California’s record-warmest year worsens exceptional drought; El Niño continues to develop in Pacific

Filed in Uncategorized by on June 22, 2014 233 Comments

Summary of recent weather conditions

The past couple of weeks have been warm and dry across nearly the entire state.

Persistent high pressure and geopotential height ridging have continued across the North Pacific in recent weeks. (NOAA/ESRL)

Persistent high pressure and geopotential height ridging have continued across the North Pacific in recent weeks. (NOAA/ESRL)

While no widespread major heat waves occurred, certain regions (particularly in the Sacramento Valley) did set new daily record highs on a couple of occasions since my last post, and most other regions have averaged at least several degrees above normal for this time of year. “June gloom”–or the marine stratus and low clouds that are typically prevalent near the California coastline during early summer–has been less extensive than usual so far this summer. On a possibly related note, sea surface temperatures (SSTs) are warmer than normal along the coast of Southern California (by as much as +3-4 F).

 

The near-term future: perhaps some showers, then a classic California heat wave

There does appear to be a bit of a temporary pattern shift coming to the East Pacific over the next few days. While the entire region has been dominated by a persistent ridge of high pressure and high atmospheric heights over the past several weeks (and, really, the past couple of months), an unusually strong trough and associated series of weak disturbances is expected to develop northwest of California later this week. The numerical models have been struggling considerably with this development, with a handful of ensemble member suggest the potential for some significant precipitation across Northern California by the end of June and the majority suggesting little to no precipitation. Disagreement–even between successive runs of the same model–remains high, so the forecast for the coming week in NorCal remains characterized by high uncertainty.

At the moment, the likeliest outcome appears to be the occurrence of some (probably light) showers across the northern third of the state later this week, possibly associated with isolated thunderstorms if stratiform cloudiness isn’t too thick to prevent surface heating. This event does not appear to be a repeat of last year’s rather extraordinary mid-summer atmospheric river event, which produced significant precipitation in regions unaccustomed to seeing such conditions during the typically well-defined dry season. Thus, a best estimate at the moment is that the primary effect of this week’s pattern change may be to very briefly reduce wildfire risk in the far northern reaches of the state, though this could be negated if lightning strikes occur or gusty winds develop behind the departing weak low pressure areas (which currently appears likely). That said, these sorts of disturbances bear watching during the summer months, since they are not favored climatologically and can occasionally lead to surprises.

GFS depiction of Western U.S. heat wave in early July. (NOAA/NCEP)

GFS depiction of Western U.S. heat wave in early July. (NOAA/NCEP)

There’s actually more confidence in the long-term forecast at the moment, since there have been pretty consistent signals in the models over the past week or so that a rather large and intense region of heat associated with strong ridging over the Desert Southwest/Four Corners region will develop by early July. California will be on the northwestern periphery of this big ridge (as is typical for this time of year). This pattern will likely be conducive to persistently hot/very hot conditions inland and occasional bursts of hot conditions closer to the coast, especially in Southern California. Also: while it’s still pretty early to be talking about monsoonal moisture incursions into the Golden State, it does appear that some southeasterly flow may develop during week 2 of the current forecast cycle and thus I would not be entirely surprised to see some early-season mountain/desert thunderstorms around the 4th of July weekend.

 

2014 California’s all-time record warmest year to date; exceptional drought region expands

California’s exceptional drought continues to make national and international headlines, and for good reason. 2014 has been (and remains) California’s warmest year to date in at least 118 years of record-keeping (and this follows the superlative warmest winter on record in 2013-2014). While the Water Year totals are not year in, 2013-2014 is destined to be among the top 3 driest Water Years on record, and this follows the all-time driest calendar year on record (by far) in 2013.

2014 remains California's warmest year on record to date. (NOAA/NCDC)

2014 remains California’s warmest year on record to date. (NOAA/NCDC)

The Palmer Drought Severity Index is currently at its lowest value in 118+ years. (NOAA/NCDC)

The Palmer Drought Severity Index is currently at its lowest value to date in 118+ years. (NOAA/NCDC)

Parallels have increasingly been drawn between the current event and both the much-remembered mid-1970s drought and the less-remembered but perhaps even more intense 1930s drought (which was associated with a much broader event across much of North America, including the devastating Dust Bowl conditions in the Great Plains). Given the fact that conditions during the present event are occurring in the broader context of record-warm temperatures–with associated record-high evaporation and soil/vegetation dryness–by some measures the hydrological intensity of the current drought is exceeding that of any recorded historical drought in California. And it’s also worth keeping in mind that we don’t yet know when the current drought will end: as many have noted, even a wetter-than-normal winter in 2014-2015 would almost certainly not be able to erase the phenomenal water deficits that currently exist around the state.

 

El Niño update: the tropical atmosphere might finally be getting its act together

The evolving El Niño event in the tropical Pacific Ocean continues to garner considerable media attention, and along with this heightened level of interest has come a rather wide array of dubious and often conflicting information. What follows is a quick recap of the relevant events thus far.

In early 2014, a very strong (and possibly record-breaking) oceanic Kelvin wave was initiated by a series of westerly wind bursts in the western tropical Pacific Ocean. The downwelling (warming) portion of this slow-moving wave propagated eastward towards the western coast of South America during the spring, and the warm temperature anomalies associated with this wave have now surfaced in the East Pacific. Substantial positive SST anomalies developed in April and May in the vicinity of the Galapagos Islands, and have since expanded in all directions (but most notably back westward along the equator). At the same time, westerly wind anomalies decreased in the West Pacific (with a total absence of observed synoptic-scale westerly wind bursts), which means that no new Kelvin waves have been generated since the very large one earlier this year. There has been some recent concern that the atmosphere was not reflecting the developing El Niño conditions in the tropical ocean, and some have suggested that this may be a sign that El Niño’s development may have stalled or even fallen apart. Coupled ocean-atmosphere model projections suggested a slight weakening in the expected intensity of El Niño conditions to be observed during fall/winter 2014-2015.

However, over the past week, a remarkable (and rather surprising) rise in SST anomalies across much of the equatorial East Pacific Ocean caused the Nino 3.4 Index (the SST index typically used to characterize the state of ENSO) to rise well above the El Niño threshold of +0.5 C: the value on June 21st now stands at +1.05 C. This value is well above that projected by most models to occur for the rest of the summer. While the possibility exist that this is merely a transient spike in SST and that ocean surface temperatures will decrease again before rising later this summer, this may be a suggestion that the dynamical models are underestimating the potential strength of the developing event.

Rapid warming of the equatorial East Pacific has occurred in recent days. (NOAA/ESRL)

Another piece of interesting news on the El Niño front is that the large-scale atmospheric conditions in the tropical Pacific appear to be becoming rapidly more favorable for the development of westerly wind anomalies (and bursts) over the coming weeks and thus in reinforcing the developing warm SST anomalies in the canonical El Niño region. While considerable uncertainty remains, most models currently project an eastward propagation of the Madden-Julian Oscillation (sidebar: the MJO is the predominant mode of intraseasonal atmospheric variability in the tropical Indian/Pacific oceans) signal into the West Pacific, which would provide additional evidence of El Niño’s impending reinforcement. Should these forecasts indeed come to pass, a new equatorial Kelvin wave will likely be generated, which would help to reinforce El Niño toward the end of summer just when reinforcement will be most needed. Very recent model projections appear to be taking this evolution into account, since there has once again been an upswing in projected Nino 3.4 region anomalies for the fall/winter months.

What is the most important message at the moment regarding El Niño? Well, El Niño is essentially already underway, though its potential intensity during the fall/winter months remains uncertain. While the dynamical models project a peak likelihood of a moderate-strength event, a strong event remains eminently possible given recent atmosphere/ocean observations and the possibility that even our best models may have a tendency to under-predict strong El Niño events. Finally, as I’ve pointed out frequently in the recent past: El Niño generally does not equate drought relief in California, though a particularly strong event would most likely prevent another dry year from occurring. And either way, the fact remains: we’ve still got a long, dry summer ahead. Stay tuned.

© 2014 WEATHER WEST

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  • JibJab2

    Thanks for the update!

  • Pingback: California Weather Blog: California’s record-warmest year worsens exceptional drought; El Niño continues to develop in Pacific » MAVEN'S NOTEBOOK | MAVEN'S NOTEBOOK()

  • xeren

    Weird, the weekly enso update is still showing .5 for the 3.4 region.

    http://www.cpc.ncep.noaa.gov/products/analysis_monitoring/enso_advisory/

    I wonder if it’s not as up to date, or that 1.0 degree reading was just anomalous

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

      That’s the weekly value. The rise was so quick that it’s not captured yet in the weekly mean. I’m increasingly convinced these are real values–the surface currents correspond to the SST spike.

