El Niño has arrived in the tropical Pacific, but what are the implications for California’s record-breaking drought?

Filed in Uncategorized by on June 3, 2015 1,397 Comments

Recent Weather Summary

California experienced yet another dry and record-warm winter in 2014-2015. The spring months, however, have been notably different in many places: May 2015 was the first cooler-than-average month in well over a year for the state as a whole.

California has experienced a drier -than-average spring on average, though the Sierra Nevada and far southern CA have fared much better. (WRCC)

California has experienced a drier -than-average spring on average, though the Sierra Nevada and far southern CA have fared much better. (WRCC)

May 2015 was the first cooler-than-average month in California in over a year. (WRCC)

May 2015 was the first cooler-than-average month in California in well over a year, following two record-warm winters and the warmest calendar year. (WRCC)

In the Bay Area, in particular, May was a notably chilly month–by some metrics, even cooler than the balmily warm winter we just experienced. In a rather incredible climatological inversion, San Francisco recorded a May that was cooler than the months of January, February, March, AND April for the first time in recorded history. Some spots (like the San Diego area and parts of the Sierra Nevada along and east of the crest) have been fortunate enough to receive rather significant late-season precipitation over the past 6 weeks. Similar to April, though, May was a drier-than-average month overall in California. The long-term statewide precipitation deficit continues to increase.

 

Early signs of an El Niño teleconnection?

Clearly, a single month of slightly cooler-than-average temperatures and slightly less below-average precipitation hasn’t affected long-term drought conditions much, though it probably has kept high Sierra meadows green for a few extra weeks and may have slowed the start of wildfire season. But what has caused this relative reversal–from a record-warm winter to a relatively cool spring? It appears that a significant hemispheric-scale pattern change has finally started to develop over the past 2 months in response to strengthening tropical sea surface temperature anomalies in the tropical Pacific Ocean. These warm ocean temperatures in the central and eastern Pacific are associated with a strengthening (and much-discussed) El Niño event, are are expected to increase through the summer (more on that below). To date, increased tropical thunderstorm activity over the Central and East Pacific appears to have resulted in a chain reaction of weather anomalies across North America–including persistently cool (and occasionally unsettled) conditions over California.

An enhanced subtropical jet has contributed to the devastating Texas floods and ongoing cool  and unsettled conditions in California. (NCEP via ESRL)

An enhanced subtropical jet has contributed to the devastating Texas floods and ongoing cool and unsettled conditions in California. (NCEP via ESRL)

Far more notably, a stronger-than-usual storm track–driven by an enhanced subtropical jet stream–has led to extraordinary, record-shattering precipitation and devastating flooding in Texas and across parts of the Great Plains in recent weeks. This kind of late-spring pattern is strongly reminiscent of we would expect to see during the early stages of a developing significant El Niño event, when atmospheric “teleconnections” (i.e. geographically remote effects of the warm tropical ocean) are not yet fully developed across the entire Pacific Basin/North America region. These teleconnections are usually better-defined during the winter months, though there are significant implications for both the Atlantic and East Pacific hurricane seasons (decreased and increased activity, respectively). For what it’s worth, current model forecasts are keying in on the potential for the continuation of an anomalously active late spring pattern over California through the first half of June, with an active mountain thunderstorm regime and perhaps even some convective showers/storms occasionally at lower elevations.

Given the strengthening El Niño event, do the drought-busting Texas floods suggest that California will be in for the same experience next winter? Not really–well, at least not directly. The kind of weather pattern that led to the Texas floods–persistent, moist deep convection (thunderstorms) with self-organizing characteristics (i.e. mesoscale convective complexes) aren’t really possible in California. We don’t have anywhere near the kind of warm, moist, and unstable conditions made possible in Texas by the proximity of the Gulf of Mexico, and large-scale atmospheric conditions near California are also generally unfavorable for this kind of event. But, as I’ll discuss below, significant El Niño events do have a meaningful influence on the risk of experiencing unusually wet conditions in California during our canonical winter “wet season.”

 

Strength matters: not all El Niño events have same effect in California, but watch out for the big ones.

There is currently quite a bit of excitement surrounding current expectations of a “significant” El Niño in 2015-2016, especially given California’s extraordinary multi-year drought and model forecasts suggesting the potential for a particularly strong El Niño event. I’ve seen a number of rather hyperbolic (and seemingly mutually exclusive!) news headlines suggesting, that either California is headed for an epic drought-ending flood disaster or that El Niño cannot (and will not) provide drought relief since such the vagaries of the tropical East Pacific are essentially irrelevant to precipitation here. As the astute reader might have guessed, neither of these headlines is particularly accurate–but the reality is far more interesting than the dichotomy above would suggest.

Strong or very strong El Niño events usually bring wet winters to California, while weak El Niño events have a highly variable influence on precipitation. (NCDC/NOAA)

California, of course, receives the vast majority of precipitation during the cool season (the late fall through early spring months, or November through April). During most years, the months of December though March are most critical–and these are also the month during which most of California’s major floods have occurred. The fact that much of California has a well-defined, rarely-broken summer dry season means that a wet winter (and perhaps spring) will make or break the entire year–and also highlights the fact that any oceanic phenomenon (like El Niño) that might have the potential to influence precipitation on the annual scale would have to be acting during the cool season months. Thus, if we want to examine El Niño’s influence on California, it makes sense to focus on the core rainy season months of December through March. That’s not to say that El Niño can’t or won’t influence the risk of relatively rare summer rainfall events in the Golden State (I had a post focusing on this topic last year), but from the perspective of California drought relief, warm-season precipitation is highly unlikely to play a big role even during a strong El Niño year.

 

Weak El Niño events have highly variable effect; strong El Niño events usually increase winter precipitation

Note: for the purposes of this discussion, I have binned “weak,” “moderate,” “strong,” and “very strong” El Niño events according to Jan Null’s definitions, which rely on the Oceanic Niño Index.

El Niño has achieved broad popular recognition in California, largely a result of the substantial impacts associated with two exceptionally wet winters linked to the strongest El Niño events in the historical record (1982-1983 and 1997-1998). When discussed in the media, however, the conversation usually centers around the categorical question surrounding the effects of “El Niño” vs. “no El Niño.” As it turns out, this binary framing not a particularly useful way to structure the discussion of El Niño’s impacts in this part of the world.

Why is this the case? El Niño, on the whole, represents a weakening or reversal of the prevailing Walker Circulation, with typical east-to-west trade winds weakening or even becoming west-to-east winds (see this post from last year for more details). Because El Niño is defined so broadly, it actually encompasses a fairly wide range of atmospheric states–including a complete reversal of the direction of tropical wind patterns on seasonal timescales! It’s not all that surprising, then, that the atmospheric teleconnections associated with an El Niño event depend very much on the actual strength of the event. For weak events, the average atmospheric state over the Pacific Ocean isn’t all that well-defined, and historically California has experienced a very wide range of outcomes (including both very dry and very wet winters, along with everything in between).

500mb geopotential height anomalies show a weak signal for weak El Niño events but a much more consistent signal for increased storminess during strong El Niño events. (NCEP via ESRL)

In general, El Niño brings about a strengthening of the subtropical (low-latitude) branch of the jet stream, typically at the expense of the polar (mid-latitude) branch. California usually depends on undulations in the polar jet to bring periodic storminess in the winter months, though even during average winters the subtropical jet does occasionally make an appearance. During weak El Niño events, this effect is less profound, and the end result can often be relatively weak versions of both the subtropical and subpolar jet vying for influence over the East Pacific. The net effect can be quite variable; if California’s lucky, we see moist storms originating from both regions, but if we’re unlucky, we can largely miss out on storm systems taking both trajectories. If we composite the most recent weak El Niño episodes, the average effect in California actually appears to be a slight drying during the winter months–directly contrary to the El Niño mythology that pervades the Golden State.

Strong El Niño events strengthen the subtropical jet stream in a much more reliable manner than do weak El Niño events. (NCEP via ESRL)

However, things are a quite a bit different during a strong El Niño event. When East Pacific sea surface temperatures become sufficiently warm, large-scale atmospheric temperature differences between the tropics and the mid-latitudes are big enough to strengthen the subtropical jet quite substantially over the portion of the East Pacific that is most relevant for California wintertime precipitation. This enhanced subtropical jet can greatly enhance the strength of low-latitude storms west and even slightly south of California, and also makes it easier for such systems to tap into the rich tropical and subtropical atmospheric moisture reservoir that exists at lower latitudes. Additionally, storms during strong El Niño years have the potential to be more convectively unstable due to increased lower-atmospheric temperature and moisture, leading to an increased likelihood of intense localized downpours. In other words: a strong El Niño event tends to result in a jet stream structure that 1) steers more storms toward Southern California, 2) is favorable for stronger storms at a lower latitude in the East Pacific, and 3) affords pre-existing storms greater potential access to warm, moisture-rich airmasses.

 

Will El Niño end California’s extraordinary, multi-year drought during Winter 2015-2016?

Almost certainly not. Over the past four years of very low precipitation and record-shattering warmth, truly enormous water deficits have accumulated throughout California. On a statewide basis, the Golden State would need to see substantially more than an entire year’s worth of extra precipitation fall to eliminate the long-term deficit in a single year (in other words, a year with much greater  than 200% of average).20150526_CA_trd Since California’s all-time wettest years (typically associated with very strong El Niño events) have historically involved a doubling (200%) or less of annual precipitation, California would probably need to experience its wettest year on record (by a fairly wide margin) to erase ongoing deficits in a single year. While it’s not physically impossible, that would be a very tall order, indeed. And a winter like that would most likely bring a whole host of other problems (see below).

 

Could a strong or very strong El Niño in 2015-2016 substantially mitigate the California drought and/or lead to serious flooding?

Absolutely. If the developing El Niño event reaches a strong or very strong intensity and maintains its strength through winter 2015-2016, the odds of experiencing persistently wet conditions next winter will increase. The occurrence of frequent precipitation events during significant El Niño winters increases the probability that antecedent hydrological conditions will be moist if and when heavy precipitation events do occur, increasing the risk of flooding. Also, since the trajectory of Pacific storms during strong El Niño winters tends to be from a much lower (more southerly) latitude, air masses during rain events tend to be warmer and moister overall. This can have several effects, including higher snow lines and more rapid runoff, greater precipitation intensity overall, and an increased risk of deep moist convection (which can produce very high rainfall rates even in the absence of mountainous topography). It’s important to note that almost all of California’s major flood events result from landfalling “atmospheric rivers,” which tend to be more frequent (but not necessarily more intense) during El Niño years. Therefore, a major flood can easily occur during any winter, El Niño or not. Still, for upper-tier El Niño events, there is definitely an increased risk of above-average precipitation and flooding during the cool season.

