Special update: The Extraordinary California Drought of 2013-2014: Character, Context, and the Role of Climate Change

Filed in Uncategorized by on September 29, 2014 695 Comments

A note from the author

This special update is a little different from what I typically post on the California Weather Blog. In the paragraphs below, I discuss results from and context for a study that my colleagues and I recently published in a special issue of the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society (Swain et al. 2014).

The Ridiculously Resilient Ridge at its peak during January 2014. (Daniel Swain)

The Ridiculously Resilient Ridge at its peak during January 2014. (Daniel Swain)

Unlike the majority of content on this blog, this report has undergone scientific peer review—an important distinction to make in the science blogosphere—and claims made on the basis of our peer-reviewed findings are marked with an asterisk (*) throughout this post. A reference list is provided at the end of the post, and the full BAMS report is available here.  I would like to thank my co-authors—Michael Tsiang, Matz Haugen, Deepti Singh, Allison Charland, Bala Rajaratnam, and Noah Diffenbaugh—all of whom played critical roles in bringing this paper together.

 

The really short version 

In 2013 and 2014, a vast region of persistently high atmospheric pressure over the northeastern Pacific Ocean–known as the “Ridiculously Resilient Ridge”–prevented typical winter storms from reaching California, bringing record-low precipitation and record-high temperatures. These extremely dry and warm conditions have culminated in California’s worst drought in living memory, and likely the worst in over 100 years. Human-caused climate change has increased the likelihood of extremely high atmospheric pressure over the North Pacific Ocean, which suggests an increased risk of atmospheric patterns conducive to drought in California.

The 12-month Modified Palmer Drought Severity Index for California. The current value is by far the lowest in more than 100 years of record, and is part of a century-long downward trend. (NOAA/NCDC)

The 12-month Modified Palmer Drought Severity Index for California. The current value is the lowest in more than 100 years, and is part of a century-long downward trend. (NOAA/NCDC)


What are the effects of the ongoing extreme drought in California?

The impacts of the drought are wide-ranging, and continue to intensify with each passing month. Curtailment of state and federal water project deliveries for agricultural irrigation have already resulted multi-billion dollar losses as thousands of acres of farmland are fallowed. Small communities in some regions have started to run out of water entirely, and increasingly stringent urban conservation measures have been enacted over the summer as reservoir storage drops to critically low levels. Thousands of new water wells have been constructed on an emergency basis over the past year, and skyrocketing rates of groundwater pumping have led to rapid land subsidence in the San Joaquin Valley. Not to be outdone, snowpack in the Sierra Nevada Mountains was almost nonexistent for much of 2013-2014, and at least one of California’s major rivers is no longer reaching the Pacific Ocean.

Explosive pyrocumulus cloud development atop the King Fire as it burned through the thick high-elevation forest in the SIerra Nevada in September 2014 (looking west from Lake Tahoe). Photo courtesy of Dr. Steve Ellsworth, Professor at Sierra Nevada College.

Explosive pyrocumulus cloud development atop the King Fire as it burned through thick high-elevation forest in the Sierra Nevada in September 2014 (looking west from Lake Tahoe). Photo courtesy of Steve Ellsworth, Professor at Sierra Nevada College.

The severity of California’s drought is so great that it is starting to change the physical geography of the state. The Sierra Nevada’s mountain peaks have risen measurably since 2012 as the Earth’s crust rebounds from the net loss of 63 trillion gallons of water—an amount equivalent to the entire annual ice melt of the Greenland Ice Sheet. Intense, destructive wildfires are burning throughout the state, and while September and October are the peak of the typical fire season in California, the number of fires exhibiting extreme behavior and “dangerous” rates of spread has been far higher than usual due to the ubiquity of tinder-dry, drought-cured brush and trees. Conditions have been so warm and dry that at least one glacial outburst flood has occurred on the slopes of Mt. Shasta as winter ice accumulation decreases and summer melt accelerates. The overall visibility and severity of these impacts have brought the drought to the forefront of California politics: landmark legislation regarding the regulation of groundwater recently was recently passed by the state legislature and has now been signed by the governor, and a “water bond” will feature prominently as Proposition 1 on the California ballot this November.

 

Just how severe is the current drought relative to others in California’s past?

A smooth 12-month average of California precipitation shows that the current drought ecompasses the driest year on record in California. (Swain et al. 2014)

A smooth 12-month average of California precipitation shows that the current drought ecompasses the driest year on record in California. (Swain et al. 2014)

California is currently experiencing its third consecutive year of unusually dry conditions, but the intensity of California’s long-term drought has increased dramatically over the past 18 months. 2013 was the driest calendar year in at least 119 years of record keeping—but even more impressively, the current drought now encompasses the driest consecutive 12-month period since at least 1895.* This means that the maximum 12-month magnitude of the precipitation deficits in California during the current drought have exceeded those during all previous droughts in living memory—including both the 1976-1977 and 1987-1992 events.* As of September 2014, 3-year precipitation deficits now exceed average annual precipitation across most of California, and most these anomalies stem from the exceptional dryness during 2013 and early 2014. For many practical purposes, 2013 was a “year without rain” in California—an extraordinary occurrence in a region with a traditionally very well defined winter rainy season.

2014 has thus far been California's warmest year on record, part of a long-term warming trend. (NOAA/NCDC)

2014 has thus far been California’s warmest year on record, part of a long-term warming trend. (NOAA/NCDC)

In addition to extremely low precipitation, California has also been experiencing exceptional warmth over much of the past year. 2014 is currently California’s record warmest year to date by a wide margin—meaning that it has been warmer during the current drought than during any previous drought since at least the 1800s. Warm temperatures increase the rate of evaporation from parched soils and critically dry rivers, lakes, and streams—exacerbating the impacts of existing precipitation deficits. In fact, primary metrics of overall drought severity—including the widely-used Palmer Drought Severity Index (PDSI)—have now reached their lowest levels since at least the 1800s. All of this evidence points consistently toward an increasingly inescapable reality: that the 2013-2014 drought in California is the worst in living memory, and likely in well over a century.

 

What’s causing these incredibly warm and dry conditions in California?

The atmospheric pattern over much of North America has been exhibiting a remarkable degree of persistence over the past 12-18 months. This very unusual atmospheric configuration—in which the large-scale atmospheric wave pattern appears to be largely “stuck” in place—has been characterized by a seemingly ever-present West Coast ridge and a similarly stubborn trough over central and eastern United States (commonly referred to in media coverage as the “Polar Vortex,” though this terminology is arguably problematic). This so-called “North American dipole” (highlighted by Wang et al., 2014) has resulted in persistent warm/dry anomalies along the West Coast and persistent cool/wet anomalies over the Midwest and Eastern Seaboard.

The white region on this map plot depicts the areas where 500mb geopotential heights during 2013 were higher than any previous value since at least 1948. (Swain et al. 2014)

The white region on this map plot depicts the areas where 500mb geopotential heights during 2013 were unprecedented (higher than any previous value since at least 1948). Note that much of this region corresponds to the location of the Triple R.  (Swain et al. 2014)

Because of the extraordinary persistence and strength of the western half of this wave pattern and its conspicuous impacts in California, I started referring to this anomaly as the “Ridiculously Resilient Ridge” (or “Triple R”) in December 2013. Since that time, the Triple R has waxed and waned—and for a brief period during February and March 2014, faded away almost entirely. But the anomalous Ridge returned during the spring months, and has continued to be a notable feature of the large-scale pattern through summer 2014.

It’s important to note that the Triple R is not a feature that has necessarily been present every single day for the entire duration of the California drought. The “resilience” of the Triple R is key to its significance: despite occasional, transient disruptions of the persistent high pressure on daily to weekly timescales, the much-maligned Triple R has been in place more often than not since early January 2013. Averaged over multiple months (and now up to a year or more), the Ridge pops out as a strikingly prominent feature in map plots of the large-scale atmosphere.* In fact, the region of historically unprecedented (since at least 1948) annual-scale geopotential height anomalies associated with the Triple R extend over a truly vast geographic region—from central California westward across the entire North Pacific to the Kamchatka Peninsula in the Russian Far East.* Extremely high geopotential heights (a vertically aggregated measure of atmospheric temperature) over the northeastern Pacific Ocean are historically linked to very low precipitation in California.* This is consistent with previous work by other researchers, and highlights the fact that such extreme values are usually linked to a northward shift in the storm track, which directs storms away from California.

Top: zonal (west-to-east) wind anomalies at 250mb during 2013. Bottom: same as top, but for meridional (south-north) winds. Note that the westerly winds associated with the Pacific storm track are shifted well to the north. (Swain et al. 2014)

Top: zonal (west-to-east) wind anomalies at 250mb during 2013. Bottom: same as top, but for meridional (south-north) winds. Note that the westerly winds associated with the Pacific storm track are shifted well to the north. (Swain et al. 2014)

Over these many months—and especially during the second half of the 2012-2013 rainy season during January 2013-May 2013 and the first half of the 2013-2014 rainy season during October 2013-January 2014—the Triple R induced persistent shifts in the large-scale wind patterns near and west of California.* During California’s rainy season, which typically runs from late October through early May, winter storms approach California from the west and northwest, bringing Pacific moisture to the region in the form of periodic rainfall and mountain snowfall. The latitude of the “storm track” along the West Coast—largely defined by the position of the jet stream—varies from day-to-day, month-to-month, and even year-to-year. During the 2013-2014 California drought, however, the Triple R pushed the jet stream well to the north of California (and, for much of that period, even north of Oregon and Washington).* This northward deflection of the storm track prevented precipitation-bearing low pressure systems from reaching California for large portions of two consecutive rainy seasons, ultimately resulting in the lowest 12-month precipitation on record in California.*

In addition to causing extremely low precipitation in California, the Triple R is also largely responsible for California’s record warmth over the past 9 months. During the cool season, the Ridge brought long stretches of cloudless days, which caused daytime temperatures during winter to be well above average (and, at the same time, the position of the ridge also prevented major cold air outbreaks from occurring after December 2013). During the warm season, the Ridge has helped to shut down the typical northwesterly prevailing winds along the coast (and thus the upwelling) that are responsible for northern and central California’s legendarily cold ocean surface temperatures. This combination of endless clear skies and far warmer than usual near-shore ocean temperatures have allowed California’s air temperatures thus far in 2014 to be the warmest on record since at least 1895–and by a considerable margin.

