Very strong El Niño likely during autumn/winter 2015-2016; significant impacts possible in California

Filed in Uncategorized by on July 13, 2015 2,035 Comments

Recent Weather Summary: A wet June/July in the Sierra Nevada

An unusually active summer weather pattern has continued across much of California over the past couple of weeks. Conditions have been particularly noteworthy in the Sierra Nevada, where widespread thunderstorms have brought an impressive array of torrential downpours, large and accumulating hail, and even (at the highest elevations in the Southern Sierra) a rare July snowfall.

An active monsoon and an offshore low have combined to bring unusually heavy July precipitation to California's mountains. (WRCC)

An active monsoon and an offshore low have combined to bring unusually heavy July precipitation to California’s mountains. (WRCC)

Most coastal and valley areas, on the other hand, have experienced less spectacular (but still unusual) cool, cloudy, and even showery conditions. The primary culprit: an unusually cool, deep, and slow-moving low pressure system off the California coast, which acted upon a preexisting moist (monsoonal) airmass. This low has since moved on to the east, and more seasonably dry and warm conditions have returned to California. Where recent mountain downpours did occur, wildfire risk in tinder-dry drought-stricken forests has been notably (if locally and temporarily) reduced, though it won’t take long for vegetation to dry out again.

 

 

Near-term outlook: More active summer weather on the way

The CFS has been hinting at an unusually active summer for a couple of months now, and those early predictions may be realized. It now appears that there will be at least two opportunities for active weather across large portions of California over the next 10-12 days. Later during the coming week, deep southeasterly flow will develop over at least the southern half of California. This kind of pattern is a classic summer monsoonal setup, with the potential for a couple of easterly waves to propagate into Southern California from the Desert Southwest. Models also suggest that a weak upper-level low or trough may develop off of the NorCal coast as well, which would allow subtropical moisture to advect northward over much of California.

At the same time, soon-to-be Hurricane Dolores will slowly move to the west-northwest off the coast of Baja California. There is still considerable uncertainty regarding the ultimate track of Dolores, and if the system takes a more westward trajectory, there will likely be few (in any) impacts in California. If, however, the system takes a more northerly trajectory–as recent runs of the GFS and ECMWF models suggest–prevailing southerly flow around the low off of NorCal may draw a considerable amount of remnant moisture and energy from then-former-hurricane Dolores over the state.

The GFS is suggesting the potential for a large influx of monsoonal and tropical remnant moisture over the coming 7-10 days. (NCEP via tropicaltidbits.com)

The GFS is suggesting the potential for a large influx of monsoonal and tropical remnant moisture over the coming 7-10 days. (NCEP via tropicaltidbits.com)

Both of these features together have the potential to produce a prolonged period of mountain and desert thunderstorms. There may eventually be a notable potential for showers and thunderstorms in coastal/valley regions, possibly including (at some point) all of the major metro areas in the state (San Diego, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Sacramento). It’s worth noting that the remnants of decaying East Pacific hurricanes do occasionally bring warm season precipitation in California–especially during major El Niño years. The likelihood of this kind of scenario unfolding is much higher than usual this summer due to widespread record-warm ocean temperatures throughout the northeastern Pacific Ocean, and Dolores probably won’t be the last tropical system to potentially affect California before hurricane season ends in late autumn.

 

Very strong El Niño now most likely outcome for fall/winter 2015-2016

El Niño has been making headlines in the weather and climate community for the better part of two years now. Early forecasts from winter/spring 2014 hinted that a major event might take shape during summer 2014–but, as regular readers of this blog are acutely aware, those initial projections failed to come to fruition. A weak “El Niño-ish” event instead developed and persisted through late winter 2015. The atmosphere failed to respond to the unusually warm ocean conditions in the way we typically observe during canonical El Niño events, and global impacts did not resemble those usually associated with El Niño (though global temperatures were still the warmest on record in 2014).

Starting earlier this calendar year–during late winter and early spring 2015–a series of westerly wind bursts (WWBs) developed in the tropical West Pacific Ocean, allowing much of the extremely warm water that has accumulated over the past two decades of persistent “La Niña-like” conditions to “slosh” back eastward. Several large oceanic Kelvin waves generated in response to these westerly wind bursts propagated across the entire Pacific basin, inhibiting  upwelling off the west coast of South America and allowing ocean temperatures near the Peruvian coast to rise dramatically. For a while, early 2015 looked a lot like early 2014: the atmospheric precursors to a major El Niño event were in place, and the ocean was beginning to respond. But unlike 2014, the ocean was already in a weak El Niño state in early 2015–and the early WWBs acted to reinforce the already anomalous state of the tropical Pacific Ocean.

Since the early spring, 2014 and 2015 have diverged even more dramatically from and oceanic and atmospheric perspective. Powerful westerly wind bursts–including at least one which may have been the strongest on record for this time of year–have continued during summer 2015, and have recently extended eastward nearly all the way across the Pacific Basin. The most recent of these has generated another very strong Kelvin wave, which is now making its way eastward (and will arrive at the South American coast later this summer).

Plot showing evolution of WWBs (left), SST anoms (center) and Kelvin waves (right). (TAO Buoy Array)

Plot showing evolution of WWBs (left), SST anoms (center) and Kelvin waves (right). (TAO Buoy Array)

Meanwhile, an extraordinary (and apparently record-breaking) string of tropical cyclones has developed in the central and western Pacific Ocean. Easterly trade winds have dramatically weakened across the tropical Pacific–in some spots even reversing entirely–and as a result impressive ocean surface warming has occurred in the central and eastern tropical Pacific over the past 2-3 months. Ocean temperatures in some spots are now higher than during any previous July on record (even including the powerful El Niño years of 1982-1983 and 1997-1998). Finally, relative sea surface temperatures have recently started falling in the far western Pacific near Indonesia–a hallmark of a well-defined, powerful, and maturing El Niño event.

All of this is to say: from an observational perspective, the current El Niño event is going full-steam ahead. The Multivariate ENSO index–which measures the overall strength of an El Niño event by taking into account a variety of atmospheric and oceanic indicators–just hit its highest value since the 1997-1998 El Niño (and is still rising). Therefore, by at least some metrics, strong El Niño conditions already exist in the tropical Pacific Ocean as of July 2015. 

The CFS model continues to trend upward with its forecast for the maximum intensity of the current El Nino event. (NOAA/CPC)

The CFS model continues to trend upward with its forecast for the maximum intensity of the current El Nino event. (NOAA/CPC)

And this El Niño is not done strengthening yet. Essentially all dynamical models available suggest that the current event will continue to intensify through the summer and autumn months, not peaking until some time between November and February. In fact, the flagship American and European models (the CFS and ECMWF, respectively) continue to hint at the possibility that this event could eventually become the strongest on record. That’s a pretty tall order–given the enormous magnitude of the events which occurred in 1982-1983 and 1997-1998. On the other hand, model projections have become increasingly eyebrow-raising at the same time of year when our confidence in their reliability increases dramatically, so it would be unwise to discount them outright. Generally speaking, healthy skepticism is warranted when complex dynamical models make predictions that involve totally unprecedented extreme events. But 2015 has already been a year of record-breaking meteorological extremes across vast swaths of the Northern Hemisphere, and considerable evidence suggests that there will be more to come. At this point, it seems quite likely that very strong El Niño conditions will be in place by late autumn 2015, and there is some risk that the present event could eclipse even the extreme events of 1982-1983 and 1997-1998.

Well-developed El Niño conditions already exist in the tropical Pacific Ocean, and observational/model evidence suggests that the current event may become one of the strongest on record by late autumn.

 

 

El Niño impacts in CA will depend on overall North Pacific ocean conditions

I’ve already written extensively about the potential impacts of a strong El Niño in California (here and here). The most noticeable effect is to increase the risk of heavy precipitation during the winter rainy season, though the signal is most consistent for the strongest events and in the southern half of the state. But it’s critically important to remember that even a large increase in the likelihood of a wet winter does not eliminate the possibility of another dry one.

