The Ridiculously Resilient Ridge Returns; typical winter conditions still nowhere to be found in California

Filed in Uncategorized by on February 16, 2015 3,663 Comments

Summary of recent conditions

Well, it has certainly been warm out there. Record warmth, in fact, has occurred on most days so far this calendar year somewhere in the state of California.

California has experienced exceptionally warm temperatures in recent weeks. (WRCC)

California has experienced exceptionally warm temperatures in recent weeks. (WRCC)

A veritable February heatwave occurred over the recent holiday weekend, bringing record highs from the Mexican border all the way up to Oregon. And the calendar year to date, in some spots (including San Francisco), is currently the warmest on record. 2015 thus far is certainly among the warmest calendar years to date on a statewide basis, and will likely surpass (by the end of February) the previous record…set just last year (in 2014). This extraordinary warmth has been especially pronounced over the past 10 days as clear skies and shirtsleeve weather allowed many Californians to get outdoors and enjoy the strangely balmy February conditions. But those spending time outdoors over the past weekend have likely noticed signs that the present situation is far from typical for mid-winter in California. Vegetation–native and otherwise–has already begun to show signs of growth and flowering that typically aren’t experienced until well into the spring. Despite the green hillsides, streamflow in most of California’s creeks, streams, and rivers remains well below average for this time of year. Sierra Nevada snowpack–already at near-record low levels before the mid-February heatwave which brought temperatures above 60 degrees to the Tahoe Basin–has declined even further in recent days.

While parts of NorCal have seen near-average precip this winter to date, most of the state is below average. (WRCC)

While parts of NorCal have seen near-average precip this winter to date, most of the state is below average. (WRCC)

Early in the month, a very brief sequence of strong and moist storm systems brought widespread significant precipitation to the northern 2/3 of the state, with a focus on northern coastal areas. This intense rainfall did result in rapid rises on certain rivers in NorCal, and resulted in temporarily strong inflows into many of NorCal’s major reservoirs. Remarkably, however, this storm sequence ultimately resulted in little or no lasting snow accumulation below 8000 feet in the Sierra Nevada. Extremely warm temperatures dominated the event–not surprising, given the subtropical origin of the moisture. Interestingly, this event was quite similar to the brief but intense warm and wet storm sequence experienced in NorCal back in December 2014.
The Ridiculously Resilient Ridge has returned…with a twist

Over the past year, I’ve received numerous questions regarding the purported re-appearance of the Triple R. Typically, my answer has been that the Ridge had not returned, since according to its original definition in 2013, the anomalous high pressure needed to persist across multi-month averages to technically qualify. That longevity–that incredible persistence over months–was what made the atmospheric feature so remarkable in the first place.

Well, folks, we’ve now reached that point once again: a distinctly positive geopotential height anomaly is now present in 2-3 month averages across the far northeastern Pacific and West Coast, signaling that the Ridiculously Resilient Ridge has indeed returned.

Animation showing multi-month geopotential height anomalies in 2013-2014  and 2014-2015. The entire anomaly structure is similar, but shifted eastward slightly. (NCEP via ESRL)

Animation showing multi-month geopotential height anomalies in 2013-2014 and 2014-2015. The entire anomaly structure is similar, but shifted eastward slightly. (NCEP via ESRL)

The overall situation, however, is a bit different this year. While 2013-2014 brought the lowest calendar year and 12-month precipitation on record to the state of California, 2014-2015 is trending quite a bit wetter on a statewide basis. This is particularly true in the north, where some spots are currently hovering right around average for the water year to date. Amazingly, this has occurred despite the fact that some of the same regions in NorCal have been setting records for their driest Januaries/longest mid-winter dry spells. Most of the precipitation that has fallen in NorCal this winter has occurred as the result of the two brief, warm, and intense storm sequences in early December and early February. In fact, in a few spots around the Bay Area, the vast majority of the precipitation so far this winter has occurred over the course of just 3-4 calendar days (!). Together, these data suggest a remarkable temporal concentration (intensification) of precipitation in California this winter.

There is a common cause of the extreme warmth, record-setting precipitation variability, and exceptionally low Sierra Nevada snowpack: the Ridiculously Resilient Ridge, Redux. This persistent feature near the West Coast has set up a little further east this year than in preceding winters, allowing the subtropical jet to make occasional incursions along its western flank. As this persistent ridge has wobbled around, conditions have remained very warm during both wet and dry spells. In addition, the Western ridge is forcing Pacific storm systems to take make a sharp poleward turn 1000-2000 miles west of California, advecting copious warm/moist subtropical air toward much higher latitudes in Alaska and British Columbia. Because the ridge is slightly further east this winter, California has been able to benefit very occasionally from this constant northward stream of moisture–meaning that what precipitation has occurred has been of the warm and wet variety.