Since strong El Niño events increase the likelihood of wet California winters, it does stand to reason that a strong El Niño in 2015-2016 could provide at least partial (and perhaps substantial) drought relief. A wet winter would most likely allow most of California’s major reservoirs to fill, though those who operate California’s dams and reservoirs are heavily constrained by flood control mandates. Surface soil moisture would increase, and drought-stressed forests and ecosystems would benefit substantially in the short term. Stress on urban water supplies would be reduced as demand decreases, and supply increases.

The latest dynamical model forecasts continue to suggest the potential for a very strong El Niño event in 2015. (CPC)

The latest dynamical model forecasts continue to suggest the potential for a very strong El Niño event in 2015. (CPC)

But even a tremendous amount of water falling from the sky won’t completely alleviate all of California’s drought impacts. And if much of this hypothetical precipitation were to fall as rain rather than snow in the Sierra Nevada, longer-term water storage wouldn’t be boosted nearly as much as it would otherwise. California is currently witnessing firsthand what happens during its first year in recorded history without a measurable springtime snowpack, and it’s becoming quite clear that warming temperatures aren’t very compatible with the snowmelt-dependent water storage infrastructure currently in place. The Pacific Ocean, on the whole, remains extraordinarily warm (even in regions geographically far removed from those used to define El Niño), and is expected to remain so for the foreseeable future. This means that even if heavy precipitation does return to California next winter, temperatures will likely remain well above the long-term average.

And just to reiterate a key point from above: we still don’t know for sure whether strong or very strong El Niño conditions will ultimately develop (nor whether they will persist until winter, when they are most relevant for California). Confidence is starting to increase in current projections, since we’re now emerging from the Spring Predictability Barrier and most dynamical models are still suggesting the potential for a powerful event. But when we concatenate all the various uncertainties discussed above, there’s still something of an open question regarding what happens in California next winter.  At this point, it’s fair to state that the likelihood of experiencing a wetter-than-average winter (and, perhaps, flooding) is increasing, but simultaneously that the risk of the California drought continuing into 2016 is nearly 100%. Needless to say: it will probably be a very interesting year to come for weather and climate-watchers in the Golden State. Stay tuned!

 

© 2015 WEATHER WEST

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  • Xerophobe

    This will give an idea of how the dynamical and statistical models have done over the past three years. Yeah it’s a mess trying to see which one did the best. If you want to try: http://iri.columbia.edu/our-expertise/climate/forecasts/enso/current/
    The archive box is too the right of the page. Scroll down to the current plots and click on Figure 4 hyper link. It will expand to give actual data #’s and down further the performance of past models. I did a stitch to put all of it together. I’m OCD on this stuff but I don’t know if (and I don’t think) past performance will predict future success of any one of the models this year.

    • click

      Nice post, I have been wondering about the historical predictions vs actual, thank you for digging this up. What is the lead time on the predicted value? 1 month, 3 month? Obviously the closer you get to the prediction, the better prediction you should have. I have not read the info you linked yet, so the answer may be there.
      My negative takeaway is that there is a huge variation in actual vs predicted value.
      My positive takeaway is that the models have not had such high values in the past several years, and despite the spread it shows a very high potential.

    • Utrex

      So basically this shows that there is a 1/2 chance that the real SSTA’s are the average of what the models show per month.

      • Xerophobe

        Yes… ;-). Looking back it show how the models did with their forecast. They really blew it back in 2012 and now the upper 20% seems to be doing well so far if one would extrapolate the line/curve of the observed SSTA out into the future.

  • redlands

    107 in Redlands, Ca — Southern Calif — June-19-2015

    • Ian Alan

      Ouch – how’s the smoke from Redlands? It’s real hazy here.

      • redlands

        Was hazy today — not as clear as before the fire

    • alanstorm

      Thermal was 119° the other day. Ouch

    • Angel Rocket

      I was working at the Redlands YMCA , on the roof!! , it was ab

  • thunderstorm98

    A forecast of 71 degrees today and its already 77 degrees now.

  • Chowmin

    The majority of the models are unanimously forecasting a Super El Nino(exceeding the 97-98 event) this Fall/Winter.

    • thunderstorm98

      Buy those sandbags.

      • J Tang

        buy a lot of rain barrels!

    • Dan weather maniac

      Interesting, last year in July the line was just over zero…. Then climbed to 1 by oct… So this year the line is already near 1.5 nearing July, and forecast to climb 1 more point by October….similar to last year just on a higher base. Not that past predicts future, but looking good from many angles!!!

      They are also still saying a chance on monsoon moisture hitting the coast around SF in the 10 day range…. Still a bit far out to believe ….

    • Xerophobe

      Wonder when CFS will add a +5? Sometime in the future they will need too add to the La Niña. Could make for a pretty big spread over 15 months.

    • theboreworms

      This is really just the majority of the members of a single model, notably one that has been consistently too bullish with regards to El Niño for the past couple of years. Check out Xerophobe’s post and link below – you can see the very wide range of predictions from other models. You can also see how the mean of all of those models tends to be pretty accurate in estimating what will actually happen.

      For the record, I’d love to see a historically strong El Niño, just to see what would happen (although a bunch of flooding and property damage isn’t cool, no matter how you slice it). Based on the IRI analysis below, it really seems more likely that we’ll get an event that tops out around +1.8C, which I’m guessing would disappoint many posters here based on the tone of the comments lately.

      In any event, I couldn’t care less what the SSTs are as long as we get some decent rain and snow – preferably well-above-average numbers statewide. Even down here in SoCal where everyone else seems to think the rain isn’t needed. =)

      • Dan the Weatherman

        Hopefully the whole state gets a lot of rain and snow this winter, as it is needed everywhere!

  • AlTahoe

    I was looking at Chile ski resorts as they always get hammered during the big El Nino’s and saw the info below. Not to promising and maybe a sign that this El Nino is much different than usual?

    With no snow in the forecast, Chile may be experiencing one of its worst winters in history.

    As of now, the capitol of Chile, Santiago has only received 1.2cm of
    rain this year, which is 86% less than their normal totals and with the
    current El Niño trend, the Chilean drought is unusual. Normally an El
    Niño trend in the Pacific brings above-average snowfall to the west
    coast of South America and so far, there is no snow at resorts across
    northern Chile.”

    • Ian Alan

      Just to clarify – should the above average trend in SA for El Niño be now as it’s just ramping up or next summer when it’s already peaked…..

      • Xerophobe

        I vaguely remember last year at this time somewhere in west South America was getting hammered. It would be this winter (now) for them not next winter. Boreal summer 2016 could or will probably go to La Niña.

  • alanstorm

    Lows in Ukiah/Willits expected at 45° Monday nght, then up to 105° by Friday. Talk about a wild swing!

  • http://seecentralcoasthomes.com Cliff Collipriest

    Somewhat off topic, has anyone heard of a wildfire erupting in SLO county? I am in Santa Maria and can see column of smoke north east of here. Maybe around Santa Margarita?

    • thunderstorm98

      no

      • http://seecentralcoasthomes.com Cliff Collipriest

        This just came up on SLO fire: CASLU2015006113
        3415 Parkhill Rd
        Fire, Wildland High
        6/20/15 14:31

        That’s due east of Santa Margarita.

        • thunderstorm98
          • http://seecentralcoasthomes.com Cliff Collipriest

            Thanks for the link. I had checked KSBY a few minutes ago and nothing. This fire just got started so no surprise.

          • thunderstorm98

            2nd day in a row I seen a fire. Wonder if it is a serial arsonist?

          • http://seecentralcoasthomes.com Cliff Collipriest

            I sure hope not, but it could be. I doubt the two are related, too far apart (assuming you mean the Orcutt fire yesterday).

          • Nick W.

            Now 1,000+. This is one scary fire season and it’s not even close to over yet.

          • thunderstorm98
          • Nick W.

            I’d say an idiot that tossed a cigarette down the road. People need to be aware that dry vegetation is as flammable as gasoline.

  • thunderstorm98

    Monsoon getting closer and closer! Heavy rain from the Midwest to the Northeast.

    http://www.wpc.ncep.noaa.gov/qpf/p168i.gif?1434841522

  • Aloha12

    SOI crash, daily value at – 34. Excellent.

    • Utrex

      And expected to stay this way for a while.

      • Xerophobe

        Exactly!

  • tomocean

    Looks good for monsoonal flow next weekend. Might even lead to some low elevation thunderstorms in the Sacramento area. I’d love if this pattern kept cropping up all summer long!

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

      Do you have an image? I can’t seem to find a model showing this?

      • tomocean

        I tend to go with the words, versus the images. :-) All of the NWS northern California forecast discussions have been hitting on the idea of monsoonal flow beginning Friday and into next week. Scary part is that Friday looks like it could be initially dry so the fire potential from lightning is greater. It looks to moisten up after that. The question is how low will those storms go…

    • Bartshe

      Hope it materializes, seems like where the ridge sets up will make or break.

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

    “The Blob” is apparently being linked to the thousands of tuna crabs that are washing up on the beach.

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/capital-weather-gang/wp/2015/06/17/red-crabs-swarm-southern-california-linked-to-warm-blob-in-pacific/

  • Weatherwatcher

    Gfs looking good towards the beginning of June for Socal! Still way too far out to be considered accurate but it has been sticking through the models the past few days.

    • so.cal.storm.lover

      There may be some flash flooding in the burn area with this monsoon surge. Also this monsoon surge looks like it will last about six days according to gfs with a one day break in the middle of the surge.

      • Ian Alan

        Those one day breaks usually end up not being a break in the midst of things – this looks more like a extended ‘peak’ of the monsoon season we would expect in the first two weeks of August – oh baby!

        Wouldn’t it be awesome if fall cold storms started as early as late September?!? I can dream!

        • thunderstorm98

          We go from monsoonal storms to frontal systems a week later. :)

  • Weatherwatcher

    Here is an update on the Big Bear fire. Up to 16,000 acres burned and only 15% contained.

    http://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/article/4302/25202/

    • SlashTurn

      Lots of resources on this fire and with the whole southern flank San Gorgonio ridge (above timber line), I believe with minimal full blown torching/crowning, they should get a good handle baring any big reverse wind event.

      • Tuolumne

        The fire is already over the crest and onto the south slope in several spots. Yes, I’m also surprised. However, most of the greater length of the ridge is not above timberline though it tends to have rather sparse forest. Check it out in Google Earth, but aside from that I’ve actually been up there even though it was long ago.

        Anyway, this fire expansion means burning debris rolling downhill for thousands of feet on the south side, followed by uphill runs and then more downhill spread. There’s going to be a lot more fire fighting there in incredibly rough and hazardous terrain. This fire will be really hard on ground crews.

        • SlashTurn

          Ya gnarly indirect line cutting in those steep scree littered zones…Unfortunate about the rolling debris on the south slope.