      • xeren

        ah, good to know! the nino 3 and 1+2 region are up on the weekly charts, so i guess it’s not surprising that 3.4 is actually up as well.

  • craig matthews

    Awesome as always Weather West. I hope that the spike in ssts in Nino 3.4 is not transient. The waters underneath seam to be cooling. But, as you said, new WWB now in the making which is starting to become evident on the latest Global Winds. Also, there has been a weakening of the trades east of the date line over the last week, and I am wondering if that might be a part of the reason for the spike in ssts in Nino 3 an 3.4? Anyway, it is so dry out here in the woods. Some of my deciduous trees are already loosing their leaves, and I don’t think they can take another dry winter like the last 2 winters.

    • Xerophobe

      Craig, I know what you mean about the vegetation, It may not be too late if you can deep irrigate them. Auger and water inside the drip line if the tree if it’s deciduous. I started that with a few trees I have that are non-native in late January, They showed stress when we had that warm spell in October and those trees went went from turning color to dried up dead on the tree in a couple of days. I may still lose one. That 13 month period of virtually no rain is starting to take it’s toll on natives, too.

      • craig matthews

        That is a good idea Zerophobe. Since I have a well and don’t rely on public water, I have a little more freedom to save my trees by doing like you say. Auger in a slow leaching drip line is the way to go. With surface watering, there is too much evaporation with all of this wind we have been having lately.

    • Kamau40

      Craig-

      Dan(Weather West)did another great post of accurately describing both the current severe-extreme drought situation in Ca and what we can likely anticipate with the developing El Nino pattern. With the development of another round of strong WWBs out of the Western Pacific, it is likely we will see another robust Oceanic Kelvin Wave to develop for later in the Summer which now increases the risk again of El Nino becoming “possibly” strong for upcoming Fall/ Winter. The link below also shows another snapshot of the sudden increase of the SST in the Eastern Pacific during the last week. This is great news for this event to have legs in the future. Stay tuned.
      http://www.cpc.ncep.noaa.gov/products/analysis_monitoring/enso_update/gsstanim.shtml

      • Loyal Brooks

        We’ve all seen the charts and maps that chronicle the effect of an El Nino and the wetness of the California winter seasons. Other than a STRONG El Nino, there is no reliable correlation (region-wide) that there will be a wet year.

        I have been a bit concerned that the development hasn’t been as robust as hoped for – but this is still that “twilight” time in the development of an El Nino – or not. Things are more recently looking up for a stronger El Nino, but if it isn’t very strong, don’t necessarily count on a wet season.

        It would be best if there were several seasons in a row of varying degrees of wetness to bring things back to “normal.” However, Dan Swain’s report above shows the overall trend towards warming temps and a general drying of California in the big picture.

        Is this happening because of variations in the state of the Pacific in the last century? Is it due to larger and more global factors? Or is it a combination of both?

        • Kamau40

          Yes, I agree with all of your above statements which echoes in context everything I have been saying all along. The bottom line is no one knows why there is a drying trend in the state during the last century. I believe a lot has to do more with the variations of the phases of the Pacific Ocean and the Sunspot cycles(Min/Max).

      • craig matthews

        We really need the atmosphere to become coupled with the ocean in an El Nino state. And what Dan’s post is describing gives me more confidence that both atmosphere and ocean will be in an El Nino state this summer and perhaps strengthen this fall with the development of a new kelvin wave. I am still a little bit concerned about the movement of the North Pacific warm pool, and how that may affect El Nino telleconnections going into next fall and winter.

        • Kamau40

          Yes, that is absolutely correct. The atmosphere does need to become coupled with the ocean in an El Nino state. There are indications that the atmosphere should start to respond sometime between July and Aug along with the development of a new oceanic Kelvin Wave to help reinforce the warming off the Peruvian coast in So. America.

    • Kamau40

      What I have also noticed so far within the last month is that it has been much breezier than what I have seen in a very long time. Have you experienced lots of breezes down in Monterey lately?

  • Xerophobe

    Will this possibly facilitate a WWB?
    850hPa winds 20140623 12:00 UTC.
    circle show lat/long with wind direction and speed…close to calm I guess ‘cuz it’s near the center.

    Also what is north of the Solomon’s anything possible for WWB help?

    • craig matthews

      Now that’s a very good sign! Trade winds have weakened all the way east of the dateline, and a pulse of westerlies is increasing in the very far equatorial pacific. I don’t have the quals to make the call that that is a WWB, but it sure looks like one is now developing.

  • politik

    Reading a recent SW monsoon forecast from NWS ABQ region points to a strong correlation to early-onset El Nino and increased precip totals in New Mexico due to increased moisture transport from warmer Mexican west Coast, Gulf of Cal and Gulf of Mexico waters. I know most El Nino effects revolve around Eastern and North Pacific Ocean storms, an increased SW monsoon could help the Sierra and SW deserts
    As an aside hot dry Junes have always preceded the SW monsoon in AZ and NM, so is a hot june an anomaly in CA?

  • so.cal.storm.lover
  • ApocalypseNow

    What do you guys think of this article claiming a possible “cancel” on the El Nino?
    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2014/06/23/the-201415-el-nino-part-11-is-the-el-nino-dying/

    • xeren

      the guy is trying to sell his climate change denial book. the individual post may or may not be sound, but i try not to frequent his site on principle.

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

      In reference to that specific post only: I actually think a lot of the evidence presented therein actually suggests that there’s still excellent potential for a significant El Nino. The claim that new WWBs will be required to maintain/strengthen El Nino is certainly true, but I see no reason why this won’t occur (in fact, it appears that one is starting today!). No “El Nino cancel.”

    • lightning10

      I bet this dude is lives in Washington where they hate El Nino and love to root against it.

      • xeren

        I’m guessing he’s a skier that lives in the pnw and just watches “attack of La Nina” on repeat all day during the summer :)

        • lightning10

          I could see him watching old gif’s of the ocean temps as they cool over and over again. Dreaming of Winters like 1990.

    • Xerophobe

      I read his stuff and have gotten a lot of useful info related to ENSO there. The article wasn’t that bad as far as cancel El Nino. It’s pretty much a broad consensus that there needs to be some more WWB’s if only to get the atmosphere to teleconnect to and support the upwelling of the huge Kelvin wave.

    • Dogwood

      The article was fine. I enjoyed the info.
      Some of the many comments were a hoot tho.
      Apparently those who are still banking on El Niño are blindly gazing onto a medieval map of the ocean that states “Here be dragons”.

  • Erik Hostetter

    If the tuna fishing going on right now means anything. We are in for a full blown El Nino Event. The 1st Hurricane of the season was a Cat 3/4 and for awhile floted with being a Cat 5. This was in May before the season even began. I can attest to the water temp increase in So Calif as the temp “outside” (10-60 miles) has been 70-72 and now pushing 73-74 in spots for the last 6 weeks. Couple that with the early show of the Yellowfin and Dorado, absence of Albacore and the near non existence of Sardines and all of the small “Chovies” Things are VERY, VERY FISHY. My history only goes back to the late 70’s, but I fished the El Nino of 82/83, 90-92ish, and again 96/97. I would bet 55% of a “teeth getting kicked in” El Nino event. But as Dennis Miller has said ” I could be wrong”

    Thanks for the update Weather West. I follow your every word when posted on the hotlist.

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

      Historically, unusual fish catches near California have indeed been associated with significant El Nino episodes. It’s most likely that the near-shore SST anomalies are the reason why these fish appear so far outside of their normal range, so it’s actually more of a response to current conditions than a portent of the coming winter. It’s unlikely the fish have inside knowledge regarding whether we’ll see another big Kelvin wave or not… ;)

      • Dan the Weatherman

        If I remember correctly, when waters are warmer than normal, there are more jellyfish close to shore in Socal, leading to more people being stung by jellyfish when wading or swimming at the beach.

  • ApocalypseNow

    Are you predicting a fall peak or a winter peak of this El Nino based on the current Kelvin Wave? Most models predict a peak around October/November. Does it also mean that we will see a heavier front end rainy season with most rains coming in November and December with a drier spring transitioning into La Nina next spring/summer?

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

      El Nino does not necessarily “mean” anything with respect to California precipitation, especially when we start asking about specific months. Right now, this event is still expected to peak during winter.

    • xeren

      there’s no guarantee of a la nina next spring/summer, regardless of what happens this winter.

      sometimes you have several el ninos in a row, sometimes several la ninas, sometimes just enso neutral.

      http://www.cpc.ncep.noaa.gov/products/analysis_monitoring/ensostuff/ensoyears.shtml

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

    CFS projections more bullish again…

    • lightning10

      This thing has more up and downs than the stock market.

    • Xerophobe

      Nice to see the “latest 8 forecast members” are bullish, yes?