A poleward flow anomaly at jet stream level shows how warm, moist subtropical air is bring transported into Alaska and B.C.. (NCEP via ESRL)

A poleward flow anomaly at jet stream level shows how warm, moist subtropical air is bring transported into Alaska and B.C.. (NCEP via ESRL)

In this sense, the Triple R of 2014-2015 is notably different from 2013-2014. California has certainly received more precipitation this year on a liquid equivalent basis, though we’re once again falling rapidly behind average as February turns out to be mostly dry. The extreme warmth and low snowpack, however, are very reminiscent of recent winters–as is the occurrence of infrequent but intense warm storms. It’s interesting to note that nearly the entire western United States has been exceptionally warm in recent months, while the eastern part of the country remains locked in a recurring nightmare of extreme Arctic outbreaks and almost inconceivable snow accumulations in parts of New England. This overall setup–with a big Western ridge and a deep Eastern trough–has become known as the “Warm West/Cool East” dipole pattern, and it has been a common feature of recent winters in North America. There are a number of hypotheses currently being investigated regarding the causes of an apparent recent increase in the occurrence of this pattern, though there’s not yet compelling evidence pointing to a singular cause (that’s a topic for a future blog post!).

What is more certain, at least as far as California is concerned, is that our severe long-term drought is unlikely to improve substantially until this newly-invigorated pattern of persistent West Coast high pressure is no longer dominant.

 

Medium-term outlook

Unfortunately, the large-scale pattern appears to be locked in place for at least another 10 days, which brings us close to the end of February.

The GFS suggests that our recent episode of high-amplitude flow over North America will continue for at least 7-10 days. (NCEP via Levi Cowan)

The GFS suggests that our recent episode of high-amplitude flow over North America will continue for at least 7-10 days. (NCEP via Levi Cowan)

While certain model solutions are indicating that a “Rex” blocking setup could evolve–with some sort of weak low pressure near Southern California potentially generating showers over the mountains–prospects for a breakthrough of the Pacific jet (and a return of widespread, meaningful precipitation) appear slim. It is possible, however, that such a pattern would be less anomalously warm than the absurd mid-winter heat California has recently been experiencing. The dynamical models–which historically have had a tendency to break down blocking ridges too quickly due to numerical instabilities–have been consistently underestimating the longevity of the present ridging event (just like they did in 2014 and 2013). Thus, it’s hard to say when the next big pattern change will occur…except to say that it’s very unlikely to happen in the next 7-10 days. Stay tuned!

© 2015 WEATHER WEST

 

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  • weathergeek100

    http://mammothweather.com/- Howard mentions possibility of a “true pineapple connection”. Another AR! NO NO NO NO!!!!!! I mean, ok yes. Yes! RAIN! WE NEED RAIN! But seriously? ANOTHER AR? To melt the new snow in the Sierra? Bandini? You aware of this?

    Both 6-10 and 8-14 day outlooks calling for above normal precip (nice!) and above normal temps (not nice!).

    • kipling

      he doesn’t say much on the temps. I would have to assume the AR event would be warm but I think it’s also possible for AR moisture to feed a cold system if the timing is right. Have to hope something like this happens.

    • Aloha12

      I think what he meant (and I could easily be wrong) is that the past events (AR’s) were not traditional pineapple express’ in that the moisture plume was to the SW or SSW not adjacent to Hawaii extending East. The more southerly direction of these AR events meant that they were warmer in nature. I remember he didn’t think the last event should have been called a pineapple express even though a met buddy of his disagreed. It appears he believes this next round will be colder so better for Sierra snow.

      • weathergeek100

        Ah yes I see what you’re saying. I read the discussion again and he does mention it having the potential to phase with a gulf of AK trough. I hope that happens!

      • alanstorm

        Jetstream flows south bringing some polar air to inject into southern branch of active zonal jet next week. At least that’s what the JS models say

  • Weather Pete

    Pretty cool break in the storm…

    • click

      nice! Your pic? Where was it taken?

      • Weather Pete

        It’s in Ojai. A friend of mine shot it with his drone.

  • click

    Caught this sun dog(?) on the way home, thanks to traffic in the cajon pass. Had to take an alternate route home. Never would have seen it otherwise.

  • Jose Mota

    I have no been to slept yet, was sleying with the family all the day. Now we lay into the van for one more sley tomorrow. Rightwood is still to snow while I wrote this!!