          I wonder if the new “national monument” status will limit use of retardant? Or was that the San Gabriel’s only.

          That monsoon moisture from the Mexico couldn’t get here faster.

          • Tuolumne

            No monument, and the Forest Service authorized retardant.

  • Bandini

    Camped at Woods Lake, Carson Pass the past few days, wind was howling last night, saw some fire activity leaving looking east.

  • SFBay2

    What’s up with this 50% chance of rain tonight in Palo Alto?

    • Dogwood

      Strange. Every saved city on my iPhone weather has 50% starting at 7pm.
      Needles, Pismo Beach, Folsom, San Jose…
      I call glitch.

      • so.cal.storm.lover

        Every city in so cal too.

        • thunderstorm98

          Me too and there is no clouds in the sky besides the marine layer.

      • SFBay2

        Yeah, I think you’re right.

      • Kunder

        I’ve seen that sort of glitch on Weather Underground before. When the graph shows a smooth 50% line with abrupt transitions to 0%, you know it’s a glitch. Sure enough, it was gone just now when I looked at it.

    • thunderstorm98

      Picture

  • Thunderstorm

    Big plume from the fire south of Markleville on satellite. One in Owens valley also. Hope the moisture inflow coming is not dry lightning. Supposed to get really hot inland 100-110. Fires seem to be really moving. Is it really that dry already or is this beetle kill trees also?

    • craig matthews

      Here’s that sat view. Appears some lenticular cloud formations east of the crest south of the fire.

    • Azmordean

      I was just up in the Sierra near Yosemite. Things are greener than this time last year thanks to the wetter May, but overall, it’s incredibly dry. Conifers are dropping needles to save water too. There were big sections of forest that had 3-6″ of dry pine needles and piles of dry dead wood (windfall, manzanita branches, etc). A literal tinderbox. A cigarette would have sent the whole thing up.

      The place I was is a private tree ranch where they log sustainably, so they’ve logged out any beetle kill trees, but in the national forest there are plenty.. so add those in and it’s a dangerous situation.

  • Thunderstorm

    I believe I read where anchorage Alaska had it’s hottest temperature ever last week on this weather blog, (Best blog for weather ever created). Now it’s our turn. Looked at Reno weather. Up to 110 this weekend!! Northern Sacramento Valley may hit 120 then. We definitely DO NOT need any tropical moisture causing dry lightning and strong down drafts for the fire fighters. The rain can wait til August when the entire atmosphere full of el-nino moisture.

  • craig matthews

    Some GFS and ECMWF runs are showing elevated precipitable water values around 3 standard deviations above normal by early next week( according to SF NWS discussions). Good for thunderstorms containing wetting rains. The 18z GFS model run I threw in here, only shows the 500mb height/rh and flow pattern, but gives the “idea” of how the ridge over the great basin and Low off socal potentially work together to funnel deep monsoon moisture up over this state by early next week.

    • jstrahl

      Any reason why the moisture is just off the coast from the Bay Area north? I’m guessing it’s the 594 isobar, but the moisture goes right up to it in southern Nevada. BTW, i didn’t see this frame when i just looked at the 18Z.

      • Ian Alan

        Me too, the precip went over the Sierra not the coast – but either way looks like great potential ahead!

      • craig matthews

        I am curious about that too, and think maybe it is a combo of the circulation around 594dm ridge keeping the moisture held around its periphery and also perhaps subsidence within the 500mb 594dm center that is, perhaps, holding moisture to the periphery of the ridge center as well, plus the Low off socal pulling some of that moisture west at the same time, but i am not certain about that. Anyway, the frame i posted is from the NCEP site GFS, and I posted the 500_rh_ht frame. The 0z run shows the moisture moving up closer to the sierra.

    • inclinejj

      Good the pollen around the lake(Tahoe) is unreal!!

    • Xerophobe

      CHeden made an interesting observation regarding that wee bit of circulation off of Pt Conception (if I am reading those wind barbs correctly).

  • Ian Alan

    Sounds good to me!

    THE IMPLICATIONS OF THE PATTERN CHANGE DURING THE LATTER HALF OF THE
    WEEK ARE TO DEVELOP DEEP LAYER SOUTHEAST FLOW ACROSS SOUTHERN
    CALIFORNIA AND THE SET UP FOR A MOISTURE SURGE IN MID LEVELS. THIS
    WOULD LEAD TO SHOWERS AND THUNDERSTORM POTENTIAL INCREASING FRIDAY
    INTO THE WEEKEND. WE HAVE ADDED WEATHER CHANCES FOR LATE FRIDAY TO
    SUNDAY ACCORDINGLY. THE MEAN UPPER RIDGE IS DEPICTED CONSISTENTLY ON
    ALL GUIDANCE AT THIS TIME RANGE AND WITH LITTLE ENSEMBLE SPREAD OR
    HIGH MODEL CONFIDENCE IN SYNOPTIC POSITIONS. 500 MB HEIGHTS AROUND
    597 DM OVER UTAH. UNCERTAINTY WITH TIMING OF MOISTURE SURGE ONSET
    REMAINS BUT OVERALL PATTERN SUPPORTS ABOVE AVERAGE CONFIDENCE.
    INITIAL IMPACTS ARE WARMER TEMPERATURES AGAIN AND ISOLATED
    CONVECTION WITH LITTLE RAIN AND POSSIBLE WIND GUSTS AND
    DUST…FOLLOWED BY POSSIBLE LOCAL HEAVY THUNDERSTORMS NEXT WEEKEND.
    THIS WOULD BE A WEEK TO 10 DAYS EARLY FOR THE TYPICAL MONSOON SET UP.

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

      Nice!

    • SoCalWXwatcher

      There’ll be a danger for dry lighting initially, before the lower levels moisten up later on. Keep those fingers crossed for some good Easterly Waves embedded in the Monsoon flow so that some of that fun makes it to the coastal areas as well.

  • 805 Weather

    Goodmorning,

    How late am I on this monsoon discussion?! I have a question for all of you though, could this be an enhanced monsoon season due to the el nino’s very high SST’s and the amount of warm water sitting around the California coast? Any input will be much appreciated :).

    • click

      My take on this is that the actual “monsoon” moisture comes up from the tropics from the south/southeast, rather than pulling from the heated coastal waters. I wouldn’t say they have no effect, but i don’t think they are a driving force in the strength/frequency of monsoon events.
      I really only got more seriously into weather late last fall, so this will be my first monsoon season that i am actually paying attention to.
      So take the above with a grain of salt, and hopefully someone will correct me if im wrong!

      • SoCalWXwatcher

        Also, El Niño years tend to mean more/stronger Eastern Pacific hurricanes, with a greater likelihood of remnant moisture from these systems streaming into CA, bringing precip to some of the coastal areas and spawning thunderstorms inland.

    • Thunderstorm

      I think this initial surge of moisture will be mostly dry lightning. The monsoon high is going more to the north. Elongating. May not tap as much moisture from the gulf of Mexico. New Mexico drier then normal, southern california wetter. Lowering pressure in the eastern pacific, especially if el-nino keeps fueling up with nitro. Cooler water for the Caribbean. Where will the summertime Bermuda high set up shop?? All the players affect each other.

  • click

    Here is a different representation of the CFSv2 El Nino forecast, as much as i like graphs, i love the spacial representation that this shows.
    Something particularly notable (to me) in this is the northern pacific ocean as a whole. Looks to me like they think it is going to cool significantly, and the blob up in the GOA should fade away.

    • Darin

      I remember when the Bureau of Meteorology had to come up with new colors for it’s legend. What’s beyond dark brown/maroon?

  • xeren

    3.4 just getting stronger and stronger

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

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

    • SoCalWXwatcher

      Interesting to note Howard Sheckter’s reaction to the latest CFS Niño 3.4 forecasts:

      http://mammothweather.com/#sthash.LLuaHvYS.dpuf

      “This is getting very scary! ????

      And we are now beyond the Spring barrier…….”

      Here’s the most recent CFSv2. Note that every ensemble member except one is well above 2, and the weaker/older outlier will be dropping off soon:

      • Xerophobe

        Re HS: Very scary? :-J He’s right about the MJO and inactive phase 7 amplitude. Fits in with forecasts for 1500m wind anomalies and SOI drop/crash that xeren mentioned a few days ago. This upcoming forecast has a decent probability outcome of getting the feedback loop running on full auto pilot which should reduce or eliminate amplitudes in the active phases of the MJO.

  • CHeden

    Back before the turn of the century, I maintained a proto-type blog (no longer active) called View Pacifica (www.viewpacifica.com), which I had used to post my home weather data and commentary from my house located in the hills of south-Pacifica. If you’ll recall, Pacifica was the “bullseye” for the great ’97-98 El Nino, so the data has turned out to be quite useful in documenting the core characteristics of the storms hitting the coast. Here is my report for the 1997-98 rainyear, which gives a commentary of the entire El Nino event. http://www.viewpacifica.com/archives/rainyear97-98.html
    The similarities in the generic pattern(s) so far are striking, particularly a generic tendency for low pressures to form WSW of Pt. Concepcion, then gradually eject to the NE..a pattern we’ve seen already a couple of times this year. If will be VERY interesting to see if lows keep developing and repeating SW-NE tracks up the coast..and if the lows that do eject NE follow a repeating path. In 1997, this generic path channeled sub-tropical impulses repeatedly up the coast with the depressions making landfall over the Bay Area. In 1997, this pattern really started to evolve in August and remained virtually unchanged along the West. coast for the entire early season rain period. (mid Winter dry spell in Dec.), followed by the torrential JAN/FEB ’98 rain event as the pattern started to transition to La Nina

    • Xerophobe

      Thanks for the link! Wasn’t that the year that finally greased the skids for the Devil’s Slide tunnel? I remember houses being undermined and slipping off into the ocean.
      ….as a side note I know you’re not new to this blog but your input has always been informative.

      • CHeden

        Thanks for the kind comment. As for Devils Slide (Hwy 1), on the south border of Pacifica who don’t know, is called a “slide” for good reason. It was a near-regular event, (every 3-5 years or so) when HiWay 1 would close. The shoring up of the roadbed along the ever-collapsing cliffs were engineering marvels, but doomed to always being a temporary fix. The real point in time when getting the bypass tunnel idea going was after the ’82-’83 El Nino, when the slide was closed for well over a year (maybe two??), then the sh****really hit the fan and a point of no-return was reached during ’97-98′ El Nino. The main event was the great storm of Jan. 4. 1982, when 18″+ fell in 26 hrs in the watershed just east of me), and the resulting flood took out over 250 homes right along the coast (mine included…major ughh). In addition, over 780 slides along the coast were documented, many moderate to large in size. Not only did Devil’s Slide go, but a major section of cliff along the south side of Linda Mar collapsed as well as a large block that fell off Mori Point.

