Parade of East Pacific storms to affect all of California as subtropical jet strengthens

Filed in Uncategorized by on January 1, 2016 8,834 Comments

Relatively dry conditions persist in Southern California; Sierra Nevada snowfall best in years

Relatively little has changed since my last update, and so the present post will be a short one.

Pockets of NorCal have seen above-average precipitation so far this season, but most of the state remains below average. (WRCC)

Pockets of NorCal have seen above-average precipitation so far this season, but most of the state remains below average. (WRCC)

A handful of modest weather systems have brought generally light precipitation and cold temperatures to parts of California over the past week or so, mostly in the north. While these systems did little to alleviate long-term water deficits, they did preferentially add some more water to the already healthy Sierra Nevada snowpack. In fact, statewide snow water equivalent is slightly above average for this calendar date–no small feat in a time of record global warmth and immediately following California’s most abysmal snow conditions in hundreds of years.

Clearly, though, there is still a very (very) long way to go if California is going to see substantial drought relief this year. Fortunately, the short-term outlook is quite favorable.

 

Long-awaited East Pacific pattern change finally at our doorstep

The large-scale atmospheric shift I’ve been referencing in nearly every blog post from the past 6 months has finally materialized, and will make itself known in California as early as this weekend. As I discussed in my last post, tropical ocean/atmosphere phenomena (especially the MJO) were likely interfering with the massive atmospheric signal from the ongoing record El Niño event, largely preventing the typical East Pacific storm track enhancement from occurring.

An active storm track can be seen in satellite imagery developing over the Eastern Pacific. (NOAA)

An active storm track can be seen in satellite imagery developing over the Eastern Pacific. (NOAA)

Well, that situation is rapidly changing as ENSO forcing becomes dominant, and the subtropical jet shifts southward and strengthens dramatically. This is the classic El Niño pattern that I have discussed in previous posts, with a powerful Pacific jet aimed either directly at or south of California.

The area along of just north of the jet stream is a favorable position for storm development and intensification. Usually, California is located near the regional minimum of jet stream strength as it veers northward, but the imminent pattern shift will create a situation in which storms are much more likely to maintain their open-ocean strength or even strengthen as the approach California from the west. There is very strong multi-model support for an extended period (of at least 3 weeks, starting on Sunday) of greatly enhanced storminess and widespread precipitation throughout California.

A powerful and likely El Niño-influenced subtropical jet will develop over and south of California, creating a favorable condition for significant precipitation. (NCEP via tropicaltidbits.com)

A powerful and likely El Niño-influenced subtropical jet will develop over and south of California, creating a favorable condition for significant precipitation. (NCEP via tropicaltidbits.com)

I won’t even attempt to be specific regarding the details of individual storms at this point, since California’s favorable position to the north of a very strong subtropical jet leads to large instability in model solutions due to the much faster growth rate of storm systems than would typically be the case here (and, therefore, we should all expect forecasts to bounce around quite a bit in the coming days). But the screaming message, at this point, is that quite a few storms will affect California over the next 2-3 weeks. Not all of them will be strong, but some of them probably will be. Some may preferentially affect the northern part of the state; others will focus on the far southern region. But it seems very likely at this point that virtually all of California will experience significant, perhaps heavy, precipitation. Some of these systems may also bring strong winds and even some vigorous convective activity (thunderstorms), but these details are even harder to ascertain more than a few days in advance.

Will there be transient ridging in between individual storm systems (I’ve been getting this question a lot lately)? Of course–troughs only exist relative to the ridges that separate them, and even in California’s wettest years short-lived ridges pop up between heavy rain events. But most promising part of the large-scale shift, in my view, is that virtually all model ensemble members keep a strong subtropical jet either over or south of California for the foreseeable future–meaning that the storm door will likely be open for some time to come.

One of the strongest El Niño events in decades continues to mature in the tropical Pacific Ocean. (NOAA Coral Reef Watch)

One of the strongest El Niño events in decades continues to mature in the tropical Pacific Ocean. (NOAA Coral Reef Watch)

And what of El Niño itself? Well, it’s still a top-tier event on par with those which occurred during 1982-1983 and 1997-1998. It is quite clear that a powerful El Niño influence will remain in place for the rest of California’s rainy season.

 

© 2015 WEATHER WEST

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  • Rain (Orcutt)

    Still foggy with poor visibility. Very rare to have fog this time of day! Seems May and June like.

    • Much fog here last couple of days…strange weather.

      • Rain (Orcutt)

        Very warm lows too!

  • matt (truckee)

    Change is in the air in the Sierra’s. At 6000′ it is 46 degrees, high overcast, and the wind is kicking up. These last couple of days have been the warmest since mid-November – at least by my memory. Whatever is coming is certainly different than the pattern I have seen so far up here.

    • AlTahoe

      Yep my driveway is a mess with a bottom layer of ice with 2″ of slurpee on top of that and rivers of water flowing through it all. The wind has really picked up in the last hour and sent the temperature sky rocketing. Good news is that we have a deep enough snow pack to absorb the rain and water and hold on to it until spring.