Why has the North Pacific/West Coast ridge been so “ridiculously resilient?” Has climate change increased the risk of events like the 2013-2014 California drought? Click here to read more on the next page!

 

 

 

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  • xeren

    september PDO lookin’ strong

    http://i.imgur.com/1jGkviE.gif

    • Kamau40

      As soon as the actual PDO values come out, either I or someone else will post it on this blog. But, I will tell you just looking at the overall ssta in the Pacific, it is still pretty much in the +PDO mode which is great going into the winter months!!

      • xeren

        oh, i thought that this is showing the september pdo value- if i’m counting correctly, starting with jan 2014 right after the dashed line, the last line is the 9th for september

  • inclinejj

    In Scotland right now. About 50 and raining hard. There is a reason why everything over here is so green. It actually snowed in August a couple times. Weird!

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

    There are some increasingly believable hints of a pattern change out in the day 9/10+ period. Still, that’s a long way out this time of year, especially given all the West Pac typhoon activity. In any case, looks very warm and dry for the next week or so. I’ll keep an eye on the possibility of NorCal precipitation for the second half of October,

    • Dan the Weatherman

      Hopefully that finally breaks this ridiculously persistent 90 degree+ weather pattern that Socal has been stuck in (only interrupted briefly at times) for what seems like an eternity now!

  • Archeron

    Looks like GEM predicting some wet weather for Norcal around 14th of October:

    http://meteocentre.com/models/get_anim.php?mod=gemglb&run=00&stn=PNMPR&map=na&lang=en

  • Guest

    The marine layer has returned to the Bay Area!

    • Lycanthus

      Mmm delicious marine layer.

      • TheNothing

        Nice shot.

      • thunderstorm98

        So beautiful!:)

  • Utrex

    gfs is starting to do the “mood swings” as I’d like to call. It trended with a significant rain event, then later it trended more mild, but now it’s even more bullish than previously.
    http://www.twisterdata.com/data/models/gfs/3/maps/2014/10/06/12/GFS_3_2014100612_F324_PCPIN_96_HR.png

  • Weatherwatcher

    A cool looking high cloud wall here in san diego. But doesnt look we will get any precipitation much of october since thunderstorms will be isolated to the southeast of san diego. And doesnt look like the low will provide much reliefe. After that another high pressure ridge will probably bring more santa anas this weekend. I just want a vreak from this september heat.

  • Bandini

    I’m a fool for letting this get my hopes up…

    .LONG TERM…THURSDAY THROUGH SUNDAY…

    MAINLY ZONAL FLOW ON THURSDAY WITH THE REMNANTS FROM T.S. SIMON
    MOVING THROUGH THE FOUR CORNERS REGION. A WEAK SHORTWAVE WILL MOVE
    THROUGH THURSDAY AND HELP TO START BREAKING DOWN THE RIDGE OVER THE
    SOUTHWEST. TEMPERATURES WILL COOL OFF A FEW DEGREES FOR THE END OF
    THE WEEK, BUT MOST LIKELY STILL STAY ABOVE AVERAGE.

    THERE IS A LOT OF MODEL DISCONTINUITY BY SATURDAY. GOING INTO THE
    WEEKEND THE PATTERN OVER THE U.S. WILL BEGIN TO RE-AMPLIFY. BY
    SUNDAY THERE IS SOME GENERAL AGREEMENT THAT A TROUGH WILL DIG INTO
    THE CENTRAL U.S., EXACTLY WHERE AND HOW DEEP THIS TROUGH DEVELOPS IS
    STILL QUITE UNCERTAIN, THOUGH THE ECMWF HAS BEEN FAIRLY CONSISTENTLY
    TRENDING IT DEEPER AND FURTHER WEST. THIS COULD POTENTIALLY BRING A
    COLD FRONT THROUGH FOR THE WEEKEND BUT SIGNIFICANT UNCERTAINTY
    EXISTS IN THE FORECAST BY THIS POINT.

    BY MONDAY BOTH THE GFS AND ECMWF SHOW ANOTHER STRONG LOW DEVELOPING
    IN THE GULF OF ALASKA. THAT WOULD BE A BETTER PATTERN FOR BRINGING
    INCREASED WINDS, WITH POSSIBLE PRECIPITATION INTO THE SIERRA AND
    WESTERN NEVADA NEXT WEEK. TOLBY

    • rob b

      Bandini-I will say I have a week of work scheduled around Reno/Tahoe so odds say the weather will get bad and I’ll have to deal with it. So…..if the storm door opens…….you can thank me. Let’s say I am preparing for the weather to be bad and it to be a rainy/snowy(?) few days 10/16-22….

      • Bandini

        Time will tell, I have little faith after the past 3 years, pretty skeptical.

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

    For the first time in a long while, it looks like a strongly zonal pattern might set up in the 7-12 day period over the PacNW. While the models are suggesting only light rain over the northern third of the state, it’s nice to see something other than the perpetual ridge. We’ll see how this develops, and I’ll have a post this coming weekend if things still look interesting.

    • http://www.yamanoor.com/ Yamanoor Srihari

      Thank you. I now have a new rule: the GFS model has to predict rain at a minimum, over 3 consecutive cycles and then you have to say something positive about it before I believe it :)

    • Guest

      Simon remnants somewhat affecting far southeast California.

    • alanstorm

      FINALLY!! the word I’ve been waiting to hear : ZONAL. So after a major period of extremely low solar activity, we finally get blasted by an X class flare recently and the jet stream starts behaving. Coincidence?

      • xeren

        do you have any good reading on solar flares and their relation to weather patterns? i’d like to know more

        • alanstorm

          Just picked up the Smartphone after flinging it across the yard because I can’t figure out how to attach this article. Anyway, from Nature Geoscience- “Low Solar Activity Correlation to Jet Stream Blocking.” Quite a few others as well. I’m merely asking the question as you, as the JS seems to be snapping out of the wavey pattern just after this X flare. Just wondering, not proclaiming.

          • xeren

            thanks! i’ll look into it

          • Xerophobe

            I’ve tried to understand some of that solar activity and a few are strong believers there is some correlation, not so much a one time flare event. I’ll try to find a link that may be rated to what you are thinking about after you asses the damage to your smartphone ‘-)

          • Dan the Weatherman

            I was just going to say that I have read in the past that low solar activity seems to favor more high latitude blocking than when solar activity is high. It was a series of articles written by Joe D’Aleo when he was working for Intellicast.com in which I read about this possible correlation. His column was called Dr. Dewpoint at the time.

          • Dan the Weatherman

            Can you post the link, or is this an image you are trying to upload?

          • TheNothing
          • alanstorm

            An article

          • alanstorm

            Article saved in my bookmarks can’t be posted, prompting a Luddite fling of the Stupidphone

          • TheNothing
          • alanstorm

            Bingo.

        • Kamau40

          I think you are asking some great and well thought out questions about solar flares. I have done some studies over the years and still need to continue to learn about them. Yes, Solar Activity always have and will affect weather in various regions around the world, but they do come and go in cycles. There is definitely a correlation and a link to dry and warm periods, likewise cool and wet periods on a global scale. When I have the time, I will find some pertinent articles for you to review.

    • craig matthews

      Wow. Something different.

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

      Well…don’t get too excited just yet. This is a pattern that has a high potential to bring substantial precip to Washington and Oregon, but NorCal would be on the far southern fringe. In other words: the kind of system that often peters out by the time it reaches CA during the transition seasons. We shall see…

  • lightning10

    The ridge on the 18Z holds so strong in the long range it buckles back the huge trough over the ocean keeping most of the rain at sea.

    • Archeron

      GEM model is still showing quite a bit of possible rain starting on the 14th of October and going through at least the 17th.

  • Weatherwatcher

    Wow some showers and thunderstorma forecasted here in SD. Knew something was xoming yeaterday with that wall of high clouds. Hopefully we have a wet one :)

  • David Thomas

    the best GFS runs are the 00z and 12z has it seems like they have more stuff put in to them the 06z and 18z are the worse so if you are going too look at the GFS i would olny look at the 12z and 00z

    • Xerophobe

      Is some data only gathered twice in a 24 hr period and all the data for the other two runs? I was under the impression that a run was a run and most recent was just the most recent. Just curious….

      • xeren

        yeah, i think new data is only gathered twice per day, but they update the runs 4 times per day. i think DT was just making a joke about only looking at positive data and ignoring the data that makes us sad :)

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

      There isn’t much observable difference in model skill at different times of day. Radiosonde observations in some locations are only launched twice a day, but these days most of the initial conditions are coming from satellites and surface stations anyway so for most purposes all four daily runs are equally skillful.

  • Dogwood

    Just a strange thing I noticed while looking at temp records for San Jose.
    All of the daily record lows seem to have been set in the first quarter of the 20th century until you get to September and October where all but 5 of the 61 days were set in the 1980’s. On 10/9 we’re looking at a record low of 29 in ’85. Doesn’t seem possible!
    Then November reverts back to far earlier cold marks.
    We’re we the recipient of a major autumn arctic pattern for 7-8 years? Certainly seems “decadal” and indicative of a cycle to be understood.

    • Dogwood

      Addendum: these numbers from GG Weather San Jose Climate Page are not cross referencing with another source. I don’t trust the data so, my bad. See! Seemed too weird to be true. Sorry.