        • CHeden

          Forgot to add, that in 1983, the second punch from El Nino, also brought torrential rains, but this time more along a W-E track which created really large and long lasting swells that pummeled the coast head-on. Local surf exceeded 30′ on several occasions, and the resulting cliff erosion up and down the coast was even more severe than in 1982.

        • Xerophobe

          Decades ago HMB to SSF via 1 was one of my routes for work My last full year was 97-98. I remember a few howlers at my office when high winds blew through power lines and all the erosion on the bluffs along the coast line.82-83 was very intense along the central coast. Ask any local and ’82-83 was the big one.

    • gray whale

      Awesome info. Reading the recap only makes me wonder more about the supposed suppression of early season storm events in Nino years — obviously that did not happen in Pacifica (save for a lull in december apparently). Thanks for the post!

      • CHeden

        Hmmm. In Sept., 1982, there was a very anomalous pattern that brought bands of rain (some convective) for almost a week in mid-late Sept. spinning in off a cold low (not tropical in origin) that got parked of the Cent. Calif coast. I think the overall trend of an apparent reduction in early season storm events may be more a function of averaging out the many strengths of El Nino. All we can say for now is that during the last two “major” El Nino’s (’82-83 and ’97-98) unusual rains fell at odd times of the year. If we are indeed headed for a “major” El Nino, then I think we’ll start seeing clear signs of the generic pattern setup by early Sept. at the latest (if we aren’t already seeing signs of it now) with eddy-lows forming off SoCal and major hurricanes in the EPAC. One thing we know, strong El Nino’s produce obvious SST/atmospheric coupling signatures…and that a key component of this signature is the repetitive nature of cyclo-genesis/enhancement.

        • jstrahl

          One difference: October ’82 was unusually wet, almost 3 inches, with one big storm (big for October, brining more rain than the month’s usual total). October ’97 however was average, with a storm bringing a month’s worth of rain in the first week, and then dry till almost mid-Novermber. I’m talking here about Berkeley.

          Thanks for the info!!

        • craig matthews

          FWI sat photo of the Low spinning off the Ca coast in mid-late Sept 82.

    • Thunderstorm

      Excellent read. I remember this time well. After my full time job I had to do landscape maintenance on two commercial buildings. Remember 2 or 3 storms a week. Started with high cirrus around 4 pm lowering to light rain by the time I got home around 7:30 and then a strong storm by 10. This weird timing happen a lot of times. Some storms were real strong and came with a blue green light show. Blown transformers. When I see those graphs of blue and green, yep, blown transformers.

  • so.cal.storm.lover

    Can somebody say monsoon?

    • SoCalWXwatcher

      Bring It!

  • CHeden

    For those that want a refresher course on what the “perfect” El Nino storm might look like, and the damage (and loss of life–over 30 died from this event) here is the “official” review by NOAA on the great Jan 4, 1982 storm. Check out the included satellite image. Really sobering. http://www.nws.noaa.gov/os/assessments/pdfs/San%20Francisco%20Bay%20Area%20Storm%20January%201982.pdf

    • redlands

      does that link work

      • Xerophobe

        yeah it’s a scan in pdf form so be patient.

      • xeren

        it loaded faster for me by downloading the pdf to my computer than opening it up in chrome

    • LBurk

      Yeah, I live in the San Lorenzo Valley walking distance from Love Creek. Folks here have long and deep memories from that storm and tragedy.

      • jstrahl

        This storm brought the most rain ever in 24 hours to Berkeley, over 6 inches. ’81-2 indeed was not an El Nino season, but total rainfall was almost as much as the following season, which was EN. And the general pattern was amazingly similar, around 3 inches in October, 7-8 inches in November, huge amounts in January and March, way above average in April,

    • Tuolumne

      That wasn’t El Nino, which didn’t start until May 1982.

    • weathergeek100

      Wow! I wonder how that storm affected Southern CA.

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

    I’ll have a new blog post within the next week (June continues to be pretty active in CA as far as summer goes around here). In any case, here’s something to tide people over:
    http://www.outsideonline.com/1988111/drought-west-explained

    • gray whale

      Typo alert! “The Triple R is a region of unusually high atmopsheric pressure hanging around”

      • Xerophobe

        oops (new for me, too)
        Atmospheric pressure is the pressure exerted by the weight of air in the atmosphere of Earth (or that of another planet). In most circumstances atmospheric pressure is closely approximated by the hydrostatic pressure caused by the weight of air above the measurement point.

        I’m sure there was a pause with an explanation given by the “weather scientist”

        • gray whale

          I was just referring to the spelling!

          • Xerophobe

            :-J :-)

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

            “atmopsheric” refers to mops constructed with a rounder shape.

          • gray whale

            that’s what they use to mop up greenhouse gases, i think

    • Darin

      Ridiculously-Resilient-Ridge-Redux :)

    • http://seecentralcoasthomes.com Cliff Collipriest

      OK, I say we mount a strike team and shoot the RRR into oblivion. It may not do much to help but I would feel better.

      • Ian Alan

        Or just seed some clouds. LOL

    • Crouching Dallas

      Excellent work, Señor Swain! And congrats on the guest spot; your body of work + writing style definitely deserve these sorts of opportunities.

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

    Also, this. Keep in mind that avg precip in coastal CA during July is near zero. Still, looks like CFS is keying in on either substantial monsoonal activity or a remnant tropical event for much of CA.

    • http://seecentralcoasthomes.com Cliff Collipriest

      Daniel, is the below normal precip for Central America and southern Mexico normal in an El Nino year?

      • weathergeek100

        Very good question. I’d imagine it should be above normal with all of that warm water.

      • Ian Alan

        That’s the first time I’ve seen below average down there in well over a year. My guess is a displacement of the monsoon further north – oh yea. 😀

        • Thunderstorm

          Caribbean will cool quite a bit and east pacific the opposite. Already happening. I think high pressure sets up in the Caribean late fall and deflects moisture north. Hopefully the blob shrinks, otherwise subtropical jet will not get as far north as hoped for and Texas gets our rain.

          • Ian Alan

            There’s no way to state that with any amount of certainty. Wait and see. 😉

  • thunderstorm98
  • Thunderstorm

    I have a hunch that the monsoon high is going to get stretched to the north for a long duration in July. Northwest wants to warm up substantially.

  • Bartshe

    Interesting new research paper just published in Nature, “All storms, without exception, are different. Even if most of them look just like the ones we used to have, they are not the same.”

    http://bit.ly/1RrZKlm

  • click

    This looks promising to FEED THE BEAST

    Xerophobe, this is the area we want the WWBs in to push the kelvin waves, correct?

    • Xerophobe

      One well a couple of good things about these forecasts is they have pretty much played out well. Last year there were duds. Either the anomaly did not materialize or it was more of a puff then a blast. Two: some long range models only forecast a week or two lull through 90 days. Can’t bank on long range models, but given the accuracy so far, who knows. 160E is just fine for these winds.

      The 28C line near 120W is beginning to buckle. It may just be a recoil from Blanca, yet still need big blasts between 160E and 180 to FEED THE BEAST!!!

      • SoCalWXwatcher

        Force feed it!

    • Bob G

      From Pacific Storm and Surf Site:

      The real good news the second Kelvin Wave is expanding and organizing better than hoped for, not only starting to fill the East Pacific subsurface reservoir again, but expanding it significantly. The bigger, and warmer the better. This is required for a major El Nino to develop. and we will continue monitoring pressure over East Australia, to assess it’s connection to the larger picture.

    • Utrex

      These WWBs are highly important for Kelvin Wave development, since they are located over the Kelvin Wave generation area.

  • SoCalWXwatcher

    With the Spring Predictability Barrier behind us, it is exciting to see the CFSv2 ensemble mean now back above 3.

    • RSpringbok

      … which leads to just the forecast you would expect for Calif for Dec-Jan-Feb
      http://www.cpc.ncep.noaa.gov/products/CFSv2/imagesInd3/usPrecSeaInd6.gif

      • SoCalWXwatcher

        Wow!

        • xeren

          that’s just how it looked last year around this time.

          of course, many things are different this time around, i’m just saying that i don’t put much stock in these anomalies so far out

          • SoCalWXwatcher

            That’s true, although by this time last year hopes for a really strong El Niño pattern were fading. Even If the current El Niño peaks out at only half the intensity of what the latest CFSv2 is indicating, the precip map shown above could verify. Nothing in the bank (or the rain gauge) yet, but the various data points are encouraging.

          • Bob G

            Our hope lies more with the state of El Nino than with these models, lol

          • SoCalWXwatcher

            If there are better scientific tools than the models in forecasting how the developing El Niño will play out, please post them here.

          • Xerophobe

            The El Nino wasn’t forecast to be strong but only moderate. CFS was off their rocker for April 2014 but wasn’t over +1.5 for the ensemble mean at any other monthly forecast.

          • SoCalWXwatcher

            During Spring 2014 it was looking really promising, and many were speculating on the possibility it would develop into a “Super” El Nino. By June, that talk was gone. (See articles from last spring below)

            This year looks to be quite a bit different.

            http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/capital-weather-gang/wp/2014/03/20/subtle-signs-emerging-of-a-super-el-nino/

            http://mashable.com/2014/03/19/intense-el-nino-maybe/

          • Xerophobe

            Yes you’re right. I was referring to models specifically CFS.

          • Bob G

            The CFSv2 did this throughout the winter even after El Nino had faded. Not sure what the models were basing their predictions on last year

          • RSpringbok

            “this time is different” — I’m cautiously optimistic that if ENSO builds anywhere near 2+ deg., then Lucy holds the football this time.

          • SoCalWXwatcher

            If she yanks the ball away this time, Charlie should kick her in the head. 😛

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

        I’m not even holding my breath on this map.

      • Kirk McAllister

        I’m unclear on this chart and assume I’ve made a mistake somewhere… Question: Is the seasonal Prec anomalies map really in “anomalous mm/day?.” 91 extra mm (leap year) above the average is about an extra 3.5″. At this point it would be great to just get the “average,” and obviously, there’s an “at least” built into the blue color, but, looking at the November’s ENSO 3.4 anomaly at greater than 3, I think I would be maybe expecting/hoping for more than even 7 “anomalous” inches (2mm/day — a double) over the “height of the season” precipitation period.

        • Xerophobe

          Blue good Brown bad. There’s a better explanation but this is not a quantitative forecast but a probability forecast. I guess I’d explain it this way and I don’t know if this is right or wrong: If you live in Sacramento and are in the “blue” you’d have a >99.7% probability of above your average rainfall for the period. Obviously when you are in the highest probability or bull’s eye for above average rainfall you are going to get soaked. No one here lives by these any more. Last year’s candy is this year’s sourball.

      • Canyon

        Same forecast we had for this past winter; we all know how well that turned out.