      • matt (truckee)

        Yup – I just spent most of my morning literally using an ax to chop through several inches of ice on my deck. Good news is I can skip the trip to the gym this afternoon!

      • alanstorm

        Yes, very good news. Hopefully the next series of storms will be on the cold side

  • stellr chef

    Wetter No Cal seems to be a bit of an anomaly. Anyone accounted for why? I know there’s been a high pressure system pushing rain away fro SoCal…*again*. Presumably, that’s temporary (as opposed to the long-term RRR). What I’d like to know is whether there’ll be a push south by the jet stream.

    I’m not unappreciative of the above normal snow pack in the Sierras (please don’t melt prematurely). But, I want RAIN.

    • SlashTurn (Santa Barbara)

      Please use this board for constructive topic driven posts. Every newbie that shows up these days (especially SoCal) has essentially the SAME statement over and over again. What do you want people to say that hasn’t been said already in regards to the current state of the atmospheric pattern? Just grin and bear it until the pattern shifts south. That’s all we can do down here. Im so sick of this “I want rain” crying…

      • AN50

        It would help a great deal if answers were posted instead of curt dismissals. Yes we are complaining a lot down here and we have dire reasons for doing so. However, analyzing what is happening and trying to figure out WHY is the way to address this flood of negativity. Simply pointing out model runs that say “its coming” and not addressing why it didn’t the last time is not going to shut down the anxiety people down here are feeling. Nor is making statements about how its just not important because you get your water from up north anyway.

        We were told that the pattern shift was “in” at the beginning of Jan, and that all indications were its wet from there on out. Well those two storms that did come in got shredded by the Baja high and though we still got good rain out of them its been dry since. What we want to know is why. Why was this not seen? Or was it but we were too hopeful? Is this persistent high going to do the same next month?, the operational models sure tell that story. But I understand that after a week those models start to accumulate a lot of error and ensemble runs are done to correct for that. Do those see this Baja high breaking down? If so, why?

        • hermit crab

          Not everything is known, of course, but as you say, sharing what is known about what is going on is the answer. Theories are also really interesting. Being told we don’t really need the rain because we can get all we need from NoCal, or that if we want rain we should move, etc., doesn’t help at all and also ends an opportunity for learning.

          I understand the frustration about repetitiveness, though. Could there be a link to a little “El Nino 2016 SoCal FAQ?” Maybe someone could write one.

          • Scott Turner

            Except, people have been providing those facts over and over, and yet so many people consistently continue to commit the same assumptions and conclusion-jumping no matter how many times all of AN50’s questions from above are answered. I’m not sure how a FAQ will be any different.

          • hermit crab

            Well it would be great to be able to point new SoCal arrivals to it…that’s something even someone like me could help with, since it would be all written out correctly.

          • Scott Turner

            If you’re talking about facts regarding Southern California’s climate and how it affects weather patterns, that might be worthwhile, but I can also anticipate the objection that this information is easily obtainable on the web.

            Those aren’t the questions being asked though. Many of the questions seem founded in anxiety about it not raining enough. I can thoroughly empathize with that anxiety, especially since I know you’re in a particularly affected area. However, if repeated explanations about weather phenomena from people like WeatherWest, CHeden, and others won’t do the trick in providing information, I’m not sure a FAQ would either.

          • hermit crab

            I was thinking about putting some of those explanations together in one place. If you’re new, it could make things easier. Would love to spare anyone the embarrassment I’ve been through, asking very basic questions 🙂

          • Scott Turner

            I’ve been following the blog for three years. Started posting in the last six months. There are times when 90% of the discussion was over my head where this would have helped. I’m sure it would benefit other weather novices. If nothing else, you’ll learn a lot about the weather.

          • Ilya Neyman

            BS”D

            Hello we do – see below:

            New weather forum for southern California-based weather enthusiasts, stormchasers, meteorologists, climatologists and anyone else that may be interested on the free internet phone application “Whatsapp”!

            If you don’t yet have a cellphone application called Whatsapp you can download it here (by visiting this site on an internet-able-phone: https://www.whatsapp.com/download/

            Then, once you have it installed (very quick process) please email me your cell phone # so we can add you to our group!

            Whatsapp is a cell phone application that is like a live chat/forum where groups are created for various interests and purposes. Our group has been great during active and significant wx and especially for nowcasting, storm spotting / reporting and sharing info and even a tool/forum for stormchasers in the state…sharing info/obs/photos/videos/accounts from different regions in realtime with rapidly updating flow of info.

