid storms is needed to bring anything to the water table, so minimal spring rain events will only cause the brush to grow making things worse.

  • craig matthews

    I’m starting to wonder what the landscape is going to look like this spring without any rain this season. Scary that its only 2 and a half months away. I thought for sure that we would have had a decent storm by now, or even one on the horizon at least. But this is plain crazy. Our worst droughts have always atleast produced enough rain to keep the grass alive. I know its not over yet, but its like this; just when you think it couldn’t get any worse, it keeps getting worse. Maybe since our current winter weather is so out of whack, then maybe we will get some rain in the spring. In April, 1967 we had over 10 inches of rain here locally on the central coast The late winter/spring of 1963 was very wet, as Dan the Weatherman mentioned. We had a lot of snow on the coast range during those winters which tells me a series of storms must have originated from the northwest out of the gulf of Alaska possibly.

    • craig matthews

      Another item of concern is cloud seeding. How does that work if we cant even get any clouds in our area this winter?

    • Dan the Weatherman

      We have had quite a few front-loaded seasons in recent years in which most of the precipitation has been in the fall into January, then tailing off in February and March. I think we are actually due for a more back-loaded season in which the majority of rain comes in mid-late January through the spring months. This might be the year that does that for a change, that is after this ridiculously dry start, it may finish wet. I just know this dryness can’t go on forever, especially since it has been really dry since last January.

      • willb

        If we are using the past to gauge the future, it seems that the odds of a
        wet spring is as likely as would be in any given year, not more so
        because of the dry weather we have had. Also it seems to me, based on a
        failing memory, that in the “old days” our rain pattern was more
        drizzle drizzle rain rain where as now it seems more like events. It
        has occurred to me over the last few years that if we miss even one of
        these events we may miss a quarter of our annual rain fall. Atmospheric
        rivers seem the new norm to me, not to say they are new, but they now
        seem our only source of moisture. I am a farmer, and I like to say that
        I would rather die from drowning than die of thirst! Not that we have
        a choice in the matter…Still holding out hope for the farmers almanac
        forecast for above average rain for Jan and Feb.

    • http://www.weatherwest.com/ Weather West

      At this point, I don’t think analogues for the season overall are especially useful, since the persistence of this pattern is essentially unprecedented in the observational record.

      However, we have seen similar patterns of much shorter duration before (with high-amplitude ridging sticking around for weeks to a month or two), and it is probably useful to at least consider the dynamics that led to their eventual breakdown. For California to start getting rain, we need the existing ridge to shift in essentially any direction–if it retrogrades westward, we could get some cold Gulf of Alaska systems; if it moves eastward, we might be able to see some good old zonal flow across the Pacific; if it moves north, we could see some undercutting by the subtropical jet and get some moist low-latitude storms. Of course, a total collapse of the persistent ridge would also be beneficial, but that seems unlikely in the short or medium term given the positive feedbacks associated with this kind of pattern.

      Incredibly, I still don’t see even nascent signs on any of these scenarios unfolding. The medium-range models keep hinting at possible shifts of one sort or another in the 10-20 day period, but as we’ve seen they just tend to disappear as the projected change edges into the 1-week forecast. RIght now, there isn’t even any real hope in the 16-day forecasts by the GFS, so in that sense things are even less promising now than they were a week or so ago.

      The only positive thing I can say is that previous commenters are correct about the possibility of a “Miracle March”: it would only take one or two large storms to prevent a catastrophic water shortage, and that’s certainly still a possibility as late as March. So we’ve still got some time to avert what is otherwise likely to be a pretty disastrous situation. Even if we do get some hefty rains at the end of the season, though, that’s only buying us enough time to get to next winter: we will have lost at least a year’s worth of accumulated precip over two consecutive water years, and it will take a very long time to fully recover from that.

      • Azmordean

        I’m no professional but just a few notes from my perspective:

        - I think it rather unlikely the current pattern will persist into Spring. Generally as spring approaches, pattern changes seem almost inevitable as the atmosphere in general tends to get a bit more “charged” for lack of a better word. We may not get a “Miracle March” but objectively I’d be very surprised if we didn’t see a change in the March time frame to at least normal precip.

        - As far as disrupting the ridge entirely (rather than just moving it) my take is we probably don’t see that until there is actually a mechanism to force it. The most likely mechanism would be development of a real El Nino event down the road. That no longer seems likely until summer unfortunately, but were it to occur in the spring that, in combination with the usual spring shake up, might give us a Miracle March.

        - I would also note that the Euro, while not good for us, is not as bad as the GFS. By my eye it is at least starting to show some hope for the more northern parts of the state. From my time on the East Coast I learned that the Euro is far superior to the GFS in most cases, particularly the long range – though maybe that doesn’t hold out West? In any case, I continue to think the fact the models show something at the edge of the range is suggesting they are catching onto a pattern change. It may not happen and even if it does it may not be until early or even mid-FEB of course.

        Emotionally, my tendency is “abandon all hope!” As bad as this season has been I tend to emotionally think it will continue. Analytically and objectively though, I would be quite surprised if we didn’t have at least one or two substantial rain events in FEB. That combined with a normal March could give us a dry but not catastrophic year. Obviously a Miracle March would be even better, but absent a forcing mechanism I don’t see that occurring.

        • Dan the Weatherman

          I agree with you that I don’t think this pattern will persist into spring. I think it will turn wetter sometime later this month or the beginning of February at the latest. Most other years that have had similar dry starts have followed that pattern for the most part. I do agree that the season will wind up below average because of the dry start, but I think there will be some good rain events at times once this pattern finally changes. It would be practically unprecedented and shocking if it stayed as dry as it has been all the way into April, especially on the heels of one of Los Angeles’ driest seasons on record (2011-12).

          • sc100

            I also think there’s a good chance that the state will start seeing rain again sometime either at the end of this month or February. The two big drought years of the 70′s saw rain each month during the winter and 2013 did as well. The big question will be how well the dynamics will be with these systems that do come in before the ridge rebuilds again. Good dynamics and cyclone development definitely aren’t guaranteed when the storm door opens again. Even normal precipitation at this point for the rest of the year won’t prevent a serious situation, it has to be much above average.

          • sc100

            That being said, this ridge is such a beast that’s it’s hard to put anything past it right now. Wouldn’t surprise me at all to see January go rainless for most of the state and maybe into the first part of February.

      • craig matthews

        I remember the “Miracle March” we had in 1991 that some suggested was a breakthrough in the drought that started in the winter of 1986-87 and ended sometime near 1992. I think the PDO was positive back then, which may have helped. That combined with a developing el nino. Those were the good old days.

  • sc100

    Right now, Folsom Lake is closing in on an important level: the 150,000 acre-feet mark. This is about the lowest the lake got during the worst times of the late 80′s/early 90′s drought and during 1977. With no significant precipitation expected over the next two weeks, we should be getting close to this level towards the end of the month.

    • http://www.weatherwest.com/ Weather West

      I think Folsom Lake is likely to be one of the iconic images of this drought event.

      • sc100

        I definitely agree with that. It could be amazing the things they find in the lake as it keeps getting lower.

    • sc100

      UPDATE: American River flow to be cut in half

      “The already low water flow in the American River will be cut in half by the end of the week to a level not seen since the drought of 1977, according to a water official.

      Tom Gohring of the Water Forum, a coalition of Sacramento-area water agencies and environmental groups, said the flow would be cut from the current level of 1,100 cubic feet per second to 500 cubic feet per second.”

      http://www.kcra.com/news/official-american-river-flow-to-be-cut-in-half/-/11797728/23795192/-/k1cqsvz/-/index.html

      This cut in outflow from Folsom Lake should definitely lessen the decline of the lake level so we’ll see how it goes from here. The pictures of the American River should really be amazing by next week. Incredibly low levels. However, another problem could result from the low river level – the river falling below Sacramento’s intake pipe on the river:

      “…if the river falls below 14 feet of depth at that location, engineers will have to find an alternative way to use the intake.”