        • http://seecentralcoasthomes.com Cliff Collipriest

          Exactly. But we can still hope this verifies. Not betting the farm on it at the moment.

          • SoCalWXwatcher

            Exactly. These charts are just tools and are often inaccurate, but this one does seem consistent with what we’d expect to see if we get a strong El Niño.

        • thebigweasel

          For us Oregon border dwellers, the CFSv2 is clear: rain, unless it doesn’t.

          • Xerophobe

            I’ve always thought that has to do with official reporting stations and their reporting territory, unless there’s a vortex at the 42 parallel. 😉

    • thunderstorm98

      Can’t wait until next winter!

    • http://seecentralcoasthomes.com Cliff Collipriest

      Question if I may. This chart shows the black line (NCDC daily analysis), is that actual current temperature anomaly? And if so, am I reading it correctly that it just took a spike upwards? I realize the dashed line is a forecast, not actual.

      • SoCalWXwatcher

        As I understand it, current Niño 3.4 region anomaly is 1.4, but the monthly value for June has not been averaged yet.

    • craig matthews

      Wow, that’s a lot less member spread now, that’s good. Even the lowest member at record ’97 territory.

  • alanstorm

    HEAT WAVE A COMING: Ukiah 106° Thurs. Fresno over 100° for the NEXT 10 DAYS!!!
    Redding hits 113° Thurs-Fri. OUCH

    • Bob G

      I don’t see an extended heat wave in the central valley in the forecasts. It looks like we have a couple of hot days over a hundred then it cools back down to the low to mid 90s. Another spike in heat into the 100 degrees a week later for a couple of days and then cool down. Quite typical for us for this time of year. One year we had 15 consecutive days over 100 degrees. I hope we don’t get anything like that this year.

      • alanstorm

        Hate to say it, butTWC & Weather.com 10 day shows starting tomorrow: 100° 107° 106° 101° 100° 102° 105° 106° & 106°. They’re pretty accurate. Looks brutal.

        • Bob G

          Weather com doesnt show that for our area. Probably depends on where you are and the influence of Delta breezes

    • thebigweasel

      Up here, the night-time lows tell the tale. Weather.gov has us in the mid 50s through the period, which makes the upper 90s and Friday’s 102 much more bearable (no A/C, and right now it’s 94 out, 70 in, thanks to cool mountain evenings). Accuweather, which usually isn’t, has slightly cooler days, but much warmer nights, in the mid 60s. Our hottest night on record is 64. So I’ll go with the government site.

      • Ian Alan

        Not much spread down here – high of 75 after a low of 58.

  • cabeza tormenta

    hadn’t checked the blog for a couple of days so apologies if someone already mentioned this, ran across a still optimistic july august forecast for central chile on accuweather. from june 4… they are crossing fingers! I’l be keeping a close eye out to see if this starry eyed polyanish prediction materialises!

    ‘Needed Rain and Mountain Snow Return to Chile

    High pressure building to the south of Chile will cause the primary storm track for the winter to be farther north than previous years.

    As a result of the shifted storm track, a wet winter is expected across central and north-central Chile. These areas remain in a severe drought and an increase in rain and mountain snow will be beneficial for the region.

    According to AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Jason Nicholls, “The improvement for the drought across central Chile will be gradual. While rains will return to Santiago, the most significant rainfall is expected during the months of July and August.”

    The mountain snow is expected to increase during July and August, allowing for a much-improved ski season for the resorts central Chile.

    Since the start of the year, only 5.6 mm (0.22 of an inch) of rain have fallen in Santiago, a mere 7 percent of the normal.

    “During the strong El Niño of 1997, Santiago received 142 percent of normal precipitation during the months of June, July and August and even though the most significant rains will be delayed, similar rainfall totals are possible this year,” Nicholls said.’

    link:

    https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=1&cad=rja&uact=8&ved=0CCEQIDAA&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwebcache.googleusercontent.com%2Fsearch%3Fq%3Dcache%3AuRNUtY65xfgJ%3Awww.accuweather.com%2Fen%2Fweather-news%2Fsouth-america-winter-weather-forecast-2015-rain-for-chile-drought%2F47982674%2B%26cd%3D1%26hl%3Den%26ct%3Dclnk%26gl%3Dus&ei=7KKJVcSxGIv3oATr14DIAQ&usg=AFQjCNH98worR87Ip06ObjTYuojtzOu7uA

    woops.

  • thunderstorm98
  • Xerophobe

    This current forecast has changed a lot from past two weeks. First a dive into <1 (circle) early into Phase 4 around the 15th which was #El Nino…now kinda doing this schlep. GEFS may be into some backyard brew, but I'm on a flyer to say the GEFS forecast will be more accurate. Nothing to worry about but worth noting.

    • craig matthews

      The GFS is showing some kind of cyclone pair ish thingy down there in that KW happy place next week.

      • Xerophobe

        There seems to be a lot of little circulations right now around 130-150E. Next 3 months all the cards will be dealt.

      • Xerophobe

        yup do earth.nullschool.net select the 850 hPa and MSLP, advance to the 28th…fingers crossed

  • Thunderstorm

    Moisture and heat do not mix in California. Too much dry lightning. Too early!! Next week may be the start of the great smoke out and orange sun. Just finished reading the news paper newsminer.com from Fairbanks Alaska. 154 fires now burning in Alaska. Inversion keeping the smoke low. This inflow of moisture early is not a good thing!

    • Ian Alan

      The best monsoonal summer thunderstorms are always accompanied by notable heat. It’s what kickstarts the party.

      The influx of moisture is a good thing and looks to be several days of tstorms with heavy downpours here in the SoCal mountains starting fri/sat

      • SoCalWXwatcher

        Friday could be a little problematic since the lower levels will still be dry, so dry lightning is a risk. Everything moistens up by later in the weekend though. I hope all the forests dodge the “dry lightning bullet” on Friday.

      • AlTahoe

        Anytime South Lake Tahoe has reached 90F or hotter the party always end with Major thunderstorms. 2 years ago I had golf ball sized hail to end a heatwave and last summer we received about 6″ of hail in an hour and they had to plow the streets. I have seen forecast of 92F for this weekend.

  • rob b

    The GFS sure keeps that moisture headed directly towards the Sierras starting middle of next week. Looks like 4th of July in Truckee/Tahoe could be very interesting. Usually that weekend/week is the busiest week all summer and it’s a toss up if News Years Week or 4th of July week is the busiest tourist week. Hopefully we see rain but not enough to keep the tourists from going out and enjoying themselves.

    • jstrahl

      High Sierras Music Festival time.

  • Ian Alan

    So Carlos came and went but still no signs of Dolores – where’s she hiding?

    We had our first 3 EPH back to back – is it wrong that I have a feeling when it ramps up again it’ll be quite the active parade of TS’s? 😉

    Central / eastern Atlantic is shrouded in Saharan dust – I believe that somewhat inhibits Hurricane formation out there -?

    • SoCalWXwatcher

      Wait 2 weeks. The E Pacific will come alive.

      • craig matthews

        I think you’re right about that. Perhaps MJO influence, with the western pacific becoming active now, and perhaps the epac during/after the second week of July.

        • SoCalWXwatcher

          We’ll know soon enough, but it sure looks like that’s the case. It also appears MJO is helping to kick start that new series of WWB’s.

    • WHO KILLED KENNY STRAWN?

      Dolores will come right over Southern California: SST here is now 68 F reverse the digits to 86 F and you have hurricane food YO!

      • He Who Must Not Be Named

        And thats the kind of logic that led to his demise!

        • Quagmire Cliffington

          I’m not nearly as inclined to participate in discussions when our resident morons (Kamau and Kenny) are gone. I think they might have been the same person. Just my tin foil hat theory.

          • xeren

            i agree with everything you said! :)

  • Utrex

    Looks like there is a chance of dry thunderstorms over the mountains, and a slighter chance in the valley this coming Friday + weekend. As the models continue updating, we’ll get the better picture…

    • alanstorm

      That’s bad news.

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

    Any chance this monsoonal moisture will head for the Bay Area.

  • weathergeek100

    For those who have been hoping for a muggy (for our standards) summer in Southern CA, you might be in luck. Is this a sign of relaxed upwelling? The monsoon is headed your way but check this out by NWS Oxnard:

    WARM OCEAN TEMPERATURES CONTINUE TO PLAGUE THE MARINE LAYER STRATUS
    FORECAST. OCEAN TEMPERATURES ALONG THE LOS ANGELES COUNTY COAST IN
    THE UPPER 60S AND LOWER 70S ARE MAKING DIFFICULT FOR STRATUS
    FORMATION. WITH ONSHORE FLOW REMAINING IN PLACE…ONE WOULD THINK
    THAT AT LEAST SOME FORMATION WOULD BE PRESENT BUT COVERAGE REMAINS
    SPARSE AT THIS TIME.

    I checked the water temps off the coast of San Diego- mainly 67-71 or so. I’m not sure how much the monsoon plays a role in SSTs. Probably not much because it’s mainly coming from the southeast. However, if the seabreeze is “warmer ” and muggier, wouldn’t that help aid in thunderstorm formation for the mountains?

    • SoCalWXwatcher

      Warm SST’s probably won’t influence Monsoon effects, which originate from our East and Southeast, but they may help out with tropical systems moving up the Pacific coast from the South, allowing them to hold together a little longer so that we get better chances of rain from remnants of tropical storms.

  • Bartshe

    Steroidal:

    • Ian Alan

      Aaaaaand that’s a good reason models are coming into consensus with a ~3 El Niño event.

    • SoCalWXwatcher

      That looks to be very strong, like the WWB last month that generated the current strong Kelvin wave that is due to surface next month.

    • Xerophobe

      Twin cyclones forecast for the 28th around 160E. “We are here to pump you up” That steak of anomaly forecasts could very well be extended for a few weeks. FEED THE BEAST!!!

    • mosedart

      Looks identical to the WWB that generated the 1st Kelvin Wave earlier this year. Unreal.

    • Utrex

      This can turn this El Niño into a monster…

      Climate models can’t forecast these type of scenarios. They also underforecasted the 1997-98 El Niño.

  • inclinejj

    Check this out. I know they have to keep SOCAL Happy and the Delta salt/fresh water ratios Happy But Dammmn!!

    I wish they would go back and reconsider the water policies. Draining the Lakes down so far is playing with disaster!!

    http://www.sacbee.com/news/state/california/water-and-drought/article25373272.html

    • RSpringbok

      Do we throw the Delta under the bus so Sacramento suburbs can keep using over 200 gal per day per household? Some of the ritzy upscale neighborhoods were taking over 400 gpd per household for their big stucco houses on huge lawn landscaped lots. Plus these suburbs are still approving new housing developments and adding more water connections. Amazing.