            Once again, if you are interested in being part of our California Weather “whatsapp” group live chat/forum where we are able to interact, communicate, send videos, photos and links all in real-time please email me your cell phone number and I would love to add you! It’s great to expand our network of observers, spotters, chasers and enthusiasts. Currently we’ve got ppl from San Diego, Orange, LA and Ventura County. We’ve even got an observer on San Nicholas Island–top that!! 🙂

            Ilya
            http://www.ElNinoNow.com

          • hermit crab

            I’m about to be where I may or may not have wi fi for a few days. If I don’t have access I will do this when I get home.

        • Angel Rocket

          I feel like your representing me as my defense lawyer, you make some good points, thanks buddy

        • Boiio

          This is harsh, but I’m so tired of your posts.

          • AN50

            I know, you and some others, but really I am not trying to pi$$ anyone off and I am not asking anyone to ream my BS.

        • SlashTurn (Santa Barbara)

          Get my water up north?Dude I can hike up to a ridge top and see Cachuma from my property.

          • AN50

            Well then you probably understand better than most here what we are up against.

          • SlashTurn (Santa Barbara)

            Ya its approaching a tipping point for me… my artisan well has slowed to a crawl and my main well is scraping the bottom and smells very sulfuric, so I’m definately concerned.

          • Pfirman

            You have an artesian well? That is cool, even if it is a crawl.

          • SlashTurn (Santa Barbara)

            The mountains I live under (Santa Ynez range)are fascinating and full of surprises. The well is ajacient to a major water shed creek that normally runs year round (springs) but just this last year dried up for the first time in a couple decades.

          • AN50

            Sad to hear that. There are a lot of wells in the valley folks depend on that take six months to see any affect by rain fall in thir recharge area, which is up in the foot hills.

    • Brian

      Just came from WW. Everything is happening just as predicted. See his comments:
      “Will write have a new post that should be up tonight or tomorrow morning. Really impressive NorCal storm parade will probably start to extend further south toward LA/SD again over the next week or so as Pacific jet gets supercharged again, as it was during the first week in January.”

      • hermit crab

        What excellent news!

    • tomocean

      No. A wetter northern California in a strong El Nino is not an anomaly. In fact, that is very much an historical trend with strong El Ninos.

      • Exactly. This actually extends all the way into the PacNW during the strongest events. Key feature: stronger Pacific jet means that a lot of people can get wet.

        • AN50

          I agree and some of the rain fall data I am collecting bears this out.

        • Brian

          Very well said and history reveals that fact!!

      • Brian

        Absolutely!! Ditto Daniel’s comments below.

    • Archeron

      I would watch Storm Surf updates. It helps quite a bit. I found in last week’s update that the jet is splitting just before it hits California. The split is sending nice wet weather to Norcal and keeping the south dry.

      Fact though is that the split a weeks week back was out near Hawaii and is steadily being pushed east, which is evidence of the jet organizing. I would say another week or two before the jet goes full bore into CA.

      Wet Norcal though is not really an anomaly. Contrary to popular belief, El Nino often brings very wet weather there as well. Just wait for the jet to finish lining up.

  • WanderingTattler

    SpaceX successfully launched the Jason-3 satellite which will provide oceanographic data for everything from tide forecast to continue monitoring decadal variability in ocean heights. The subsequent forecasts are essential for public safety, provides key data for ocean shipping, and will help improve models for hurricane intensity forecasts and El Nino predictions.

    The sea landing “stuck it” but broke a leg. Musk on perseverance: “If something is important enough, even if the odds are against you, you should still do it.”

    That is why forecasters keep on trying and learning and trying, and why I don’t complain if they get it wrong.

    • AN50

      I learned a long time ago, that in science in particular, “getting it wrong” was far more valuable than “getting it right”. Failure is where we learn. If you guess and get it right, you learn nothing.

  • Humboldt_ARk

    We are getting hammered here in Humboldt..2 inches already here, and still in the thick of the AR

    • alanstorm

      Yah, my mom lives out on Elk River Rd, just south of Eureka. That area always floods. All the houses in her neighborhood are on 4ft foundations.
      No doubt Freshwater & Jacoby Cr will flood, if not already

      • Humboldt_ARk

        Hopefully the flooding over there doesnt get too bad, were already getting some significant flooding around town..had reports of basements flooding already

        • Admode (Susanville)

          Did I hear right, is 299 closed due to a slide?

          • barbE

            yes – mudslide just outside Del Loma – (299W)

          • Admode (Susanville)

            In between Weaverville and willow creek. Man, that’s crazy!

          • alanstorm

            Some SERIOUSLY steep cliffs out there!

          • Humboldt_ARk

            Yes 299 is completely shut down..they cant get to the slide right now because the slide is still active and moving

    • Chowpow

      My house overlooks the Mad River, I’ll walk down and get some pictures later today! I know that a few houses out in the bottoms are flooded as well. 2.45″ here.

      • Humboldt_ARk

        Thats awesome, must be quite the view! I checked out the mad river an hour or so ago and its looking great! Around 2.3 inches here in town

      • Admode (Susanville)

        Can’t wait to see em! Any of the 6 rivers would be cool to see during this event!