      Yowzers!

  • Coldspot

    NOAA Medford now showing chances of rain everyday from tonight through the 7 day. Obviously not enough precip to erase any deficits but a welcome change from this dry. Humboldt cal fire had a 100 acre plus fire two days ago. Never heard of the north coast having a fire in early January that wasn’t at least wind driven (had been on a few in my times),This was all fuel driven in logging slash. Also several hundred acres in the Ishi Wilderness on the Lassen National forest as well. The fire season that just wouldn’t end, glad I’m retired.

  • snow755

    her we got yet agine the 00z 06z 12z and 18z are all showing a pattern chages come the 22 of JAN
    1st photo is from 00z
    2nd photo is from 06z
    3rd photo is from the 12z
    4th photo is from the 18z
    I hop the gfs is right this time and not up two its old tricks well have two see how the gfs plans out this time I hop it dos not drop it this time stay tune if the gfs is right after next week things get wet now we need too see if it starts moveing up in timeing or if the gfs is up too its old tricks well all so need two see if the new 00z 06z and 12z an 18s still shows it the rest of this week and next week

  • Utrex

    I agree with Dan the Weatherman. It looks like mid-late January is where the jet hits California. Starting from there is where things look wet. Early-mid February is when I think powerful storm systems emerge. But, that is just an assumption.

    • snow755

      I think where starting too see the hit of that on the gfs at the end of the run but I like too see a few more runs be for we jump the gun here be come in the past it drop it has it moved up in timeing I this hop its not up two its old tricks

  • Utrex

    The slowed-down jet may explain the persistence of the RRR.

    • JR Flanders

      It seemed a reasonable explanation to me, but the author didn’t really say how much it had slowed down so I was skeptical.

  • alanstorm

    Again, in the midst of an unfolding slow-motion drought disaster, the media’s obsession of the below zero Arctic blast into the Midwest keeps the RRR out of the news. “Sinister”, “bazaar” & “unprecedented” are apt adjectives used in this blog to describe it. Its clear what is going on, but WHY its remains so unnaturally stuck and strong in January is the next question. 1 in a million anomoly or trend of the future? Any conspiracy theories? Global warming or global cooling? Geoengeneering gone wrong or weather-warfare from China/Russia? How about the worlds largest ionospheric heater facility (HAARP) which has been conducting massive upper-atmosphere expierments in the Gulf of Alaska since 2011?

  • http://www.weatherwest.com/ Weather West

    Well, I will admit that the operational GFS has very recently entertained the possibility of an extended Pacific jet making inroads into the East Pacific out towards the very end of its forecast period (days 14-16). However, the GFS ensembles still keep the ridge around into week 2 (see below). Also, the 16-member CFS runs from today continue to paint a bleak picture for the next 4 weeks. And a quick check of the ECMWF out to 10 days (which is as far out as I have access) shows no hint of a pattern change. That’s not to say that we can’t be a little hopeful about a couple of operational GFS runs, but I’d like to see some pretty consistent signals favoring a big pattern change before seriously entertaining that possibility. Stay tuned!

    • snow755

      This what I been saying the gfs could be up two it’s old tricks so we need too see how this plays. Out this time around

  • Dan the Weatherman

    Once the Arctic outbreak back east eases and that region warms up, then the focus will more likely shift more to the CA drought.

  • http://www.weatherwest.com/ Weather West

    There are some emerging hypotheses out there regarding the potential for weakening westerly winds in the Northern Hemisphere to lead to an increase in certain kind of weather extremes, including the possibility of the polar vortex making more frequent excursions outside of the polar region. I will say that the extreme cold over eastern North America and the ongoing extreme dry spell in California are definitely part of the same large-scale pattern…

    • Dan the Weatherman

      Does this mean that the westerly winds are always going to be weaker from now on or are the winds going to be stronger in certain years while other years they are weaker depending on the large scale features of the overall pattern?

      I definitely agree that the extreme cold back east and our abnormal dry spell are connected.

      • http://www.weatherwest.com/ Weather West

        There would definitely still be year-to-year variability.

  • Utrex

    Well, chances of an El Nino are increasing everyday. If an El Nino develops during the winter, the ridge should push off or collapse due to the pattern. Also, the PDO looks like it will go into its warm phase, maybe in a year or two.
    Anyway, some big pattern change should happen soon… There are lots of signs… Such as an extremely dry fall, which signals a wetter winter (we should get pounded hard by Pacific storms later in the winter), in addition, sort of related, wasp hives were scarse around during the summer. Last year, wasps made hives everywhere… underneath outdoor patio, chairs, benches… This summer, I haven’t seen one near-surface wasp hive. I’ve heard the loss of wasp hives signals a wetter winter.

    Best proof, though, is to be patient and wait. Maybe the winter will stay dry, only nature itself knows.

    • Dan the Weatherman

      If El Nino does begin to develop later this year, it likely wouldn’t have much effect on this season’s weather, but if it continues to strengthen or maintain its strength into next fall, then next winter may be a very good one for us as long it isn’t a weak event.

      • Kamau40

        I agree with your above comment as we have mentioned in previous blogs. Let’s hope that the current projection of an El Nino later this year does NOT turn out to be a weak one. That’s a long ways away, we will just have to watch everything in the coming months. I’m hoping that we will at least get a moderate El Nino event, but it would be best if it turns out to be a strong event.

    • snow755

      Not sure what your looking at the chs of EL niño. Is Weaking The E PAC. Seems too be cooling not not warming

      http://www.ospo.noaa.gov/data/sst/anomaly/2014/anomp.1.6.2014.gif

  • craig matthews

    The latest satellite images of the entire north pacific basin over the last few days have become interesting. There has been an increase in storminess in the western north pacific off Japan, and in the last couple of days, the Asian jet coming into the western north pacific has begun to push some of these powerful storms further east into the central pacific at a lower latitude. Basically the pacific jet is becoming stronger and further south way out in the pacific. To me, this is a good sign. Even though the computer models rebuild the RRR and keep us dry through mid month, at least now there appears to be more action out in the pacific. This could mean that the big bully RRR may finally have a contender in the next couple of weeks.

    • Dan the Weatherman

      Maybe that will lead to storms undercutting the RRR, now that there is more low-latitude energy and bring some much needed moisture into CA.

      • craig matthews

        I’m a little more optimistic tonight looking at the satellite. It is the first time so far this season that I have seen such strong westerlies at our latitude pushing into the central pacific.

    • http://www.weatherwest.com/ Weather West

      Interestingly, even those recent operational GFS runs that bring some precip out late in week 2 are not suggesting an undercutting of the ridge–they are suggesting an effective collapse. Unfortunately, this is not an outcome favored by the ensemble mean. Still, it’s a more positive sign than we’ve seen in the past few weeks…

  • snow755

    The 00z was vary good at the end and it seem two two have speed up the timeing a little two 288hrs from 384hrs in fac that’s a big jump in timeing

  • willb

    do I sense optimism? Or just wishful thinking? The farmers almanac sez “Winter will be much rainier and cooler than normal, with mountain
    snowfall much greater than normal. Most of the rain, snow, and
    storminess will come in January and February” And adding to the wasp theory below, this year we had a huge crop of acorns, portending a wet winter. If we ever do get any weather, it is going to be very interesting to see how and when the models start to catch it, because they have been so unreliable for the long range….

    • Flunking_retirement

      FA is based on a 17 year cycle theory or something.