  • Weatherwatcher

    Getting spotty showers here in san diego. Love it forst time in a long time its rained.

  • Dan the Weatherman

    I am wondering if it is the repeated formation of hurricanes off Mexico and moving up over Baja is one of the things that is causing Socal to remain so hot as the highs are forming over us in response to the tropical activity to the south. Today is feeling much more like summer than fall and the current temperature here in Orange is 90.6. This pattern is getting old and I am sick and tired of it being over 90 degrees for what seems like an eternity!

    • dylan

      Indeed. Here in Santa Barbara the temperature has been consistently above average since May.. and of course before that as well. We usually have pretty foggy summers with a sea breeze but this summer was much warmer and there was not nearly as much fog. The last month was unbearable – one day was 37 C and the temperature at night did not drop below 21 C! The nights have been a bit cooler lately, thank goodness.. And the wind finally seems to be picking up a little bit

      • Dan the Weatherman

        I hope Simon is the last tropical system of the season to take this track up off the coast of Baja into central / northern Baja, and then into the SW U.S. It is time for systems from the extratropical regions (especially cutoff lows) to start affecting CA. I am not saying that it is time for significant rains to arrive just yet, but it is certainly time for more variability in temperatures, ranging from cool comfortable weather followed by offshore events in which it does warm up considerably, as opposed to this endless pattern of summer-like heat.

        • Canyon

          In SB we are getting Simon swell, and that is about it. From my perspective, that’s all we need. The rain will come this winter.

          • Dan the Weatherman

            I definitely hope we see a lot of rain this winter, but I just want some cooler weather for the time being as we transition deeper into fall. It is going to take awhile to transition from this summer pattern into a winter pattern that brings good storms to the region.

          • Kamau40

            That is also my line of thinking on this as well as I have also expressed in recent days.

          • SlashTurn

            Yup, Monday afternoon shoulder/head high lines in Montesito/Mirimar at low tide. Crazy how those SE hurricane swells sneak in between Santa Rosa/Cruz islands. Very rare.

        • xeren

          TS seasons is essentially over, at least as far as number of storms that historically occur after this date in october, but the waters are extremely warm down there so i wouldn’t be surprised if we see a few more storms. here’s hoping they end up in socal

    • alanstorm

      The relentless heat & humidity continues, even far north past the Bay Area. With that crazy north flowing monsoonal barrage to this recent heat wave, for those of us who work outdoors, its been brutal. Not a lick of the cool fall NW winds we always get up here in the fall. Just, hot, sticky & stagnant. Maybe to do with the above normal ocean temps off the coast?

      • Xerophobe

        yup….and a few other things.

  • thunderstorm98
  • Bob G
    • xeren

      interesting- so they looked at the trend of GoA SST’s, not the absolute SST’s to determine that, in the past, when October SST’s drop over the course of the month (which is usually due to october GoA storms), it leads to a warmer east/slightly cooler west in north america in november

      i wish though that they had also talked about november precip! but maybe there was no pattern to be seen

      • Upslope

        Indeed. Perhaps the recent strengthening of Typhoon Vong Fong into the strongest storm since Haiyan portends well for this shift, as it eventually becomes extra-tropical and fuels a deepening of a mid-latitude trough.

    • Kamau40

      Excellent study! Makes sense. Thanks for posting.

    • craig matthews

      Being that the environment in which atmospheric circulations(Highs and Lows-Ridges and Troughs) develop or situate across the North Pacific has changed. It will be interesting to see how November plays out according to what he says. I like his article. A lot of good obs. But it just seams like every time we think we have something figured out when it comes to weather patterns, that we end up getting fooled once more. Anyway, more power to GOA deep trough and more power to a wet winter for CA. Thanks for the post.

      • Kamau40

        Things indeed look much more progressive and amplified out in the Pacific. I have been observing that the overall pattern is much different compared to the last 3yrs, especially in comparison to this time last year where the high pressure system was very well entrenched all year long. This year, however, the highs/lows in the Pacific are placed quite differently, which I think puts the West Coast in a much more favorable position for a nice long wet winter and possibly spring.

        • craig matthews

          I really really hope you are right.

    • Bob G

      They have some good info there. I think Venetrone has a background similar to Daniel. I hope things change this winter

  • Sunchaser

    Mega Storm to hit Japan…
    http://mashable.com/2014/10/07/super-typhoon-vongfong-japan/
    Do storms of this nature effect our weather eventually ?

    • SlashTurn

      We are all hoping that this storm constructively phases into the jet stream so it can bump us out of this pattern we’ve been stuck in…

    • Kamau40

      During this time of the year, yes it can. Howard Schectner and his weather team discussed this yesterday. Read the Quote below:

      “As the Dweebs have mentioned many times……It is often times what happens over the western pacific that affects our weather here along the west coast. The phasing of tropical storms over the western pacific with the westerlies is critical, to the down stream pattern in October. If the next tropical storm constructively phases and the heat in that storm builds that ridge down stream north of Hawaii…we will get quite the unsettled pattern. The next Typhoon (VongFong) will become extra tropical and phase with the westerlies early next week…… Stay tuned!!!!” – See more at: http://mammothweather.com/#sthash.5TX07UuE.dpuf

      • alanstorm

        Dweebs?

        • Kamau40

          Weather team.

          • xeren

            for the longest time i thought he was referring to himself in the 3rd person as “the dweebs”

      • Bob G

        Regarding the affect these typhons have on our weather. Is this a short term effect or one that can effect our weather well into winter?

        • Kamau40

          The Western typhoons in the Pacific will start having an impact on the polar jet stream as all of the heat and energy eventually gets injected into the westerlies. This will result in some much cooler temperatures and precipitation here on the west coast in the short term. The new sst gradients in the Pacific is what will greatly impact our for the good during the Winter and possibly the Spring months of 2014-15.

      • Xerophobe

        Thanks, that MJO forecast would be super active in phase 1.
        Good post from Howard and thanks for posting the updates.

    • alanstorm

      Holy Mackerel! A cat 6??

  • Sunchaser

    Air tanker crashes while fighting California fire….
    http://news.yahoo.com/crews-yosemite-fire-lose-contact-tanker-005332509.html

    • http://www.flickr.com/photos/28769541@N07/ Geomagnetic_Storm

      That is very unfortunate.

    • http://www.flickr.com/photos/28769541@N07/ Geomagnetic_Storm

      Here is Airtanker 82 that I captured during the brush fire in the Santa Teresa hills earlier in the summer. Airtanker 81 was the one that crashed.

      https://www.flickr.com/photos/28769541@N07/14569053113/in/photostream/

    • rob b

      Very sad news, those tankers are usually the first line of defense in any major wildfire. I know they helped save parts of my city last year when a fire broke out on Mt. Diablo. From what I have read CalFire (and their contractor) have grounded all their fleet until they know what happened.

      • Kamau40

        Very sad and tragic indeed. Our hearts, thoughts and prayers goes out to their families.

  • alanstorm

    Models continue to get bullish on a big juicy trough around 21st, bringing waves of green blobs, likely probability & all.
    A stuck wet pattern, perhaps?

  • http://www.flickr.com/photos/28769541@N07/ Geomagnetic_Storm

    Looking 16 days out, the trough doesn’t look as impressive as it was showing earlier. I may be wrong, I am in no way a professional. Ha!

    • alanstorm

      Yes you are- you’re a Professional Computer Model Watcher (PCMW)

  • http://www.flickr.com/photos/28769541@N07/ Geomagnetic_Storm

    Chesbro Dam Air Intake. Water has completely receded from this, which means the Dam cannot release any more water. It’s a dead pool. Any downstream fish will unfortunately die-off. Pray for a normal winter! This drought has really took its toll on the fish. It is very sad seeing dead fish everywhere, since I am a sport fisherman.

    https://www.flickr.com/photos/28769541@N07/15443617986/in/photostream/

    • http://www.yamanoor.com/ Yamanoor Srihari

      May THIS be the new before, to precede a much better after!

      • http://www.flickr.com/photos/28769541@N07/ Geomagnetic_Storm

        That is what I am hoping for!

  • SoCalWXwatcher

    Super Typhoon Vongfong now the strongest recorded typhoon of 2014. Here’s a shot taken yesterday, check out that gorgeous symmetrical eyewall! It will be interesting to see what effect this will have on the jet stream later on.

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

      A truly impressive storm, and one that will probably have affect the overall wave pattern over the Pacific over the next 2 weeks. Not clear exactly what the influence might be, but worth keeping an eye on.

  • SoCalWXwatcher
    • Bob G

      That is what I am reading. The ridge is supposed to weaken. Hoping for the death of the RRR this winter

    • Dan the Weatherman

      It is a definite possibility that the rainy season could start earlier this year considering how dry it has been. This happens from time to time when it has been very dry or the last rainy season ended earlier than normal. We just have to get out of this summer pattern first.

  • Kamau40

    Excellent and very well balanced discussion today from Howard Schectner about the current and long term weather patterns for the West Coast. This also includes the latest on what is happening with the typhoons in the Western Pacific and their potential weather implications for the West, the MJO/PDO phases and the overall SST gradient in the Pacific:
    http://mammothweather.com/2014/10/08/slow-cooling-trend-the-next-few-days-then-back-to-the-mid-to-upper-60s-this-weekend-changes-still-in-the-longer-range-next-week/

    • Jason Gillespie

      Someone had just recently posted the PDO values for September, which were quite strongly positive IIRC, reversing the recent trend of weakening towards zero. Am I misremembering? Is Howard wrong about this?

      • xeren

        you’re remembering correctly, i think sheckter just hasn’t seen the september value yet – it was posted just the other day I believe

        • Jason Gillespie

          Gah! Re-reading more carefully I see that he did indeed predict that the PDO could become more strongly positive. Sorry!