      • hermit crab

        Looking forward to the pics 🙂

  • Rain (Orcutt)

    55 degree dew point right now! Humid for this time of year!

  • weathergeek100

    Here it comes!!! SoCal, you should be HAPPY for this! If you’re not, it’s probably because you’re a weather freak and love to simply see it rain cats and dogs in real life instead of a radar loop hundreds of miles to the north of you. In that case, you should become a storm chaser and drive north towards the bay area to check out this AR coming in.

    http://radar.weather.gov/radar.php?product=NCR&rid=MUX&loop=yes

    • AN50

      Little of that is forecast to make it past Point Conception. But thanks anyway.

    • WanderingTattler

      That looks like a globe of cloud rotating over the earth.
      One great thing about weather data today, is the graphics.

  • Crank Tango

    .55″ so far and 50 degrees here in Burney. There is still a few inches of shave ice up in the trees here at 3200 feet and above, looks like Yogi decided to come looking for picnic baskets!

    • weatherhead

      Bears watching….

  • jstrahl

    Rain has become steady in central Berkeley over the last hour.

    • DelMarSD

      Nice radar imagery, looking good.

      • GR

        Maddening absence of rain in the South Bay. Clouds are right, wind is right, radar shows it’s there . . . . nothing.

        Perhaps as the day progresses.

  • Lycanthus

    Light sprinkling has begun in Novato. Significant totals nearby already, Guernville 0.51, Mount Tam 0.26. This little rainshadowed valley can’t hold off the rain much longer!

    • DelMarSD

      I don’t think we’ll ever make up the groundwater deficit. They’ve been pumping those underground aquifers for decades, and they’ve been around for a very, very long time. It’s important to keep in mind that different areas of the state are in different drought conditions. Parts of the north coast could be completely out of drought conditions, and so could parts of Southern California by late spring.

      • Tuolumne

        One also needs to distinguish between:

        1. The large deep valley aquifers that provide primary water supply through wells. These are getting badly depleted, take a very long time to recharge, and may never recover at this rate;

        2. All the shallow aquifers across the landscape which feed our many creeks and rivers, especially in hilly and mountainous areas. These tend to not provide major water supply, though some may be depleted by vineyards which get more up into the small valleys and hills than other types of ag.

        The latter aquifers are very badly depleted as has been noted by many here. This is evidenced by streams drying up quickly after rains in contrast to their behavior prior to the drought, as there has been no local shallow groundwater to feed these streams.

        The good news is that these shallow aquifers can be recharged in a reasonable period, if we get enough rain in a manner which allows it to mostly soak in.

  • inclinejj

    54 degrees 0.01 in Pacifica. Been a very light mist pretty much all morning.

  • David

    1.4″ so far today, 8.75″ since Jan.1 in Paradise, Butte County.

  • craig matthews(Big Sur)

    Looks like the front has stalled, or is moving very very slowly east, with the heaviest precip focused from Mt Tam northward at this hour. Mt Tam, and some other wet spots up in Mendicino Co and Lake Co are going to get some phenomenal totals outta this one…Also, the sw tail of this front looks more convective now then it did earlier. Hopefully that will mean areas further south will get something outta this one as well, when this system moves ene

    • jstrahl

      I believe that was expected somewhat.

    • Boiio

      I’d bet Ben Lomond will get some impressive totals as well.

    • jstrahl

      Rain has picked up here in the last half hour, radar shows it too. (here is central Berkeley).

    • alanstorm

      Closing in on 7″ for Honeydew in Southern Humboldt, 4.5″ Leggett, Northern Mendocino.

  • craig matthews(Big Sur)

    New kelvin wave taking shape near the eq dateline area, as noted downward push of the warm waters on the west end of the anomalous warm pool. This kelvin looks like it has the potential to be strong, and should sustain this strong El Nino for a bit longer into the latter winter and early spring, at least. CFS, which accurately predicted the latest WWB since late November, has consistently been showing another powerful WWB in March, as yet the model forecasts another potential initiation of a MJO wave in the Indian Ocean next week and propagates toward the Pacific throughout the month of Feb. Wierd that were getting this much MJO activity with such a strong Nino.

    • hermit crab

      Thank you for sharing this good news!

      MJO…?

    • 805 Weather (Camarillo)

      Anything can happen with this big boy!

    • AN50

      I read somewhere here that most of our El Nino activity occurs as the warm waters begin to taper off, is that not true? Or do I have it wrong?

      • Dan the Weatherman

        I believe it is that El Nino usually begins to weaken in January and most of our rainfall occurs from January to March, and often longer during strong El Nino events.

        • AN50

          That is what I thought. Thanks!

  • Week 2 looking really good for the entire state, including Southern California. Depending on setup, could bring more significant flood concerns to NorCal. More in the coming post.

    • DelMarSD

      Yeah, latest GFS looks great.

      • hermit crab

        NOT just for SD I hope 😉 the transverse range shadowed need love too 🙂

    • Sokafriend

      The warming in N Cal is going to increasingly become an issue, isn’t it?