  • craig matthews

    Correct me if I am wrong, but don’t ssts usually become cooler then normal in the far western equatorial pacific and off the northeast coast of Australia as the ssts become much warmer then normal in the central and eastern equatorial pacific during El Nino events? In the last several weeks I have noticed that waters in the far western pacific and eastern Indian Ocean have been warmer then normal, and the latest picture shows that it appears warmer waters are building up in the far western tropical pacific. Could this be the reason for lack of positive feedbacks so far during this event, and maybe in part the reason that the atmosphere is not fully responding to the developing El Nino in the eastern equatorial pacific basin, being that there isn’t as much of a west- east gradient anomaly. Anyway, the latest WWB might change the appearance here.

    • Dan the Weatherman

      That is a good question. It seems to me that SSTs in the western Pacific and off NE Australia usually cool as El Nino develops as that warm water is located more to the east. Parts of Australia are prone to drought conditions during El Nino (even though it doesn’t always happen) and it may be due to the cooler waters.

    • Xerophobe

      Kinda hard to find a pressure gradient between Darwin, NT and Tahiti with all that warm water. “SOI” Yes..’normally’ one would see the SSTA being cooler in those areas…this year has been odd since day one. SOI needs to show some negative pressures to reinforce this thing. I’m hoping for an active polar jet regardless this winter.

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

      Yep. The normal El Nino teleconnections require that the W. Pac. be less anomalously warm than the east, and right now it’s warm across the entire basin! Fortunately, this is something that will most likely resolve itself in time, as long as E. Pac. anomalies are sustained.

      • craig matthews

        Are we still expecting to see sustained WWB’s in the next couple of weeks or so? I haven’t been able to find a new update, but looks like there is somewhat of a westerly flow developing in the western equatorial pacific right now.

    • Cliff Collipriest

      What concerns me is the above normal SST’s in the gulf of Alaska and northeastern Pacific. Wasn’t this the pattern during the period the RRR was so entrenched? If this pattern continues into winter could it not induce a new RRR?

      • craig matthews

        The North Pacific Warm pool and its connection to the anomalous ridging in the Northeast pacific is still kind of a mystery. They both developed about the same time when looking at sst anomaly animations. The difference this time around is that we have what appears to be a developing El Nino. If this El Nino intensifies, and the atmosphere responds, we may end up with a different weather pattern even if the North Pacific Warm Pool remains in place. But, these are just “if” and “might happens”. Nobody knows for sure what next winter will bring.

        • Dan the Weatherman

          If the RRR does reform, hopefully the southern branch / subtropical jet streams are strong enough to undercut the ridge, and I believe that will be more likely in a stronger El Nino. The last couple of seasons I think we have been at the mercy of the northern jet without a southern branch or a subtropical jet to undercut that ridge due to the -PDO, ENSO neutral, and possibly the +AMO as well.

          • craig matthews

            I think you are absolutely right Dan T. W. M. Here’s a satellite picture taken of the February 1991 “breakthrough”, where a strong blocking ridge that winter was finally undercut by a strong low latitude jet. That was right before the 1991-92 El NIno.

  • lightning10

    Quite the swarm of earthquakes over the past day or so. Something to keep an eye on.

    • David Thomas

      where?

      • Dan the Weatherman

        I was thinking the same thing. The quakes certainly have not been in Socal, or at least, not strong enough to be felt here in Orange.

  • http://yourlivingbody.com/ Your Living Body

    Went for a surf this morning in San Diego – I can’t remember the ocean being this warm for June for the last few years at least. Life guard said the water temp was 72. Something else I haven’t seen in a while – full blown algae bloom in the water in June.

    • Dave R

      Also in the water last weekend in San Diego – water temps felt like late summer, not early summer. Very, very, warm for this time of year.

      Bonus? No wetsuit required!

      • Dan the Weatherman

        Those are definitely late summer water temperatures for San Diego, which are more typical of August or September especially during a developing El Nino.

        • http://yourlivingbody.com/ Your Living Body

          Yeah past few years the summer waters have been plagued with cold upwelling. We only had short periods of warm water.

      • http://yourlivingbody.com/ Your Living Body

        I made the mistake of only bringing my full suit!

  • Zepp

    We have some light shower activity up here in the Mount Shasta area. So far, just a “T”, but it smells WONDERFUL. I’ve got all the windows open to enjoy the freshness of it.

  • Utrex

    I don’t know if anyone noticed, but the SOI index this week has been all negative. Right now, it stands at -13.8. Negative SOI values mean El Nino, while positive SOI values mean La Nina. Could the atmosphere be beginning to switch to an El Nino state?

    • Dan the Weatherman

      I certainly hope so. If the SOI remains negative during the summer months, that would be a very good sign. Even if it goes temporarily positive for a couple of short periods, but overall it averages negative, that is also OK. The SOI fluctuates as it is the measure of pressure differences between Darwin and Tahiti, so local weather patterns in those two regions can affect the SOI on a short-term basis.

      • Utrex

        it’s now at -20.6!

    • Xerophobe

      The SOI has dropped significantly at the moment because of a low pressure system a few degrees south and west of Tahiti.

  • Joseph B.

    Light showers falling in Martinez area now.

  • Xerophobe

    Is it normal in the development of an El Nino for the equatorial counter current to flip back to East to West in the El Nino regions?? Right now it’s freaking me out!

    Westerly anomalies still showing, but anything happening now to support atmospheric coupling to keep this thing going?

  • lightning10

    Here is a graph proving that Southern California is one of the last places in the United States to cool down. Summer peaks the latest here.

    http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/sites/default/files/styles/full_page_width/public/US-Warmest-Day-of-the-Year-Map.jpg?itok=gCwhe_Ul

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

      Most of the West Coast is like this–it’s because the coastal fog that is so prevalent most of the summer finally goes away in September (when the sun’s still fairly high).

      • inclinejj

        Grew up on the coast 15 minutes away from Downtown SF. The nicest weather on the coast seemed to be like this.

        When fall high school football practice started in mid to late August very hot. September warm during the first two weeks mild the rest of the month and October was always decent weather with maybe one or two first of the rainy seasons storms.

        • Kamau40

          I lived in Pacifica for many years and that is precisely how I remember the weather patterns to be along the coast between Aug-Oct.

          • inclinejj

            Kamau

            We were once Neighbors I grew up in the back of the valley. Did you go to TN or Oceana?

          • Kamau40

            I went to Oceana. ’92 Graduate.

          • inclinejj

            Terra Nova 1982

    • http://yourlivingbody.com/ Your Living Body

      I know it’s always hot going into September…even October sometimes but really, the hottest days in Imperial county are in July? I call shenanigans. El Centro is a bazillion degrees way past that…

  • craig matthews

    So, the Upper- Ocean Heat Anomalies that were over +1.8C along the equatorial pacific a few months ago have dropped tremendously and are now at only +0.3C. Basically the Upper Ocean heat Anomaly is almost completely gone and will be in the negative soon. Will this have an effect on the current El Nino developing in the eastern equatorial pacific?

    • Kamau40

      I think the strong Upper-Ocean heat anomalies had to do with the record large Kelvin Wave which now has mostly dissipated. It explains why there has been a sudden increase in the sea surface temperatures in the Eastern Pacific off of the coast of Peru. I think I sent you a link on this just a few days ago. Also, we have not had a new Kelvin Wave since the most recent record breaking one that is why it may appear the waters are cooling but there is no evidence to suggest otherwise. However, now with new very strong WWBs are currently developing which looks quite impressive going into Sep, I think we are likely to see another strong oceanic Kelvin Wave to move east toward So. America later this Summer to help reinforce the already very warm ocean water current. Review second link that was posted on the side of this website by Daniel Swain.
      https://twitter.com/Weather_West/status/482259967827664898/photo/1

      • craig matthews

        Thank you so much! This is exactly the page I have been looking for that was posted a week ago, but then just up and disappeared from the scene for some reason. Now its back and I see Dan’s re tweeted it as well. What I am seeing in the T-Depth Animation right now kind of scares me to tell you the truth. WE need a warm kelvin wave to be initiated very soon here, or, I do not see this El nino getting any stronger. Because right now all of the heat that was generated from that one big kelvin wave earlier this year is being lifted to the surface of the ocean and is being released into the atmosphere in which the ocean could begin to loose its heat content unless a new warm kelvin wave sustains the warmer waters at the surface from underneath. Sorry, just my own personal opinion and I am not trying to be disrespectful or rain on everybody’s parade here. These WWB’s are a good sign and hopefully they will generate another oceanic kelvin wave that will sustain those warm waters.