      • craig matthews

        There are 3 different farmers almanacs out there. Each says something a little different. One of the farmers almanac gives central and southern California 8 inches of precip for this month of January. That would be nice. Personally, I don’t rely on them when it comes to weather in the west. They seam to be more correct in their forecast for areas east of the Mississippi.

        • Loyal Brooks

          The largest weather variable E of the Mississippi is the temperature, not the precipitation. Precipitation is such a given that it is not really part of the discussion. The amount of snow, on the other hand, is what “droughts” are usually composed of.

  • http://www.weatherwest.com/ Weather West

    Well, interesting operational runs are certainly better than nothing. I hesitate to share in anything other than very cautious optimism when I see this in the new 00z GFS ensemble mean that produced the control run that people have posted earlier this evening:

    • http://www.weatherwest.com/ Weather West

      However…in the last few frames there is a bit more ensemble support for some zonal flow finally breaking through with some precip. towards the very end of the month. So, yes: cautious optimism for now. I’ll remind everyone that we’ve already seen this kind of development in the extended models before this winter, though, and each time it has failed to materialize in the real world. Keep watching!

      • snow755

        i no there not march of any thing going on but don’t you think its time for a new blog the commets are all most up too 300 +

      • Azmordean

        Yeah definitely cautious optimism. This stuff continuing to appear is why I think it will probably happen eventually – but it may take a lot longer than the models say (or we hope). And the clock is already ticking in a big way.

  • lightning10

    Even in bad years I remember as a kid there being a few Easter eggs each Winter. Just remembering off hand.

    98/99 one fast moving but cold storm in December brought several areas a little bit of thunder and lightning lots of hail recorded.

    99-00 Several cold February storms. Snow flurries reported in some beach locations and local media did report that computer models had snow snow for Los Angeles basin had the storm came in at the right time (did not).

    01-02 The last storm of the season and the only one to bring over an inch of rain to most areas also brought some thunderstorms before sunset. The late April sun helped out quite a bit.

    03-04 The November to remember Compton thunderstorm day. (Don’t call me a conspiracy but for some reason almost all the information about that day and pictures are gone from the Internet. I dare you to try to find any information about that day)

    • Dan the Weatherman

      I remember that storm that dumped all that hail in Compton, but I couldn’t remember what year it occurred. The local news covered that event quite well as I recall, since it was such a rare occurrence for the area.

      • lightning10

        That was a real interesting storm in general. November of 2003. It sat over the ocean as a cut off low and it looked to bring huge rain to the area.. Then the low dived southeast and lost its moisture tap. It was expected to hit central California and bring isolated thunderstorm. Then it almost didn’t do anything before moving over land and exploded in the afternoon.

    • http://www.weatherwest.com/ Weather West

      Ah, yes. The South LA/Watts convective event was an almost unbelievably extreme local event for Southern California. This is the best photo I could find online:
      from http://www.tienmao.com/archives/000566.html

      • Flunking_retirement

        I was thinking about that – we had a backyard full of hail. Funny it laid a trail here right across the south bay from Coronado to Rodriguez Field in Tijuana.

  • sc100

    Any meaningful changes are still far too out in the future for me to get excited right now. Still more than 10 days out. Even the precip in Northwest California this week is still not that much for what that area usually gets. Crescent City averages about 11 inches in January.

  • craig matthews

    The national weather service san Francisco morning discussion showed some interesting statistics. On Jan. 6, 1887, san Francisco saw a record high of 73 degrees, while on jan 7, 1887 Madison Wisconsin saw a record low of -29. This may have been possibly due to a similar weather pattern as what we have now. Also, san Francisco received only 1.89 inches of rain in the month of January. So what happened in February 1887???? San Francisco received 9.24 inches of rain. And not only that, but received 3.7 inches of snow on Feb.5, 1887. I got this info from the morning discussion. Anyway, it would be nice to know what happened in late January 1887 that caused such a drastic change.

    • Dan the Weatherman

      That adds confidence to my prediction that we are going to turn wetter either later this month or by the beginning of February.

    • Utrex

      I am having some more hope towards February. Some long range models see February as wet and stormy. I don’t know any winter here in California that had such dry conditions where the whole season consisted of cut-off lows and light precipitation… I doubt this winter will consist of these conditions until spring.

    • Loyal Brooks

      Excellent point! This is the temp/ppn correlation between the Upper Midwest and CA I posted here (a week ago?). The correlation is not at all casual, you can produce legitimate local forecasts here in MN based on how and where precip is occurring in CA – but that effect takes 48-72 hrs to reach here. Not perfect, but often very close! I watch the local evening weather on TV, and extrapolate from maps over CA to tweak the forecast here to even better. People who know me say I have a “special knack.” This is my trick, folks!

      Have not looked into the old daily records, but I wonder how much it warmed up here to allow so much rain (and cold) out there so long ago. And let’s hope that may happen again!

  • snow755

    I new the gfs was up two it’s old tricks It drop it

  • http://www.weatherwest.com/ Weather West

    Some light/very light rain/snow is looking more likely later this week for parts of NorCal. Unfortunately, totals will be generally be very light and in most places will be barely enough to quell the dust for a day or two. It’s still unlikely that even Sacramento or San Francisco will see more than a few light showers at best…

    Already seeing some signs in the 18Z/00Z GFS runs of the ridge remaining stronger out past day 12. I do think we’ll see a surge of very strong zonal winds across the Pacific during week 2 that will probably make it to the West Coast eventually. My concern is that they will be forced north into B.C. or WA/OR rather than California by a weaker but still-present ridge. If that happens, places to our north could get a subtropical firehose while California remains mostly or entirely dry for the rest of the month.

  • redlands

    Would it be possible for our area — Southern California to be able to experience this Polar Vortex – the news people have been taking about. Like in January of 1949 — was the Polar Vortex responsible — when the Southland got snow — Redlands experienced 3 days where it snowed.. There are other times — for example Redlands had a high of 34 and low of 18-20 depending on what stats one uses. Or is it not possible because of the Sierra Nevada Mountains along with other mountains that protect California. Any thoughts — I know theres people on her that are know bout this kina stuff

    • Flunking_retirement

      Anything is possible, redlands.

    • redlands

      Is it possible in Southern Calif — Any thoughts ??? I know everyone wants rain — however it doesn’t look like we will get any

  • sc100

    Some big-time impacts from the drought on homes and businesses will soon be felt in the Sacramento area. The San Juan Water District, which provides water to the eastern part of the Sacramento area, is expecting to enact the severest water restrictions available, Stage 5, next month. Some of the restrictions include:

    - Landscape and pasture irrigation is prohibited.
    - Leaking customer pipes or faulty sprinklers shall be repaired immediately. Water service will be suspended until repairs are made.
    - No potable water from the District’s system shall be used to fill or refill swimming pools, artificial lakes, ponds or streams. Water use for ornamental ponds and fountains is prohibited.
    - Washing streets, parking lots, driveways, sidewalks, or buildings, except as
    necessary for health or sanitary purposes, is prohibited.
    - Reduce indoor water use by more than 50%.
    - Restaurants shall serve water only upon request.
    - No potable water from the District’s system shall be used for construction purposes including but not limited to dust control, compaction, or trench jetting.
    - Installation of new turf or landscaping is prohibited.
    - Automobiles or equipment shall be washed only at commercial establishments that use recycled or reclaimed water.

    • sc100

      If big rains don’t come over the next three months, I can imagine that some kind of water rationing system might be set up
      for everybody, basically a maximum amount per day, which I don’t think has ever happened before here. The water agencies themselves admit that we’re in uncharted territory right now. Hopefully the new conservation measures will show a big drop in use.