      • Sierrajeff

        I agree. At the same time, I wonder what the natural flow would have been in a year such as this, absent humanity – i.e., without our dams and lakes behind them, how much water would Mother Nature herself be flowing through the Delta after a winter like the one we just had?

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

          Given how much water is captured in various parts of the California water system and used in various ways before going to the ocean, the natural system would provide flow as least as good and perhaps better. (Note that some rivers no longer make it to the delta at all.)

        • Xerophobe

          June 23rd data from Folsom: 517 CFS in and 2802 CFS out. I’ve thought about that too. My uneducated guess is less before dams than what is flowing to Delta now.

        • RSpringbok

          Well, “absent humanity,” with CO2 back at 275 ppm and the whole planet 2 – 5 deg F cooler, the drought would not be as bad as it is (IMHO), and so, yes the Delta would have more water, sans people.

          • Xerophobe

            Yes the Delta would have more water. Even before the dams were built and water diverted, the salinity of the inner delta did not change that much even in periods of extended drought. What has altered the salinity and created the problem even during average and above average years of rainfall is the human engineering /changing configuration of the delta. IE draining marsh land, widening channels and changing the natural tidal flows in and out the delta. Not CO2. I still say that without the dams the water flow would be less than what it is today. The salinity level would stay fairly constant especially in the inner delta regions during drought without the human re-engineering of the natural physical state of the delta. There are arguments that the delta was very saline during droughts and have maps (showing current configuration of the delta) and such to back this up. But they are arguing from a point of what the delta looks like today, not what it was like during droughts prior to the 1920’s. So in essence by reconstructing the delta to suit farmers and house builders, etc increases the need for fresh water being released into the delta.

      • thebigweasel

        Well, there’s a quote from your article that gives a clear idea of how high the stakes are for such a release:

        “But water that normally would come from Shasta still must still flow
        into the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, or else the Delta will become too
        salty, threatening the drinking water for millions of Southern
        California residents.”

        Yes, the fish and the delta by themselves are worth the releases. But when you add in millions of people, that removes even the most short-sighted objections (and no, I’m not saying that applies to you specificially!).

        • Archeron

          I find ut funny that in tyese last few years of draught, california has not done anything to construct more water storage. Poor planning exacerbating the issue…

          • thebigweasel

            Actually, California has had good planning. State engineers say we are presently at 96% of possible storage capacity.

      • Darin

        I’m not sure what water district you are referring or what water compact you are referring to. The Delta services agriculture, SoCal and parts of the Bay area. I don’t think any of the Delta provides water to Sacramento though I could be wrong. ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sacramento%E2%80%93San_Joaquin_River_Delta#Water_supply )

        • RSpringbok

          Folsom serves both the Sacramento suburbs and the Delta thru American River releases. They both draw on the same resource. Since more was released down river, that means less is available for the suburbs.

      • Archeron

        I am up in Orangevle and they strictly regulate landscape watering to 2 days per week before 7am or after 7pm. I cant speak for others but i doubt I use even 100 gpd at my house.

        • RSpringbok

          Amid Granite Bay’s regal landscapes, residents look to conserve water Sacramento Bee, May 26, 2015

          “In 2013, San Juan residential customers used an average of 430 gallons of
          water a day, including roughly 600 gallons per person per day in the
          peak summer months. In summer 2014, they cut that to about 477 gallons
          per person per day. Even with a 36 percent cut over 2013, residents in
          the district would remain among the biggest per-capita users in the
          state.”

          Read more here: http://www.sacbee.com/news/state/california/water-and-drought/article22397001.html#storylink=cpy

          • Archeron

            Good god…thats disgustingly wasteful!!! They should be fined for that garbage. That much water is not needed at all.

    • Darin

      The San Juan water district does not service anything more than Folsom/Fair Oaks/Citrus Heights and surrounding areas. They have obligations to release for fish and down stream users. The local meetings get pretty heated. The same thing happened last year. There’s another issue. The intake tube will start to cavitate before the water level actual gets too low. They have a vessel on standby in case this happens.

      I’m not hopeful though much of the planning occurred last summer.

  • alanstorm

    10 day for Ukiah now has 6 days over 100°. Fresno 9 days over 100°. Redding all 10 over 100° with 6 over 110°. Now NOAA radio announcing a chance of dry thunderstorms Friday. NOT GOOD

    • rob b

      Truckee forecast unfortunately not that different either-lowest temp over the next 10 days currently showing 86. Upper 80s to 90’s at elevation of 5600′ is very hot…add in most homes don’t have AC it makes for a pretty miserable time.

  • xeren

    this pic that daniel retweeted is very informative:

    http://i.imgur.com/f4Tyj50.png

    • Xerophobe

      Thanks, I follow most of the folks on the tweet feed. Just don’t look at it enough. I have a gut feeling things will get ‘scary’ to quote Howard.

      • xeren

        i mostly read howard sheckter’s stuff in the winter- anything of note?

        • Xerophobe

          http://mammothweather.com/

          I like his terms interfering destructively and interfering constructively regarding MJO phase and ENSO (El Nino) in his latest. June 22nd

  • Thunderstorm

    Howard from Mammoth has the most accurate forecasts on the web. He backs it up with information of why also. There were 3 hurricanes then nothing. Howard explains why. He is ahead of everyone else, experts included. He says when things will change again in the future and then accuweather, NWS and others fall inline at a later date. He continually updates about twice a week. Looks like maybe the blob will continue to build into the Bering Sea. Bering Sea waters now 7f above normal and continuing to climb. If it stays north then the sub tropical jet will come to California. West coast might be looking at a long duration smoke out (LDSO) late next week. Too dry,too hot, too little rain. We are in long duration patterns and the next one is a long hot one. It will look like tule fog for the central valley but it’s smoke instead. Delta breeze inversion.

    • Boiio

      He’s a great resource. He focuses heavily on the MJO for many of his outlooks and generally avoids overhyping. Have to say though, I miss the days when he posted in all caps!

  • lightning10

    I wonder if the monsoon has ever bought upper elevation snow to No Cal.

    • rob b

      Many Tahoe locals will tell you that it can/has snowed every month but August. Quite a few years back there was some light snowfall on the 4th of July at the highest elevation.

      • inclinejj

        I think since they have kept records it has snowed every month of the year.

    • Charlie B

      It does occasionally snow in the sierra in summer, but I think it would not be associated with a monsoon situation but rather an unusually cool summer Pacific frontal system. Monsoon means a push of moist air up from the south….warm air at that. Maybe Shasta at 14k+ feet might be cool enough, but………..
      no expertise here, just random thoughts on an otherwise boring hump day afternoon.

  • Xerophobe

    Just discovered this gem of information: The SSTA spread between Nino 1+2 and off of western Africa is the largest, larger than 97-98. Another factoid: The hurricane naming list for the Atlantic this year is the same as the list used in….yup

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

      I believe it–do you have a source on that, for reference?

      • Xerophobe

        JB, at WxBell in premium section.

        quote

        ” not even in 97, was the difference in ENSO 1.2 and the tropical Atlantic this strong. This is the largest spread I have ever seen.

        • SoCalWXwatcher

          I wonder what the potential implications of that spread are for our Winter wet season.

          • Chowmin

            record dryness ;P

          • Xerophobe

            Somewhere, but it ain’t not gonna happen here, nope

          • SoCalWXwatcher

            Already got that. ;-P

          • Xerophobe

            From what little digging I’ve done:
            -AMO ?? is good. But the configuration of the SSTA in the N. Atlantic (banded) is kinda odd???

    • thunderstorm98

      Super El Nino, +PDO, -AMO= very wet for California.

      • Xerophobe

        +IOD is somewhere near the top of my list, but those you mentioned are all part of it. Some if not more of the Kelvin last year upwelled along Central America and up the west coast. It will be interesting to see what all the indexes and oscillations are this winter. Of course by far and away the El Nino…++SSTA and a peak ONI in early to mid December will drive the bus and decide where everything else sits.

  • thebigweasel

    In addition to the conversation below about Folsom reservoir, Robert Scribbler notes today that yesterday Lake Mead dropped below the level at which mandatory rationing kicks in. They -think- they have enough to get through to September 30th.

    • Darin

      I happen to be there a couple of weeks ago. I can’t speak about historically as it was my first time, but the navigation maps were old. How old? We looked up about 40 feet above the bathtub lines to see where the water line used to be, that’s where the maps think the coast is. Much of the soil was sand and loose too. To give some perspective on how massive Lake Mead is, water levels are still above 1000feet. Sounds good, right? Nope.

      “The water authority’s current “straws” glean water from 1,050 feet and 1,000 feet. Lake Mead stands at less than 1,075 feet today — leaving the first straw just 25 feet away from pulling in air.”

      Article has some great pics too
      http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2015/06/24/lake-mead-low-water-shortage/29202475/

      • thebigweasel

        The elevation of the lake is expressed in terms of feet above mean sea level. I doubt there’s much of the remaining water in the lake that’s more than a couple of hundred feet deep.
        The USA figures for the various reservoirs are somewhat misleading, in that they have the averages for this time of year. This makes the situation look much less serious than it actually is, since in an “average” year, the reservoir managers still have at least two months of significant snow melt to look forward to. With our snow pack at 0, we don’t have that this year.

  • xeren

    things looking increasingly interesting for the ES

    http://i.imgur.com/d3ukAgx.gif

  • so.cal.storm.lover

    Is it possible that if the lake fire continues through the monsoon surge it will pump up some pyrocumulus?

    • Ian Alan

      It’s not burning at the rate to put out that kind of smoke/energy with or without monsoon influence & isn’t expected to.

  • redlands

    Was a hot day in Redlands, Ca — Southern Calif — 107 — skies were more blue today — u could see smoke from the Lake Fire

  • Xerophobe

    Wind direction and SSTA on top. Zonal anomalies, bottom graph. The (5) zone is about 11mph. Later this summer and into fall we will hopefully see these ‘zonals’ in the 9+ and about 160W The zonal and wind direction has changed a lot in the past few days…also 97-98 had it’s lull about this time give or take a few weeks. Full steam ahead “FEED THE BEAST”

    SOI -44.43 !! recorded for June 25th (Oz time)

    • Darin

      These are the Westerlies we were talking about previously, yea? Last year, there was some head winds are low support. This year, if I understand this correctly, we are flat out with no restrictions. Is that roughly correct?

      • Xerophobe

        The zonal wind and wind direction and SST posted above are from the buoys that run across the EQ.
        http://www.pmel.noaa.gov/
        They measure wind, direction and speed from 2-3 meters above the surface. The wind anomalies that can generate the down-welling of warm water (Kelvin waves) are measured about 1500 meters up by satellites(?) Here is what a forecast looks for these wind anomalies. It’s an ensemble of four different models. The bar is in meters per second as well.