      • Archeron

        I believe so, if it causes a lot of snow melt off.

        • hermit crab

          Admittedly concerned about that.

        • Sokafriend

          Yes, this is what I watch like a hawk.

      • DelMarSD

        I think the snow pack is deep enough in many areas to absorb significant rainfall, but hopefully the storms become colder and more zonal soon with lower snow levels.

    • hermit crab

      Yay! ????

    • David Thomas

      did you see the storm for SAT the 30th? this could be a major wind event and a Blizzard for the mts and NV

      • hermit crab

        Wow, what’s all that for San Diego

    • redlands

      were gonna have to wait that long for more rain in southern ca

      • Angel Rocket

        Does week 2 mean middle of February?

        • Rain (Orcutt)

          June

        • Dan the Weatherman

          I would say the week after this coming week.

          • Angel Rocket

            Thats not so bad , thanks

      • redlands

        what does that mean ???? what date ???

        • Archeron

          Means after next weekend. This week is week one.

  • Chowpow

    Mad river at 3:20 this afternoon. Looks like it’s about 6 feet below the bank on the south side. Bonus pictures of a tree that fell on my neighbors property.

    • hermit crab

      Did you post an attachment? I don’t see it.

      • Crank Tango

        reeeeeeffreeessssssssh…..

        • hermit crab

          That wasn’t the problem this time, but I do have a problem sometimes with being thrown back to where the comments section is a day old.

          • Crank Tango

            I get that alllll the time on my iphone. I am constantly refreshing for one reason or another.

          • hermit crab

            I’m on an iPad…maybe it’s an iOS thing.

          • Crank Tango

            Yeah that’s what I was thinking.

      • hermit crab

        Now I see them! If it weren’t cold, it would seem primordial. Amazing 🙂

    • alanstorm

      Wow! Currently above WARNING stage at Arcata Bottoms. Forecast to rise 4 ft below flood stage tonight.
      From the radar, it looks like the storm is moving out of your area sliding south.

    • Debbie Downer Drowner

      I can just hear that little tree say, “What’s up now? @#$%@$”

    • Sokafriend

      Thank you for this excellent documentation. Did your neighbor share the series of events related to the tree falling? It looks like the soil is much drier on the new bank.

      • Chowpow

        He said It fell around sunrise, it was pretty gusty here for a while. You’re right, it does look drier but it’s still soaked throughout.

  • Sokafriend

    El Niño Southern California Story Map courtesy of NWS Los Angeles
    https://noaa.maps.arcgis.com/apps/MapJournal/?appid=d28594d0f342409aa8caa0349e02119a

    • hermit crab

      This is GREAT. ?

  • Sokafriend

    More on El Niño Courtesy NWS Los Angeles
    http://www.wrh.noaa.gov/lox/main.php?suite=safety&page=el_nino

    • hermit crab

      Thank you!

  • Sokafriend

    One last one, although I think there is a link through previous post, but to remove any and all obstacles:.
    Niños FAQ page Climate Prediction Center
    http://www.cpc.ncep.noaa.gov/products/analysis_monitoring/ensostuff/ensofaq.shtml#USimpacts

  • Debbie Downer Drowner

    That’s quite a rain shadow y’all Northern Valleyers have got up there. According to the current radar, you look like the hole in a rain donut.

  • CHeden

    After stalling and weakening as the mean flow aloft assumed and more meridional alignment, heavy rain associated with the main trough is once again pushing over the coast range at the moment, with renewed mod-heavy precip. This morning’s WF (actually more of a departing dirty ridge) has really warmed up our temps, now at a toasty 57F, along with higher DP’s. The NW coast got a good soaking, but rainshadowing has kept inland precip totals in check. The mean center axis of circulation in the GoA continues to pull lows almost due north then retrograde them NW into a sorta “graveyard of old lows” in the NE GoA which is robbing our fronts of a lot of potential dynamics, leaving only waves of precip that are outrunnning the low cores and weakening as they move east. ATTM, based on recent satellite images and recent trending in the models guidance, it appears the forecasts may be overdoing this mid-week’s expected precip totals, especially inland from the coast, due to a lack of forcing + rainshadowing. There is still cautious optimism for next weekends stronger front/storm, but it too, is looking much weaker than earlier runs. On a more positive note, things are still on track for the long-anticipated event around the 28-30th, which is still showing good rain for the entire state. This event, should it come down as expected, will likely usher in a new pattern as a deep trough over the cent U.S. sets up. This could be either a good or bad thing for us, depending on exactly how far south the trough digs. Way too early to make any calls ATTM, but certainly something to look at over the coming 2 weeks since it will likely play a large role in our early Feb. pattern.

    • Why does this sound so familiar?

      • CHeden

        Yup, I know.

        • Archeron

          Just wait till the jet consolidates and blasts on into California. I think in the next week or two, we will see a different dynamic.