  • Betty KC

    After reading this on the National Weather Service I felt sick: AS QUICKLY AS THE RAIN CHANCES ARRIVE, THEY WILL END AS THE
    STRONG RIDGE OFF THE COAST REBUILDS. INTERESTING TO NOTE THAT THE
    MODELS ARE DEPICTING AN EXTREMELY AMPLIFIED LONGWAVE RIDGE
    EXTENDING NEARLY TO THE ARCTIC CIRCLE BY THE END OF NEXT WEEK AS
    THE COLD LOW REPOSITIONS ITSELF BACK NEAR HUDSON BAY WITH THE
    RIDGE HERE EXTENDING FROM THE WEST COAST OF THE CONUS NORTH THROUGH
    BC, YUKON TERRITORY AND ALASKA. AT THE SAME TIME THE SURFACE FLOW
    WILL RETURN TO BEING OFFSHORE AND 850MB TEMPS WILL INCREASE UP TO
    3 STANDARD DEVIATIONS ABOVE NORMAL. RECORD HIGHS WILL LIKELY BE
    HIT NEXT WEEK — POSSIBLY AT MANY SPOTS.

    MJO FORECAST SHOWS VIRTUALLY NO MOVEMENT OVER THE NEXT TWO WEEKS
    MAKING IT THAT MUCH HARDER FOR THE RIDGE TO BE UNDERCUT GOING INTO
    AT LEAST THE 20TH OF JANUARY.

    • Kamau40

      I have been looking at the latest models and this upcoming extremely strong ridge that is forecast to rebuild back into the West Coast makes me very nervous for the long term. This upcoming ridge is expected to be even stronger than what we have been experiencing the last 6 weeks. It makes me even suspect of the “chance” of a pattern change by the end of the month going even into Feb because a ridge of this magnitude can unfortunately suppress a possible pattern change down the road. We are already about half way thru the rainy season, which this is typically our wettest time. I believe this month we will probably finish with record low precipitation in many locations throughout the state .The fact we may very well see more record highs next week with continued very dry conditions to me is not a good sign for us that we will finish this season well, even if we do get some storms later. I’m trying not to be so pessimistic but I don’t want us to be overly optimistic either so we are not disappointed at the end of the day

    • http://www.weatherwest.com/ Weather West

      The upcoming ridging (after this week’s weak systems) looks, well, even more ridiculous.

  • sc100
    • Flunking_retirement

      Good to see, they are looking at the cause, and not so much the result and this “polar vortex” stuff.
      Guess what, it gets cold in the winter, and sometimes it gets really really cold – surprise! When you’ve had to go out in sub zero weather and knock the ice off the foc’s’cle life lines on a destroyer or an ice breaker come talk to me about polar vortex’s .
      OK, off my soapbox. :)

  • alanstorm

    “Pop!” Hear that sound? That’s the sound of govt officials, newscasters and basically everybody in the western US pulling their heads out if the sand and realizing were seriously up a creek without a drop of water! My incessant whining since December of “were headed for drought disaster” has always been met with ” oh, stop worrying! it will start raining late in the winter, it always does!” Guess what? Worse case scenerio is at hand. I had the thought as the second dry January started of “what if it doesn’t rain all winter?” Yesterday, my county declared a drought emergency. My neighbors are in a panic because their huge pond dried up for the first time ever and they have no way of watering their horses. Can’t wait for July August when it gets 100° + around here. We now know the what and the how of the RRR, but what we need to figure out is the WHY.

    • http://www.weatherwest.com/ Weather West

      It’s amazing that parts of Sacramento County are declaring a Stage 5 Water Emergency right off the bat. All of a sudden…we’re here.

  • http://www.weatherwest.com/ Weather West

    I apologize if the site experiences some downtime or big slowdowns over the next few days. There has been a huge surge in traffic and I’m working with the hosting provider to fix everything. Thanks for you patience!

  • lightning10

    I think this song sums it up best. It was written during the very dry 1972 season.

    It Never Rains in Southern California”, written by Albert Hammond

    • craig matthews

      Thanks for posting that song. I remember how hot and dry it was in the late summer of 1972. And then we had snow at sea level in early December 1972 along the central coast of California, followed by a wet winter and spring in 1973. Wouldn’t that be nice.

      • Dan the Weatherman

        I didn’t realize this song was written in 1972, even though I knew it was from the early to mid 1970s. It was certainly quite appropriate for that year as it was bone dry from January until the early to mid fall. The winter of 1971-72 IMO is one of the most abnormal seasons that Socal has ever had with Los Angeles receiving 6 1/2″ of rain in December and less than .25″ the rest of the winter afterward!

  • Loyal Brooks

    Here in Minneapolis, it is just after 3:00 p.m., and we have cracked 0F and are at 4F, probably the high for the day. Most of the nation is talking about how warm and dry it would be in California right now. There is never a single mention as to any drought – “it is always sunny out there, right?”

    I also held out hope that this “polar vortex” coming overhead of us here would destabilize the RRR and possibly allow a way for the southern branch of the jet to finally punch through, even if for just a single rainy day. Nope!

    • craig matthews

      I have relatives in Morehead that say the same thing. Its baffling how long it has taken the media to bring to attention how severely dry it is out here in the West.

    • eric

      it drives me nuts when the local news mentions beautiful weather and totally neglects drought conditions. I am losing trees usually resilient to dryer conditions. we need rain really bad. Problem is there isn’t a sign of it anytime soon.

  • craig matthews

    So being that we are locked in a -PDO/+AMO pattern for a while, isn’t it more likely that the RRR will break down instead of being undercut, and then the pacific northwest and northern California will get more rain? I would rather see the ridge get undercut, because that would mean a better chance of an atmospheric river set up farther south along the west coast. But with a -PDO, it seams to me that the pacific jet at a lower latitude in the eastern north pacific is not favored. But there are always exceptions of course. And being that the RRR is expected to amplify up into the arctic circle is exceptional. Especially after the fact it has remained for so long.

    • Dan the Weatherman

      Usually in -PDO/+AMO the Pacific NW and far northern CA are usually much wetter than we have been lately, although San Francisco can be drier than normal in this pattern during ENSO neutral years such as what we are in now. The -PDO pattern I believe causes the subtropical jet to be weaker than normal due to cooler than normal SSTs in the tropical and subtropical Pacific off the Mexican and CA coast, and that is one of the factors that is limiting undercutting. Another thing about this year is that the MJO has been very weak so far and not of any help either.

      • craig matthews

        Yeah, I’ve been waiting for the MJO to wake up. A strong MJO might favor an undercutting of the RRR in this -PDO.

        • Dan the Weatherman

          That could certainly help to strengthen the subtropical jet for a change and help bring some needed rainfall to the area if everything comes together just right.

  • Dan the Weatherman

    Whatever is driving the RRR, this pattern appears to me that it got its start during the 2011-12 season after the very wet and snowy 2010-11 season. That is when the storms became smaller than normal and started coming in from British Columbia and the Pacific NW as opposed to coming in off the ocean, as they were forced around the ridge. At least in the late winter of 2011-12 the pattern gave way to other patterns especially late into the season, that allowed more rainfall and snowfall statewide, and then again in the fall of 2012-13. However, it has become more prevalent since then to the point now that it is absolutely relentless and seems to just bounce back in no time flat as soon as the pattern just begins to change.

    I am beginning to get suspicious of this constant reinforcement of the ridge to the point I think there is some sort of forcing mechanism out there that we didn’t have previously. Whatever that mechanism may be, I don’t know, unless we just have a very rare set of circumstances that have come together to produce this kind of persistent pattern.

    • Nightmeir

      Given the geological record of decade to century long mega droughts in California, what is the likelihood that we have just entered one? This pattern just seems so stable.