  • Jason

    There were some surprisingly beautiful weather formations out in the Nevada desert this morning. Light snowfall fell near Red Rock Canyon with heavier amounts on Mt Charleston west of Las Vegas. Showers watered the barren landscape along US 95 east of Death Valley.

    • click

      that’s a really cool area, red rock canyon is one of my favorite “Vegas” destinations

      • Jason

        Last time I was in Vegas was 5 years ago during the late summer. I hit the jackpot this weekend – a chance event when it actually rained and felt comfortable outside. The terrain around Boulder City and Lake Mead was pretty bleak and I can only imagine what it’s like hiking around at 105 degrees. Unfortunately, I won’t be so lucky when I have to run in Redding next Saturday (80 degrees under yet another ridge).

    • jarrod1765

      It’s greening up around Hoover Dam turn off actually.

  • Jose Mota

    Is very importance to making the proper sley for snow. My family has enjoy the sley I make to them and we sleep now into the van after sleying. Now we shared 5 blankets for the 7 us of.

    • Mike Stephenson

      Im cracking up right now

    • Mike Stephenson

      I don’t care if you’re a troll its so funny!

  • lightning10

    0.15 with one intercloud lightning strike. Someone had to get the short end of the stick I guess…

  • TheNothing

    Here’s a timelapse I took earlier today. Thought I might catch a thunderstorm but it fizzled out but is interesting to look at none the less.

    • Mike Stephenson

      Very cool, more please!

  • Ian Alan

    Season to date: 21.8″ rain 24.5″ snow

    Year to date 3.5″ rain 8″ snow. 6″ of that came in the last few days where the temo averaged 31F and currently 21F, shockingly cold after 2 months of abnormally warm temps with only a couple days below freezing, yikes!

    We have a considerable deficit to make up now. Let’s go Spring Storms!!! Just 2 big storms would get us close enough…..

    Some snow shots yesterday while driving back for a 3rd bottle of Jack, 2 obviously wasn’t enough.

    You can see in one picture how deep the snow is in town not too far from me, they got 6 feet just like the ski resorts! LMAO

  • Emerald

    GFS still showing rain after 7 days… NOAA seems to agree with them.

    • Socal

      We need a pattern change with a line of storms. I feel when we do get a storm , it’s a one and done situation.

      • Mike Stephenson

        And they have been dropping from due north partially over land…..

  • Dan weather maniac

    Not in the 5 day, 50% or more chances, and mutiple days with chances of rain window yet…… It’s still Charlie brown status

    • Obsessed

      Yes, repeat this every day like a mantra.

  • SoCalWXwatcher

    Mickey Shuman over at WSI blog with his 2nd post in 2 days regarding a pattern change mid-month. It’s pretty similar to his post yesterday, but focuses more on the idea that the EPO will flip positive resulting in toughing in the West and ridging in the East for a change.

    http://www.wsi.com/blog/uncategorized/us-11-15-day-forecast-a-pattern-change-and-more-spring-like-weather-are-possible-2/

    • thlnk3r

      Thank you for sharing. I read that post this morning as well. *crosses fingers* Also looks like the PNA is still forecasted to stay negative: http://www.cpc.ncep.noaa.gov/products/precip/CWlink/pna/pna_index_ensm.shtml

      • SoCalWXwatcher

        Yeah my fingers are definitely crossed as well. Hopefully a +EPO and -PNA will help. We’ll just have to wait and see, it’s not like there’s anything else we can do about it anyways ;-). “Guarded optimism” is a much healthier approach to take than reflexively dismissing any new analysis that might indicate a glimmer of hope.

  • J Tang

    here’s how a CA kid tries to solve the water shortage problem! http://www.waterfence.com/

    for every crisis there arises the opportunity.

  • craig matthews

    Still a nice trough portrayed by the spaghetti 192hours into the future, just like it was 3 days ago. Still being pushed back, but inching forward to reality. Hopefully a full latitude west coast trough comes to fruition and no energy cutting off west of Hawaii that could potentially throw a favorable teleconnection off course, sending all the goods either east or west of us. I’m praying for this storm big time that it will give this state what it needs: big lowland rains and big sierra snows.

    • SoCalWXwatcher

      It sure would be nice to see the season go out on a wet note, as we’ll need every drop we can squeeze out of any storm that makes it here.

      Watching the control runs of the models every 6 hours will drive a person nuts, but if the ensembles are more consistent in showing less ridging and more toughing along the West Coast, that is a good sign IMHO.