          • CHeden

            Come around the 28th, we’ll know a lot more once the track of the expected low becomes better defined. Still lots of uncertainty for sure.

        • Just to put a little perspective on things, this was a post from the blog 16 days ago.

          “DelMarSD

          16 days ago

          Latest GFS shows 4 to 5 inches of rain for San Diego next week.
          That’s really something. I can’t recall ever seeing pumpkin color for
          San Diego before. If this comes to fruition, we better start
          sandbagging now.”

  • Sokafriend

    How is the swell and tide along the coasts? Surf warnings are being extended, it must be intense further north we go.. Scripps has on going call for photos and reports of changes. Thanks.

    • SlashTurn (Santa Barbara)

      I’m in Ventura Harbor right now and it’s 8-10ft long period walls AND it’s still building…Lucky tides are mellow. I wish the storminess would accompany/match this massive swell.

  • Rain (Orcutt)
  • CHeden

    Where all lows go when they die…sigh.

    • jstrahl

      GOA?

      • Archeron

        Sacramento CA? That one on the coast is hitting deac center into CA and north.

        • CHeden

          LoL!. Sounds reasonable since that’s where our “brain dead” politicians are.

          • Archeron

            lol

      • CHeden

        No less than five circulation centers are evident….and none of the lows will be tracking towards us. AR is the name of the game (for now).

        • jstrahl

          A river with lots of flow but relatively low yield except for orographic influences?

          • CHeden

            Exactly. No lift to speak of.

          • jstrahl

            FWIW, it’s gotten windy here in Berkeley the last hour or so. so there must be at least some energy happening.

          • barbE

            I am curious – we are at 2600 feet here, east side of Weaver Bally lookout – typically shadowed by the Alps – and we’re sitting at 2.9 inches rainfall so far at our house – radar shows no precipitation, but it is pouring….also, our NOAA reporting station(FIVECENT) has been down since last night – so recorded totals are not current. Is it possible others are experiencing the same anomolies in result, as well?

          • CHeden

            With the persistent ESE winds, you are actually on the windward (upslope) side of the mean flow…hence orographics are helping instead of creating the “usual” rainshadowing you refer to. Thanks for the report.

          • barbE

            thanks – i didn’t realize that could be a factor here, given the lack of wind today.

          • CHeden

            Winds up higher (where the rain forms) is from the SE. You are below the wind field, which is having a hard time mixing down to the surface in a lot of areas.

  • tomocean

    This is by far the strongest rainmaker we’ve had in my area (northern Sierra near Grass Valley) so far this rainy season. At current rates (which are forecast to continue through the night) we’ll be looking at a 3-4″ storm before it winds down (and the next one winds up). Steams and ponds were flowing before, they are flooding now.

    • alanstorm

      It doesn’t look like its holding together as it slides south into the Bay Area like previous ARs did. (CHedn’s posts below)
      Still, 2″-6″ from Marin to Oregon was what was predicted, & that’s what we got. If u don’t have much orographic lift, u don’t get much from these

    • CHeden

      Thanks for this important update. It looks like the North/Cent Sierra, especially the Feather River drainage is getting the brunt of the moisture….which is BADLY needed.

    • Archeron

      Im about 45 minutes south in Orangevale. I think here we do not get hit as heavy as other areas. rain has been light, yet steady. I think more is supposed to hit tonight though.

      I have to say though that with the way the rain has been, my backyard is getting nice saturation into the soil. This is going to be great for this year’s vegetable garden at least.

  • Bandini

    Wind is howling in Mammoth, storm is blowin in. Looking at radar it’s already active in Truckee. Forecast looks good for the week.

    • SlashTurn (Santa Barbara)

      Ya its looking good. Not dumpage but at least it’s not ridge city. I’m heading up to Mammoth tomorrow night for the week. Hope that storm Tuesday looks like the 12z gfs version…

      • Bandini

        I always love Mammoth, conditions were fun. No huge dumps but a seemingly endless barrage of refreshers has been amazing.

  • Sokafriend

    Excessive Rainfall afternoon update:
    THE ATMOSPHERIC RIVER WILL CONTINUE TO (A) SLIDE SOUTHWARD WHILE (B) WEAKEN DURING THE PROCESS AS THE MAIN SHORTWAVE/VORT LOBE DRAWS CLOSER TO THE COAST. BASED ON THE LATEST OBSERVATIONAL AND GUIDANCE TRENDS…IT WOULD APPEAR THAT THE THREAT FOR ISOLATED SHORT-TERM RUNOFF ISSUES…ESPECIALLY OVER
    BURN-SCAR AREAS…WILL CONTINUE THROUGH ABOUT 3-6Z

    • alanstorm

      Looks like a large swath of heavy rain headed for Sacramento area. I’m assuming that’s the cold front pushing thru

      • CHeden

        CF (as in cool front), yes…but weakening as it progresses. If there is any heavy rain, it would likely be brief.