This is particularly true regarding the current event due to the unusual–and in many ways unprecedented–configuration of Northern Hemisphere ocean temperatures. The much-discussed “Blob” of warm water in the far northeastern Pacific has made a comeback in recent months as an incredibly persistent blocking high pressure system set up over the Pacific Northwest and western Canada (sound familiar?). In fact, highly anomalous warm water now extends continuously from the south coast of Alaska to the west coast of Peru (!). This is a truly enormous expanse of very warm ocean–spanning thousands of miles–and represents a staggering amount of extra energy in the atmosphere-ocean system. It’s possible that these record-warm ocean temperatures could add a considerable amount of water vapor to the atmosphere this coming winter–even more than has been the case with previous strong El Niño events, since these warm waters extend well outside of the canonical tropical warm zones.

The entire northeastern Pacific is experiencing extraordinary, record-breaking warmth. (NOAA)

The entire northeastern Pacific is experiencing extraordinary, record-breaking warmth. (NOAA)

But water vapor doesn’t tell the whole story, either, since we still need to experience winter storm systems to act on all that extra moisture. El Niño tends to strengthen the subtropical jet stream and low-latitude storm track, which is the primary mechanism by which California sees extra precipitation during such years. The strength of the jet stream depends on the magnitude and spatial orientation of atmospheric temperature variations, which themselves are dependent on spatial variations in ocean temperatures. Since the entire North Pacific basin is anomalously warm at the moment, it’s possible that the strong subtropical ocean (and atmosphere) temperature gradients that usually exist during El Niño may not develop as they normally would, which could interfere with the subtropical jet stream enhancement. The magnitude of the expected event is sufficiently large that very strong tropical warming will most likely be able to overwhelm the high-latitude ocean warmth, but at this point that’s just an educated guess–no one knows for sure. One piece of good news on this front is that the persistent tropical Pacific warm pool which is thought to have played a leading role in the generation and maintenance of the Ridiculously Resilient Ridge over the past several winters is rapidly fading as El Niño strengthens. While there are plausible hypotheses regarding other contributors to the Triple-R’s persistence–including the effects of melting ice and snow in the Arctic and the role of regional ocean temperature variations–the overall Pacific SST configuration this coming winter has probably changed enough from the past several winters to prevent a recurrence of the Ridge (at least in its recent, unrelenting form).

 
Overall summary: a very strong El Niño event in the tropical Pacific is now highly likely, and although the likelihood of a wetter-than-average winter in California is increasing, considerable uncertainty remains due to a highly unusual temperature configuration elsewhere in the Pacific.

No matter what, it’s going to be a very interesting winter ahead. Stay tuned.

 

© 2015 WEATHER WEST

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  • Thunderstorm

    Massive lightning outbreak this evening in NW California. Heavy timber. These fires will burn for a long time. Down wind areas in for long duration of heavy smoke.

    • alanstorm

      Forks fire is in Yolla Bolly mtns, Eel/Trinity R. headwaters, lots of big trees. The main one in Humboldt started thurs aft (see photo of anvil I posted) & started 71 lightning fires. Alderpoint/Blocksburg area is east of Garberville, & near the scene of one of the biggest & well publicised pot-grow busts in recent memory. (Island Mtn). Its similar terrain to Lake Co, lots of steep, open grassland & oak woodlands. Much cooler today, but these steady south winds aren’t helping

  • Thunderstorm

    recordsearchlight.com and wildfiretoday.com have good updates on the fires in northern california.

  • thunderstorm98

    When will next Monsoon push or hurricane remnants will come up here?

  • C M

    The sound of that deep, rumbling thunder in South San Jose around noon but very little rain to go with it (3 minutes of sprinkles at best). “Dry lightning” should be an oxymoron; thunder should produce rain.

    • Tuolumne

      Thunder never produces rain. When thunder happens, rain usually happens around the same time but that doesn’t mean one causes the other. They’re separate end points of the processes going on inside a cumulonimbus cloud.

      Dry lightning is usually due to the cloud base being so far off the ground that rain evaporates before it hits the ground. This is particularly likely in places (like California in summer) where the normal seasonal condition is dry air. When that’s the case, the warm moist air that favors cumulonimbus development comes entirely from elsewhere. That means it may slide in over the dry air, leading to high cloud bases over dry air.

      • Ian Alan

        he’s just being sarcastic…

        • Tuolumne

          OK, being too literal here.

          • click

            Either way, good info!

  • click

    Past few days the CFSv2 has been slowly been bringing its Nino 3.4 runs down, the new mean is barely touching 3, and no runs have been over that line for a little while.

    Perhaps a dose of reality for the model, or next week it’s gonna start forecasting a 5 anomaly lol

    http://www.cpc.ncep.noaa.gov/products/people/wwang/cfsv2fcst/images3/nino34Monadj.gif

    • Bartshe

      Prefer the pdf corrected version, seems more grounded in reality.

      • Ian Alan

        Seems more grounded in the past with no regard to any unique situations that would to lead to otherwise exceptional outputs.

        Either way, what will be will be!

        • Xerophobe

          That first sentence reads like part of a script from Mary Poppins.

          • Ian Alan

            😀 One might wonder why in Gods name you have Mary Poppins on your mind and I would to if I didn’t know better,.

            “The same substance composes us–the tree overhead, the stone beneath us, the bird, the beast, the star–we are all one, all moving to the same end.” P.L. Travers

          • Xerophobe

            Winds in the east, mist comin’ in
            Like something is brewin’ about to begin
            Can’t put me finger on what lies in store
            But I feel what’s to happen, all happened before.
            I hope you saw “Saving Mr. Banks”, too 🙂

      • click

        but what’s the fun in that? Lol

    • Dan weather maniac

      Well wouldn’t 3 be record breaking by far regardless?

    • Ian Alan

      I guess i’ll settle for a 3….if we have to…. lol

    • jstrahl

      Wonder if the latest WWBs are accounted for.

    • Day-to-day variations really aren’t all that important. The screaming message is that we’re headed for a very strong El Nino. 100% of ensemble members agree on that.

    • That steep drop! Lol

    • Xerophobe

      You would pretty much need to have 29C+ over the entire Nino 3.4 region which I guess would average out to ~ +3. Maybe if my OCD kicks in I will try to get more precise. Don’t fret. Just keep the atmosphere locked in. Nothing is going to fall apart. No caveats…just +3 may be stretching it. Not necessary to have an ++super++. FEED THE BEAST!

      • click

        Haha, I’m not fretting. Like I said, maybe tomorrow’s runs will be at 5+. Just have to ride out the storm and enjoy what it brings us.

        • Xerophobe

          Yeah…I get too serious too often. Riding this thing out could be quite memorable.

  • thunderstorm98

    There’s a small fire just east of Santa Maria in the mountains.

    • I was camped in Colson Canyon and could smell the smoke. Happily, it was small and put out quickly.

      • thunderstorm98

        That’s good.

  • Thunderstorm

    Time for a NW california reality check. If 100 fires burn 100 acres a day thats 10,000 acres. After today it’s probably 200 fires. Some will be too close to each other to safely dispatch firefighters into the area. These will be the ones that get big. If in heavy timber with no access they will burn a long time. Bottom line this is a very bad situation. Visibility is already down too 300 ft in some areas. Not safe for ANYONE to be there. Smoke may become to thick to use air resources. Around here where I live (SF east bay) I found out the soil is much drier then I thought. Went by two excavation sites for buildings one in Fremont the other in Palo Alto and noticed that the soil is completely dry down 10 feet deep. Established trees still looked ok so must have their roots deep into the available water deeper down. I remember when I was 8 years old my father dug a well and hit water at 18ft. I hope Harry Guise the meteorologist from the 1970’s is right about a major change in the weather every 72 days. We can use one in mid august. Time to bring rain to California!!

    • PRCountyNative

      The water table used to be much, much higher.

      Human population has diverted flow ands drilled wells. Additionally, this drought has lowered the level further.