          • Dan the Weatherman

            The latest PDO index value for September hasn’t been updated as of yet.

      • Kamau40

        Howard is right, during the Jun-Aug period the PDO was briefly trended back toward neutral territory and I was a few months ago started to get concerned. But, the actual official values like the AMO I posted above has not came out as of yet. The PDO still remained in the weakly to somewhat moderately positive territory as of Aug. Howard did accurately mentioned per his quote below that the PDO may become increasingly more positive in the future due to the current SST gradient. Still waiting to see what the actual numbers reflects, which should be more strongly positive as what Xeren posted below.

        “Looking at the SSTA’s over the mid latitudes there is a cold pool at about 175E with legs that is stretched back to the NW pacific and at the same time, the SSTA loop shows a tongue of cold water extending westward as well to about 150west. This may eventually lead to a strenghting of the positive PDO that has been weakening that past few months. ” See: http://bobtisdale.files.wordpress.com/2014/04/figure-13.png – See more at: http://mammothweather.com/2014/10/08/slow-cooling-trend-the-next-few-days-then-back-to-the-mid-to-upper-60s-this-weekend-changes-still-in-the-longer-range-next-week/#sthash.vtUb75F2.dpuf

        • craig matthews

          The graph that shows positive “warm” PDO; something we have lacked this year, is that cold tongue extending from Japan to the central North Pacific. Instead, almost the entire NP is in positive value(as you know). BUT, as Howard mentioned, there are changes taking place that favor that blue “anomalously colder” tongue to be surfacing(?) east of Japan toward the Central Pacific. Another good sign. Now all we need is rain. You always post very good and useful info Kamau40. Thanks once again!

          • Kamau40

            You got it. There are indeed key changes currently taking place out in the Pacific. The most interesting thing I’m observing to is that blue “anomalously colder” tongue of water that should be surfacing east of Japan moving right toward the Central Pacific. I have too been noticing it over the last couple of months which is another good sign because that will affect the jet stream and it supports more long wave troughing. You provide great insights and thoughts too. We are always learning, keep up the great work.

    • Kamau40

      Here is the official Sep values for the AMO.
      http://www.esrl.noaa.gov/psd/data/correlation/amon.us.data

    • craig matthews

      Very good! Thank you dweebs!

  • xeren

    http://i.imgur.com/yj9issr.png

    heck of a storm track for VONGFONG

    • SoCalWXwatcher

      Wow. The “Vongfong tour of Japan”, right up the length of that country. Hope it tracks further east over the ocean instead of a direct hit like that.

  • tomocean

    Another Sacramento foothills wildfire! East on Interstate 80 near Applegate.

    October 8, 2014 at 3:38 PM

    Fire has the potential to grow exponentially if not boxed in by tonight. Current temperature in the area is 83 F, north wind at 27 mph.

    • rob b

      Real upsetting/frustrating part about this Fire is the initial reports from CHP is that someone was tossing lit objects from a car along 80. Hopefully they get a hold of it tonight before it hits the drainage and really makes a run.

  • craig matthews

    Zonal Flow? GOA trough?- I almost forgot what that looks like. Here’s the 18ZGFS run forecast 144hours away. Obviously never a set in stone deal, but its believable. With all the WP activity, no doubt changes to these runs will come. Highly amplified pattern has become so etched into the atmospheric memory, to see a change to more zonal??? I hope it sticks.

    • craig matthews

      OOPs. That’s 168 hours away on GFS, not 144. All the same, its good to see this change, and not way out at 384hours too. Bring on the Rain and Snow!

      • Dan the Weatherman

        It is good to see this pattern change in that range, as it is less than 10 days out and certainly not out in fantasyland range. If the models are consistent and continue to show this change and getting closer with each passing day, then it becomes more likely that it will actually occur.

        • craig matthews

          Yup. Hopefully the GOA trough will be much deeper, placing all of CA in the precip zone. Western Pacific activity might just do that for us. Will see.

    • Kamau40

      Yep that right!!! This is exactly the shifting patterns I have been seeing starting to take place. I’m beginning to believe that is a very good signs of things to come down the road.

    • Bob G

      I am no expert at reading weather maps, but Howard S has a good pacific satellite loop linked on his website. When I look at the loop, the ridge of high pressure doesn’t look nearly as large and strong as it used to be,

    • Utrex

      Likely this will occur. PNA is expected to drop and signs point to ridging in the eastern two thirds.

  • xeren

    Holy fantasy land…

    http://imgur.com/m5o3KdB

    • http://www.flickr.com/photos/28769541@N07/ Geomagnetic_Storm

      Fantasy land indeed. Lol

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

    After another brief heat wave this weekend, rain may finally return to at least part of NorCal next week. There’s a chance of some more significant precipitation, depending on exactly how West Pacific tropical energy is injected into the westerlies. Bust potential is also pretty high–since the focus of next week’s rain will mostly stay in WA and OR. Still–it sure beats another major ridging event.

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

      The ECMWF ensemble has been somewhat muted relative to the GFS, which is one reason for maintaining a bit of caution.

    • Dan the Weatherman

      At least this is a significant change in the pattern even if the bulk of the rain stays in the Pacific NW. Hopefully Norcal can manage to get some much-needed precip. At the very least this will lead to a cooler pattern for the rest of the state and hopefully this endless hot pattern finally comes to an end for good.

    • Brett

      ?

      “…rain may finally return to at least part of NorCal next week. ”

      So, I like to pay attention to psychological framing when people talk about weather (and other things). We just had rain in NorCal at the end of September. So, historically speaking, does it make sense to say “finally”, when, according to my (albeit limited) understanding, rain is not all that common in September and the first half of October in Cali anyway? Yes, I am nitpicking :) – but doesn’t it make more sense to say “finally” in a situation where rain came after a long period when it was EXPECTED but had not come? And that doesn’t seem to fit the picture for this September and October period of 2014. Thoughts?

      • xeren

        Yep, you are nitpicking

      • alanstorm

        Every time morning when I finally wake up, I check out the long range models for Ca to finally see some relief from this unprecedented, depressing, dry period. When the images finally load, I’m greeted with the same sinister RRR blocking scenerio, prompting the thoughts since January, “when will it finally rain enough to begin to alleviate this destructive drought?” Now, as this brutal summer finally draws to a close, its apparent we will finally have a substantial rain event that may finally get the rivers & creeks running again. FINALLY.
        (BTY last months brief rain didn’t do squat, only served to put out the fires)

        • Dan the Weatherman

          I think the good news is that this long hot endless summer is FINALLY going to come to an end, even if significant rain doesn’t materialize for whatever reason. This high level of heat just cannot sustain itself for much longer as the patterns are more prone to change now than they were during the summer months.

    • C M

      Could this turn into a heavy rain event or does it look more drizzly?

  • Brett

    “…rain may finally return to at least part of NorCal next week. ”

    So, I like to pay attention to psychological framing when people talk about weather (and other things). We just had rain in NorCal at the end of September. So, historically speaking, does it make sense to say “finally”, when, according to my (albeit limited) understanding, rain is not all that common in September and the first half of October in Cali anyway? Yes, I am nitpicking :) – but doesn’t it make more sense to say “finally” in a situation where rain came after a long period when it was EXPECTED but had not come? And that doesn’t seem to fit the picture for this September and October period of 2014. Thoughts?

    • C M

      Bay Area typically sees some rain in October. Average is over an inch for most parts of the Bay Area and there have been some heavy rain events as well.

      • Brett

        Okay, but still, “finally” seems like a strange term to use for what has been, according to my understanding, a so far fairly decent rain total for this period.

        • http://www.gdanmitchell.com/ G Dan Mitchell

          What was probably implied — though, you are correct, not explicit — was something more along the lines of “seasonal rains finally return” after what has seemed almost like an absence for the past few years. (As a fellow semantic nitpicker, your point is well taken, but still… 😉

          • xeren

            but still, indeed. this grammar nitpick was a less useful diversion than the whole climate change thing last week. and that’s saying something.

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

      Large swaths of California haven’t seen substantial precipitation since March or April (the September precip event was significant in the far north, but not elsewhere), and that comes immediately following the driest 12-month sequence in recorded California history. While far NorCal (and far SoCal, actually) would be exceptions, most of California is currently enduring a very long and very hot dry season, even by typical spring/summer/early fall standards.

      • Brett

        I am in Folsom, not considered far north, surely, and my guess is that our September/October totals so far are not below average for this time of year. But fair enough, if you’re speaking on a statewide scale, and based on a 12 month timeframe, then I suppose “finally” is apt enough. :)

    • http://www.flickr.com/photos/28769541@N07/ Geomagnetic_Storm

      I am still not convinced yet. Let’s see what happens throughout November.

  • Utrex
    • Utrex

      Getting interesting. Could be too bullish on the precip. totals… but still worth taking note of. 240 HRS. out.

      http://www.twisterdata.com/data/models/gfs/3/maps/2014/10/09/06/GFS_3_2014100906_F240_PCPIN_96_HR.png

      • rob b

        Utrex, it may be bullish but at least we’re seeing positive signs things could be changing. I love seeing all those colors, it looks like opening up a fresh box of crayons as a kid and all the colors would be so bright and vibrant. Hopefully this holds true and wee see rain (and snow) every few days for a while.

        • Stereolab

          Unfortunately next week’s rain event has disappeared so we’re back in lala land.

      • Xerophobe

        Maybe we’ll get spaghetti forecasts that resemble rigatoni instead of angel hair this season. :-)

  • lightning10

    Does anymore remember that October storm in the early 2000’s? It was an early season strong storm that brought a lot of cold air to the area on Halloween night. I remember looking at the sky at Taco bell before sunset and thinking we would get some thunder and lightning. We did get a few bolts. The rain was off and on but quite heavy.