    • GR

      Well, not in Googleland, where God has seen fit to reward the virtue of Google with wind and cloud, and not one double damned drop of rain. Maybe tonight . . . .

  • CHeden

    Rain has ended (for now) here in Cottonwood…However, winds from the SE remain gusty, and if anything, appear to be strengthening a bit…all of which indicating the main dynamics are remaining south of us.

    • David

      Pouring here in Paradise right now. Over 2″ so far today.

      • CHeden

        This year, orographics are our best friend (unless there’s a tornado nearby). Hopefully your rains continue.

  • jstrahl

    Rain coverage quite solid over the Bay Area, down to Santa Cruz, rain now approaching the coast as far south as the area south of Carmel Highlands.

    • Archeron

      Beautiful!

  • supercell1545

    So I don’t really see what the hype was with this storm. I’m in Roseville and watching radar and it appears that the AR stalled over the northwest part of CA and has picked up pace going South. I don’t see how the predicted 1.5″ is gonna happen considering how fast it is slipping. Anybody see something different?

    • jstrahl

      Rain has picked up a bunch here in the Bay Area, which you’ll probably be seeing shortly as well.

      • CHeden

        Hope the trough stalls over you! Would be a classic Bay Area AR if it does.

  • osc3_el cerrito

    Was flying from SAN-OAK yesterday and shot these multi-layer clouds above Monterey Bay looking W around 5 pm yesterday. Light rain greeted us in OAK.

  • 310weatherguy

    THIS is what I’m talking about. More action like this will hopefully be strengthening and coming more frequent and more south like a typical nino but primarily this storm is from the equator and closer to date line instead of the cold GofA storms. Dont want to say to much but this looks good for us down south.

    • hermit crab

      I’ll wait and make sure it isn’t useless for my particular geography before I bring in the washing 😉

      • 310weatherguy

        I know how you feel. At this point all runs and forecasts could scream flooding rains to come today in SoCal and i wouldn’t believe it until i saw it…

  • Getting completely rain shadowed here in San Jose. 🙁

    • Archeron

      I feel that. I am out near Folsom and everywhere around seems to be getting nailed. We are getting just a very light mist of the evening.

    • Rain (Orcutt)

      Thats good.

  • John Curtis

    This is the fourth season in a row where I continuously read about the promise of a change/ big storm just two weeks out. Again and again and again. Now the big hype is the 28-30. Based on past predictions, I will treat the next great hope as nothing but a pipe dream.

    It’s time that the horse learn to give up the carrot and live off the hay of tomorrow: fizzled storms and 10 inches of rain (if we are lucky) a year. Welcome to the new reality.

    • Debbie Downer Drowner

      Don’t give up, and extend your heart to the sea and bring the love in, in the form of moisture. It’s the only way now that we know complaining ain’t going to do anything about it.

    • jstrahl

      Data, please? Using the past to predict the future when it comes to weather is quite iffy, you know. 🙂

      • John Curtis

        The same could be said to you. Neither of us can use the future to predict the future.

        • Debbie Downer Drowner

          The past provides data, whereas the future provides… Biff.

          • jstrahl

            Weather forecasting is about a lot more than past data.

          • John Curtis

            I guess I’m just tired but f being disappointed.

          • jstrahl

            Do you think repeatedly expressing your disappointment here will make you feel better, or make for more rain?

          • SlashTurn (Santa Barbara)

            But the present is tangible proof that the west coast is under a storm cycle regime and shows no CURRENT real time satellite data that suggests that to change. Period.

          • Debbie Downer Drowner

            Yeah, I agree. I read my reply to JC and I’m not sure, now, what I meant. I was replying to my imagination, apparently.

        • jstrahl

          I can refer to science and general atmospheric trends, whereas all your references are to superstitions and past events.

        • Archeron

          That makes zero sense. Not sure where you are, but you need to watch current dynamics. Look at the jet stream. It will tell you what is to come. If you havent watched, the split is moving eastward. In the next 1 to 2 weeks the jte will be focused hard on CA, including SoCal.

          • jstrahl

            You are asking him to do the hard work.:-)

          • osc3_el cerrito

            He is deaf to the banjo sounds.

        • GR

          Mostly, there is quite a bit of weather around these days, as there was not these last years.

          Just none for me.

    • ARStorm1215 (Santa Barbara)

      Yeah John Curtis! Start a argument so that we can get over 9000 comments!

      • John Curtis

        If we get to ten thousand the floodgates will open.

        • Debbie Downer Drowner

          No they wouldn’t.

    • hermit crab

      You think we’ll get 10? 😉

  • Dan weather maniac

    Underperforming so far in the east bay hills….

  • Debbie Downer Drowner

    The rain is picking up in Suisun City. Looks like some decent moisture moving in ready to dump on the Bay Area.

  • jstrahl

    Rain has turned quite heavy in central Berkeley. (6PM).