      A huge factor, from a good book I read years ago, is the absence of beavers. Hundreds of millions of beavers inhabited north america. Adult beavers had no real effective predators, until humans. They were a capstone species, providing habitat for many others.

      Every state in the union (bar Hawaii I beilieve) hosted healthy beaver populations. Every stream and creek and river and trickle was dammed and backed up. The entire central valley of CA was a swamp (I might be pushing it here)!

      Picture it: All the seasonal creeks, all today’s empty rivers flowing past golf courses, all the cement trenches and undergrounded urban stream/sewers all spreading out hundreds of yards wide, water backed up year ’round, pond connecting to pond all the way to the ocean.

      That’s what much of North America used to look like.

      • Charlie Hohn

        beavers were huge, also there were more trees shading the rivers and streams, more intact wetlands, etc. In a lot of cases heavy grazing and invasive species have caused the meadows in the Sierras to entrench gullies into them, which causes these wetlands to not hold water how they used to. Clear-cut logging, hydraulic Gold Rush mining, and general disturbance associated with fragmenting of the landscape for suburbs and farms has caused ecessive erosion and clogged river and stream beds with silt and sand and debris. Barring very intensive restoration efforts or thousands of years of time (and beavers) they will not go back how they were. Many streams in California that are now dry most of the year (even before this drought) once were basically perennial streams. Not to mention the many rivers, streams, lakes, and wetlands that are now gone because the water was diverted away. The extent to which the California landscape was trashed, starting when the Spanish brought genocide, smallpox, and cows to the area… can not be overstated.

        Really, it should be our life mission and that of our children and grandchildren to get the place back to some semblance of what it once was. But it’s pulling teeth just to get someone to rip out half their lawn for a rain garden, some native plants, or more locally produced food. It’s awful and heartbreaking and it’s why I left California and it pains me to even be there for a week.

        Sorry for the downer post. But just sayin’.

  • AlTahoe

    Had a nice thunderstorm in Meyers when I was finishing up my mountain bike ride. Storms are starting off wet up here so hopefully we avoid the dry lightning fires

    • Bandini

      Looking at the radar there are some huge red cells firing up south of Tahoe. Just some sprinkles and ominous clouds so far in Truckee.

  • thunderstorm98
    • That red blob all along the US/Canada Pacific coast is striking…

    • What exactly is happening in these images? The blob or El Niño?

    • Angel Rocket

      Is it a good thing for us in California that el Nino is moving east?

      • thunderstorm98

        Yes, East based aka classic el nino almost always bring above average precip to California.

  • Bartshe

    Brewing up nicely over us here in Mono & Alpine County, lots of lightning beneath that:

    • Bartshe

      non-stop, lots of little fires:

  • Ian Alan

    If it’s not monsoonal or a TS remnants I can dig it being cooler in the summer. I approve…but does the croucher?!

    LONG RANGE OUTLOOK THURSDAY THROUGH SUNDAY…THE 12Z ECMWF AND GFS ARE IN FAIRLY GOOD AGREEMENT WITH AN UNSEASONABLY DEEP TROUGH SETTING UP OFF THE CENTRAL CALIFORNIA LATE NEXT WEEK. THIS TROUGH WILL BRING COOLER WEATHER…A DEEPER MARINE LAYER AND GUSTY MOUNTAIN AND DESERT WINDS LATE NEXT WEEK THROUGH THE WEEKEND.

    • jstrahl

      Good sign for the Fall that troughs are already digging south. If they start doing that consistently that in the Fall, and the tropical jet stream kicks in, look out!

    • Crouching Dallas

      I approve. Crouching through this heat wears on a man, after all!

    • Thunderstorm

      Actually this is bad news because of stronger winds!

      • Ian Alan

        Gusty. Not strong.

        THIS WILL BRING DRY SOUTHWEST FLOW ALOFT AND WEAK ONSHORE LOWER LEVEL FLOW.

  • The NorCal fires that started over the past 5 days are going to be a big story for the rest of the season. The Rocky Fire in Lake County has thus far been essentially uncontrollable, and has been burning with extraordinary intensity in all directions (generating major pyrocumulus clouds with fire whirls, strong winds, and even lightning). There are over 100 new lightning-caused fires in heavy timber in the far north, and at this point it seems likely that many of these will continue to burn until winter.

    I’ll have a post soon detailing this extraordinary fire outbreak in the context of what has been a very unusual summer in California weather-wise.

    • Bandini

      Nonstop lightning up here for the past two hours with not a drop of rain. My buddy got an amazing shot from Rainbow bridge looking down towards Donner Lake with lightning streaks, hope to post it tomorrow. It’s scary to think how many of these could be sparking up fires, especially up towards Sierraville.

    • Yesterday, on August 1, I was thinking ahead to fall and the thought occurred to me that this fire situation, if the rest of the season progresses as it usually would, will be with us for another 11-12 weeks.

      This is not a happy situation.

  • redlands

    Redlands Ca – Southern Ca – July Summary
    ———————————————————————————-
    This July 2015 at my weather station I recorded 2.12 of rain — which is the wettest ive recorded – records since August 1981. The July average rainfall not including July 2015 was 0.10 — including July 2015 it bumped up the July Average Rainfall to 0.15.
    Wettest July
    —————————-
    1) July 2015 – 2.12
    2) July 1984 – 0.66
    ———————————————————————–
    This July 2015 ended up the 5th Coolest July. July usually averages 13.212 days with 100 And Above Days — this July 2015 we only had 5 days – with 100 And Above. Hopefully we continue the above average rainfall – and we get 2/3 inches for August. Ian — What did you get rainwise for the month of July 2015 up in Running Springs, Ca

    • Dan the Weatherman

      If I accidentally downvoted this post, please disregard.

    • alanstorm

      Redlands got more rain in July then I got in Willits in January! (1.9″)
      Go figure…

      • Ian Alan

        I believe also in general most all of SoCal received more rain than most all of the PNW, for July anyway.

    • click

      Extraordinary! My location in oak hills got just over 2.5″, and I know that the average temp in Hesperia was 90F, usual average is 100. I’m always a few degrees cooler too. I sure hope August can continue the trend!

    • Ian Alan

      3.52″ for July. I know some areas received over 5″ up here.

      Temperatures never cracked 80….in fact 76 was the warmest it got!

      • redlands

        whats the hottest you have gotten in July or any other month

        • Ian Alan

          92 and it was in July.

  • CHeden

    Nice nocturnal T’storm ~ 3:30 this morning up here in Cottonwood. Took everyone by surprise (including my cats who got super freaked)

  • Bryan

    19,000 acres burned overnight in the Rocky fire–a 70% jump in just over nine hours. Hope everyone’s safe.

    • Mark

      Truly remarkable…26 residences destroyed…lot’s of smoke in the Central valley

    • alanstorm

      Yesterday’s winds didn’t help. Hiway 20 is closed, & parts of the city of Clearlake are being evacuated. I’m 45 mi NW of it, & during the last few nights I’ve had a “snowfall” of tiny ash & the moon goes red.

    • SlashTurn

      What kind of fuels persist up there? Is it mostly oak scrub/chaparral/grass or timber?

      • Tuolumne

        The former- foothill vegetation. Mountain pine and coastal redwood/Doug fir forests are pretty far away at this point.

    • Pfirman

      Sadly, that is also an elk preserve. A few years ago a major fire burned big acreage north and east of this fire, I.e. across Hwy. 20 to the north and Hwy. 16 to the east, so it won’t likely be going in those directions much.
      It really exploded so fast it is lucky no one has died.

  • thebigweasel

    Wow. It’s overcast and extraordinarily muggy for 8 in the morning, and I just checked my temperatures.
    The warmest nightly low I ever recorded here was in 1992, when it got down to only 63 degrees.
    Last night’s low was 66.9.
    The house only got down to 76 degrees.
    It’s supposed to stay in the upper 80s today.