    • craig matthews

      I tried to post a satellite picture here from Oct 30, 2000. Taken from GIBBS satellite archives on NCDC homepage. Looks like there was a cold low dropping into Norcal. That might be what you are referring too. I remember seeing snow up high on the Santa Lucia Mts too around 4500ft.

      • lightning10

        I think that was it. One of the few times I remember wearing a jacket under my costume.

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

        I do wish there was a better archive of historical satellite imagery, but the above is the best I’ve yet encountered.

        • Dan the Weatherman

          If there were a better archive of satellite imagery, it would be really nice to have still satellite images as well as satellite loops, so one could study circulation patterns of previous years to determine what type of weather patterns that were in place during different time periods. Dominant ridges and troughs from different years could be determined from this, as well as anomalous features such as the RRR.

          • Xerophobe

            http://www.cpc.ncep.noaa.gov/ if you go into teleconnections at left like AO/NAO, PNA etc there are at least 30 day loops. THis has good jet loops and arcives that you can build. http://squall.sfsu.edu/crws/jetstream.html You can build your own reanalysis here http://www.esrl.noaa.gov/psd/cgi-bin/data/getpage.pl There’s a learning curve but it’s not too steep. I’m still stumbling around. You can reanalysis stuff like this (like dominant ridges) Or compare SSTA (kinda) with the second pic…57-58 sorta looks like what the models are showing for 2014-2015…hmmm?? Then look at rain for 57-58 for the year….WOW…..but then you gotta check out all the other junk (indices and teleconnections) and compare and you haven’t a clue how to weight the variables…You can spend all frick’n day until your brain is scambled.

          • craig matthews

            Way awesome!!!

        • craig matthews

          Me too. I have seen a satellite photo taken in October of 1972, that showed a big low off the CA coast with a tap to the tropics. 1972-73 was one interesting winter. Many record lows set for Norcal in early Dec. Snowed in Big Sur. Strong El Nino too. I

    • saw1979

      I remember it was Halloween 2003 that we had a good rain storm, because I had just given birth to my daughter days before and I remember telling her (jokingly) that unfortunately she wouldn’t be trick-or-treating that year because of the rain :)

  • David Thomas

    00z and 06z GFS have now turned vary wet for N CA this is a big turn around from what the GFS was showing a few days a go cant wait for the 12z GFS next weekend could be vary wet in CA has well has are 1st hvy rain event of the season even S CA gets in on the fun

    • John b

      DT that is interesting the GFS is showing 2-3 inches over norcal. At the
      same time the ECNMF shows nothing. The GFS hasn’t had a good track
      record of late

      • David Thomas

        that make the ecm a outliner
        the GFS is now following the GEM

        • John b

          12z is out and and went from 3.0″ksmf to .8″

      • Utrex

        Do you mind sharing where you receive EMCWF precipitation data? Or do you pay to receive data from it? I’ve really wanted to compare EMCWF with GFS as of late.

        • mycoholic

          WeatherUnderground’s “Wundermap” has a “model data” data layer that includes the ECMWF. If you put it on MSL you can see see the 3 hour precip totals out to 180 hours. That’s the best I’ve found for the ECMWF.

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

            As far as I’m aware, Wunderground has the only freely available ECMWF precip data in existence on the web. Levi Cowan recently added WMO-ECMWF data on his excellent tropicaltidbits.com site, which is fantastic, but still no surface variables like precip.

        • John b

          I pay. I use weatherbell, they have put together a very nice model package. subscription is not cheap but, the discussion that goes with it is interesting

  • lightning10

    Its amazing this clown is still in office. Obama to declare national monument in San Gabriels

    http://www.latimes.com/local/la-me-san-gabriels-monument-20141009-story.html

    • Canyon

      “U.S. Forest Service greater ability to manage the crowds and protect its natural wonders”

      That made me laugh. More like charge higher fees for access.

      • xeren

        i’d gladly pay higher fees for access if it means it’s maintained better.

    • SoCalWXwatcher

      Last time I made it into the San Gabriel River canyon above Azusa, I noticed lots of trash all over the place. If the area’s new status as a National Monument helps in cleaning it up and maintaining it as well as keeping the gang bangers out, then it *may* be a good thing. I don’t know what to think of this just yet.

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

    Latest model guidance suggests the potential for substantial rainfall across NorCal next week. Substantial uncertainty remains, however, and there is still a significant chance that only light precipitation will ultimately fall. Still–that would represent a major pattern change…

  • lightning10

    I am sad that this Spring and Summer the city of Whittier decided to put in a lot more street lights in its campaign to “brighten up Whittier”. I hope that it does not effect the view if we get lucky and see some lightning this winter in the night. Just on my street and the next one they put in 6 new street lights. I notice a few less stars out as well.

  • rob b

    The NWS Bay Area just posted a Fire Weather Watch for the North and East Bay hills for Saturday night through Monday Morning. ……Hmm hopefully this is the last one we see of the year, bring on the rain.

  • craig matthews

    Here’s another cold low and powerful storm that affected CA on October 20, 2004, and that was a very wet October followed by a very wet winter.
    Satellite Archives: http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/gibbs

    • craig matthews

      If that didn’t go through. For anyone wanting to observe past satellite data going back to the late 1970’s: http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/gibbs

      • Kamau40

        Thanks for posting these older satellite pictures. I think these will be helpful and resourceful with our ongoing studies with our studies on weather/climate.

        • craig matthews

          I like to look into NCDC data for monthly/daily precip for San Francisco and Los Angeles in years past, and compare to the GIBBS satellite archives going back to see what the storms looked like from space that gave us a lot of rain/snow. Its fun, especially given how boring the weather has been the last 3 years.

          • Kamau40

            I’m not sure how to do that yet, but please share with us if you figure it out first.

          • craig matthews

            http://www.climatestations.com/san-francisco/ scroll down until you see a list of years going back to 1921. Click on any year you want, it will give about 4 or 5 charts, the chart at the bottom shows precip. And, you can find daily precip for San Francisco on that link to. I write them down(the rainy days that interest me), then go to GIBBS to find the rainy day on the satellite to see what the storm looked like that produced the rain. That’s one way. Xerophobe has a very interesting link posted 2 days ago that I am still trying to figure out “reanalysis”. Trying to compare “weather patterns”(reanalysis etc), and compare them with SSTA’s and etc. It goes on and on……..

          • Kamau40

            This is excellent, thank you.

      • Kamau40

        Craig-
        I was looking at the satellite picture composites during the months of Nov ’81-Apr ’82 and it revealed how active the rainy season was for Ca. If you look on the dates of Jan 4-5 ’82, Nor. Cal got clobbered with a stalled out front that dropped over 6inches of rainfall during a 24hr period. I believe the Santa Cruz mts. got hit 24inches within the same period. Overall, the old satellites reveal that starting around late Oct ’81, the rainy season really got going initially starting in Washington Oregon and Nor. Cal before the active jet stream eventually began moving down to So.Cal going into Nov. There was a very active polar jet stream pattern combining with the sub-tropical jet stretching all of the back to the Hawaiian Islands and beyond. I was living in So.Cal during those days and I remember very well that we got tons of rain in the valleys and tons of snow in the San Bernadino mountains. In fact, I remember at times there was so much snow that would fall, more often than not they had to close all of the roads due to blizzard conditions and people who were living up in the mountains were either stranded from coming down the mountains or they could not return to their homes. It was a very wild year statewide. The 1981-82 season was a neutral ENSO year, but the PDO was in its positive phase. This was followed, of course, the next year with one of the strongest El Nino year’s of the 20th century and the PDO also remained in its positive state.
        http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/gibbs/calendar/1981

        • craig matthews

          Oh, the good ‘ole days. Very interesting review! Thanks. I remember it snowing down to about 1000ft a time in March, I think 1982. Been trying to find that storm on the Satellite archives too.

          • Ian Alan

            I think it was 1990/91 I remember it snowed in orcutt/Santa Maria early morning and in the afternoon we had sleet mixed in with heavy rain and that’s at about 100′ elevation. The low hills all around the valley were white for a couple days – awesome.

          • Kamau40

            Yes, I lived thru them all which is what initially got me very interested in climate & weather. The air was so moist that it would rain and snow in the mountains every other day. There were lots of thunderstorms too especially in So.Cal. virtually everything was coming out of the Pacific ocean per satellite pictures. It would be great for our current times to experience a pattern like that which I think would refill our reservoirs or at the very least put a significant dent in the drought.

      • Kamau40

        Also, keep in mind which I have shared before on this blog, there have been quite a few other years like the 1981-82(neutral ENSO/+PDO) season where we had similar set-up patterns across the Pacific that get gave the state very wet winters. Most recent years, were again 1992-93(Neutral ENSO/+PDO), 2004-05(weak El Nino/+PDO), 2005-06(neutral ENSO/+PDO), and 2009-10(weak El Nino/temp+PDO). Most seem to occur during the positive phase of the PDO combined with either a neutral ENSO or even with even a weak El Nino pattern. Based upon the article I sent you awhile ago referring back to the 1861-62 season, there is very good probability that there was a similar set-up pattern like what we witnessed during the 1981-82 season.

    • Kamau40

      Yep!! I remember that year very well. The very wet Oct of that year was preceeded by one of the wettest winters for Ca on record. It is also important to be noted that the PDO was in its positive phase along with a weak El Niño winter.

    • rob b

      Remember that one well, I was at a show for work in Reno. We left early to make sure we made it, many other vendors left late and were stuck on Donner Pass for hours. Snowed all the way down to Reno, was a very cold early season storm.

      • Kamau40

        I went up to Lake Tahoe at the around the 20th of Oct of that year and there was about 1-2 ft of snow at many of the higher elevations. It was a fast lightening start to what ended up to being a fantastic water year.