    • Debbie Downer Drowner

      When I hear ‘central Berkeley, I’m thinking Sacramento and Ashby. Am I close? Just curious (I spend my work days at Dwight/Shattuck)

      • Archeron

        Nope…I mean same area of Norcal. But Sac is about 2 hours east and a bit north of Berkely,

        • Debbie Downer Drowner

          I meant Sacramento street.

          • Archeron

            DUH….logging off now =P Duh as in reference to me there that is

          • Debbie Downer Drowner

            Only log off if you live in Berkeley, meaning you should have known . : )

          • CHeden

            I know how you feel…

      • GR

        I am amazed you can have heavy rain in Berkeley and nothing in PAlo Alto an hour later. But that’s the way it has gone so far today.

        • Archeron

          Well Palo Alto is the other side of bay. Big difference in location. I have seen it rain heavy in Fremont with nothing for milpitas. The geography can play into it a lot.

          • GR

            That is, however, very unusual. And the radar continually shows rain.

            I’m not wildly frustrated. Any California rain ultimately benefits us all. But it is annoying. I love the sound, and it ain’t here just yet.

          • Archeron

            I hear you on that…It seems where I am at all the rain comes at night when I am asleep and do not enjoy it =/ I should be glad I am getting anything here though I suppose.

          • jstrahl

            Per the radar, my guess is that the air in Palo Alto is being moistened to enable the rain to reach the ground, won’t be long.

          • GR

            My guess, too. Also, some faint hope that the frotn is slowing and strengthening.

            BTW, I am Boalt Hall, class of 1971. I practically danced out of Berkeley, I was so glad to leave. You have my sympathy . . .

          • Debbie Downer Drowner

            He or she has your sympathy, and rain. Apparently.

          • GR

            Demonstrating a very forgiving God.

            Or an atheistic God, take your pick.

          • jstrahl

            I dropped out of Boalt Hall in ’74, after two years, so glad to still be in Berkeley, though it’s getting more yuppified every year.

          • GR

            It wasn’t the politics, which to some extent I shared. It was the sheer insanity of the place. I’m sure it’s better now. A shame to see Telegraph all bricked up, though,

          • jstrahl

            Telegraph reminds me of the South Bronx nowadays.

          • GR

            Well, it’s attractive. Just no glass.

          • jstrahl

            No glass? You mean the worked kind? 🙂 That’s actually one thing that’s still there.

      • jstrahl

        Sacramento/University area. Sac and Ashby is south Berkeley, the Oakland city line is only about five blocks to the south.

        • Debbie Downer Drowner

          Right. I don’t know what I was thinking. We are about the same distance from that redwood tree that exploded from a lightning strike (last year?) Fun times.

          • jstrahl

            I heard it when it happened!

          • Debbie Downer Drowner

            I remember it was somewhere around 1:15PM and I was crossing Shattuck Ave. in the rain. The sound pressure wave was something else.

    • Sokafriend

      Just like forecast. Yea.

    • osc3_el cerrito

      .35″ so far today in El Cerrito. Not much wind. Steady rain, no excitement. Radar shows some heavier rain coming thru the Golden Gate ATTM.

  • 805 Weather (Camarillo)

    I don’t know about you guys, but I’m awfully impressed… More to come this winter.

    • Mike Stephenson

      I don’t think we’ve seen a whole lotta that the last few years. All this has to do is shift south a bit.

  • jstrahl

    Rainfall rates hit as much as .3″/hr between 7 and 8, has eased a bit but more on the way.

  • jstrahl
  • Michael_Delman

    Raining very hard in Kentfield (central Marin). 3.05″ so far today.

  • Dan the Weatherman

    From San Diego AFD:

    WHEN WILL MORE SIGNIFICANT PRECIPITATION ARRIVE HERE? WELL…THE EXTENDED PANELS OF THE GFS MODEL HAVE SHOWN MORE ENERGY BREAKING THROUGH THE RIDGE CLOSER TO 30N LATITUDE NEAR THE END OF THE MONTH. THIS PATTERN HAS SHOWN UP ON SEVERAL DETERMINISTIC GFS RUNS NOW…SO SOMETHING TO CONSIDER WITH A HEALTHY DOSE OF SKEPTICISM THIS FAR OUT.

    The fact this pattern has been showing up on several runs now is encouraging!

  • Flunking_retirement

    Hmmm. Last couple runs seem to show things staying “well to the north” – uh gain! Of course January dry spells are nothing new to us whiny, skeptical So Cal’ers, so we’ll just watch and wait some more. A spotty record for us so far though for the strongest El Nino event in recent history. We had heavier rain in October fer cryin’ out loud!

  • Mike Z

    Oxnard basin (Just outside of L.A.) seems to be the dry center of So Cal right now. 3 1/2 inches total since July! The system that went through today brought a foot of snow to the Sierra and was suppose to bring up to a 1/4″ of rain here but all we got was a cloudy day. And the forecast for Oxnard through the first of Feb is no better. Still waiting for the change….