      • craig matthews

        Yeah, a line of wet GOA storms closing out the season would be so sweet. Nice to see those spaghetti lines so close together depicting a big trough off our coast continuing in each successful run, unlike the opps.

        • SoCalWXwatcher

          And I’d also note that it’s encouraging to see the ensembles without a Kona Low. Even though the Operational GFS has the RRR retreat to 160W in the long range, that Kona Low appears to muddle things up a bit.

          • craig matthews

            I am wondering if the continuous reflection of lower press anomalies near Hawaii this year is related to the sea temp anomaly spatial pattern across the central and eastern north pacific. Or if it is in relation to weakened equator-pole temp gradient to ssta spatial pattern that is not allowing these low to move east of 140W?? The negative height anomalies somewhat match the sea temp anomalies in the North Pacific this year, but not fully matching. Do models take any of this into consideration?

          • SoCalWXwatcher

            I understand the GFS takes everything from SST’s & sea ice to soil moisture and atmospheric ozone concentrations (so they say) into consideration. Whether they’re accounting the influence of each input appropriately is another question altogether.

            http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/data-access/model-data/model-datasets/global-forcast-system-gfs

          • craig matthews

            Thanks. I cant even figure out how to operate my own laptop let alone really actually understand computers and how they work. Thanks for that link too.

  • jstrahl

    12z GFS seems to take back a lot of what the 00z put forth, though still has a few wet impulses. And i still think Mickey Shuman at WSI is acting as if it’s still the same meteorological world that it’s always been.

    • TahoeCard

      would disagree that it takes back a lot

      • jstrahl

        ??? The 00z showed the state getting a good soaking, all of it, the 12z limits any consistent soaking to the north coast, i.e. Mendocino north.

        • TahoeCard

          Are you looking at the right 00z and 12z? They are pretty similar with the northern 2/3 of the state getting storms from 3/11-3/17. I’d even argue that the precip reaches further south on the 12z.

          • jstrahl

            I see just one real storm, around the 14th-15th, even getting as far south as the Bay Area. My humble opinion, i suppose. Yes, the GFS 00z and 12z.

          • TahoeCard

            Are you not looking at slide 33,34,35 for the 12th-13th. Thats a decent storm for top half of CA. And southern half gets hit pretty well for 16-17th.

          • Quagmire Cliffington

            I’d say this is pretty meaningful jstrahl… I might be crazy though… so I’ve been told.

          • jstrahl

            You can call me Jeff, Hard to say how far south along the coast this really goes, seems to stop just north of the Bay Area, but then i’ve been told as well that i’m crazy.:-)

          • dylan

            That doesn’t show very much for the Bay area – I don’t see the colorbar but I’d imagine that’s only about 10-15 mm

          • Quagmire Cliffington

            The Bay Area is irrelevant in my mind. The only thing that matters is Sierra snow.

  • craig matthews

    Interesting line on the PDO: http://www.atmos.washington.edu/~mantua/REPORTS/PDO/PDO_egec.htm
    Table 1 is especially interesting, “summary of Pacific and North America climate anomalies associated with “extreme” phases of the PDO”. Also found it interesting that when the PDO switched from negative phase to positive phase around 1924, that was and exceptionally dry year in California. And, in 1976, once again, when the PDO switched from negative phase to positive phase, that was another exceptionally dry year. So is this a coincidence?

    • SoCalWXwatcher

      What happened in the subsequent seasons? I know 1977-78 was quite wet, but what about 1925-26?

      • craig matthews

        1925-26 was wetter, maybe close to average or a little above depending on location. Temps quite warm, especially in the late winter/spring. Hope these charts are readable.
        http://www.climatestations.com there’s info for L.A too.

        • SoCalWXwatcher

          Thanks for posting. While I doubt we can count on historical analogs, I’d be happy for even just a normal wet season next year as they’ve been so hard to come by.

          • craig matthews

            Hard to find anything to really compare to what is happening now. It is also interesting that some of our wettest periods have happened right at the end of a warm PDO phase. For example, the periods 1939-45(generally) and mid to late 1990’s were quite wet right before the PDO switched to negative. But when the PDO was at the end of its negative phase and going to positive, like the early 1920’s, 1974-76, and 2012-present, those years were quite dry.

          • AlTahoe

            For Lake Tahoe the only year that is close to this year with Warm temps, A lot of rain, and almost 0 snow is 1962-1963. As of March 1st 1963 Tahoe city had 17.5″ of snow versus the 18″ this year. Then in March and April of 1963 Tahoe city got 61 and 67″ of snow to save the season. The 67″ in April is pretty incredible.

          • craig matthews

            That is incredible for April. We need a miracle like that.