        • Kamau40

          Craig-
          You’re welcome. In response, however, to the middle portion of your paragraph, yes the big oceanic kelvin wave is being lifted to the surface with its heat content which seems like the ocean is cooling after it. This does not suggest that the ocean is losing its heat because that is just how Kelvin Waves work. Please review link below of the T-depth and take a look at the second snapshot of the heat content below the Pacific Ocean depths. There is still plenty of warm water out there which is why we have seen a sudden spike in the SSTA off the coast of So. America. Also, it is still relatively too early to determine the strength of this event especially in light of the recent developing WWBs which should eventually generate another robust oceanic Kelvin Wave.
          http://www.cpc.ncep.noaa.gov/products/analysis_monitoring/enso_update/wkxzteq.shtml

          • craig matthews

            Sorry for the repetition. It seams we are going round in circles here. Your responses are very welcomed. It is just that I am seeing these developments unfold in the pacific that don’t make sense to me. Anyway, good news on the front. WWB looks like is getting strong, and projections keep it sustained going into early September! Wow, that could generate an even stronger kelvin wave then what we saw earlier this year. And if those warm waters are able to be sustained in the eastern equatorial pacific through this summer, this could very well become a very strong El Nino by mid to late fall.

          • Kamau40

            We are not at all going around in circles. It is all about learning together about the atmosphere, weather and climate. You bring up great points that always keeps me on my toes which is healthy. As you know, no one knows everything and that is why we ponder, discuss and even debate with the support of adequate resources and information so we can search for truth. There are many things about the oceans and its responses to atmospheric patterns that do not make sense. You’ve just made another interesting observation in your paragraph. I’m wondering too about the period that we have just entered in with strong sustained WWBs between and Sep. When looking at the chart above, it looks like that the WWBs will be even stronger than they were during the late winter and early spring months and could that mean the potential for even a stronger Kelvin Wave than the record one that is still surfacing up in the E.Pac? Don’t know the answer to that one, but it will be very interesting to see how all of this will unfold in the coming weeks.

        • Kamau40

          Dan(Weather West) has confirmed today that a strong WWBs has developed in the W.Pac which further corroborates the updated wind bursts animation I sent you above yesterday. Also, another weather forecaster is already showing a very wet Jan ’15 for much of Ca. Please review link below.
          https://blu178.mail.live.com/default.aspx?id=64855#tid=cmONXWsbX94xG1LwAjfeMuqA2&fid=flinbox

          • Kamau40

            Dan’s response above is excellent. The first blogger above also shows in detail the strong circulation of westerlies that has occurred in the W.Pac. Even now the CFS projections are back to very strong again even though the water temp may temporarily cool in the E.Pac in July. See SSTA projection below for July. Notice too that there are even some projections of the event peaking Jan or Feb’15. We still, however, have a 2-3 more months before we have the best idea of the strength and the most likely peak of this event.

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

          Yes–the EKW is now surfacing, and there isn’t a lot of subsurface warm water to replace it. Yet. A strong WWB is finally occurring in the W. Pac., and this will probably generate a new subsurface pool of warm water which will surface in the late summer. There may be a brief period during July when E. Pac. SST anomalies weaken, however, before strongly increasing again by August/September. In some ways, this event is looking like a cross between 97/98 and 82/83, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that the impacts will ultimately be similar. What’s clear is that we’re not in for a “textbook” event, though that does not mean that it won’t be strong. We still just don’t know. For what it’s worth, the recent CFS projections are way up–all the recent ensemble runs are above +1.5 and some above 2 (once again).

          • craig matthews

            Your responses are very helpful, and encouraging as well. As you can see, I am having some trouble understanding how this El Nino is developing, as I am seeing developments unfold across the pacific basin that don’t seam to fit into my perspective of how El Nino should develop and how the ocean and atmosphere should respond to a developing El Nino. But, who am I to think I can even remotely have this whole thing figured out. Seams like more often then not, we get surprised by what the ocean and atmosphere does.

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

    New GFS joins recent ECMWF runs in bringing some tropical remnants into California over the 4th of July weekend. This will definitely be something to keep an eye on.

    Also, new CFS projections (even ignoring El Nino for a moment) suggest very warm E. Pac. SSTs west of Baja CA and most of California later this summer/fall. I’m really thinking that the likelihood of tropical system remnants affecting California over the next 3-4 months is probably much higher than during a typical summer.

    • ApocalypseNow

      Rain on 4th of July? Is this just in the deserts and mountains or could it make it to the coast as well? That would be a very rare event.

    • Kamau40

      Another thing to point out is that Howard Schectner yesterday mention that the 12z GFS is strongly suggesting a SE flow to develop starting next Mon and continuing into next week. Also, he mentions today that another sign of an El Nino pattern developing is the relationship of troughs going into July could be a good sign of an active upcoming winter. I think during the Summers of 1997 and 1982 there were a lot of troughs which all proceeded active winters. Does anyone have information or data for support?
      http://mammothweather.com/

    • Kamau40

      Here is another model projection from weathercentre for early next week showing Surface Cape’s. Notice there seems to be an increase from the desert So. West moving into So. Ca. This could be the projected start of the SE. flow that I discussed below from yesterday. Quite a bit of items to keep a very close eye on in the coming days.

  • lightning10

    Models holding onto the idea of a tropical system bringing up moisture.

  • Xerophobe

    Haven’t seen this much circulation and Westerlies. Location is New Guinea, out to almost the Bairiki’s.

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

      Yep–a major WWB has begun in the W. Pac.

    • craig matthews

      Wow! Now that is a nice looking large area of westerly winds. And they look strong too. Wondering what the ships and buoys are reporting down in that area.

  • craig matthews

    18zGFS. This is what is being talked about for what could happen around the 4th. It is a computer model forecast for 500mb heights. But it shows the position of the 4 corners high, and notice the giant circulation being drawn up off Baja toward California from the south southeast. This could be exciting, as long as that trough off the pacific northwest doesn’t try to ruin it for us.

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

    Pretty cool–GFS showing classic “Fujiwara Effect” between developing East Pacific tropical cyclones. That is not at all common in this part of the world–adjacent hurricanes are quite unusual. This may actually have some implications for California weather in the 7-10 day period. Stay tuned!

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

    Pretty cool–GFS showing classic “Fujiwhara Effect” between developing East Pacific tropical cyclones. That is not at all common in this part of the world–adjacent hurricanes are quite unusual. This may actually have some implications for California weather in the 7-10 day period. Stay tuned!!

    • Kamau40

      This is really starting to get interesting because the CPC models are showing moisture creeping into Ca within the next 6-10 days and even beyond:
      http://www.cpc.ncep.noaa.gov/products/predictions/610day/
      http://www.cpc.ncep.noaa.gov/products/predictions/814day/

    • Kamau40

      Dan-
      The only thing I’m wandering though is that if there is a trough that develops in the Pacific Northwest, which we may see more of during the month of July, could that hinder the potential for moisture coming up into Ca.? Usually when there is a trough in the Pac. NW any moisture that tries to come up from the south is shifted further east or south and does not make it into the state. Hence, it is when the position of the 4 corners high is positioned in the right location and there is no trough in the Pac. NW is usually when Ca. can see tropical moisture influx either from a dying E. Tropical system or a SE flow which often consist of the monsoons.

    • craig matthews

      Is that it, off the coast of Mexico at this time. Already looks like there are 2 centers, although not quite developed or organized just yet. Lots of activity down there where that very warm water resides

  • ApocalypseNow
    • Dan the Weatherman

      Bill Patzert of JPL is quoted in this article saying the following statement: “I don’t want to be the spoiler but what the data shows me is this El Niño is not building. It is dying.”
      Doesn’t he see the new WWB that has begun to develop in the western Pacific that has been mentioned here by Daniel Swain, or does he not watch for those type of phenomena?

      • Kamau40

        Dan-
        I totally agree with you too on this point. Apparently, he is oblivious and is not reading the latest signs and facts about the potential outcome in the future regarding the strength of this event. In this case I think he is in denial. Therefore, I respectfully disagree with his view and position about the current development of El Nino.

        • Dan the Weatherman

          Even though it is still too early to know the eventual strength of this developing El Nino, I do disagree with Patzert that it is going to fizzle. Maybe Daniel Swain (Weather West) will comment on this article and give a better explanation of Patzert’s current thoughts on the event.

          • Unbiased Observer

            Bill Patzert always has negative predictions about El Nino and the amount of precipitation that SoCal will receive. He’s been wrong many times, but yet he’s always the one they go to for the predictable response.

          • Kamau40

            Great point. Just a valid thought for support, if I recall correctly, did he make the same false prediction for the 1997-98 El Nino event? I believe, he did. But, correct me if I’m wrong because I do not want to make false accusations without proof.

          • Unbiased Observer

            According to that article he did correctly predict that one.

          • Kamau40

            Ok, thanks. Still though we know that he has been wrong many times on his predictions.

          • Sunchaser

            Took the words right out of my mouth….very negative for someone that works for JPL….his batting average sucks…lol..wheres Dr. George when you need him..lol.