    • lightning10

      I remember that storm as well. A windy night with that first of the 2 storms that came through the area. Several people on my block didn’t sleep cause of the huge trees on my block. 1 tree did fall over from the strong winds and heavy rain. It hardly ever gets windy in my area but the winds where strong for hours in the late night and early morning!

    • SoCalWXwatcher

      I remember some very heavy rains in So Cal from that system. The storms started coming around October 17th and continued throughout the season with such frequency that the hillsides remained lush green until late May. I also recall a storm that year with some very low snow levels around Thanksgiving, with snow falling in inland suburbs like Temecula and Murrieta.

      • Mike Stephenson

        I don’t remember seeing lush green hillsides in winter in socal for a long time….

        • Weatherwatcher

          I do, but most of every plant we have here is planted. But you can see the grass sprouting a lushious green on the hill sides. But last winter was dreadful and this year has made me not really appreciate san diego as much this year because of how ugly and dead things have been.

          • Dan the Weatherman

            Last winter was dreadful in Orange County, because not only it was extremely dry, but it was also very warm. To make matters worse, the year before was extremely dry, but it was cooler than this past year. Two ultra-dry years is what has made the situation more worse than normal.

    • http://www.flickr.com/photos/28769541@N07/ Geomagnetic_Storm

      Let’s not forget that storm that the snow level was 500 feet on March 10, 2006. There was snow all the way down to the lower part of the foothills in San Jose.

      • craig matthews

        That was an incredibly dynamic storm. Lots of lightning, lots of hail, and snow just above my house on the coast. A waterspout right off Nepenthe. 2005-06 and 2010-11 were similar “type” winters where I live. We had snow down to sea level in late February 2011 too.

    • http://www.flickr.com/photos/28769541@N07/ Geomagnetic_Storm

      Here she is. March 10, 2006. What a beauty that storm system was.

      http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/gibbs/image/GOE-10/IR/2006-03-10-00

      • craig matthews

        You found it!! Thanks. That’s one cold looking storm. With all those cold top cumulus over the ocean swinging around that low down into the CA coast. I hope we get some of those this winter in the midst of the warmer wetter ones.

        • http://www.flickr.com/photos/28769541@N07/ Geomagnetic_Storm

          I hope so too man. It seems we had a weeks worth of cold air last winter and then we had record warm temperatures.

  • Boiio

    Always nice to see green in NorCal! What models do the CPC use to come up with their probabilities?

    • Dan the Weatherman

      It’s nice to see a 6-10 Day Outlook that doesn’t show any below normal precipitation for the West Coast!

      Even if Socal doesn’t get rain from this particular pattern, at least this is a much cooler looking pattern and certainly more fall-like than we have been experiencing up until yesterday.

      • Kamau40

        Yes, it is very nice to see the models are really starting to pick up on the potential synoptic weather pattern change. It is much more like what we should start seeing about this time of year instead of a persistent ridge pattern.

    • Cliff Collipriest

      At least So Cal is not being predicted to have below normal rainfall, which the model showed just 2 days ago.

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

    GFS trending somewhat toward drier ECMWF for next week, especially away from the North Coast. Still looks like some light precip likely as far south as Sac/Bay Area, but right now no clear signs that it will amount to all that much (away from the North Coast, where multiple inches could still fall). SoCal will likely remain completely dry.

    In the meantime, critical fire wx concerns this weekend across much of CA, including perhaps the most serious fire wx conditions yet experienced in the Bay Area during the current drought. WW update Saturday or Sunday.

    • C M

      Is this a signal of a long-term pattern change that could set the stage for more widespread rain later in the month or is the RRR expected to return like it did after we got that September rain?
      September’s rain event seemed warm by Bay Area standards (comfortably wore sandals and short sleeves while it rained). Will this system be much colder and will I finally have to break those sweatshirts out of the closet?
      All those long range models call for temperatures still normal to above normal even if we get rain.

    • alanstorm

      Well, the fall afternoon winds have picked up, presumably ahead of this pattern change. I remember Oakland Hills Fire, Oct 20, 1991, watching it live on TV. Terrible. With the entire state historically dry, let’s hope we make it to next week. Maybe an end to the fire season? If the rain line could sag further south, that would be much appreciated!

    • http://www.flickr.com/photos/28769541@N07/ Geomagnetic_Storm

      I noticed this too. I see a ridge starting to form 348 hours from now which is fantasy land, but I hope these rain storms just keep coming in and kill the RRR.

    • Bandini

      Of course.

      • craig matthews

        Why are we not surprised!

  • mycoholic

    ‘Tis the season for poor model consistency. GFS 12z is showing around 0.5” for the Bay Area next week, but more importantly, we remain “Triple R”-free out through hour 384, leaving the storm door wide open. Fingers crossed, but I like what I’ve been seeing from the GFS recently.

    • SoCalWXwatcher

      The GFS’ story throughout the extended range is all about strong LOW pressure systems in the GOA. With all the mixing and upwelling that will result if this verifies, that “blob” of warm water in the Gulf of Alaska may finally meet its demise.

    • Azmordean

      Yeah, I think with the model variability we are seeing, what we can safely say in the long range is that something is going to change, and probably for the better. Specifics of actual storms and rainfall amounts (if any) are still pie in the sky at this stage, but anytime the models start losing consistency, it usually means some kind of change is coming.

      At this point, I’ll take it!

  • xeren

    June gloom is back in LA! so happy to have normal temps back.

    • Canyon

      Socked in pretty good this morning too up in SB. Just now starting to burn off. June weather in October, Finally!

    • Weatherwatcher

      Here in Sd we had it pretty thick until late morning. But the marine layer has been burning off super early hear lately. Like I”ll wake up at 7 and it will already have burned off unless there is a low pressure system.

  • Kamau40

    One more hot episode this weekend for Nor Cal. then all of the fun begins. As we finally kick start the rainy/snow season next week here on the West Coast, I see lots of signs out in the Pacific Ocean, including the global tele-connections in the Northern Hemisphere that things will slowly begin to take shape for eventually transitioning us into a wetter weather pattern in the coming weeks!! The pattern shift will first start in the Pacific Northwest then the jet stream will start working its way southward. This to me is a very good sign. I agree with Howard, “It is beginning to happen…..”
    http://mammothweather.com/

  • Utrex

    I am really excited about the new “Atmospheric ENSO Index” WSI is creating. You can read about it here: http://www.wsi.com/blog/energy/introducing-a-new-atmospheric-el-nino-southern-oscillation-index-its-current-state-and-upcoming-winter-implications/

    Michael Ventrice talks about the “Atmospheric ENSO Index” state we were in for last winter and this winter. He also talks about what a positive “Atmospheric ENSO Index” and a negative “Atmospheric ENSO Index” does to N. America. According to last year, we were in a negative state, which he states brings ridging across Northeast Pacific and cold air mass intrusions over North America. That’s what we got last winter. Now we’re in a positive state, with a much more mild state over N. America. California looks to be right in between a strong cold trough and a strong N. American ridge, which looks like a good sign. Not surprisingly, EMCWF is showing forecasts similar to what you would see during a positive “Atmospheric ENSO” state. Really glad I could start relying on another “ENSO” index, since the current ENSO index used by pretty much everyone doesn’t show much “true” signs of a winter. This new “Atmospheric ENSO index” seems to be more accurate. You’ll understand more by reading the link provided.

    • Kamau40

      Now this is a very interesting article written by Michael. He pointed out how in great detail with facts that the positioning of the high& low pressure ridges can be greatly affected depending upon the state of the “Atmospheric ENSO Index.” He also showed exactly the negative state of the “Atmospheric ENSO Index” during the coarse of much of last winter with strong ridging vs today where it is in the positive state. So given the fact it is now in the positive state, this seems definitely consistent with the stronger troughs developing in the GOA and signals a synoptic change in the weather patterns over the Northern Hemisphere. Thank you for this very informative piece.

    • craig matthews

      There’s a lot of “loose ends” when it comes to ENSO and tying it to CA precip. This might just be the index that ties one of those loose ends together. I’ve been hoping a new index would come to existence to us other then SOI and OIN and IOD(hope I got those right!). This makes more sense to this weather101 student. Thanks

      • craig matthews

        Also, I didn’t see it in the article, but historical data for the WSI would be very helpful too. For instance, to see what the WSI was in 2006-07, during weak to moderate positive ENSO, in a transition positive to negative PDO, where CA had a very dry winter. It would be interesting to see what the WSI was for 1976-77 too. Or it would also be interesting to see what the WSI was during wet winters where ENSO was neutral and the PDO was either way. More stuff to figure out here. Thanks once again. Lets keep that rain dance going!

        • Kamau40

          Historical data would be very helpful to see precisely what state the “Atmospheric ENSO index” was in during the wet/dry years.

          • craig matthews

            Exactly. Taken from the article:
            This index measures atmospheric response to the ENSO index(where the atmosphere “feels” the ENSO state).
            I am wondering about times when the atmosphere has a negative ENSO “feel” when ENSO is giving a positive reading(if that’s possible). It might help us understand why in times when ENSO is positive that we get such dry winters, by showing the atmosphere’s feel??? Maybe there is a connection with the PDO in the measuring WSI index?? The waters there have always been murky, well, for me.

          • Kamau40

            I did send him a tweet about it. Will see if he responds.

          • craig matthews

            Nice. I should send him one too. Get the ball rolling. Its a work in progress though. I’m sure they already have historical data, just they haven’t made it public yet being that its a new index and probably needs some refining. At least that’s what were hoping here.