  • Charlie B

    Ok. Reno is headed into a heat wave. Highs around 100 with lows predicted to be 70.
    Those low temps are at least 10 degrees warmer than they used to be when I moved here in 1985.
    Here’s my question, though.
    I have a place in Graeagle that is at almost an identical elevation as Reno (4400 feet.). The highs are about the same as Reno, but the lows are at least 10 degrees cooler. (The same is generally true as to rural areas around Reno core.)
    Does Reno urbanization account for the higher lows? If so, doesn’t that abnormally skew averages? Doesn’t it make it seem like things are overall warmer than they really are? The same question re Las Vegas. Now, lows in summer rarely drop below 80 during July-August, which was not historically the case. Highs, on the other hand, haven’t spiked much if at all. Localized urbanization?

  • rob b

    Looking more and more likely these next two weeks could get very interesting. highs in many places above 100, low humidity, drought conditions, dry thunderstorms, and add in the typical 4th of July fireworks carelessness; what we saw yesterday could just be the beginning of a very busy time for firefighters. We saw fires break out in the urban interface area in both Nor Cal and So Cal that forced evacuations. Luckily the firefighting resources are not stretched too thin (yet). I know where I am in Nor Cal our FD had just about every on duty crew working at the Loma Fire in Antioch.

    Hopefully we get through these next few weeks without a major “firestorm” in a metro area causing serious damage/injuries.

    • SlashTurn

      Why is everyone on board with the dry lightning scenario? …every GFS run has healthy amounts of mid level moisture from the south for over 10 days. I have had over 60% humidity inland for the last few days with 100% recovery at night

      • Ian Alan

        That’s what I’m wondering. Maybe it’s a different story in Norcal before the moisture push makes it that way. But here in SoCal there appears to be close to zero threat of a dry lightning event.

      • Quagmire Cliffington

        Dry lightning scare tactics get you upvotes!

      • rob b

        Reading most of the NWS discussions for the Sierras they mention pretty good potential for Dry Lightning, hopefully later the storms bring in some moisture but initially the feeling is these storms will be dry. Also a school of thought that even if the storms bring moisture to the Sierras west of the Sierras towards the Valley areas could see some dry lightning. NWS Reno has posted a fire weather watch for portions of the Eastern Seirra-http://forecast.weather.gov/showsigwx.php?warnzone=CAZ072&warncounty=CAC057&firewxzone=CAZ271&local_place1=4%20Miles%20W%20Truckee%20CA&product1=Fire+Weather+Watch&lat=39.3338&lon=-120.249#.VYxW7_lViko

        The Washington fire south of Lake Tahoe started by lightning strike into a tree that didn’t actually take off as a fire for another 24 hrs.

      • Thunderstorm

        Here’s why. Temps over 100, downburst winds to 60mph, haines index of 6, LaL of 3-6, dry fuel moisture.

  • John

    Not sure how many of you can read in Spanish, but we are having a pretty intense fire down here in Baja California. Over 25,000 acres which is the largest fire in over a decade. At the moment it is only 30% contained and has been burning since Saturday. It started around San Pedro Martyr and is up to the Sierra Juarez now.

    http://www.ensenada.net/noticias/nota.php?id=40579

    • Aloha12

      John, I’ll be driving down through Ensenada tomorrow, is any part of highway 1 affected or closed? Thanks!

      • John

        Aloha, no the fire is to the East more towards Ojos Negros. The only highway I would think might be effected, is the Ensenada to San Felipe highway. I went from Ensenada to Tecate this week, and didn’t see anything on Highway 3. So the coastal highway should be very far from the fire.

        • Aloha12

          Thank you!

  • Darin

    Was wondering around and found this nugget re: Monsoon for JAS 2015. Ugh…

    “Accordingly, CPC’s Seasonal Drought Outlook for JAS depicts a 1-class improvement in current drought conditions across the EMR, and persistence/intensification of drought across the WMR.”

    http://www.cpc.ncep.noaa.gov/products/expert_assessment/sdo_discussion.html

  • Ian Alan

    Well, the Lake Fire grew almost 5k acres overnight to over 23k acres as winds switched and it’s now burning north on the active eastern flank while on the southern edge it is burning in steep high terrain with ongoing threat of burning timber rolling down and igniting lower areas.

    This notice has been posted due to the change in winds and northward progression (towards south and eastern big bear area).

    Update: The San Bernardino County Sheriff Department has issued a message in order to give residents in the areas of Lake Williams, Erwin Lake, and Lake Baldwin advance noticed to prepare for evacuation, in the event it becomes necessary. As of 8:00 am today the Lake Fire is approximately 1.5 miles east of the first trigger point that affects Lake Williams. If the Lake Fire reaches the pre-designated trigger points, residents in these areas will be notified to evacuate. Residents in the affected areas, particularly those with live stock that may need to be moved, are encouraged to make arrangements now for relocation of their animals.

    • SoCalWXwatcher

      That’s scary – with South/Southeast winds picking up over the weekend with the Monsoon flow, it could steer the fire NW in the direction of the Big Bear area. Not good!

      • Ian Alan

        Yea the monsoonal moisture surge couldn’t get here quick enough! The area the fire is burning typically gets hit pretty good with wetting rains day after day with a setup like this so hopefully it happens and puts a good dousing on the flames!

        • SoCalWXwatcher

          Hopefully the rising humidity and increasing showers late in the weekend will help firefighters get this thing contained. Fortunately, the Monsoon sticks around for a while.

    • inclinejj

      Ian, How far or close Big Bear?

      • Ian Alan

        Yes, due south & east of Big Bear Valley in the San Gorgonio Wilderness. Check this link for a map – it’s closer to Morongo Valley / Pioneer Town, not Palm Springs.

        http://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/4302/

        • inclinejj

          So when your in Palm Springs( Been there 3 times for Coachella) the ski runs you see up on the Mountian, is that Big Bear?

          • Ian Alan

            You can’t actually see Big Bear from Palm Springs, the ski resorts are on the north slopes of the 8k-9k mountain crest that is also north of san gorgonio which is the 11k crest of which you can see the south slopes of that from palm springs. There are no visible ski areas from the desert.

            Are you thinking of Mount San Jacinto directly above (and south) of Palm Springs, where the tram can take you to the top? Those are the Santa Rosa Mountains.

    • click

      all day I have been watching the smoke column grow and blow away, grow and blow away again. I tried to get some pictures earlier but they didn’t turn out very clear.
      I knew the wind must have changed to have that much new fuel, the smoke column hasn’t been that distinct since the first couple days it was burning.

  • SoCalWXwatcher

    GFS advertising a lot of Monsoon activity pretty far West after this weekend, and all the way into mid-July.

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

      CFS is suggesting potential for a rather active summer by CA standards. Pattern over next 2 weeks consistent with that expectation…

  • Bryan

    Regarding the latest CFS El Nino 3.4 SST anomaly model that Daniel just tweeted, what does it take to move the peak from November to December and onward? Also, if the SST anomalies are still really high in January, does it matter if they peak earlier than we’d like?

    • Bryan

      Forgot the plot.

      • Chowmin

        Keeps getting stronger and stronger, and even more consolidated! “FEED THE BEAST!”

    • Xerophobe

      First thought: December is forecast to still be in the very strong category with Nino 3.4 not dropping all that much. This plot shows a November peak.
      Second thought: The CFS is the outlier in regards to a November peak among models and ensembles used in the NMME and IMME forecasts except for the GFDL which is in New Jersey.
      If the acronyms bug you let me know

  • jstrahl

    https://robertscribbler.wordpress.com/2015/06/25/third-warm-kelvin-wave-to-raise-extreme-el-nino-by-fall/

    Has maps, charts, details, carefully footnoted.

    “Last week, a set of climate models predicted the emergence of a large and moderately strong westerly wind burst running against the trades associated with an eastward propagating cloudy and rainy phase of the Madden-Julian Oscillation (MJO). And, over the past few days a moderate strength, but very wide-ranging, westerly wind pattern appeared……
    Meanwhile, in the Central Pacific, anomalous warm sea surface temperatures were continuing to build. By mid-May, Central Pacific sea surface temperatures exceeded the moderate El Nino threshold of 1 C above average. By Monday, June 22, NOAA’s weekly El Nino statement had indicated that the Central Pacific region had warmed to a 1.4 degree Celsius positive anomaly. A level just 0.1 C short of strong El Nino intensity.
    Adding a third significant Westerly Wind Burst on top of an already warming Equatorial Pacific throws yet one more variable into the dynamic El Nino forecast. A variable that could heighten the already strong potential for a major El Nino event late this Summer through to Fall. And one that could further heighten extreme global record hot temperatures during 2015. For the late June WWB is likely to produce an extraordinary third Warm Kelvin Wave, giving the currently strengthening El Nino yet one more shove toward increasingly extreme conditions.”

    • Chowmin

      Nice blog post, very interesting to read. I found another short blog/article post. “El Niño in Pacific this year likely to surpass 1997-1998 event”

      http://www.altinget.dk/udvikling/rssitem.aspx?id=1194938

      • Xerophobe

        Many of these El Nino forecasts are real bad news for the rest of the world when compared to 97-98. It’s sobering yet I know I’m giddy.

        • Bartshe

          may be bad news for California either way. we all like to think of snow in winter, but we may have frequent rain up to very high elevations, or at least a decent shot of a significant rain-on-snow event over the Sierra if we end up with a lot of snow. This compounded with the compaction of the southern San Joaquin Valley due to groundwater overdraft–if the ingredients come together just right…

          yes, I share your giddy sobriety

        • RowanW82

          Yes I have been watching this blog for quite some time from Australia, as it has good El Nino info in it.

          The growing El Nino, if anywhere near strong, will give us a punishing summer most likely resulting in loss of life and property.

          I am a career Firefighter, and hoping myself and my mates can get through this summer alive and well.

          Perhaps the beast has had enough to eat? 😉

          • http://seecentralcoasthomes.com Cliff Collipriest

            We here in CA (just like people everywhere I suspect) tend to focus on the impact El Nino has on us. We don’t often hear about the effects on places like Australia, or the Indian Ocean, or even Europe. I recall hearing about the heat and fires in Australia during past El Ninos. What could be great for us good be disaster for you folks.

          • Thunderstorm

            Perhaps you can post occasionally so the rest of us know what things are like in Australia? If your a weather nut like the rest of us we would like your insight of what changes you are seeing. My take on things is that southeastern Australia needs to go cold high pressure to feed the beast. Since you live where the food supply is for the beast have you noticed anything abnormal? Thanks for any info you can supply!!

    • Darin

      Okay… I really shouldn’t say this because I try to keep an objective point of view about weather but…. FEED THE BEAST!

      • Xerophobe

        I’m not objective? lol 😉

    • Xerophobe

      It was good. I did send in a comment about one thing I thought was odd, maybe it’s not because I don’t know it all.