  • Kamau40

    Record flooding in Alaska? Many stations reported record 24hr rainfall. In Sep ’13, they were experiencing drought conditions. Check out the pictures in the article.
    http://www.wunderground.com/blog/weatherhistorian/comment.html?entrynum=285

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

      Thanks for the heads-up!

  • lightning10

    Only in Las Vegas would you see them building a new massive water park with the record drought in Nevada.

  • Xerophobe

    Would the above average SST’s in the Western Pacific inhibit the atmosphere from beginning the important positive feedback loop? Is there a precedent for above average SST’s basin wide? Maybe we will find out this year?!?

    • craig matthews

      Something that I am wondering about too. And would that affect the Darwin-Tahiti pressure gradient as well? This is a comment from Daniel Swain a couple a days ago: “The normal El Nino teleconnections require that the Western Pacific be less anomalously warm then the east.” Then Dan said something along the lines that fortunately this will be resolved in time as long as the waters remain warmer then average in the east. So, hopefully, with the renewed WWBS, and another potential strong Kelvin Wave, this could change the emphasis of those warmer waters further east hence there would be much greater positive sst anomalies further east and either neutral or negative sst anomalies west along the equatorial pacific. Once that sst anomaly “layout” is established, then it seams like positive feedbacks should react as the “El Nino Gradient” along the equator is established. Right now we are wondering: How can a so called “El Nino Gradient” develop across the equator between Darwin-Tahiti, and even the coast of Equador if sst anomalies are almost equally anomalously warm? All I can say is, Daniel Swain is the man for this one. I don’t know what to think of this. There is a much better terminology for “The EL Nino Gradient” but I cant remember it now.

      • Kamau40

        Craig-
        The long range CFS models reflects that sea surface gradient temp will be less in the Western Pacific and much warmer than normal along the equator in the Eastern Pacific. See SSTA models below: I think Dan though will have a much better answer in detail to your question. Again, great question to ponder.

        http://origin.cpc.ncep.noaa.gov/products/people/wwang/cfsv2fcst/imagesInd3/glbSSTSeaInd6.gif

        • craig matthews

          Actually, that is Zerophobe who began that question and thought. But its a good one and something that we will learn about down the road here.

          • Kamau40

            My apologies! You’re right it is still a great question.

          • craig matthews

            That CFS forecast shows the warmest of sst anomalies being in the east/central pacific reaching the Galapagos. That would be good if it verifies and it seams like positive feedbacks should be occurring with this set up.

    • Guest

      as an addendum, I have looked at the Jason-2 satellite sea level residuals from January 2014 to June 2014 and it appears to tell a different story? What am I missing or more likely misunderstanding?

      below I’ve tried to post an animated gif I made of the sea level residuals…hope it’s not too big.

      • Xerophobe

        Daniel Swain can you delete this? “guest post” of mine, TIA

    • Xerophobe

      As an addendum to my questions; the sea level residuals from the Jason 2 satellite tell a different story. Or maybe I am missing something or more likely misunderstanding how to interpret the info?

      I tried posting an animated gif I made but it didn’t work IE deleted comment below. Now off to enjoy this glorious day on the central Coast!

      this link should work though http://makeagif.com/i/ZMmu09

      • craig matthews

        That Jason 2 is outdated, taken January 15 of this year. I couldn’t figure out how to get the animation to start. Any suggestions? Anyway, enjoy your day Zerophobe. Its quite a warm day down here in big sur.

        • Xerophobe

          did you click the link above ^

          • craig matthews

            Yes, it showed the same JAN 15 2014 picture and no animation icon that I could see. I’m sure it is there but I just don’t see it.

          • craig matthews

            Nevermind, sorry. Slow internet speed here. It works now and shows a great satellite animation of sea level residuals. Seams like the most current frame shows a somewhat equalized sea level with not much of an anomaly sticking that sticks out along the equator. But the animations shows that things change fast down there, and what we are viewing now is transient, as things are on the move down there.

  • craig matthews

    SOI index for the first time since March, has been staying in the negative for over a week straight now, and has reached at and over -20 the last 3 days. There has been a stronger high pressure cell over central Australia lately which could be aiding in those negative values as well. Hopefully this is an ongoing trend. SSTA’s off Australia southeast coast have cooled as well. Hope the WWB will be sustained for as long as they are predicting.

  • craig matthews

    This is a snapshot from space of the great 1997 El Nino taken June 29, 1997. Quite a difference from our current situation today. Note how much cooler the ssta’s were in the western pacific and off Austrailia. That El Nino was a freak!

  • ApocalypseNow

    Here’s some positive news: The 15 day outlook calls for an inch and a half of rain in San Diego towards the end of the forecast period
    http://www.myforecast.com/bin/expanded_forecast_15day.m?city=12152&metric=false

    Is this too good to be true?

    • Dan the Weatherman

      Yes, that’s too good to be true. It would take the remnants of a tropical system possibly with an easterly wave to produce significant rainfall in San Diego this time of year, and getting 1.5″ inches this time of year would be a really tall order.

      • ApocalypseNow

        I thought it belonged to the “I’ll believe it when I see it category,” but the very fact that they are making such an outlandish forecast wonders if the models that make those 2 week forecasts are sensing the El Nino? In any case, how accurate is forecasting 10-15 days?

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

          No one’s making that forecast. Some fully-automated algorithm spit that out based on an individual GFS day-15 realization, most likely. Nearly zero chance of actually occurring, as much as we might wish otherwise. I really wish some of these product vendors would stop making these kinds of “forecasts”–it’s highly unscientific and ultimately very inaccurate.

          • ApocalypseNow

            Rain has been removed from the forecast anyway. I was getting hopeful because you tweeted that the moisture from twin hurricanes forming in the Eastern Pacific may send some moisture our way. Anyway, what’s the latest on the Kelvin Wave and MJO? It looks like region 3.4 lost its drastic warming from last week. Will it come back again? What’s the long term picture?

  • xeren
    • Xerophobe

      From as early as mid-May the CFSv2 forecast ensemble was beginning to show this drop in SSTA in the 3.4 region with a pick-up in early July, well, Dang :) wouldn’t you know conditions are turning more upbeat! Hopefully these WWB’s will be strong enough to put some juice into a modest Kelvin and also get the SOI to continue to trend negative. Here’s the latest monthly forecast for SSTA’s in the 3.4 area and the latest sea surface wind and anomalies.

      • craig matthews

        Being that the CFSv2 is verifying. Some weight should be given to its forecast for the jump in ssta’s beginning later this summer. This model so far seams to be doing pretty good. It must be counting in the WWB and kelvin wave now developing in the western equatorial pacific into its calculations. Whatever the case, I hope CFSv2 continues to be right. Then we will be looking at a moderate to strong El Nino by fall.

        • xeren

          i think SST anomaly forecasts are pretty much not worth following for anything past about 2 weeks. this forecast was right in the short term, but if you take a snapshot of each daily update, and then look at them over the course of a month, anything over the short term swings wildly up and down from week to week.

          • craig matthews

            Small changes in conditions in the tropical pacific on a day to day basis give different outcomes. It seams to me its more about what the trend is over the course of several weeks. But I could be wrong.

        • xeren

          ah, here we go. the most recent CFSv2 that shows the 0.5 degree temp as of the end of this month is here:

          http://origin.cpc.ncep.noaa.gov/products/people/wwang/cfsv2fcst/imagesInd3/nino34Mon.gif

          but look at the forecast using data from just 10 days earlier

          http://origin.cpc.ncep.noaa.gov/products/people/wwang/cfsv2fcst/imagesInd2/nino34Mon.gif

          it missed its prediction by 0.2 degrees. doesn’t sound like a lot, but the 2 reports are using data that’s only 10 days apart!

    • Dogwood

      Doing what every single forecast member said it would do at July 1. Drop.
      30-90 days from now, we start to see where it builds.

      • xeren

        sorry, i’m not arguing el nino is cancelled, in fact, i’ve pointed out before that temps would definitely drop as we waited for another kelvin wave. I’m just disappointed that that huge spike was so temporary. i thought maybe el nino was about to get supercharged, but i guess daily temps can fluctuate like that from time to time.

    • ApocalypseNow
  • craig matthews

    Because of 9 the last 9 days in a row of SOI being in the negative, and over -20 for 3 days, our monthly SOI index for June will now be -0.84. Todays value still negative; -12ish. Looks like we are starting to see a more sustained change in SOI to negative now, and more high pressure is continuing over central Australia with more convection firing up in the western tropical pacific, meaning probably more negative SOI numbers to come this week. As Zerophobe posted below, 5 day mean for winds in the western equatorial pacific has been strongly westerly. WWB appears to be here, although there will be those daily fluctuations that occur as areas of convection pop up here and there, which has some localized effects on surface winds down there. But the main story, WWB appears to be remaining with us going into this week, and SOI numbers are staying negative. I’m no expert, but should this mean we should see that kelvin wave appear on the scene very soon?