      • Dan the Weatherman

        I really do not know at this point whether we have entered a long mega drought, but I surely hope we have not! CA weather tends to run in cycles, that is, we have periods of wetter years (such as late 70s-early 80s, and the 90s) followed by periods of drier years (such as mid 80s-early 90s, mid 40s-mid 60s, 1998 – present even though we had 2005 and 2011). Right now I believe that we are just in a dry cycle, and it will turn wetter when the AMO goes negative and/or the PDO shifts positive. I expect the AMO to flip sooner because it has been in its current warm (positive) phase longer than the PDO has been in its current cold (negative) phase. For shorter-term relief we need a moderate to strong ENSO event, either La Nina or El Nino. Believe it or not, moderate to strong La Ninas have been fairly good for the Sierra snow pack during this current -PDO/+AMO phase, but of course a moderate to strong El Nino would be very good as well.

  • Betty KC

    Couldn’t hurt….SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Catholic bishops called for divine intervention Tuesday as California endures what appears to be its third straight dry winter.

    The California Conference of Catholic Bishops asked people of all faiths to join in prayers for rain as reservoirs in the state dipped to historic lows after one of the driest calendar years on record.

  • Utrex

    Well, in the long range (10-13)day period, there are some stronger lows moving in. The high is supposed to shift down to Baja coast… Hopefully this maintains its shape… This shows precipitation in the past 24 hours.

    • http://www.weatherwest.com/ Weather West

      The extended-range models are looking somewhat more favorable then they have in the recent past. I’m concerned that the structure of the projected pattern evolution might not be favorable for sustained precip, though (with the possibility that storms end up making it to the Pacific Northwest but still remain north of California). But it’s better than nothing! I’ll most likely have a blog update this weekend regardless.

      • Utrex

        I looked at the height anomalies from gfs again. It looks like Norcal will get storms just slammed into it…
        I’ll wait until tomorrow/later and see if this keeps up… It’s really showing high amts. of precipitation being driven from an undercutting Pacific jet, similar to December 1st – 3rd 2012…

  • snow755

    The 0z and 06z gfs are in good aged ment. The both showed the same that was on the 0z gfs

  • sc100

    Things are quickly starting to become real all over the Sacramento area.

    http://www.sacbee.com/2014/01/08/6057110/sacramento-officials-push-for.html

    “Sacramento is on the verge of enacting what appears to be the most severe water reductions in city history.

    Top city officials are recommending that the City Council approve a plan
    next week requiring a 20 percent to 30 percent reduction in water use by
    residents, businesses and city agencies.

    That order is part of a “stage 2 declaration” that City Manager John Shirey is recommending. City officials said this is the first stage 2 water plan on record.”

  • Coldspot

    We actually got a measurable amount of rain here last night. Yahoo!! Only 0.01 but that’s a start. NOAA Medford calling for a decent shot of rain / wind for Saturday. But then the ridge rebuilds, or will it?

  • http://www.weatherwest.com/ Weather West

    Well, I’m still suspicious of model performance this year and the projected flow pattern is precarious in that it would take just a small shift to keep California dry. However, there are now increasing signs that a strong zonal jet may…finally…be able to break through this ridging, at least for a little while, and bring some substantial precip to at least NorCal starting around day 10.

  • lightning10

    Looks like So Cal will be on the wrong side of the zonal flow.

  • lightning10

    Area forecast discussion
    National Weather Service San Francisco Bay area
    957 am PST Thursday Jan 9 2014

    All evidence suggests high and dry weather next week and right
    into mlk weekend. The long range GFS keeps wanting to slowly break
    down the ridge with some incoming systems but the European model (ecmwf) and Gem
    models are more emphatic in keeping the West Coast ridge in place
    with more bouts of Arctic air spilling into the upper Midwest. For
    example the latest 240 hour European model (ecmwf) out through Jan 19th has 850 mb
    temperatures to around -22 with 1000-500 mb thickness values below 500
    dm for the upper Midwest. As long as that type of pattern is in place
    its going to be hard to get beneficial rains into northern
    California. We all see the 10-16 day GFS runs showing hints of
    precipitation but would be more excited if we were seeing some wetter
    trends by the other models. The wait continues…

    • Azmordean

      My take hasn’t really changed. Sometimes the Euro shows it and GFS does not, other times (like now) GFS shows it and Euro does not.

      My take continues to be that the models are picking up on something but they may be off with the timing. I think the change will come, but it may be later than all of us here hope. I tend to think it may be more like end of month, rather than JAN 18 as depicted on the GFS.

  • snow755

    The ecw. May be a out liner if other mode runs start picking. This. Up. Like the gfs. Is

  • http://www.weatherwest.com/ Weather West

    Possibly some good news for the rather distant future, at least: El Nino conditions are looking increasingly likely for next winter. While that won’t help us during the 2013-2014 water season, it’s something to hold on to.

    • Loyal Brooks

      You are writing anything positive you can – and next year has hopes of possibly being wetter – it is still a waiting game. As I read down these posts, everybody really is scanning all horizons for a drop of rain. I am looking forward to the next widespread 1-inch of rain episode, but at this point, even a cloudy day helps.

    • Kamau40

      I’m in agreement with your assessment about the development of a new El Nino pattern starting possibly around Mar or Apr. The CFS models have been showing this for awhile now. Something to keep an eye on in the coming months. You’re right, it will not have much impact on this season’s severe precipitation deficits, but I’m more optimistic about next season if it reaches at least the moderate strength level.

  • craig matthews

    It seams to me the 12z ECMWF shows a more progressive pattern at +240hours, where it has the polar vortex moving a little more east, and a trough just entering the eastern north pacific. So, beyond 240 hours the ECMWF shows that there is potential for storms entering the west coast, probably more toward northern California. It appears to me that the pacific jet is strengthening right now, so the GFS’s idea seams more plausible to me.

    • http://www.weatherwest.com/ Weather West

      There is some suggestion of that, I think.

      • snow755

        We now have good agreed ment with the 0z 06z 12z. And the new 18z. Now we wait and see if this keeps up

        • craig matthews

          What is more convincing to me about the GFS showing a potential pattern change this time around is the fact that this model, and now other models, are not undercutting the ridge, but instead breaking the ridge down with a strong pacific jet aimed at northern caliifornia or the pacific northwest beyond 240 hours. This to me is more believable because it seams to phase better with the overall trend in the pattern in the eastern north pacific over the last several years. I haven’t seen a ridge get undercut with a low latitude branch of westerlies coming into California since January 2005. Come to think of it, we haven’t had a real soaker winter since 2004-05 here locally on the central coast. 2010-11 was wet, but not that wet here.

          • Dan the Weatherman

            I believe that the -PDO has been at least partially responsible with the lack of undercutting patterns in recent years due to the cooler than normal waters in the tropical and subtropical Pacific which have made the subtropical jet weaker than it is in a +PDO phase especially with an El Nino.

  • http://www.weatherwest.com/ Weather West

    Not sure if people have seen this before, but there’s an excellent and regularly updated summary of drought conditions and associated meteorological patterns as part of the Drought Monitor page. I was aware of their maps via the CPC, but I’d missed the written narratives:

    http://droughtmonitor.unl.edu

    Click the regional links on the right side of the page to read the summaries.

    • craig matthews

      Those written narratives are great. Thank you sir.

      • Dan the Weatherman

        I check the Drought Monitor every now and then to see where the worst conditions are. In CA, the Sacramento Valley and San Joaquin Valley from Sacramento to about Bakersfield westward to the Central Coast is currently in D3 conditions, which is considered extreme drought meaning that this drought is becoming very serious in that region.