    • redlands

      where u at weasel

      • thebigweasel

        You know, you’ve asked me that eight times now, and every time I’ve replied politely. And even if I didn’t reply, it’s easy enough to find out by clicking on my nym.

        • Pfirman

          It’s also easy enough to just say ‘here in x’. I get nothing when I click on your avatar. Do I have to sign in or something?

          • megaranation

            Siskiyou County. It’s on the top left, right below his avatar picture.

          • Xerophobe

            hover on his avatar…then click on the avatar that pops up then click on that avatar.

          • thebigweasel

            You click on the nym, not the avatar.
            Spoze I could just create a new Disqus account for this blog. Call myself “The New Adventures of Sisk-Q County” or something.

          • Xerophobe

            LOL…It’s just how I do it..yours is more streamlined…always enjoy your posts and that you have records from long ago

          • Pfirman

            That did it. Thanks. I’m in Woodland, near Sacramento.

        • redlands

          Yes – it may be true that I have asked you 8 times — where your located. I don’t think its too much to ask to state your location — like I live in Redlands, Ca — and its 99 right now — 3pm 8-2-2015 — I even take it a step farther —- I state Redlands, Ca — Southern Calif. Am not the only one who feels this way. Sorry I asked you Mr. Weasel

  • lightning10

    Every time I hear of fires in California I think of this song that was wrote during the 2003 fires.

    • Bandini

      Nothing better than seeing Greg Graffin dressed as a newscaster. Thanks for posting. Although I haven’t been crazy about their stuff the past couple decades, I do forget they have a few good ones here and there.

  • Ian Alan

    Santa Ana wind season is coming up, I had a thought and wondered if there has been any correlation with developing strong El Ninos. There’s not many to compare with of course but it seems Santa Ana’s might generally be fewer and not as strong in nature – ?

    • 805 Weather

      Let’s hope our Santa Ana Wind season is just a flat out bust in the first place, generally that just means a dry and generally warmer autumn for us around SoCal in my IMO

  • inclinejj

    Back to normal Pacifica weather for August. Overcast with a bit of smoke smell in the air this morning. Dead calm no winds, 62 degrees!

  • alanstorm

    Siskiyou county is under the gun today for thunderstorms. Temps are finally down to normal, but Tstorms have been a daily occurrence in the NW CA interior. One of the growing fires is in the Trinity mtns between Eureka & Redding. Can’t imagine trying to fight that one in that STEEP terrain. Have you seen the cliffs along Hwy 299??

    • inclinejj

      Yes pretty much straight up and down. Remember trying to find trails that goats wouldn’t take to get down to the Trinity River.

    • thebigweasel

      It threatened all day here, but now that it’s later in the evening, the air is drying and temperatures are dropping. To our relief; the cool mountain nights are what make it possible to deal with 90 degree days without air conditioning.

  • Mary

    It’s very smoky in the Sacramento area downtown. Luckily it’s not as hot.

  • Bandini

    Nice downpour going on the last 20 minutes with some thunder and lightning at Donner Lake.

  • Ketch

    Rain and mountain snow resume in Chile. I’ll be down to see first hand in 3 weeks, but it looks like their 4 year drought is over. Good for them and maybe good news for us.

    http://www.snow-forecast.com/resorts/Portillo/6day/top

    • Nick W.

      Might be a good omen for California several months ahead.

  • thunderstorm98

    Just 2 months till we see our first frontal stratiform rain. I hope.

    • Ian Alan

      I’m going out on a limb and saying it’ll be a tad sooner!

    • Nick W.

      Hoping for a September storm in Northern California. These fires are way out of control lately.

    • Yes, but with current conditions the word “just” implies a level of optimism about the next two months that may not be warranted given the current wildfire conditions — quite a lot can happen in two months. That said, as always, looking forward to the first autumn weather.

  • Thunderstorm

    NW California has a new blob (smoke blob) easily seen on satellite. So dense that a fight from the air is doubtful. Mad and River complexes already look gigantic. 10×20 miles, the other much bigger. Numerous fires burning close to each other. Watched video from a helicopter fly over taken at the beginning of the fires. Burning very hot due to the dryness.

  • Bandini

    A quick .4 inches here at the west end of Donner lake the past hour, not too shabby. Sun is out now, but we’re still hearing thunder. Glad to see some rain after all the dry lightning that rolled through last night.

    • AlTahoe

      It poured on my ride up cold creek. Made for some super tacky dirt and it looks like the Santa Cruz mountains up here

      • Bandini

        Went for the Trifecta today: Donner Peak and Judah loop hike, 10 mile stretch (out n back) of Hole in the Ground – great dirt there as well – , then a swim right before dark. Hoping to make it down sometime in August for Mr. Toads.

      • xeren

        hero dirt! 2nd only to a winter pow day

    • thebigweasel

      What’s your total now since, say, July 1st? I know you’ve set records.

      • Bandini

        I’m not sure, I just finally got a rain gauge a couple weeks ago, so I’ve officially only used it twice. I was torn on getting it because I’m really not interested in measuring rain, but I’ve accepted the fact that it could be a new reality.

  • lightning10

    Models showing no tropical storm or monsoon storms. I am in woodland hills today and not as warm as i thought it was going to be today. Only a few degrees warmer than Whittier.

    • Ian Alan

      GFS had been hinting at a strong EastPac hurricane forming in Lala land.

  • Ian Alan

    With the way things have been going this summer I wouldn’t be surprised if we do get a moisture tap going on – rain dance! (Hints of an early fall?)

    NWS SD:
    BY LATE THURSDAY INTO FRIDAY THE MODELS ARE IN GOOD AGREEMENT TO SWING AN UNSEASONABLY STRONG NEGATIVELY TILTED UPPER LEVEL TROUGH ACROSS CALIFORNIA AND INTO SATURDAY. THIS FEATURE WILL BRING A DRAMATIC COOL DOWN FOR NEXT WEEKEND…WITH INLAND LOCATIONS LIKELY SEEING A 10-20 DEGREE TEMPERATURE CHANGE OVER A FEW DAYS TIME. PRECIP CHANCES LOOK PRETTY SLIM AT THIS MOMENT ALTHOUGH WE MAY NEED TO ADD A MENTION OVER THE HIGHER MOUNTAINS FOR THURSDAY/FRIDAY IF ANY MOISTURE TAP CAN CONNECT WITH THE MAIN TROUGH FEATURE.

    • Canyon

      I wouldn’t get too excited.

      • Ian Alan

        Neither would I.

    • 805 Weather

      The NWS SD always mentions the possible goodies unlike the NWS Oxnard/LA. Then again, maybe that is needed to not spook up too much expectation throughout the year. We shall see. I hope this AF is only the first of many while we push closer to fall.

    • SoCalWXwatcher

      El Nino patterns tend to deliver more West Coast troughing than typical for late Summer into early Fall. That, in conjunction with the warmer than normal Eastern Pacific during El Ninos, tends to be a favorable setup for recurving tropical remnants into the West Coast. Let’s see what happens towards the end of the month and into September.

  • Thunderstorm

    Slim chance the rocky fire stays within lines. Not enough black layed down.

    • rob b

      I was reading tonight it made another good run late in the day, crews had to pull out of the area but on the way out they set backfires. The pictures coming out the last few days are amazing, the flames well above the tree line. You can see via the news helicopters where they hope to make a stand with dozer lines and long line of retardant.

  • Thunderstorm

    60-70 Green dots some big some small on radar that do not move all day and just get bigger. So what is it!! Fires in NW California. One is 10×20 miles. The rocky fire is small compared to whats ongoing farther north.

  • Thunderstorm

    Anyone else notice that the monsoon high has gone AWOL. May be the reason for this continuos moisture flow from the SE. Should be rotation around the four corners.

  • Who Killed Kenny Strawn?