  • cabeza tormenta

    when I open my daily GFS it’s like opening an advent calendar window, anticipation
    followed by possibilities(thanks ggweather!) the latest one seems to show a typhoon
    getting caught up in the westerlies. hopefullly more!
    say, was there a discussion of the marvelous winter of 2010/2011 sometime last spring?
    in the fall there was a forecast/prediction for a dry JFM and instead we got a near record late melting sierra snowpack and plenty of rain(bet a lot of springs and wells are still working on the last of that). maybe it would be possible to search for it in the blog archive
    if nobody wants to rehash it a bit.

  • RSpringbok

    NOAA CFSv2 is “all in” on a wet January for the whole state. +1mm/day anomaly is about 1.3 inches of precip above normal for January. That would be good! Possible bad news is the T2m says warmer than normal — for water supply purposes, snow is much better than rain. What Calif really needs are a couple of 10-ft Sierra snow events, the ones with low snow elevations all the way down to the Tehachapis…

    http://www.cpc.ncep.noaa.gov/products/CFSv2/imagesInd3/usPrecMonInd4.gif

    • craig matthews

      Yeah, it would be better for the land to get melting snow rather then run off rain in the Sierra and other Mtns. Back to back 2010-11 winters would do!
      And the people in charge of water release from CA dams like snowmelt much better because its easier to control.

    • thunderstorm98

      That would really green things up here.:)

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

      Other seasonal forecast models are just as dry as the CFS is wet, so at the moment there’s still no clear DJF signal. Still…it’s quite unlikely that we’d see as dry a winter as last year simply due to the fact that the ocean and atmosphere are in much different configuration at the moment.

      • Kamau40

        Dan-
        Specifically, what other seasonal forecasts are those you are referencing to that are pointing to a drier than normal winter? Remember, whatever model solutions(wet or dry) you are referring to cannot be used as an actual forecast, but only to be used as an idea or guidance. In reality, no one knows what is in store for the upcoming winter due to large degree of uncertainty.

    • Weatherwatcher

      And yet again it’s missing the socal coast…

  • Cachagua1

    Yesterday was our first day below 90 degrees this month and now they are saying a warming trend this weekend. I cant take it anymore! I hope they are right about next week weather shift. The forecasters are now throwing the rain line further south. The last wet October we can remember out here was in 2009. That storm I remember was a surprise to the forecasters I recall. It dumped over 8 inches in one day here. If there was ever a time we could use an early start to the rainy season, now is the time.

    • craig matthews

      That same 2009 storm brought 21 inches in 24hrs to mining ridge to our south!

  • craig matthews

    For the first time since mid July, buoy 42 in Monterey bay has fallen below 60 degrees. At 7am this morning it dropped to 59 degrees. That must have been the longest ever recorded stretch of SSTs in the mid 60’s this area has ever seen! NW flow this last week might be bringing back the upwelling next to shore. I don’t know about Dallas Reigns(?) garden down south, but this is the best tomato season ever on the coast up here. Warmer SSTs makes warmer nights next to ocean. Tomatoes like it. As long as you can find water for them.

    • Boiio

      I noticed the same thing. Had our best tomato season ever in Sonoma. The tomatoes ripened two weeks earlier than I have ever seen. It seemed like nighttime temps were 2-5F warmer than normal this summer and the tomatoes responded accordingly.

      Another interesting note: In wine country the grapes were harvested a few days after the record for earliest harvest. The earliest harvest on record? Fall of 1997.

      • craig matthews

        That is interesting. It has been one warm muggy summer here. I cant get my house to cool down below 70 at night even with all the windows open. Very different then any year I remember, even ’97.

        • http://www.flickr.com/photos/28769541@N07/ Geomagnetic_Storm

          I agree. My parents complain whenever I crank up the air conditioning. Lol

          • BlackRoseML

            They complain because you are using air conditioning, or they complain because it is hot, the reason why you want to use air conditioning?

          • http://www.flickr.com/photos/28769541@N07/ Geomagnetic_Storm

            Because it has been very hot and humid this summer. It was killer!

          • craig matthews

            I don’t have AC. But I don’t like AC anyway, it makes the air feel manufactured, or something. I rely on the marine layer. But that’s easy for me to say, because I live right next to the ocean where it rarely stays above 70 for a long stretch, except for this year!

    • Kamau40

      Do you think this maybe a temp drop in temperatures? Keep in mind that the overall Pacific is still very much in its positive phase.

      • craig matthews

        I think its localized upwelling right along the immediate coastline right in this area, due to northwest flow over the last week. Buoy 42 has been showing SSTs jumping between 59 and 62 over the last day, instead of 64-66. This is probably very localized cooling, and 59 is still above average for this area. SSTs still well above average 30 miles offshore. Just one day of calmness, or a return of south-southwest flow could jump the SSTs right back to mid 60’s. Next week slated trough could shift the surface flow back to the southwest, and if we are kept in the warmer sector of the trough, that could make it real muggy on the coast around mid week, unless the coldfront is allowed to drag further south.

        • Kamau40

          This is an interesting seasonal projection regarding El Niño in the future. Looking at some of the more recent cfvs2 model trends, take a look at the huge projected spike in the Nino3.4 models as if we may have another possible El Niño trend. The models still show the Pacifc ocean remaining in the positive PDO phase. What are your thoughts? Very interesting, something we should watch going into late Winter/Spring of 2015. See below:
          http://www.cpc.ncep.noaa.gov/products/people/wwang/cfsv2fcst/imagesInd3/nino34Mon.gif

          • Xerophobe

            My initial response was well it’s gone rogue, but ECMWF for April is close to +1.0, The ECMWF forecast is only out to April, yet from April on is where the CFSv2 does go “rogue”..”-)

            The ECMWF was really “rogue” in it’s earlier forecasts though…lol

  • alanstorm

    Afternoon winds are picking up as they do this time of year, bad news for this red flag fire warning here. Above 90° tomorrow. Some fire planes buzzing around so that’s not good. If we can get to Wed without any major fires, I think we’ll have made it to the end of this volatile fire season

    • Weatherwatcher

      Yes we are lucky we havnt had any strong santa anas yet (besides May.) But rember, santa anas can come at any time and they are gennerally unexpected and we are unfortunately far from being out of fire season.

      • alanstorm

        True. Of course your fire season goes quite a bit longer then ours, (I’m assuming you’re in So Cal) I’m north of the Bay Area, Mendocino interior. From the looks of the forecast, the north half of the state is in for successive rain events. That’s pretty much is enough to call it over up here, especially when storms are 2-3 days apart. Its about time! Lets hope these fronts sag further south…

        • Weatherwatcher

          Ya I do live in Socal. Glad norcal will be getting some much needed rain. Thankfully santa anas will be pretty weak down here this weekend. And the fact that you guys are getting rain is a good sign of zonal flow, and shows that the jet stream is starting to dip. :)

    • inclinejj

      I hate to bring this up but the Oakland Hills fire of 1991 occurred October 19 and October 20th.

  • lightning10

    Might be one of them years where all the fronts wash out before they hit So Cal. GFS shows that take place for the next 2 weeks.

    • thunderstorm98

      Reminds me of fall 2012

    • Zepp

      On the other hand, that’s perfectly normal for this time of year. Our rainy season usually has a three-to-five week jump on the Southland.

    • SlashTurn

      The southwest deserts are to warm right now. We’ve had such a dominant subtropical ridge pattern over the last month. Once the sun angle gets lower and the westerlies strengthen things WILL change.

      So many negative nancys on this thread…

    • Mike Stephenson

      Pretty sure they normally do in fall

  • redlands

    I have a feeling that its gonna be another bone dry year. Channel 9 news says its either gonna be real wet or real dry — my guess its gonna be real dry — hope am wrong

    • Bandini

      I usually put all of my faith in the local news team.

      • SlashTurn

        Ya they speak the truth. For sure.????

    • Brett

      Availability heuristic: the tendency to assume easily and recently recalled events will repeat themselves.

      Considering atmospheric conditions are different this year than last though, the results are logically not likely to repeat themselves.

      • BlackRoseML

        What else is there to rely on? I tend to use medium range models as they have fairly good reliability.

        Also, the weather can repeat itself, as there is a degree of hysteresis in the weather.

        • Brett

          But as WeatherWest has been saying repeatedly, the fact that current atmospheric conditions are quite different than last year suggests there will NOT be a repeat of last year. So it’s only a memory bias (called the availability heuristic) that leads people to assume a repeat. Psychological studies have demonstrated time and time again that this tendency leads us to faulty conclusions.

          • Brett

            So, to answer your question specifically, current atmospheric conditions are a much better predictor of weather activity than our “feeling” about what’s happened in recent memory.

          • Dan the Weatherman

            I believe this year will ultimately be different than the last two because a lot has changed in the Pacific since last year and we don’t have the dreaded -PDO, +AMO, ENSO neutral combination this time around. It may take a bit longer for the pattern to change initially, but I think this year will be better than last year in terms of rain and snow.

  • thunderstorm98

    Wow temperatures went up from 61 to 82 in just an hour in Santa Maria.

  • Weatherwatcher

    Anyone else notice gfs has been super bipolar lately?

  • http://www.flickr.com/photos/28769541@N07/ Geomagnetic_Storm

    Very hot and very dry in San Jose right now. We are getting gusty winds right now. I hope no fires start.

  • craig matthews

    The most frustrating “type” storms are the ones that dump all their rain about 50 miles off the coast and then dissipate as they come ashore. I notice the models are showing this to happen with next week’s slated front(s). The trough axis in the models is a little too far west, and the intermountain ridge is just a little to close, especially to the desert southwest to Socal(according to the models). 500mb 570dm line never gets further south then SFO over the next 10 days(in the models), and the shortwaves are forecast to lift as they come into the west coast, not dig, because of the longwave axis too far to the west pumping up a ridge over the intermountain region. It is nice to see a more zonal flow across the north pacific. But sometimes its better to have a ridge develop northwest of Hawaii to cause the GOA troughs to dig down off the west coast. There are times I wish I could move California out to 140W. It appears a lot of rain could fall out in the ocean near 140W down to 30N next week, according to models. Anyway, its only Oct 12. And this same pattern set up in a couple of months, with the polar jet being stronger by winter equinox, would probably push the intermountain ridge further east and bring a lot of rain to the whole state. Models are keeping the GOA trough in place out to 2 weeks. All the WP activity could cause a small change that could go in our favor. In Oct 2009 there was a lot of WP activity and we didn’t know we were going to have a record rain producer until about 3 days before it hit. So that shows we could be in for a good soaker, but the models have not picked up on it yet.