  • Ian Alan

    Re: Lake Fire

    Meant to include this earlier – went from 38% contained to 21% overnight and over 7000 structures threatened instead of 500.

    #lakefire posts taken today / last night

    • so.cal.storm.lover

      Wow.

    • http://seecentralcoasthomes.com Cliff Collipriest

      It looks like we are in for a very nasty fire season. And then there is Alaska…………

    • Kirk McAllister

      One of the reasons, sadly, was a drone flight into the restricted air space. One of those situations where maybe just a little bit more regulation/education might be highly appropriate.

      http://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-ln-wildfires-southern-california-20150625-story.html#page=1

      It’s been 30 years since I’ve flown a (small) plane, but it still seems extraordinary to me that some licensing requirements for the use of these aircraft haven’t been fast tracked.

      • so.cal.storm.lover

        I don’t see how a tiny drone could effect a huge plane like the ones that drop retardant what would a collision do?

        • Kirk McAllister

          Kind of like the end of the movie “outbreak” (helicopter — manned — not drone), even with a DC10, it wouldn’t be good if a drone were to be sucked into one of the turbofans. At least according to the article, the incident commander on the ground aborted the drop based on the presence of the drone. Regardless of size differentials, an air-to-air impact has a possibility of being disastrous for both aircraft. Supposedly any fire zone is restricted and drone flight would not be allowed (or civilian small aircraft). I guess I’d bet that a lot of drone hobbyists haven’t read the appropriate FAR’s on this one (Federal Aviation Regulations). The scary thing for me with drones is that at some point there’s going to be some incidents (hopefully very few) with drone operators that actually have malevolent intentions

          • tomocean

            The larger drones could certainly be problematic, but as they shrink smaller and smaller, as is already happening, to put airspace restrictions on something the size of a sparrow, or an insect, would be ridiculous, IMHO.

  • Bartshe
  • Dogwood

    Since the water cooler talk has been El Niño 97-98, here is an interesting synopsis of the Bay Area weather in the calender year 1998 by the NWS courtesy of The Virtual Museum of the City of SF. I find it hopeful as well to note the La Niña which followed brought Mr. Cold back to our lives by the end of the year, for winters like they should be. I believe a strong La Niña is just the thing to Break The Blob®
    http://www.sfmuseum.net/hist10/98wx.html

  • supercell1545

    I was looking at the SST anomalies map and it has gone through a major change in just 3 days! It looks as if it has weakened. Is this normal or did it actually weaken? The cool waters off the West African coast became less cool (warmer), and the Niño 1+2 regions became less warm (cooler).

    • xeren

      i wouldn’t worry too much about daily variations, they fluctuate a ton

  • Angel Rocket

    I want to read some funny comments from jose mota.

    • supercell1545

      Yeah me too! He just went off the map all of the sudden.

      • click

        I think he was an unfortunate casualty of political correctness.

        • SoCalWXwatcher

          I think you are right.

      • Angel Rocket

        I always got got a good laugh from his comments, so funny

      • inclinejj

        Maybe his wife and kids made him go off the grid!

        Or maybe he is up on a mountain top waiting to sley!

    • J Tang

      maybe his wife and kids banned him =D

      • Angel Rocket

        Maybe he’s inside his sley waiting for his el nino.

  • tomocean

    91 degrees at 8pm is bullshit, for Grass Valley it is.

    • Chowpow

      The upside is that the Yuba is staying warm enough through the evenings

  • thebigweasel

    It’s 74 here at 3,300 feet, pretty remarkable for twenty to ten.

    • redlands

      Where u at Mr Weasel ???

  • redlands

    107 in Redlands, Ca today — 6-25-2015 — another hot day !!! Southern Calif

  • weathergeek100

    100 in Concord today. 70s in SF (I think. Haven’t checked). It was so warm and nice on the Embarcadero. Very slight breeze and no fog of course. I was in a T-shirt and got to leave my jacket off the whole day. If only SF was like this everyday during the summer.

    • inclinejj

      84.7 in Pacifica yesterday. The fog came in over night and cooled us down fast, but the fog was gone around 6:30 am.

  • Arnold Weather Fanatic

    We at least can accept the idea of a June heat wave. Have you noticed what is happening in Oregon? Forecast 100 degrees on Saturday

    • thebigweasel

      Here it reached 102.5 yesterday, our 17th hot record for the date this year. And we’re part of the Cascadian zone, ecologically a part of the Pacific Northwest.

  • Bartshe

    RFWs hoisted for Western Nevada and Eastern Sierra with lots of dry lightning and gusty outflow winds of up to 55 mph. If conditions materialize as expected, will be an anxious 48-72 hours.

    • rob b

      To add to that a note from North Tahoe Fire via Twitter:

      “North Tahoe Fire is now playing an urgent message on 1630 AM concerning the current Red Flag Warning in the area”

  • SoCalWXwatcher

    Strengthening WWB really shaping up to become a doozy by July, likely being helped out by a very strong Typhoon which is expected to develop North of Papua New Guinea around that time. Something to keep an eye on.

    • craig matthews

      Looks like this Beast” is being served a 5 star meal.

      • SoCalWXwatcher

        Yes, we want the “Beast” to have Thanksgiving Dinner with all the trimmings!

    • mosedart

      This should be the icing on the cake for a record El Nino. I have a feeling we’re going to smash the record. Problem is, it’s uncharted territory so who knows what it’ll bring.

    • Bartshe

      That must be an old image/forecast map, most recent forecast is stronger than previous (or with different wind scale):

      • Bryan

        It’s the same forecast, but with a slightly different scale.

        • SoCalWXwatcher

          Yup, I think 12m/s on the chart I posted is deep red, but it’s pink on the one Bartshe posted.

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

        yes–this is a very strong WWB by any standard.

  • craig matthews

    SOI is now -48.93. Does anyone know the record low SOI (daily). I believe it is in the low -50’s and occurred in April or May 1905, but not sure??

  • Bob G

    Storm and Surf did an update below on El Nino

    Previous concerns about a possible fall-back to a Modoki El Nino pattern have passed. A simple glance a the SST Anomaly charts can tell that. The hot topic then becomes how strong this developing El Nino will become. And that is purely a function of the strength and duration of westerly anomalies in the Kelvin Wave Generation Area. If we survived this most recent Inactive Phase of the MJO with no easterly anomalies developing (and in reality, no trades at all), as we move deeper into the year with an evolving base El Nino state, then any future Inactive Phases of the MJO cycle should have even less impact. This is required for a major El Nino to develop. And this is what we are considering to be a very real possibility. The first milestone in moving towards that goal is monitoring the strength of westerly anomalies in the KWGA for the next 2-3 weeks as the Active Phase of the MJO tracks over that area. Part 2 is monitoring the impact of the large Kelvin Wave poised to erupt over the Galapagos. Two significant events could occur simultaneously, both with the capacity to significant enhance our developing El Nino. The effects of Kelvin Wave eruption (warming ocean surface more) will help to reinforce the atmospheric teleconnection, modifying the Walker Circulation and feeding the northern hemi jetstream, which in turn will reinforce the base El Nino state, which in turn will support more westerly anomalies over the KWGA. In essence, the system will move into a mode of reinforcing itself, a self perpetuating feedback loop. If sufficiently strong, that should also fuel the supposed Southern Hemi Booster Index, which in turn could supercharge the feedback loop.

    Of course all this is speculation. Regardless what the models declare, it isn’t real till it actually occurs. Models and theories are fallible (as was evidenced last year). But, as things currently stand, we appear to be close to crossing over a threshold. The next possible choke point would be the projected Inactive Phase of the MJO in mid-to-late July. If that is a non-event, much like the mid-June one, then a significant El Nino event would become more likely. Will it compare to ’97 or ’82? A wild guess says somewhere between the two. We’re not seeing the strength and duration of westerly anomalies this year as compared to ’97. Conversely the ’82 event didn’t even really get going till the June-July timeframe. We’re way ahead of that, but not quite seeing the vigor of ’97 at this point in time. So we’re guessing we’re somewhere between the two, with very good atmospheric momentum in play, and that’s a good place to be unless you own beach front property in California.

    • RSpringbok

      Funny how the surfers have their weather “guru” and the skiers have their “guru,” both of whom are supposed to have some secret insight into the weather patterns that the mainstream forecasters don’t have. I can’t quite buy into the mystique. I’m neutral — I don’t dismiss their forecasts but I don’t put extra weight on what they do either.

      • Bob G

        He did a pretty good job last year with El NIno. Hi focus is prinmarly on ocean temps and the state of the Pacific overall, not on weather patterns

      • inclinejj

        Fishermen have the guru’s also! Same with real estate investors and stock market speculators.

    • Xerophobe

      There was a warm Nino 4 /Modoki for the WWB in March to kick start this year. Both 97 and 82 followed a weak La Nina and kinda started from scratch. I don’t think less intense WWB’s will correlate to a lower max ONI this year. Does he still use the word gurgle?

  • Ian Alan

    Currently 71F after a low of just 64F. RH 39% DP 49 – lots of altocumulus clouds with maybe some low based cumulus developing but it’s hard to tell through the tree cover……it actually smelled like rain when I went outside, usually a good sign for some convective activity along with the DP increase, BUT NWS SD is not keeping it in the cards until Sunday or even Monday….keeps getting pushed back….

    Lake Fire hit 30k acres this morning & a small brush fire (Sterling Fire) erupted yesterday on the western foothills closer to San Bernardino but without strong winds it looks like it is fortunately being contained…

  • Sierrajeff

    Not even 10:00 a.m. and the fog’s cranking through the Golden Gate like it’s an afternoon in late July. Must be gettin’ really hot inland today!

    • inclinejj

      Fog is right off the coast at Pacifica. Maybe about 7-8 miles out. Ocean looks like a washing machine, which means wind outside.

  • lightning10

    Models are cutting back more and more on the surge.

    • Ian Alan

      Models are confused – screw em. LoL

      • SoCalWXwatcher

        I think it’s more a matter of the surge being delayed as opposed to being cut back. But we’ll know soon enough.

        • Ian Alan

          Definitely.

    • so.cal.storm.lover

      The models never have had a good handle on any monsoon events.

  • Ian Alan

    That’s quite the monsoonal cloud deck moving into SoCal.

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

    Working on an update now…will be posted later today.

    • Dan weather maniac

      cant wait!

    • Ian Alan

      Super Duper Fantastic El Nino – Monstrous Monsoons – Apocolyptic Floods…. Can’t wait! 😉

  • so.cal.storm.lover

    It might get interesting starting tomorrow and again on Sunday as two easterly waves work their way through so cal.

  • alanstorm

    Brutal Norcal inland HEAT only backs off sat-sun, then back to 100°+ everyday next week. Working in down in Danville this weekend so I timed this job right. Snakes & spiders out to in force every night!