    After all the excitement of Blanca and Dolores delivering rare “goods” to Southern California, we have settled back into our typical summer weather pattern of the marine layer and mild weather at the coast and dry heat inland; this will likely continue into August and September followed by some Santa Anas bringing heat to the coast in October. We will see rain again…….. in winter. Our climate is just not meant to get rain in summer on a regular basis. Stop getting your hopes up for more hurricane remnants or monsoons.
    There will be more hurricane in the EPAC but they will stay far out to sea or possibly effect Mexico or Hawaii but not us. There will be some more monsoon episodes but they will stay in the mountains and deserts and maybe bring some clouds and humidity to our coast but nothing more.

    • Ian Alan

      I bow to thee oh wise weather seer.

      California is a BIG chunk of land.

      We just got pounded with massive thunderstorms not too long after Dolores made her slow exit which was not too long after an early July monsoon which was not too long after a very active June which was not too long after an exceptionally cold and active May…..damn, I thought we were off to a good start..

      …what’s with the sour ‘tude dude?

      • SoCalWXwatcher

        Instead of the GFS, I believe he relies solely on the GFFS. (Gut Feeling Forecast System)

        That, plus about 3 bucks can get you a double shot Espresso at Starbuck’s.

    • 805 Weather

      In the most polite tone. Please learn your climatology and find your respect for the ever changing weather and climate of California. I mean it’s California! Think of just how much different weather we get! 😉

    • He Who Must Not Be Named

      This is the anti-kenny post! for all his failings, Kenny was the eternal “optimist”. Every little detail and cloud in the sky was a sign of BIG things to come.

      This summer has been unprecedented in numerous ways, so the GFFS is no more applicable in the negative than it is in the positive.

      • Ian Alan

        Just give up the whole Kenny deal already – your posts have always been good as far as I remember & I enjoy your humor but kenny has gotten the best of you apparently….

        • He Who Must Not Be Named

          Fair enough, the kenny thing is played out (until he comes back). I only brought it up this time because of the name of the OP, and how opposite this post was to kenny’s normal ramblings.

    • xeren

      I saved this comment off to my hard drive so i can show it to you in september.

      when the weather is crazy, people think it’s always going to be crazy. when it’s boring, people think it’s always going to be boring. this is an example of the latter.

      http://i.imgur.com/fa3vrrM.png

  • Xerophobe

    Fascinating anomalies for wind vectors given SSTA. It’s all about the atmosphere this time around. THE BEASTS EATS!

    • SlashTurn

      One thing that pops out to me with every analogue of the 97/98 event, is the fact that all the data from that period represents the conditions in the EPAC to be consolidated/organized and a much more proportionate progression to the overall evolution of its peak. At least from the stage we are in right now…

      Im coming from a very limited understanding/perspective on all this, so excuse my ignorance…

    • Unbiased Observer

      When is the next Kelvin Wave supposed to surface?

      • Xerophobe

        Soon, if you see a spike in Nino 1+2 anomalies.

  • lightning10

    On a slightly different topic I wonder how much longer their will be earthquakes before the big one hits in the Top corner of CA/NV/OR. That area has been having cluster quakes for the past year and a half.

    • Darin

      link?

    • CHeden

      The swarm(s) in NW Nevada has been going on/off since late last Fall, and is tectonically set in an extensional zone. Most/all of the quakes are normal faulting, typical of Nevada….and rarely do these type of quakes result in “the Big One”. However, what’s making them more interesting is that the swarm seems to be being driven (or accompanied) by a dyke intrusion around 6-10 km at depth, with quakes occurring all the way to the surface. Going forward it’s going to be interesting to follow and to see if magma continues on the move (at depth). Here’s some info from Nevada Seismo Lab out of Reno. Click on the GRAPHS tab and some nice charts of the activity since May.
      http://www.seismo.unr.edu/Events/main.php?evid=503760

  • Weather Pete

    Not sure if anyone already posted this but good El Niño update…
    http://youtu.be/G40wF8QNCYM

    • Xerophobe

      Good update!!
      “BUATH”

  • cabeza tormenta

    noticed something interesting in the visible bay area satellite this morning around 9:30, the usual morning cloud bank spread well inland and burning off rapidly, but a large area over the north bay stubbornly hanging around which doesn’t normally happen. it seems to correspond to the area where the rocky fire is burning, must be the billions of smoke particles causing the clouds to hang around longer.
    which may be a positive thing, except could hinder air attacks? but will probably be cleared out by the time I post this.

    • Tuolumne

      That marine layer is well to the southwest of the fire, which is in the general area where Lake, Yolo, and Colusa counties meet. It’s not going to affect air operations.

  • SoCalWXwatcher

    Latest CFSv2 ensemble members backing off a bit, pulling the mean down to “3”, (likely in response to the reduced expectations of intense WWB action this month).

    But who would have thought earlier this year that by August we would be talking about the CFS Niño 3.4 mean settling down to 3?

    • click

      look at those two members at the end that want a resurgence in april! Multi year nino anyone?!?!

      (just kidding)

      • Tuolumne

        The 97-98 El Niño had dual peaks in ~August and January. The total length of that one was a little over a year.

    • Utrex

      It pulled off due to the upwelling that occured. The 3.4 index dropped down, possibly triggering the models to drop values as well…

      From the looks of it though, the values should begin to rise.

      http://www.tropicaltidbits.com/analysis/nino34.png

      • David Thomas

        there is no cooling do not go buy what that map says it can not be tursted here are today readdings from the CPC

        nino 1.2 2.7

        nino 3 2.1

        nino 3.4 1.7 went up from last update

        nino 4 1.0

        like i saide do not go by what the CDAS maps are showing there is no cooling going on what so ever in nino 3.4 in fact we show not even uesd them maps giveing on wrong they are and how far off the game they are this go by what the CPC show on there weekly update that will give you how strong are EL nino is and not by the CDAS maps

        • He Who Must Not Be Named

          Thank you

          • David Thomas

            well you stop doing that thanks

          • SoCalWXwatcher

            Thanks

          • David Thomas

            you guys are funny

      • jstrahl

        By which looks do you think the values should begin to rise? Not challenging you, just wanting to clarify. Is it this chart?

        • SoCalWXwatcher

          There’s a big KW in progress that should be bringing those values up again here at some point.

        • Sierrajeff

          Not to mention there seems to be a remarkable 8 to 10-day periodicity to the numbers – discernible even in the early and mid-June period (e.g., the wobble around June 17th or so). If I were a betting man and someone threw this chart down in front of me, without any labels or context whatsoever, and said “is it going to go up or down”, I’d bet on up. Maybe not in the next day or two, but almost certainly by the end of the week.

        • Utrex

          The regions are currently undergoing upwelling, however downwelling is quickly taking its place once again.

          • jstrahl

            Thanks, excellent point.

    • Xerophobe

      You will go blind if you keep looking at that.

      • SoCalWXwatcher

        Do they make a Braille version of the chart? 😉

        • Xerophobe

          hmmm maybe not…these are like SSTA p^rn graphs. 😉

  • Charlie B

    Two things this fine Monday morning.
    1. Various people have posted their rainfall for July. For those who kept track but haven’t posted, perhaps they could do so. It would be fun to see everyone’s numbers. Location and amount. For instance, I recorded .83 in Graeagle, (Plumas County, elevation 4400, about 45 miles north of Truckee.)
    2. I noticed that Juneau, Alaska, broke its ALL TIME July rainfall record. They normally get 4.6 inches and received 10.4! That’s 226% of normal. What is also interesting is that July 2014 was also very wet, with 178% of normal. Does this coincide with “the blob” of warm seawater?

    • Bandini

      Man I would have thought you guys got more in Graeagle, seems like a lot of storms have been pounding the area between Boca and Sierraville, maybe they didn’t quite make it up another 20 miles or so.

      • Charlie B

        I was rather surprised as well. But, it’s better than nothing. The Johnsville RAWS (3 miles away to the west of me) reported only .59, and they are right by the Sierra crest.

    • jstrahl

      .96 inches in central Berkeley. ,07 in the 1951-80 average, but it was skewed by 1.40 in 1974, a total abnormality. Without it, the average is about .02 inches. By far the most common outcome is 0. This was only my third time of measurable July rainfall, started in ’92. It all came in one day, the 9th.