    • Xerophobe

      FWIW today -22.8. It’s favorable I think because the SOI dropped dramatically during the sequence of WWB from Jan-March this year. I don’t know if a dropping SOI is the dog or the tail re WWB. If any kelvin forms it’s not forecast to be as strong or deep as earlier this year and the timing is about as late as it can get to sustain, actually rebuild now what’s already in the East Pacific. At the very least there needs to be an atmospheric teleconnection from the WWB’s now. This is all my SWAG and just enough knowledge to get me in trouble…LOL

      • craig matthews

        Hope Daniel Swain will have more on these thoughts and questions to clear the air. The SOI can drop without WWB’s around just by localized weather patterns around both Darwin and Tahiti that can have a more localized affect on the pressure readings between the 2 locations. But that is a very good question about the SOI being the dog or the tail re WWB. Because it seams like some kind of pressure gradient must first develop to get a WWB going.

  • Kamau40

    Ok, tomorrow is the official start of the new 2014-15 precipitation year for Ca. With all of the continued discussions about the development of El Niño, it will be very interesting to watch and see what type of weather pattern(s) will eventually materialize during this next year.

    • craig matthews

      Have you checked the last few runs of GFS? It has gone back to the idea of bringing back the 4 corners ridge and keeping the pacific northwest trough further north, making more room for tropical moisture to surge northward in the 5-10 day period.

      • Kamau40

        Yes, I have looked at the latest GFS runs. Interestingly, even to this date the models shows the possibility of tropical moisture creeping northwestward from NM/AZ; thus the middle to late next week bears close watching over next few days, especially with the 4 corners high strengthening and the trough in the Pac. NW moving further northward.

  • lightning10

    Lets take you back to December 2008. When it almost snow in the greater Los Angeles area. Had that stupid low took the track it was expected to there would have been thunderstorms and that would have pushed the rain/snow line down to near sea level. Several areas reported hail before sunset but the snow level stayed at 1,500 feet.

    It left a lot of people asking what could have been

    • Mike Stephenson

      There was snow halfway down the sana Ana mountains in corona, which was about 1500 feet. It was really cool to drive 5 minutes to the snow

      • Dan the Weatherman

        There was snow on the Santa Ana Mountains down to a level that I don’t believe that I have seen before during that storm in December 2008. I even took some pictures of the snow on the mountains that was visible from my living room window.

        • xeren

          If it ever makes it all the way down to the Sepulveda pass (I think it happened once 50 or so hears ago), its going to be anarchy

          • Dan the Weatherman

            That would likely stop traffic on the 405 Freeway like you have never seen before. It would be quite extraordinary to get snow in the Sepulveda Pass due to the proximity of the Pacific Ocean as you would have to only pass through Brentwood and Pacific Palisades before reaching the coast if you take Sunset Blvd.

    • ApocalypseNow

      Isn’t snow down to very low elevations (and in very rare instances, all the way to sea level) more of a La Nina occurrence? El Nino usually brings warm moist air via the Pineapple Express bringing snow levels to around 6,000 right?

      • lightning10

        Yes a strong La Nina and – PDO could create a chance of very low elevation snow. The problem is getting moisture with any of the storms. I would think you would need a scenario where a storm has, low precip values, moves in early in the morning or before sunset, takes an inside track, then has thunderstorms to push down the rain/snow line low enough.

        • ApocalypseNow

          You’d also need the system to come in late December or January for those long hours of darkness; right? February and March can produce cold weather systems but the longer hours of daylight make it a lot more difficult to bring snow down to low elevations? In any case, if we were to have a sea level snow accumulation event, 2014-2015 won’t be it. Maybe if we do get a strong El Nino, a strong La Nina would follow 2015-2016 bringing a rare sea level accumulation event?

  • Utrex

    GFS picking up precipitation along NorCal areas around July 14th or so. This looks monsoonal and convective precip. Interesting to see how precipitation will play out for the rest of the summer… with this El Nino.

  • Bandini

    Big dark clouds above Kings Beach and the Carson Range, looks like something might be firing up. This heat is ridiculous.

  • Dan the Weatherman

    Downtown Los Angeles has had back to back rainy seasons of less than 7″ for the first time since records have been kept. 2013-14 finished with a paltry 6.08″, while 2012-13 finished with 5.85″. During the entire 20th Century, there have been only 3 seasons with less than 7″ for downtown L.A.: 1923-24, 1958-59, and 1960-61. This century has already had 4 such seasons: 2001-02, 2006-07, 2012-13, and 2013-14. This is a very alarming trend to say the least that we have had this many ultra-dry seasons in such a short time period. I seriously hope this isn’t a beginning of a drier regime for CA and that more normal rainfall years return shortly. Dry winters are not rare for Socal, but years with less than 7″ like we have been experiencing lately are rare for much of the Los Angeles area, but are somewhat more common toward San Diego. The last 3 years have reminded me the most of the 1958-59 to 1960-61 time period.

    • ApocalypseNow

      But there was also the record setting 2004-2005 year which actually was just a weak EL Nino. If if this Kelvin wave and WWB doesn’t materialize and we only get a weak Nino, do you think we could still have a repeat of that winter 10 years ago?

      • Dan the Weatherman

        I am not sure if it would or not. I think a lot of things would have to come together just right to get a very wet winter like that in 2004-05 with a weak El Nino episode.

        • ApocalypseNow

          With this crazy swing in the 3.4 regions and a mixture of articles who are “calling the whole thing off” and some who act as if the super Nino is imminent, what do you think will happen? Weak, moderate, or strong Nino? Will the PDO stay positive? What will the months of August through October be like? What will the months of November through March be like?

          • Dan the Weatherman

            I would feel better if there were another strong Kelvin Wave propagating across the Pacific right now to help sustain the warmth. There seems to be plenty of warmth right this very minute for an El Nino, but we are still 5 months away from when it really counts: late fall and early winter. I would be feeling better about things if this were October or November rather than July 1st. It is still too early for me to make a call on what the fall and winter at this point because I am still feeling the sting of the failed El Nino attempt in 2012-13, and feel that the chance of failure is higher than normal due to the behavior of the patterns as of late.

          • xeren

            You are asking a bunch of very specific, very long term questions that NO one has the answer to

      • Mike Stephenson

        The majority of the rains that year were from a 2 week Pineapple Express

        • craig matthews

          I remember that too. Seamed like most of our rain came down in January, especially the first 2 weeks. And it was the combination of a very active polar jet coming down from Canada, combining cP air with a sub tropical tap from the southwest aimed right at socal. Here is a snapshot of just one of those many unique storms in early 2005

          • Xerophobe

            Thanks Craig and Mike. Very early January…I think we had winds 60+ at the coast. So many trees fell in my area.

          • Mike Stephenson

            I remember the sana ana river bottom was about 30f deep by 1mile wide of raging water. There were giant trees floating by that likely came from the big bear area mountains, it was amazing

            *Also interesting- death valley turned back into a lake for a short while like in ice age times!

          • Dan the Weatherman

            I remember several very wet periods in the 2004-05 season, with one being in October of all months, followed by one in December as well as the one in January (those two periods may have been connected). There was some rain in the second half of the winter and portions of the spring from February until May but it wasn’t nearly as heavy or as prolonged as the first half.

          • lightning10

            I remember that 2004/2005 year well. It started off in October with 2 powerhouse systems. The first storm was one of the more windy storms I ever remember in Whittier. We had huge tress over the house and my dad was up till the early morning making sure it was not going to fall on the house. The city trimmed the trees after that storm after several people complained.

            November had 1 of only 2 flop storm systems. I think it was an outside slider. Then it had the one storm that bought a great lightning show to my Eastern LA County with low elevation snow to locations that do not often get big snow in November. I remember one of the most heavy rain cells ever as well for my area in the November afternoon. I was at school it was around 12:30 or so.

            December – first week of May it was rocking and rolling. I remember one of the storms brought several reports of cold air funnels in the late afternoon as well to Northern Orange County and Southern LA County.

  • craig matthews

    Today’s SOI index -31.0. That is 11 days in a row of negative SOI values now. And Dan’s message on the right above today ” strongest WWB since april underway”. Seams like good news that help is on the way to keep this developing El Nino alive. Aside from the El Nino. Sure looks like its going to get hot and perhaps a little humid over the interior valleys of California after the 4th.

    • Dan the Weatherman

      There is actually a slight chance of a few mountain and desert showers and thunderstorms from the Fourth to Monday evening as the first intrusion of monsoonal moisture of the season comes through Socal. It will likely feel more humid as well.

  • Xerophobe

    Interesting forecast. Maybe this time?