  • Utrex

    Even Wunderground agrees with NorCal’s storm punch… definitely a good sign

  • snow755

    The gfs may be a out liner if other mode runs don’t start picking this up

  • craig matthews

    Getting back to the winter of 1976-77. Does anyone remember a very intense southeast wind event along or near central California coast that winter? The wind was so intense it picked up rocks on blew them into windows of cars driving down the big sur coast. It wasn’t a santa ana type event, because there was a little rain with it and the flow was southeast. Anyway, just thought someone else might have also remembered such an event. This winter has been very calm here locally.

    • lightning10

      That sounds like a wild one. That is what I am saying even poor years an interesting thing or two takes place most of the time.

  • snow755

    Am starting two think that the gfs may be a out liner has all the other mode runs are. Dry

  • snow755

    You can’t have a pattern. Changes with out the other mode runs jumping in and right now the gfs is a out liner has the ecw and gem and other mode runs are dry

  • http://www.weatherwest.com/ Weather West

    Unfortunately the 12z GFS has trended in the direction I was concerned it would–partial jet breakthrough, but almost all the rain stays north of California. Even then, the potential change has been pushed back to day 12. Still no signs of rain (except for the light event tomorrow) in the ECMWF…

    • Azmordean

      Yeah I still think it will happen – the GFS had it for several runs which given current standards is remarkable consistency. Probably not as soon as the GFS thought though.

      But maybe we get lucky and it comes back on the 18z.

  • Flunking_retirement

    Yeppir! Looks like a tough is only going to flatten things out at the top, if it moves south east into the basin, the RRR’ll just rebuild and push east again. SoCal is so far out of the loop, no sense in wringing our hands; ain’t gonna happen, were cut off on both sides, north and south for the duration.

    • http://www.weatherwest.com/ Weather West

      Hopefully this turns out to be overly pessimistic, but I’m not so sure that it will.

  • lightning10

    If you woke up and saw the new computer models you might as well just go back to bed and try again tomorrow. Its like the 1970′s all over again in California.

    California’s current state is much like it was back in the 70′s. Record high fuel prices, a severe drought, high food prices, and the Democrats took back super majority in the state senate, Gerry Brown became governor.

    • Ranjit

      With half the calories & twice the population!

      I’ll say this dry weather is certainly a drag in many ways. I can finally see weathermen biting their lip when they talk about “gorgeous sunny skies”. Really hope the RRR finds a worthy opponent in the next couple of weeks.

      Speaking of which, where’s a good place to get primed on the jargon e.g. “12z GFS” and the science? I really enjoy the attitude & conversation around here but sadly don’t have the knowledge to get max value.

      Hello from the SF South Bay, dry as a funeral drum.

      • http://www.weatherwest.com/ Weather West

        Welcome! For familiarity with some of the jargon, Jeff Haby’s site can be very useful:
        http://www.theweatherprediction.com

        Following the discussions on this blog for a period of time might also help. Specifically, though, the “12z GFS” refers to the weather forecast made by the Global Forecast System model, which is a global atmospheric model run by the National Centers For Environmental Prediction (NCEP). The model produces forecasts out to 384 hours (16 days), and is run 4 times daily with updated initial conditions (at 00z,006z,12z, and 18z, which are just timestamps in standardized universal time units). Hope that helps!

        • willb

          This is a great resource, exactly what I have been looking for, but to stubborn to ask. Thanks

        • Ranjit

          Thanks, WW!

          I’ve started to catch up on previous posts and get myself educated.

          The Haby site is a goldmine – there goes my weekend (a sunny & gorgeous one, of course).

  • John Bukowinski

    Great blog and discussion. I grew up in the Bay Area, and have never seen anything like this in more than 30 years. Maybe if we all agree to collectively ignore the SOBR (my new name for the RRR), it will lose its inflated sense of self and piss off forever. I always thought weather in the Bay Area was boring, but to have it morph into SoCal is just too much for me. Time to pack up and head for greener pastures…

    • Azmordean

      I hear you on the boring weather. I moved here from the East Coast and love the cool summers we have – far better than the hot humid soup back east. Springs here are excellent too (though perhaps not this year if it stays dry).

      As someone who actually loves cold and snow, Fall and especially Winter are quite bleh. Some web site ranked San Francisco as having the “lamest winter” in America and while I think LA probably is more deserving of the title we aren’t far off.

      • lightning10

        I think statistically speaking So Cal has a better chance at stronger thunderstorms in winter time.

        • craig matthews

          I’ve been all over the US and seen all types of severe weather, but I always tell people that the heaviest downpour I have ever seen was in san Bernadino. There is something to do with the slightly warmer waters off the socal coast that combines with cold unstable lows that can produce some very intense thunderstorms. I’m not even from socal, but I would say that the weather on the central coast of cali is a little more mellow then socal in general.

          • lightning10

            Where I am at in Whittier we get some insane downpours from time to time. You know its good when the street floods and trash cans wash down the street. The most heavy rains always occur early in the morning or afternoon for some reason.

    • Dan the Weatherman

      This has been even drier than Socal during a normal winter.

  • Dan the Weatherman

    I hope we can figure out soon what is causing this pattern to be so persistent. To me this behavior is very abnormal. That is, what is it about the overall pattern as of late that is so different from previous years that is keeping this ridge constantly reinforced as opposed to letting a different pattern have its turn for a while such as in a more normal type of winter?

    Normally a pattern only dominates for so long before it breaks down and changes and that is the reason we have wet and dry periods in a typical winter season. Even though I have seen some long dry spells in recent years, I don’t think I have ever seen a ridge absolutely dominate for an entire year like this.

    • craig matthews

      Like you said earlier, there’s probably some unknown oscillations or something we haven’t discovered yet combining with the -PDO/+AMO pattern and lack of strong ENSO and MJO that may be causing this RRR to continue on. Maybe the right alignment of all the oscillations and solar activity plus tropospheric patterns???

      • Dan the Weatherman

        I think that you are right that there may be an unknown oscillation or something we haven’t connected yet, and it could be solar activity. The sun is the main driver of everything in our climate since it is the main energy source.

        • craig matthews

          Looking at the PDO charts show that in the past when it was negative, like in the 50′s to early 70′s, there were some brief periods where the PDO was positive, like for example in the late 50′s, and mid 60′s. Was that because of a strong el nino event that change the PDO for a brief period? The most recent PDO index value shows -0.11, which is not as strongly negative as it has been in recent years. So my question is, if we get a moderate or strong el nino next winter, could that change the PDO to positive for a brief period?

          • Dan the Weatherman

            1957-58 and 1965-66 were both moderate / somewhat strong El Nino years (ONI of 1.8 and 1.9 respectively), while 1958-59 was a very weak El Nino (ONI of 0.6) and it appears that the PDO went positive for a while, particularly during the 1957-58 episode, but was positive a bit off and on during 1958-59 and 1965-66 but it was negative more frequently during that time. It is certainly possible that the PDO could go positive for a while if we can get a moderate to strong El Nino.

          • Kamau40

            Very interesting, something also to keep an eye on for next winter regarding the change of the phase of the PDO.

      • http://www.weatherwest.com/ Weather West

        Variations in solar activity on very long timescales (i.e. millennia or longer) are certainly driven by solar activity. There is some evidence for a much more modest effect on shorter timescales, i.e. less than 100 years. There is a well-known high-frequency solar periodicity that lasts ~11 years, and we’re currently in the peak of that cycle right now. However, the effect of the 11-year solar cycle relative to other factors is most likely quite small, especially when considering the large variability that the atmosphere-ocean system is capable of all on its own. The effect of the PDO and internal variability together are probably much more important that the role of solar forcing in this case.

    • Azmordean

      It’s interesting. Being from the East Coast, I recall the extreme multi-year drought that impacted the Southeast several years back. Images of boat docks sticking out into the dry lakebed of Lake Lanier in Georgia stick in my mind. I also recall the political wrangling, talk of a pipeline from the Great Lakes to Atlanta, and other things that went with the drought.