      • Ian Alan

        So what’s that percent of normal? 😀

        • jstrahl

          By my definition of “normal,” i.e. kicking out 1974, it’s 300% of normal. 🙂

    • palmsprings

      I ended up with a decent 0.48″ here, didn’t get as much out of Dolores as I’d hoped. Average for July at Palm Springs Airport is 0.17″.

  • Quagmire Cliffington

    Saw this thunderhead blow up in front of my eyes this Saturday up at blue lakes. Dodged the storms all day long and had sunshine on us the entire trip.

    • Brendan

      I was there too, we were in a perfect little pocket of sun. North and south were under some serious looking cells!

    • Xerophobe

      catch fish?? 😉

      • Quagmire Cliffington

        Caught a buzz!

        • honzik

          Quaff-more instead of Quagmire?

    • cabeza tormenta

      awesome. blue lakes north of Ebbets pass I presume?

  • alanstorm

    Rocky fire grew another 6000 acres overnight to 60,000 acres, but has doubled in containment at 12% as more crews join the fight. There are now 58 dozers on the job- that’s a lot of heavy metal!!

    • rob b

      Looking at news coverage via helicopters you can see the dozer line is 2-3 blades wide with retardant dropped behind the line. The “box” is very large for this fire, looks like many of the lines are a canyon beyond where the fire currently is located.

  • Crank Tango

    The wind is really picking up here in eastern shasta county. Nearest big fire is the Frog fire at 40 miles NNE of me. Clouds moving in from the south near Lassen Peak.

    • Jaymur

      Hey neighbor, you must be close to me. I just rented a storage space and packed my boxes for who knows what is coming. Just one year ago the out of control Eiler fire got rained on, which was a miracle but ultimately it still burned 32k acres, 2 years ago it was the house and forest burning 2 doors away and 3 years ago we were literally running from the ponderosa fire and the reading fire which burned 60 sq miles. Maybe time to leave what has always been a place of such beauty and peace

      • Crank Tango

        Every time the wind blows on a hot day I get PTSD from that Eiler fire! We’re in Burney, but just on the edge of the edge of pipeline. I couldn’t believe that rain…

  • rob b

    According to Cal FIRE PIO-The Rocky fire has now jumped highway 20. That was the line they were hoping to hold it at. Reports have the fire making a good run up the other side of the hills now, burning 75 acres or so. Looking at new coverage there look to be some ranches and homes in the area. Lots of retardant drops but doesn’t look like an area they could safely put crews in.

    • Good grief…

    • alanstorm

      What a bummer! I drive that area frequently on the way to Sacto. Been looking at real estate around there near Clear Lake Oaks. Lots of big beautiful homes. Hopefully this cool-down were getting will help. I can’t imagine abandoning your home like that thinking it may be the last time you may see it. So horrible.

  • 805 Weather

    The way this year’s fire season has kicked in, let’s hope we don’t get anything like 2003 or 09… Those fire seasons scarred everyone even just by breathing.

    • alanstorm

      July 2008 is the benchmark for NorCal I’m pretty sure. Somethimg like 1000 fires in Mendocino county alone. It was apocolyptic.

      • San Jose was so smokey, you couldn’t even go outside. I had to walk home from Summer School(High School) back then. It was real bad.

      • rob b

        Agree Alan, the month of July 08 the entire Northern part of the state was covered in smoke. It didn’t matter if you were in Chico, SF, Sacramento,or Fresno you were seeing smoky skies. I was working in Reno and the drive betweenReno and Truckee each day included new firefighters coming in from other areas of the country. At one point I recall 40+ states , plus Mexico, Canada, Austraila, New Zealand, and Greece had firefighting personnel in California working the front lines or helping manage the fires.

  • Xerophobe

    Wind anomalies for July ’97 and ’15 (July was kinda quiet for ’97 though) eye candy nonetheless
    First is near surface second comparo is near 5000ft

  • Bandini

    The summer that won’t quit?

    NOAA Reno:

    BY FRIDAY, FURTHER INCREASE IN INSTABILITY AND FORCING IS LIKELY AS
    THE LOW MOVES ACROSS THE SIERRA, WHICH COULD SET THE STAGE FOR
    STRONG AND POSSIBLE SEVERE STORMS. BOTH THE GFS/ECMWF SHOW A
    FAVORABLE CONVECTIVE SCENARIO AT THIS TIME, BUT DUE TO THE INHERENT
    NATURE OF CLOSED LOWS VARYING IN LOCATION/TRACK WE WILL MAKE ONLY
    INCREMENTAL INCREASES IN POPS AT THIS TIME, WITH THE BEST CHANCES
    GENERALLY NORTH OF HIGHWAY 50 FRIDAY AFTERNOON AND EVENING.

  • 805 Weather

    Just a little weather update, climate rundown and gut feeling. It’s 74F here at 7:21PM in Camarillo, and the dew point is 62F. The max temp today was 83F, our average is 74F. The thick high clouds and changing colors of the trees (oddly early but very welcome) make it feel like October. In my 13 and half years of living here the weather this year and this “feeling” this early, comes the outcome to a very different autumn (cooler and wetter) and an even more eerie is the fact that I got this feeling not quite as soon, but in summer of 2004. That June entered the weak El Nino of 04-05 and January of 2005 got us a total of 9.18″, our January normal is 3.46. On January 9th, 2005 the rainfall in 24 hours was 3.37″. Interesting, but I can’t just get a hunch and say hey we’re going to go big this winter. Obviously.

    But I hope this “feeling” means something. We can only hope.

    • Dan weather maniac

      the regular lows ( like the current cut off low this week and the one that brought snow to the hi Sierra a bit back) this summer are very welcome as well – also more mid to late sept feeling than July to early August.

      That and the ca monsoon is bizarre ( in a good way) this year.

      Inland Bay Area, walnut creek has had much cooler weather than the past several summers – and I agree it just feels more like early fall than hi summer.

  • alanstorm

    Purple plum if smoke flowing north from Rocky fire is visible from hwy 101 Ukiah. Looks really ominous with Black Sabbath blaring on the car stereo.

  • Thunderstorm

    Residents in NW Ca. say the smoke is already worse then 2008 and it’s just started. Friday will double the size of the fires as strong ventilation occurs with higher winds and high haines. Already air attack is grounded no visibility. This WILL BE a historic wildfire event for a long time! Residents report that the surface smoke looks like fog. Visibility will continue to deteriorate as the fires intensify. I said last weak that the weather forecast was trepidation, this week the needle goes up to danger. Around here where I live SF bay between Oakland and San Jose the pine trees are shedding needles to conserve water. The soil is dry 10 ft down. Up in Washington State there is a fire with no containment for 15 miles, terrain to densely forested and steep. Seeing the video of the fires from the helicopter shows the fires burning white hot not orange and red. Thats the difference this drought has made. In times like this the fire fighters are in a class by them selves!!!

    • Pfirman

      Just drove from Sacramento north up I-5. The smoke in the Rogue Valley was awful. Overall, the Oregon smoke didn’t thin out unitl Roseburg.
      This is some bad shit.

  • jstrahl

    I don’t think i saw this posted here, sorry if duplicate, but last month was the warmest month ever in Seattle, for any month of the year, 71.2 deg F, broke the record 71.1 in August ’67. Funny enough, i was in Seattle in the last days of that month, my first time there, a 19 year old with my parents, we thought it was so cool, but we were living in New York.

    • alanstorm

      Western Oregon broke all kinds of heat records. Medford was over 100° quite a few days

  • C M

    There is a (slim) chance of thunderstorms in the Bay Area both tomorrow AND Friday; this is after that brief but loud 3 minute thundersprinkle event in South San Jose just 3 days ago! The bad news is it will likely be (ugh) DRY thunderstorms if they materialize. I have never seen such an active summer in the Bay Area but I want rain with my thunder! It seems that remnants from hurricanes are a lot better at producing wet thunderstorms than the monsoonal flow. Do you see any more hurricanes near Southern Baja down the pipe in the next several weeks? If so, will the steering be favorable to bring some rain to California in the same way Blanco and Dolores were?