    • craig matthews

      Well it looks like the WWB is happening a little north of the equator and further west so far. And like you are saying, hope the WWB moves toward the date line along the equator then east. That would seam to be more the sweet spot, but I don’t know?

  • Dan the Weatherman

    It seems to me that Howard Schecter of mammothweather.com is getting mixed up between an El Nino summer and a La Nina summer pattern. Please note that the “Dweebs” he mentions are the people behind the scenes that help out with his forecast. Here is a partial quote from today’s discussion from http://mammothweather.com:

    “From an El Nino-ENSO summer stand point of view, to date, the Dweebs do not see the typical signs anymore of the expected air sea coupling that would promote the cool periods associated with west coast trofing and a displaced eastward, Continental upper high. So the stage is set for both a very hot summer out west, waiting for the other shoe to drop for an enhanced shot of Monsoon moisture and dynamics later next week.”

    To me west coast troughing with a displaced Continental upper high (Four Corners High) is more of a La Nina type pattern for the summer, particularly during a -PDO, as opposed to an El Nino pattern. An extreme version of this pattern occurred during the summer of 2010 and to a slightly lesser extent, the summer of 2011.

    • craig matthews

      Summertime ENSO signals over the desert southwest and California are rather weak. One thing that stands out though, is that there is a lot more tropical storm and hurricane activity off the coast of mexico during summers with El Nino, and the “leftovers” from these tropical cyclones tend to drift more toward the north and northwest as the prevailing upper level winds tend to flow more from south-southeast to north-northwest up the mexico coast more often and at a stronger pace when there is an El Nino, especially a strong one, in progress. This makes more moisture available then usual from the south to draw from. And when upper level features are aligned in the right position over the western US, this more abundant moisture from the south is drawn northward into California and the desert southwest. Thus it seams when the 4 corners ridge is in the right place during El Nino, we seam to get a lot more activity then I guess what we call “usual”. This is just my own take on it plus some help from others.

      • Dan the Weatherman

        It just seems to me that it is warmer in general during summers with developing El Nino especially when it is a moderate or strong event, which would indicate more frequent ridging. You are certainly correct about more moisture from increased tropical activity in the Pacific that is drawn up when the weather patterns are aligned just right. It could be that I just have a couple of warmer El Nino summers that stand out in my mind and am basing my observations on those summers as opposed to a larger range of El Nino summers. The weak El Nino of 2004-05 produced a milder summer for Socal overall even despite leading to one of the wettest winters in recent history.

        • craig matthews

          I have spent hours trying to find information on how El Nino affects summertime weather patterns over the Western U.S, particularly California and the 4 corners states. But I have found nothing concrete, as far as how features, like the 4 corners ridge, are affected by El Nino. But, I only know what I remember and have observed. And just like you are saying, it seams like I always remember El Nino summers being warmer with more tropical surges from the south where I live too.

  • lightning10

    The number 7 stood out for my last year as I mentioned back in a post in the Fall. I was right we almost got 7 inches of rain.

    I was looking at the starts tonight and a new number stood out to me. You are going to hear it here first tomorrow night. The problem is 2 numbers are standing out. I need to figure out what one is the right one. So I will have my rainfall prediction up tomorrow.

    On that note I saw a very gross ad on this site. It was not X rated but it was like an infected hand or something like that. Never have seen it on this site before but it sure was gross.

    • lightning10

      I am not crazy just trying to use numerology to figure out what kind of rainfall we will see this season.

      • xeren

        Can’t tell if serious

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

      Sorry about the ad. I’ll check it out.

      • Stereolab

        Yeah, I’ve seen a lot of gross medical-related ads on this site. I didn’t want to use AdBlocker but had to because I was just getting disgusted. (One was a drawing of a naked guy covered in blisters.)

    • Dan the Weatherman

      Sometimes the ads you see on here are based on websites you have visited, so others here may not be seeing the same ads that you are, unless they have happened to visit the same sites that you have visited.

  • Xerophobe

    Whatever happens with this WWB’s, I’d sure like to see them more around 175E and even a couple past the dateline later this month and through Sept. WWB’s are great but usually progress eastward. Oh but wait the atmosphere hasn’t caught on, yet. Hope the SOI keeps trending negative, then?? The one card up our (well mine at least) sleeve would be a strong +PDO

  • ApocalypseNow

    Something very NON El Ninoish- an early season hurricane making landfall in North Carolina tomorrow. El Nino years are supposed to be very quiet hurricane activity in the Atlantic and very active in the Pacific. After the hype of Amanda and Cristina, Eastern Pacific activity has slowed to a crawl with only two minor tropical storms.. Western Pacific hasn’t seen any activity in months.
    Just for the sake of amusement, I am going to say the number 34 stands out for me so we will get 34 inches of rain for the 2014-2015 year.

    • Ross Mccorkle

      The hurricane season has barely started and we have two in the books already (ePac) and a TS is sending surf to socal right now. As for Arthur, it’s one hurricane that formed in an odd location. I don’t think we can take any of the above as being Nino bearish or bullish.

      • Dan the Weatherman

        Sometimes there is an early season surge of tropical storm and hurricane activity in the Atlantic / Caribbean / Gulf of Mexico during developing stronger El Nino events and it then settles down during the heart of the Cape Verde season (August and September).

  • Utrex

    A strong West Pac. is forecasted to form. Strong WWBs can come out of this…

    http://www.wsi.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/jet_mslp_irrwind_wpac_77.png

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

      It’s too far north–above 20N–to make a meaningful contribution to the ongoing WWB.

  • craig matthews

    Well, if the latest 18z opps GFS model is correct, we could be looking at several days of mid and upper level southeast flow over basically the southern half of California as the 4 corners ridge expands northwest toward central Nevada early next week. Add a little left over ts moisture from the south that could get drawn north close to socal, and we may end up with several opportunities for thunderstorms in both socal and sierra locations, and possibly some of this activity could drift into the eastern valleys as well. But, even more interesting to me is what the model shows 6 or 7 days out from now, and that is a weak trough stalling west of California with the 4 corners high remaining in place, creating a more cyclonic southeast flow over California adding some upper level cooling and instability to mid level moisture in place. I have seen this set up before cause lots of daytime and nocturnal thunderstorms over central California. Next week could be fun, depending on if you like lightning or not! But blame it on El Nino? A quote “how can a weather event be attributed to El Nino? It usually can not in an absolute sense, as weird weather can happen almost anytime. Instead, El Nino changes the odds of certain kinds of weather occurring.”

    • ApocalypseNow

      Hopefully rain with the thunderstorms and not just dry lightning.

    • Dan the Weatherman

      There is a 40% chance of showers and t-storms for the mountains of Socal in Riverside, San Bernardino, and San Diego Counties on Saturday, and there is a possibility of flash flooding if any heavy cells develop.

      • craig matthews

        Sure looks like socal is going to have active weather for several days starting tomorrow. Glad to see you guys getting some possible action down there. And possible wet thunderstorms with those higher dew points.

  • lightning10

    Would anyone here be interested in a facebook group or organize something on this site to go chase this summer? Go to Barstow or Anza for a few of the monsoon events?

    I go with a few friends every year its a lot of fun. I have not had a good chase in a while but with more heads working together it could for a fun trip. Mcdonalds is a great place to get Wifi and some have power outlets. We tend to not go out more east then Barstow.

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

      If anyone gets some nice images, feel free to post them here/email them to me if you’d like to seem them featured on Weather West and/or the Facebook page!

      • lightning10

        We will try to get some good video/pictures. The So Cal desert is much better for that as I found out over the Sierra Nevadas.

        • Unbiased Observer

          I live in Bakersfield, I might be interested in going on the weekends if you chase out of Barstow. Let me know if you decide to go and I may go if I’m available.

          • lightning10

            For sure I went out today towards Barstow.

  • so.cal.storm.lover

    These cumulus are growing tall already have an anvil at 12:16 pm looks ike they’re it least 40k

    • so.cal.storm.lover

      Sorry for the bad quality :(

      • lightning10

        They did hit 40k before they hit the cap of death.

        • so.cal.storm.lover

          Okay. Also that photo is looking at big bear.

          • Dan the Weatherman

            Today is the first day of towering cumulus / thunderheads over the mountains and deserts this season as monsoonal moisture increases from the southeast. The best chance of showers and thunderstorms is tomorrow and there is even a slight chance in the inland valleys. It is definitely more humid and warmer today, a sure sign that we have now transitioned into a true summer pattern just in time for the 4th of July weekend.

          • so.cal.storm.lover

            Definitely, had ac in my house today and when I walked outside I could feel the sticky air heavier on my body. Hopefully I can get some better shots tommorow.

    • Xerophobe

      I hope your guys get some good photos and a lot of excitement this year!!! I’ve only been in a few thunderstorms in the central Sierra and when it lets loose, boy does it rain, hail, lightning and thunder.