      The cause of the drought was actually kind of similar to our drought here – a strong, seemingly immovable, impenetrable ridge of high pressure known as the SE Ridge (Southeast ridge). Storms would deflect up and over it, so there’d be rain all around, but not in the Southeast. It was very long lived and a feature in the SE for 3+ years if I recall.

      I don’t know if anyone ever figured out why exactly the ridge was so permanent – but it’s eerie how similar the situation is here. Arguably our situation is worse because in the Southeast you always have the hope of at least some moisture from summer thunderstorms and the possibility of a “bailout” in the form of a tropical cyclone. No such luck for us here.

      • http://www.weatherwest.com/ Weather West

        Persistent ridges often lead to drought (and sometimes floods in adjacent regions that have persistent moist flow/stormy weather on the periphery).

        • craig matthews

          That makes sense. Someone suggested in an earlier blog that the great flood of 1861-62 was caused by a blocking ridge somewhere else.

          • Utrex

            So, we need this Ridge to shift West! Then, we’ll get the PV sending in hundreds of tornadoes here in California with a ridiculously powerful pineapple express…

            Enough of the lunacy lol. But really, I haven’t been intimidated by the weather here in Norcal since 2010… That Ridge must shift West.

      • Loyal Brooks

        Ah yes,the years of the “Desert Southeast.”

    • donnak10

      San Francisco is reporting very high radiation levels in the water as a result of Japan’s nuclear accident. I haven’t heard any talk if any what impact this would have on the atmosphere. I do remember that after Mt. St Helens exploded we had one of our counties wettest winters ever. Your thoughts?

      • http://www.weatherwest.com/ Weather West

        There is actually no evidence that radiation or radioisotopes from the Fukushima meltdowns in Japan have made it to California in any significant quantity:
        http://www.mercurynews.com/california/ci_24885463/state-rebuffs-radiation-concerns-at-half-moon-bay

        Even a very large radiation release would (by itself) have essentially no impact upon the large-climate.

        And the Mt. St. Helens eruption correlation is likely just that–a correlation, rather than a causal influence. While volcanoes certainly do affect the climate both locally and globally on a wide range of timescales, only certain kinds of eruptions (i.e. ones that release huge quantities of sulphate aerosols) tend to have measurable impacts. Further, volcanoes close to the equator actually have a much bigger than those at higher latitudes (like Mt. St. Helens) because of the larger amount of solar radiation that can be reflected by volcanic aerosols at that latitude.

        • http://www.weatherwest.com/ Weather West

          Actually, just found this interesting blurb on Cliff Mass’s blog about the local weather effect vs. the overall climate effect of the St. Helens eruption:

          http://cliffmass.blogspot.com/2013/05/weather-impacts-of-mount-saint-helens.html

        • Dan the Weatherman

          Two good examples of very low-latitude volcanoes having a likely effect on weather is the 1991 eruption of Pinatubo and the early 1880′s eruption of Krakatoa.

        • donnak10

          Thanks for the reply and your info. Like everyone else, I’m learning as I try to remain optimistic about our dire situation. I appreciate all your insight as it’s something you won’t find by watching the local weather reports and it’s why I’m glad I found this blog.

  • http://www.weatherwest.com/ Weather West

    I’m planning on having a new post tomorrow. Not sure if there will be any more clarity on any possible pattern change out in the 10+ day range by then, but I think it’s time for an update in the new year, even if our RRR remains largely unchanged.

  • craig matthews

    I still believe we are going to get some good storms in close to 2 weeks from now despite what models are showing. The general consensus is for a trough to develop in the gulf of Alaska in the coming days with a strong pacific jet racing across the north pacific basin. The only item of concern being a flat ridge off socal that may deflect incoming storms into the pacific northwest. But I believe the socal ridge will flatten more allowing a couple of good soaking storms to hit most of the state. A strong and fast moving pacific jet tends to fool the models and I’m hoping for that to happen this time. Get some positive thinking in the mix.

    • Azmordean

      Yeah I’m largely with you. My hope is the idea the GFS had was correct, it was just the timing that was off. My hope is in the next week or so we see the idea return to the GFS and the Euro as well.

      • Dan the Weatherman

        I still think the pattern will change either at the end of this month or early February for some storms. It seems that years that begin dry like this going into the winter become wetter as we go into February and/or March. 1990-91, 1993-94, and 1999-2000 are good examples of this.

        • craig matthews

          It would be nice to get another 1990-91 miracle march. I think the PDO was positive back then. But I don’t know how much that made a difference. I personally compare this winter to more like 2011-12, or 1999-00, or 1989-90 here locally. I think we may end up with a similar pattern that happened in late winter/spring 2012.

  • rainscout

    I remember reading years ago that the open air nuclear testing done in the desert southwest.. in the ’50′s and 60′s.. was linked to a change in the jet stream patterns over the northern Hemisphere .. I believe it was from a credible
    science source..not saying Japan’s nuclear disaster is the cause.. but maybe a contributing factor?? While I still want to believe that something can break through the sobRRR..reality tells me we are rapidly running out of time..If climate change as well as other factors are causing the sobRRR..and it becomes something not out of the norm..Calif.”s present water infrastucture is totally unsustainable..even in “normal” years it is over allocated..just came back from the Mt. Shasta area and it basically has almost zero snow pack.. in January!!!!???

    • http://www.weatherwest.com/ Weather West

      It’s possible there was a link between nuclear testing and climate, but it would almost certainly have been via the injection of large amount of dust/etc. into the atmosphere by the explosions, rather than a direct result of radiation itself. Even then, the effect was likely tiny and probably immeasurably so. There was no nuclear explosion in Japan as a result of the meltdowns. So, as bad as that situation was/is for Japan, it’s not affecting the weather elsewhere.

      http://www.skepticalscience.com/nuclear.html

      A nuclear war, on the other hand, is a completely different story (but it still has to do with dust and aerosols rather than radiation):

      http://www.wunderground.com/resources/climate/nuke.asp

    • http://www.weatherwest.com/ Weather West

      And Shasta devoid of snow in January is a scary sight, indeed.

  • rainscout

    I too thank weather west for the very informative responses and valuable insight into all the nuances of weather and climate..keeps me going while we wait and wait and wait for some kind of tangible “change” in this unprecedented seemingly unending..weather lockdown…

  • TheNothing

    I find it more than a coincidence that shortly after the Fukushima disaster we suddenly find ourselves having below normal winters. The radiation leaking from the plant is far greater than the news is telling us and who knows it might be the cause of all this, but is very hard to prove. The RRR is something that really needs to be explored and understood because this is really started to enter uncharted waters (so to speak).
    Just my two cents.

    • http://www.weatherwest.com/ Weather West

      I’m not really clear on how any amount of radiation from a nuclear meltdown could affect the climate on a large scale, since the decay of radioisotopes–even on the scale of the Fukishima disaster (or any conceivable meltdown)–would not cause a measurable change in temperature except in an extremely local sense where the products of fission were most concentrated. That’s not to say that there aren’t serious effects upon other aspects of the environment, but there just isn’t a physical mechanism that I’m aware of relating the events at a nuclear power plant in Japan to large-scale global atmospheric features.

      When we talk about the effect of hypothetical nuclear explosions on the climate, the actual linkage is secondary: large nuclear explosions generate lots of fine aerosols and dust, and if many explosions occurred in a short period of time this would likely cause significant global effects by blocking out a considerable amount of solar radiation. A tertiary effect that is often considered in the context of hypothetical nuclear war (and is the basis for the “Nuclear Winter” hypothesis) is the fact that any intentional nuclear exchange would likely result in large fires over wide regions, putting out huge quantities of smoke into the atmosphere. Not a pretty picture, that’s for sure.