    • Tomorrow’s chance is modest, but Friday’s looks kind of ominous in the dry lightning department. I’m planning on having a new post on Tuesday.

      • Bob G

        Looking forward to it Daniel. I am hoping you will also be giving us an update on how El Nino is developing?

  • Thunderstorm

    Was wondering if the moisture from the hurricane east of Hawaii would get caught up. Nice trajectory to northern California. This weather is starting to look like a Steven King novel. Get another outbreak this friday and all types of travel will be impacted next week.

  • 805 Weather

    Almost like an extremely weak atmospheric river over us at the moment. Not anything but clouds, still cool to see something like this coming from the same track as a Pineapple Express would.

    • alanstorm

      An AAR??? (Aug Atmospheric River) Just kidding.
      We’ll have wait till fall for some true ARs, & I’ll bet they’ll be juicy with this monster El Nino

      • 805 Weather

        Oh wouldn’t that be something?! But I can be patient if the atmosphere begins to start kickin those water hoses at us in even the fall.

  • Wait. Where is the lightning coming from for the Bay Area tomorrow? I am confused.

    • craig matthews

      Its coming in from the southwest. The sub tropical jet is becoming a little stronger underneath the cut off Low offshore, and is drawing a mid level moisture plume in from the sw toward north/central Ca.
      At the same time, there is an upper level disturbance riding along the sub tropical jet that could interact with the mid level moisture plume, adding upper level cooling/ instability needed to generate convective showers and thunderstorms. If everything lines up right, the bay area and north bay are in the zone. The NWS just added “slight” chance for tomorrow so we’ll soon find out…

  • FantasyLand Drama..

    • Ian Alan

      06Z continues the idea but a tad more east poising it to ride up the gulf.

      Slam Dunk. 😀

  • David Thomas

    repost

    there is no cooling do not go buy what that map says it can not be tursted here are today readdings from the CPC

    nino 1.2 2.7

    nino 3 2.1

    nino 3.4 1.7 went up from last update

    nino 4 1.0

    like i saide do not go by what the CDAS maps are showing there is no cooling going on what so ever in nino 3.4 in fact we sould not even uesd them maps giveing on wrong they are and how far off the game they are this go by what the CPC show on there weekly update that will give you how strong are EL nino is and not by the CDAS maps

    and here why

    8. StormTrackerScott

    7:07 PM PDT on August 03, 2015

    0 +

    I’m very curious to see how CDASv1 stacks up against HADISST, ERSST, COBE SST, NCEP/NCAR R1, etc…

    This is the CDAS1 NINO 3.4 region surface temperature data file (January 1949-Present) I derived from the IRI library

    I think the issue right now with the CDAS is because all the clouds and rain across the equatorial Pacific as 3.2 to 3.4 ESPI readings are about as high as you will ever see. What is your input on this?

    please read the blob part

    • He Who Must Not Be Named

      Thank you (also a repost)

  • thunderstorm98

    The high clouds yesterday and today makes it feel like Fall and winter.

  • CHeden

    Some eye candy from the north Sacramento Valley.
    The eyes needed some candy since they’d been crying all day.
    Ra is not happy.

    • Darin

      I used to see beautiful sunsets in SoCal. Of course the color dispersion was due to fog/smog/haze. Fires are no fun, but this picture is beautiful.

      • CHeden

        Thanks for the kind comment. Had some clearing last night with good visibilities, but this morning the smoke has returned with a vengence. Ugh is back in the forecast.

  • rob b

    Hopefully the latest NWS Reno discussion is something we see a lot this winter.

    “LONG TERM…FRIDAY THROUGH MONDAY…
    THE MAIN FOCUS WILL BE ON THE POTENT UPPER LOW FOR FRIDAY. MODELS
    REMAIN VERY CONSISTENT WITH THIS FEATURE WHICH IS REMARKABLE FOR AN
    UPPER LOW. THEY HAVE EVEN COME INTO BETTER AGREEMENT ON TIMING WITH
    THE LOW MOVING THROUGH FRIDAY EVENING. CONFIDENCE IS MUCH HIGHER
    THAN AVERAGE FOR A FEATURE LIKE THIS”

    Only bummer part of this…it’s Hot August Nights in Reno this week. Everyone is walking around and looking at cars….car collectors are not fans of rain falling on their babies….

  • thunderstorm98

    Cirrostratus clouds is covering the sky in Santa Maria.

    • The last couple of days have been cooler and breezy making it feel a bit fall like, especially at night, which finally have had temps close to normal.

  • Alison

    As it seems that so many of the fires in California are sparked by dry lightening, I’m wondering if anyone can answer a question for me. As a fairly new resident to Marin County (a year) it occurs to me that I don’t think I’ve seen any lightening in the year that I’ve lived here. Growing-up in Atlanta, Miami and DC, I saw a lot of lightening storms as a kid and young adult. But since moving to Marin, I feel like I haven’t seen a single bolt of lightening. Why? I can’t just be missing it every time it happens, if it’s happening.

    • jstrahl

      Thunderstorms and lightning strikes have become much more common in the 45 years since i moved to the Bay Area (from New York). No strikes so far this summer in the area immediately by the Bay, though there were a bunch last month in the South Bay and even Peninsula, and the eastern parts of the East Bay (east of the hills), as well as Sonoma north. There have been some powerful lightning strikes right around the Bay during the wet season in recent years, a very dramatic one 11/20/10. And there is a forecast off a slight chance of storms today, as well as Friday. So keep your eyes open.:-)

      • That is my sense also, as an equally long-time Bay Area resident. (Longer, actually.) Among the things that have changed, I recall that lightening in the Bay Area was an extremely rare occurrence back then. As a person whose roots are in the Midwest, this was very striking. (Pun not intended.)

        Another striking change: When I was young it was very common to see a lot of frost and ice on summer mornings. No longer…

    • rob b

      Lightning usually hits the Bay Area in Spring- April/May and again late Summer/early Fall-August-Sept. Other than that our atmosphere tends to be more stable with storms rolling in off the Pacific.

      I am sure Daniel could fill you in more in regards how this works. Also, Tyler Young has a pretty good website in regards lightning/weather related discussions. http://blog.norcalweather.net/

    • Guest

      That’s because there are hardly any thunderstorms in the bay area compared to the southeast. I hear thunder on average 1-2 times per year in the bay area, as opposed to 25-30 times per year on the east coast. You’ve moved to a relatively lightning-free zone.

    • Lightning is pretty rare everywhere in coastal California, and perhaps rarest in the Bay Area. Is was mentioned below, in many places it only happens (on average) once or twice annually. It’s much more common in the mountains and deserts of California, though. There is a significant risk this week (by Bay Area standards, anyway), especially on Friday!

      • thebigweasel

        I lived nearly 20 years on the south coast, and during that time, never had a thunderstorm directly overhead. Rarely the mountains back of town would get some lightning, but it was a once-every-five-year event.

    • Xerophobe

      Yeah it’s rare but if you’ve gone out hiking at all where there are coastal redwoods, you can’t get very far without seeing scorch marks even trunks hollowed out by fires in Santa Cruz mtn range area.

    • Darin

      The forest service is currently running a PSA stating that *California* forest fires are caused by humans *95%* of the time. (My attempt at emphasis with asterisks).

    • cabeza tormenta

      lightning storms are actually very rare in northern california outsied of high monutain areas in summer. when we do get lightning it is usually in fall winter or spring associated with strong cold fronts. and the unstabnle air behind them. sorry about the ghastly spelling, I’m dealing with a barely responsive webpage. my mom grew up on the peninsula in the 30s and claimed that she never heard lightning there. I’m guessing it was often muffled by the sounds of wind and rain.

  • mosedart

    Quite the sunrise in SF with the fog rolling in over the city.