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

      Yes–unfortunately, significant precip looks pretty unlikely now for nearly all of CA. The North Coast could still see an inch or two, though by this time of year average weekly rainfall up there is something on that order. It’s nice to see a longwave trough over the East Pacific, and most of NorCal will probably see some light precip this week. But now it appears that even the Bay Area and Sac Metro areas will see only very light precip–likely lighter than during the September event.

      The CFS is still suggesting an extremely dry remainder of October and November, with mixed wet/dry signals for December. CFS is still quite wet for Jan-Feb-Mar, but as usual there’s low confidence in that projection, especially since the international models are much drier.

      In short, it definitely doesn’t look like we’re in for any relief in the early part of the rainy season, but it’s still not clear what will happen later in the winter. I’ll have a post soon, though given the recent devolution of this week’s precip event the subject might be a bit different than initially anticipated.

      • craig matthews

        Thanks. I hope with all the activity happening in the Western Pacific, that there will be a wetter trend instead of drier. Will see. Thanks Dan. Looking foreward to the update as always.

      • Dan the Weatherman

        This is really disappointing when models are consistent for several days on a rain event and then backpedal just as soon as the pattern was forecast to change. This type of model behavior absolutely drives me nuts, especially when the rain is so desperately needed.

    • Kamau40

      While it is nice to see somewhat a pattern change, the problem being is that we are still dealing the ridge though not very strong like last year. Even though the overall pattern is different out in the Pacific, the best wisdom I will give is that we still need to be cautious about making any conclusive projections(wet or dry) for the upcoming winter. After what happened last, I do not feel comfortable about making any concrete projections of how things will pan out this year because there are still lots of uncertainties with the global tele-connection pattern. For example, the ENSO is still neutral even though the PDO has still be positive so far all year. The bottom line, we will just have to wait and see, but we will certainly know by the time we get to Apr 1, ’15 of how this season will turn out.

      • Dan the Weatherman

        We still haven’t gone through Santa Ana wind season here in Socal as of yet, and our rainy season doesn’t really get started until we have had a couple of wind events. Sometimes it rains before the first major wind, but more often the rains begin after the first wind. These first few storms of the rainy season are usually much smaller than the storms that come later on in December to March.

        • Weatherwatcher

          Ya hopefully we havn’t had a significant santa ana event this summer/fall probably due to the placement of the high pressure systems. But we can get santa anas through november too.

          • Dan the Weatherman

            Santa Ana season has just started and the strongest winds in my area (inland Orange County) usually occur in November and December, and even during the winter months at times. The most destructive Santa Anas usually occur in October and November because they are usually hotter and the brush is still tinder dry since the rainy season really hasn’t gotten started yet. December Santa Anas are usually colder, and by that time, the fuels are usually wetter from some early season rainfall. We are certainly not out of the woods just yet as far as fire danger is concerned.

    • Dan the Weatherman

      You are certainly right that a ridge to the NW of Hawaii, leads to a trough that is favorable for good storms to come into CA. I have heard that mentioned in the past when we have had good stormy periods here in Socal. I hope that pattern occurs later this fall and winter.

    • Kamau40

      Craig-

      You/Dan are certainly correct in the fact when there is a ridge to the NW of Hawaii(155-160 degrees W) would indeed help to aid both the subtropical/polar jet stream right into Ca. When I shared with you a couple of days of all of those storms during the heavy storms of ’81-82 it looked like the ridge axis was perfectly positioned NW of Hawaii. The same seems to be true with other very wet years that I also posted to you. Lot’s hope the pattern will shape up that way during the Winter months.

  • redlands

    The last good October in Redlands, Ca – was October 2004 when I recorded a very wet 6.07 of rain — where the average October rainfall in Redlands, Ca is only 0.59 of rain — That year 2004-2005 at my station in Redlands, Ca – I recorded the 3rd wettest season with 24.21 of rain. The wettest at my station was 29.05 — 1992/93 rain season — 2nd wettest 24.48 — 1982/83. Its gonna take 3 good months of rain to have a good – 20-plus rain season in Redlands – or a 10-12 inch month – with 3/4 months of 3/4 inches per month.

    • Ian Alan

      Can’t use 14/15 in the average yet! 1.4″ is a good start for summer and early fall! I’m at 2.5″ up here and it’s only logical even historically statistical that this year will be Much better than the previous 3!

      • Guest

        Ian Alan — Ok !!! That’s fair !!! 2011-2014 seasons averaged out to 7.26 over a 3 year period. I looked at my rain records and its very possible that we could have another dry rain season. The 1998/99 to 2001/02 averaged out to 5.72 !!!! 5.02 — 1998/99 6.13 — 1999/2000 8.96 — 2000/01 2001/02 — 2.78
        This current rain season 2014/15 July-1st thru Oct-31st is currently the 4th wettest season – with 1.40 —- The wettest July-1st to Oct-31st time period is 2004/05 with 6.14

  • Utrex

    So… the GFS has taken quite the turn in the runs.

    http://www.twisterdata.com/data/models/gfs/3/maps/2014/10/13/06/GFS_3_2014101306_F252_PCPIN_96_HR.png

    Odd that the most precipitation is in the valley not the mountains… looks like the systems that will come from now on will be more cold fronts than warm fronts.

    • Brett

      Wow, I like the looks of this.

    • SFBay2

      Like, like, like.

    • SoCalWXwatcher

      Here’s the 12UTC showing that storm just a little farther South. Lately it seems like the GFS has been in “Mirage” mode – looking wetter farther out, but dryer as we get closer to that date. It’s still good to see troughs this early in the season as opposed to endless ridging though.

      • xeren

        lately? that’s ALWAYS how the GFS works

        • SoCalWXwatcher

          By “Lately” I meant the last 15 years. 😉

          • xeren

            ha

    • Boiio

      The GFS is the boy who cried wolf…

      • xeren

        i blame ease of access vs the euro model. if the euro was freely available, the GFS’s cries would go unheard because no one would bother looking at them

        • John b

          at this moment Euro is showing 1/2″ of total water at ksmf through 360hrs.

        • Boiio

          Agreed. It’s amazing how many times over the last few years the GFS has been wet 7+ days out while EURO has been significantly dryer, only to have both models be dry within the 3-5 day window.

          • Kamau40

            Boiio-
            Is there any wonder why people should not put their trust in both short/long range model guidance(s)? The truth is they are just that model guidance(s) not actual forecasts, which are almost always subject to error when predicting weather outcomes.

      • Stereolab

        Yup, Lucy with the football again. Anyone considering suing the GFS for psychological damage?

    • Bandini

      Facepalm.

      • Utrex

        Looks like the GFS is predicting a full-blown severe thunderstorm outbreak. Time to get my camera ready because I’ll be recording some impressive photogenic tornadoes…

        Probably some record-breaking hailstones at that.

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

          I don’t see any indication at all of elevated thunderstorm potential in California.

          • Utrex

            Joking around with Bandini lol.

    • Weatherwatcher

      Wow at that stream of moisture on the east coast.

  • Weatherwatcher

    Models showing a dry october for Socal. Kind of saddens me because we normally get a good rain storm or two in october. Although models should be very mistrusted this time of year it’s showing the jet stream further north giving Northern California some rain events.

    • xeren

      the noaa auto forecast has been showing a chance of rain in LA on Tues/Wed for the last several days, including the last update, but yeah, it’s not going to be anything significant

      • lightning10

        Yeah I hate to sound like a broke record but for So Cal if you want a big winter you don’t want to see a lot of rain and cold snaps in November unless October had a lot of rain as well. Otherwise odds will favor a dry – very dry winter/spring.

    • Dan the Weatherman

      Our weather pattern needs to get more active before we can get significant rain. It seems that we just exited summer last week, and it takes a little while to make the transition into fall. I have felt the difference recently with the cooler nights, and that is usually the first sign of the changing seasons. The next sign of more activity is an alternating pattern of low pressure systems (usually inside sliders) or cutoff lows bringing scattered showers or just cooler and cloudier conditions followed by Santa Ana winds. We haven’t quite reached that stage as of yet, as it seems as we are still in the first transition stage.

      • Kamau40

        Very typical weather pattern for Oct(transitional month). Eventually, I do think the right conditions will set-up over time and So.Cal will start seeing precipitation.

  • SacWest

    Why is GFS and Euro different. does EURO base its forecasting model on something /some data that is observed /collected or is GFS missing on some data and extrapolating it and hence its forecasting model is way off

    • alanstorm

      Cause the Euro is on the Metric System & we’re not

    • xeren

      different models mean they model the data in different ways. presumably they have very similar starting information, but what they do with it/how they interpret it seems to be very different

      i remember one meteorologist saying that the GFS treats entire areas of north america as one whereas the euro breaks it up into discrete pieces when it comes to modeling heights, but i can’t remember any more detail than that

  • http://www.flickr.com/photos/28769541@N07/ Geomagnetic_Storm

    If the RRR magically shows up again and it anchored more West, will that mean we in California will get those brutal Canadian Sliders?

  • Guest

    A really cool weather visualization site with global, wind, temperatue, pressure, cloud, precip and storm data:
    http://www.meteoearth.com/

  • Xerophobe

    I really like legacy plots rather than just those that show an initialization date. I didn’t know the ECMWF was this rogue