      In that sense, our RRR seems fairly tame by comparison…

  • Utrex

    All that needs to happen is for the ridge to shift West. This will allow the PV to shift West as well. If it sits over western Canada, it will aim an extremely powerful pineapple express to California…

    Let’s do the rain dance; maybe that’ll help.

    • http://www.weatherwest.com/ Weather West

      I’m finally starting to see something of a promising trend in the ensembles for week 2. I’ll have more tomorrow…

      • Dan the Weatherman

        That would certainly be good news, and hopefully the ensemble runs continue to show that as we get closer to that time period.

      • Kamau40

        I’m looking forward to your post tomorrow. I was reading on The Tahoe Daly Snow or opensnow.com and even Dave starting to see some consistency from some of the long range models of a possible pattern change toward the end of the month.

  • Utrex

    Gfs is now beginning to show a Ridge building over Washington, and growing/intensifying as it moves over Utah and Nevada in the week 2 period… Hopefully this isn’t correct… Although the ridge looks to shift eastward into the plains which is good.

    • http://www.weatherwest.com/ Weather West

      Yikes…the 6z/12z really killed off any possible pattern change. Then again, I’ve been worried that this would fall apart the whole time…

      • donnak10

        I’ve become a pessimist anymore. I’ll watch the Seattle game just so I can at least see what rainfall looks like and if it weren’t for the RRR perhaps we could’ve had a piece of that “rainpie”.

        • http://www.weatherwest.com/ Weather West

          I was out biking earlier today and it sprinkled for about two minutes. I realized that was the most rain we’ve gotten it at least 45 days around here and the most we’re likely to get for at least another 10 days.

      • Loyal Brooks

        When I saw that, I felt sick about it. We’re right back where we started from…waiting. Optimist: the models can change their direction the other way just as easily. Pessimist: it isn’t going to rain meaningfully for 90% of the state for a very, very long time.

  • http://www.weatherwest.com/ Weather West

    Well, the 18z runs completely nixed the pattern change. I’ll be writing a different blog post than I had hoped to this afternoon. Today’s very minimal, patchy precip may well have been the most we’ll see in a long time…

    • donnak10

      In the Mother Lode we did actually see drops of rain. Which of course evaporated immediately. And I can already feel the warming trend begin to take hold. 1.7inches in our gauge. Very dismal as after the Rim Fire no growth with no rainfall.

    • Kamau40

      Up here in Napa, Ca, there were only a few sprinkles which is the most I have seen in more than 40days. Now, the long range forecast, as we were all hoping for a pattern change by the end of the month, is now already being dried up unfortunately(which does not surprise me at all). This is why I don’t put my trust in a forecast that is more than 7 days out, let alone more than 2 weeks out because everything can change overnight especially during a severe drought year like the one we are currently under.

  • snow755

    Back two the drawing board this is getting really old what the gfs is doing it for cast a pattern chages. For many runs and then it drop it this is like the 4th time in a row now this has happen

  • sc100

    A couple days ago, the Northern Sierra snowpack was at 7% of average. Yikes.

  • Utrex

    Ooo , yummy model came in from gfs. The ridge isn’t there anymore .
    Bad thing is, no precipitation for California. The jet does break through, but it’s aimed at the PNW.
    -
    Enough. I’ve lost my hope. Time to wait a whole 10 months again. =(

  • Dan the Weatherman

    I still can’t imagine the rest of this winter being as dry as this despite what the models are spitting out right now. If it doesn’t change to at least a somewhat wetter pattern by early February, then something really abnormal or very different is going on this year than in previous years.

    • Azmordean

      My only consolation is I never really expected a change before end of month or early February. I always felt the GFS was probably early with the pattern change. The end of the run is JAN 27 currently.

      In about a week the end of the run will be into early February. If all the models are still showing nothing by then I’ll start to panic more in earnest :).

  • rainscout

    If this where a football score it would be SOBRRR..13 and 1/2 months..almost total control and Pacific Storm track..0..while I agree with the idea that this can’t last for the whole rain season.. I am now wondering if this year will end with almost no real rain event of any significance…I think we are already in serious uncharted territory and as I said Calif. will be brought to its knees..I can’t even believe we can have a debate about “fracking” for natural gas which uses millions of gals. of water and puts ground water at risk during a possible drought of epic proportions…we cannot keep taking from every resource and not expect serious reprocussions…I also think the ECMF is far more acurate than the GFS as it has been holding the ridge in place with little deviation and seems to be the much more reliable long range model…I will still keep up my Rain dance and hope for the best…

  • Utrex

    I noticed something…
    The US goes through patterns of precipitation…
    Right now, the US is in the “dry phase”. I’ve noticed that states are getting drier than usual these past years… Likely due to the PDO.
    -
    Not just the US, though. Has anybody noticed the entire West is facing dry conditions? Well, what I noticed is that dry year periods are followed by wet periods. In addition, drier periods are followed by wetter periods. We are facing extraordinary dry conditions. That may be changed to extraordinary wet conditions soon. With the record dry 2013 year, will we face record wet years soon? That’s what I’m waiting for. More signs are: developing +PDO and a developing El Nino come mid-late ’14. This is what I’m anticipating!

    • Dan the Weatherman

      At some point in time down the road we will experience wet to very wet conditions once we get back into a wetter regime, as we tend to cycle between wetter and drier periods. Even if we have an El Nino develop next year and the PDO temporarily turns positive and we get good rainfall, we are still in a -PDO phase overall and that will probably continue into the 2020s at least as these oscillation patterns tend to last 20-30 years. As long as the AMO stays positive and the PDO stays negative, we are, unfortunately, going to still have dry years, but hopefully not as bad what we are currently experiencing, unless we have a moderate to strong ENSO event.

      • Utrex

        I keep forgetting about the AMO lol. Combine a +AMO and -PDO and you get really “dead” weather in SW US, but a bit wetter in NW US. Strange thing is that WA is getting nice rain amounts, but Oregon down to Socal is dry…

        • Dan the Weatherman

          Even WA has been drier than average this season even though they are now getting some good rains for a change. Last winter WA was near normal in the Seattle area northward, but I think it was somewhat drier than average further south, while Oregon has been really dry like you said.

    • Loyal Brooks

      The wild dry and wet swings in CA’s rainfall can be seen only 6 years apart: 1977 and 1983. Most years have below average rainfall, interspersed with exceptionally wet ones, creating an average that is not often observed. This pattern is most prominent the farther south you go in CA. This is largely due to the rhythm of the atmospheric river events (resulting from the oscillations of various teleconnections – El Nino being the most obvious). There is truth to the saying “It never rains in southern California – except when it pours.”

  • http://www.weatherwest.com/ Weather West

    Writing the new update right now. Will up up in an hour or so…

    • http://www.weatherwest.com/ Weather West

      It’s up!

  • Pingback: The Ridiculously Resilient Ridge continues into 2014; California drought intensifies | California Weather Blog

  • Pingback: The California Drought Will Affect More Than Just One State » Preparing With Dave

  • Pingback: California droughts precipitate innovation | California WaterBlog

  • Mitchell Coles

    The presented data suggests very strong similarities between 1976-77 event and ongoing 2013-2014 drought.

  • I HAVE MY LOVE BACK

    AM Feild Engineer Lin Ching Wu from Japan, I am not used to this but i have to do this because i want the world and entire earth to know about Lord Zilialia. He is a blessing to man kind and a blessing to me in particular. Search no more for help any where your help is come. Just contact Lord Zilialia on spellcaster1202@gmail.com and you will be glad you did. Even Japanese do need help.

    Lin Ching Wu