  • alanstorm

    Woke up to (gasp) FOG this morning. Haven’t seen that here in Willits for months! Nice & cool for once. Hopefully it made it just to the southeast of me into Lake County. With some luck, these upper level lows coming in will keep things cool & damp WITHOUT lightning. Friday will be sketchy.

  • Lycanthus
  • gray whale

    Any update on Typhoon Soudelor? (Calling all xerophobics!) Mark at StormSurf opines that if EN was “as coupled as everyone seems to believe” we’d see recurvature of the system (which is not forecast) back toward the NE. This would presumably be due to an ENSO-strengthened jet, but jet stream level winds are totally on summer vacation (maybe due to an inactive MJO). The forecast (as of Sunday) did show a branching off of moisture and wind from the main system that does curve around and seem to head our way — interested to hear if anyone had been following any of this. Also wondering if the system started at a low enough latitude to be considered in the KW generation area.

    Just got back from a glorious, rain/lightning-filled trip and I need to get caught up!

    • Xerophobe

      In a nutshell google Soudelor or # on twitter. MJO seems to be in an very strong El Nino induced sleep. Like 82-83 and 97-98…and FWIW looking a little more like 82-83 at least for now. IMO EP09 started too far East but 6N isn’t too high. Give it time the outlier seemed to be the one for Dolores…

      • click

        sorry to threadjack here…
        was following you on twitter, saw your heat content graphs. If you manipulate the URL calling the image you can get the 5S-5N graph, you can also manipulate the longitude range the same way. (replaced all instances of ‘-10/10’ with ‘-5/5’) labels dont display correctly either (dont give range).

        really cool info, thanks!

        • Xerophobe

          Thanks…sometimes the simplest solutions are the best..I was trying to do it “in program”…and for me that spells trouble! How about this (print-screen) 170W-120W (Nino 3.4) with 5N-5S. I didn’t try to tweak the temp to 29C..just tried it and it works.. Kinda makes one wonder how this could ever get to a +3 in 3.4

          • click

            nice, that (3.4 region) was then next thing i looked up after i posted that. fun stuff!

  • David Thomas

    It has. Got in really overcast here. Wounder what’s going on

    • He Who Must Not Be Named

      Thank who?

      • David Thomas

        Will you please stop with this thank you crap ever time I make a post about some. I’m I all ready ask you once to stop. This is now my 292nd warning. Please stop. I find that nothing but annyouing

  • 805 Weather

    I’m planning a big ski & snow trip in Yosemite on New Years Eve, I really hope this winter pulls through to be greater than the expectations. I only have so much vacation time and it’s the first time I’ll be on the slopes in 6 years.
    POWDER TO THE PEOPLE!

    • xeren

      badger pass, i’m assuming? worst case, you could do snowshoeing instead, i have some friends who have done it and highly recommend it

      • 805 Weather

        Yep! Badger Pass is my resort home in all honesty. I’ve done everything they have up there from CC-skiing to snowshoeing. I’ve also had my first 2 car accidents in Yosemite both we’re the cause of black ice (not the driver.) One serious, the other minor. I’ve seen some pretty deep stuff as well, I used to ski every other friday and man it was intense sometimes how deep the snow was. I’m sure many of you have seen this historical picture, though I’m not sure of origins and I believe it was taken in the mid 1800s from what I read. But not entirely sure. Awesome amount of snow nonetheless.

        • Ian Alan

          That’s a damn good photo if that’s mid 1800’s -!?

          I’d have guessed 1940’s/50’s or even early 60’s…

          • 805 Weather

            That’s what I read, but I could obviously be wrong or it’s false info in the first place. Indeed a damn good photo

          • Bandini

            You didn’t know…? Some of the earliest GoPros were being tested in the mid 1800’s.

    • Bandini

      Sweet. Badger. Last time I was there was when this lovely drought was first beginning- December 2011. You could drive up Glacier Point road which by late December is usually a x country ski route. We hiked mt Dana on New Year’s Day, Tioga pass was open. It can’t be thaaaaaat bad again right… You’re gonna score it!

      • 805 Weather

        I hope so that resort is real little gem of Yosemite. Hope winter comes with some big blows.

  • HD

    Few rain drops here in San Jose!

    • cabeza tormenta

      darn, the greens and yellows on the radar have passed over pinole and the sun is coming out with nary a drop of rain to show. radar can be so misleading!
      regarding the discussion about the frequency of thunderstorms along the central coast/bay area, they do offhand seem to have gotten more common, especially in the last 10-20 years, are there statistics?

  • Bandini

    Is it supposed to rain today??

    • rob b

      Drove up from the Bay Area back to Truckee today, clouds were in the Bay Area when I left and now I see there’s some rain drops around SFO. The clouds sure seem dark up here, it’d be nice to see some rain. I wasn’t here for the last storm that rolled through (that you had videos of), my plants sure took a beating, many lost their leaves.

      Also noticed on the drive the Sacramento area definitely has the smoke, everything had the orange color of smoke and parts you could see the smoke almost on the ground.

  • Utrex

    If what the models show is true, California is going to be in a pretty sticky (or dry) situation. The valleys and coastline could see some dry lightning! Hopefully some rain could fall to put the fires out.

    NOAA is predicting activity beginning as early as Thursday morning, persisting through Friday afternoon. It starts over the coastal regions, shifting eastward into the mountains. A low pressure system will sweep overhead with a lot of upper-level moisture. The cloud bases will be pretty high up there. In fact, the NAM shows the storms form at about 600mb, which is about 14,000 feet above the surface.

    • alanstorm

      In the meantime, brief ridging will occurr wed nite bringing a warm up & offshore flow: bad news for Rocky fire, as a shift in winds from the east will push it towards the city of Clearlake.

  • supercell1545

    We’ve had some light rain in Roseville today!

  • thebigweasel

    We’re getting a lot of statocirrus here in Sisk.Co today. Thick enough to qualify as “overcast”. Most uncharacteristic for August.

    • Ian Alan

      That’s what we had here yesterday all the way down in the SoCal mountains. Thick enough to obscure the sun for the better part of the day – wasn’t expecting that!

    • Crank Tango

      Same here in Burney, since about noon. Been showing green on the radar but nary a drop as far as I can tell.

      • thebigweasel

        Nope, it’s dry, and refreshingly cool. 50F last night, high of 86F today, which almost exactly matches our average temperatures for this time of year. Nice, after last weeks oppressive, moist heat. 36 degree spread, so we obviously aren’t getting much insulation from this cloud cover.

  • jstrahl

    Eric Blake tweets:”Surprisingly, latest wly wind burst is strongest for the #ElNino, leading to the highest heat content so far ”

    But Scribbler’s latest makes it seem as if El Nino will bypass California due to a persistent RRR. Of course, he believes the blob created the RRR, vs the other way around, which i think Daniel, who has done the research, and even named the RRR. has pretty convincingly argued.

    • Elisabeth

      I saw scribbler’s post before Daniel’s and got really depressed. Now I’m confused.

      • redlands

        that mean its another dry year

        • Elisabeth

          I hear you. The main stream media is touting this as the monster of El Niño’s without the caveats that both Daniel and scribbler have stated all along.

        • jstrahl

          NOPE! See Daniel’s new post.

      • jstrahl

        Go to Daniel’s new post. And re-read this one. Scribbler, who is NOT a climate scientist, believes the RRR is the result of the blob. Daniel, who is a climate scientist has actually done research on this, says it’s the other way around.

        • Elisabeth

          Thanks very much. Was not aware that their views differ on that matter. Great to know!

  • so.cal.storm.lover

    I’m camping in Kings Canyon National Park, Ca August 20-24 does anyone know if there are any convergence zones up there that might fire thunderstorms if moisture is present?

    • thebigweasel

      The Canyon itself is a convergence zone. Both Grant’s Grove and Cedar Grove can get huge thunderstorms.

  • Rethinking where it will remain dry enough for us to build new lakes and ponds this fall / winter