      • Bandini

        Hope it rains a lot, think of all those front lawns and driveways that need to be watered.

  • Xerophobe

    Thought I’d post another 850-hPa anomalies graph showing a decent WWB ending soon. Possibility of more in about ten days. SOI expected to be near neutral day to day for a week or so. 4.1 today. Hope all are having a great 4th!

    • ApocalypseNow

      Does that mean that there is a very good chance of either the El Nino getting cancelled or a very weak one or is there still reasonable hope of the Strong El Nino materializing? The WWB didn’t go very far west.

      • Bandini

        Not a single person knows.

        • craig matthews

          That is the best answer out there! Only thing we can say for sure is what is happening right now. It does look like things are changing, as far as weather patterns across both the tropical pacific and north pacific basin are concerned. Other then the concern of El Nino/ or not, the PDO is staying strongly positive, and hopefully that will continue going into this next winter. Seams like that, in itself, could change our weather pattern going into this winter, but, like you said, who knows. What we need is a wet pattern, the pacific jet aimed at California with no blocks in the way, right? And whatever it takes to get that wet pattern for California, El Nino, or not, we will take it with open arms.

          • Kamau40

            Craig-

            The long range CFS models is still forecasting a very wet weather pattern for both Nor/So. Cal for the upcoming winter DJF. Also, the same models are starting to consistently show very strong El Nino conditions later in the year and the PDO is still very strongly positive. See links below. Considering we are now past the “Spring Barrier” mark to me so far these are very encouraging signs that we will have a much better chance that the state will have a very wet weather pattern for this coming this winter. It is still too early to tell but things seem to continue to be moving in the right direction. I think we will have a much better idea for sure by Sep-Oct time frame. Let’s pray and hope these models verify.
            http://origin.cpc.ncep.noaa.gov/products/people/wwang/cfsv2fcst/imagesInd3/usPrecSeaInd6.gif
            http://origin.cpc.ncep.noaa.gov/products/people/wwang/cfsv2fcst/imagesInd3/nino34Mon.gif

          • craig matthews

            Now that CFS forecast is showing something we haven’t seen in so many years on the west coast of the U.S, and Mexico, and other parts of North America for that matter. This would be quite a change from the status quo that has been with us the last few years, and actually several years if you don’t count 2010 and 2011. Not saying it isn’t possible, just a lot has to change to get this type of precip distribution next winter. And, things are changing, hopefully in our favor.

      • Xerophobe

        Hopefully the WWB will push enough or “blow” another kelvin eastward. IMO for a strong +ENSO WWB’s need to happen further East with kelvin waves and the atmosphere would be coupling by now. Like Bandini says, no one knows. It would be interesting if a cyclone or two would cross the equator and really stir things up. My concern is precip in CA this winter, El, La, Neutered or Modoki as long as it rains and snows

      • Xerophobe

        Hopefully the WWB will push enough or “blow” another kelvin eastward. IMO for a strong +ENSO WWB’s need to happen further East with kelvin waves and the atmosphere would be coupling by now. Like Bandini says, no one knows. It would be interesting if a cyclone or two would cross the equator and really stir things up. My concern is precip in CA this winter, El, La, Neutered or Modoki as long as it rains and snows

        • ApocalypseNow

          The pattern kinda looks like a repeat of 2012-2013 where we had a very wet fall and early winter followed by a very dry late winter and spring.

          • Dan the Weatherman

            I hope this isn’t a repeat of 2012-13 because it was just as dry and mind-numbingly boring that winter season as it was this last winter here in Socal.

          • Kamau40

            Dan-
            This time though the PDO is in its strongly positive phase compared to this time during the 2012-13 season. I’m hoping the Pacific Ocean state remains that way going thru the winter months so CA will have a different outcome precipitation wise. We have not reached that point yet to give up on a strong El Nino event.

          • Dan the Weatherman

            I was just reading the latest long range discussion (90 Day Outlook) from NOAA and they made the remark that in the extratropical Pacific (north of 20N) that the PDO is the most positive this spring than it has been in quite some time. NOAA also stated that the conditions in the northern Atlantic were somewhat different this time as well, with the AMO being only slightly positive, the weakest in several years. I am with you Kamau40 in that I want to see the PDO remain positive going into next winter and hopefully we have at least a moderate El Nino to boot.

  • Dan the Weatherman

    The Drought Monitor is now showing portions of Orange County in the D4 (exceptional drought) after being downgraded from D3. I am surprised that the drought status would change at this time of year because we are climatologically in the driest part of our year anyway. If this were a wetter time of year, then it would make much more sense to me for the downgrade if the period of time were drier than average. I didn’t think drought status was ever changed in the dry season, but I guess they are taking into account not only recent weather, but also water supplies as well.

    • Zepp

      Part of the criteria to determine drought intensity is moisture content in the soil and vegetation, and of course that’s continuing to drop from already horribly low levels. We shifted from D3 to D4 last week, and barring a really big thunderstorm, we’re going to stay there until at least November.

      • Dan the Weatherman

        I think the soil and vegetation are almost dried out to the max as it is right now due to the lack of rainfall for much of this winter and spring.

        • Zepp

          We did get about twenty inches of rain in February and March, but there’s been no runoff because of lack of snowpack. A friend at USFS tells me the soil measurements now are the lowest ever recorded (going back to the 40s) and it’s still only July. Runoff into Shasta Lake is about 12% of normal and dwindling fast.

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

            Similarly, fuel moistures (i.e. vegetation dryness) is at all-time record low levels in some places, and that’s even without a recent wind/low RH event. I have a pretty bad feeling about the fire season during August-October, especially if we get an early lightning bust (as is looking increasingly likely over the next 10 days).

          • Kamau40

            I have a very bad feeling too. I think Aug-Oct will likely indeed be the worst part of the fire season.

          • Kamau40

            I just came back from camping up in the Sierra’s and the runoff is only a trickle compared to what it should be during a normal precipitation. It is the lowest I have ever seen it at this time of year in all of the years I have grown up in Ca. and all of the snow, even on the highest peaks of the mountains are all gone. In years past going up there normally there would still be a healthy snowpack on the peaks and the rivers would be running high.

  • Dan the Weatherman

    I hope everyone has been having a great 4th!

  • craig matthews

    Is anybody out there in the Mojave desert? Or San Bernardinos? Those thunderheads look big on this vis sat.

    • craig matthews

      PS. Actually they look like they are more on that highway going to Las Vegas, 15?

      • Ian Alan

        Storms missed us today, actually it built right over us and drifted north into the high desert and we just got a few drops and lots of distant thunder – black clouds to one side blue sky to the other.

        • craig matthews

          Looks like you will have more opportunities in the next week. Those pop up thundershowers are lots of fun. Giant raindrops with hail, erratic winds, and lightning. Running Springs/Big Bear is one of those sweet spots in the summer monsoon flow regimes.

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

    Looks like there may be an opportunity for some mid-level convection out side of the mountains/deserts sometime later this week. This may even include parts of the Central Valley, SoCal Coast, and perhaps the Bay Area. I’ll update when the details become a little clearer…

    • Dan the Weatherman

      This afternoon’s AFD from San Diego WFO mentioned that both the Euro and GFS were showing a cutoff low next Wednesday and Thursday over Socal with the Euro indicating more moisture associated with it. This could potentially bring some interesting weather if the low materializes and is situated in the right place. We’ll just have to wait and see how it plays out later next week.

      • craig matthews

        AFD San Francisco WFO is onto the potential for a thunderstorm outbreak later this week too. But it all hinges on what becomes of that piece of energy that gets pinched off from the westerlies and forms into a low west of California later this week.

        • Kamau40

          Craig-
          I’m seeing that thunderstorm potential too for Nor Cal. later in the week. If indeed the right weather patterns comes together as you’ve mentioned we could see some convective activity next Fri/Sat.

  • lightning10

    Hi for anyone who has tried to film lightning what is the best way to get good quality on a dash cam? My friend and I went towards Newbery Springs and most new Cameras has a CMOS chip. This drowns out some of the lightning bolt unless you are close to the action.

    Has anyone used the Go Pro? I have herd it is good for lightning but I would like to hear from anyone who has used it.

  • craig matthews

    I hope this post is readable, or at least has a link. Just another view of how the stronger El NIno’s may have affected precipitation anomalies across the U.S.

    • Xerophobe

      I like this, thanks! Why no 87-88 or 97-98?

      • craig matthews

        Don’t know. Base period done before 1995, so this may be an old chart that happened to pop up somehow. But I like the 3 month period representations, and they added the 1941-42 El Nino in there as well.

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

    I’m going to shoot for having a new post up tonight.

  • Bandini

    I think the Sierra should get some good soakers off and on this week. I’m ready.