      • craig matthews

        Can only post these one at a time, but the LA records look like temps were above average for 1926 and rainfall was erratic, with singular heavy rainfall events, kind of like now. Rainfall may have added up close to average for the season-1925-26, but not like the very wet 1977-78. 1925-26 was an El Nino winter too, and according to some sites it was a strong one.

  • Unbiased Observer

    Dear Mother Nature, Please make the 3/3/2015 12z GFS come to fruition. I will be forever grateful.

    • jstrahl

      Where are you located? I didn’t think it looked all that good for most of California.

      • Unbiased Observer

        I’m in Bakersfield, but yes it does somewhat leave out SoCal. At this point though we need heavy sierra snows.

        • xeren

          when in the past 3 years have we NOT needed heavy sierra snows, though? 🙂

          • Unbiased Observer

            Very true, but now more so than ever!

        • jstrahl

          Well, seems to leave most of Cal, aside from the north coast, out of any consistent rainfall.

    • xeren

      that storm is ~300 hours out. if it happens, it will be a coincidence that the GFS showed it

  • alanstorm

    Next week’s possible pattern change still on track, but inching further north as usual, & Central Ca gets shafted. Now 4″ below the yearly average up here in NW Ca. These rainless weeks this winter have been exceptionally warm & dry, evaporation rates high. Surprising how quickly creeks go dry mid winter now. The landscape is still scarred from the baking it got all last year.

    • weathergeek100

      How far north? Southern CA got hammered the past few days so they’ll be ok without rain for the next couple weeks or so. San Diego has inched quite a bit closer to normal for seasonal rainfall. It’s the Bay Area down to Santa Barbara I’m most concerned for. San Francisco is falling behind quickly. Already well below average for the season.

      • SFBay2

        San Francisco is actually a bit ahead of average for the season. See the data for SFO, at 105% of normal for this point in the year.

        http://www.cnrfc.noaa.gov/monthly_precip.php

      • yenlard

        We need snow and more snow in the sierra at this point,

      • Ian Alan

        SoCal mountains are well WELL below normal for rain/snow. Lake Arrowhead area running a 15″+ (liquid) deficit…..the coast areas have done better than the mountains all year.

      • Angel Rocket

        whats the rainfall amounts this season so far for san diego?

      • Dan the Weatherman

        I wouldn’t say that all of Socal got hammered, since my area only picked up .45″ from this last storm. It is better than nothing, but I have seen much more impressive storms here in the past during this time of year.

  • SoCalWXwatcher

    The CFS is quite enthusiastic regarding WWB’s starting this month. But are these far enough West to do much for the Niño regions?

    • craig matthews

      Looks like a good place for WWB’s sustaining, or warming anomalous warm sea temps already in place in Nino 4 and western part of Nino 3.4 for at least an El Nino Modoki.

      • Xerophobe

        Modoki is already here
        160E 150W

        • craig matthews

          Yep. Sure looks like a Modoki now. Nino 4 just spiked again and it looks like the warmer anomalies with the kelvin are beginning to show up further east in Nino 3.4.

    • gray whale

      I guess I thought the WWB’s were more on the causal side of a Kelvin Wave, but the latest one is already well underway. So maybe I’ve got it reversed:

      • SoCalWXwatcher

        I think the Kelvin Wave that’s going on right now was aided by that last series of WWB’s in January.

        • Xerophobe

          looks like it

    • gray whale

      meant to post this below

      • Xerophobe

        Wow 3 months of that stuff and the whole right side would be orange from continuous downwelling. Gotta love the CFS.

    • Xerophobe

      Sure but for what benefit? Too late this year. And scary if we have 3 months of dateline WWB activity

      • SoCalWXwatcher

        3 months worth of WWB as projected in that graph seems a bit unusual to me, but I wasn’t following that chart much before this season so I don’t know if that’s wildly unusual unusual or not. I agree it’s too late for it to benefit this season, but what happens if that verifies?

        • Weatherwatcher

          Might enchance the monsoon season for the south like last summer or to a higher extent perhaps?

  • Crouching Dallas

    Did you guys catch this slide from 12Z? Fantasyland’ fantasyland, to be sure, @ 312 hours. Those snow levels are lunacy incarnate. No wonder GFS now stands for Graupel Filled Sorcery.

    • yenlard

      I believe!!!!

      • SoCalWXwatcher

        I recall a storm during March of 2006, where that 540 dm line made it halfway down Baja and the snow level was around 500′ in SoCal.

        I hope this upcoming fantasyland storm comes in from a little farther west over the ocean instead of dropping right down the coast.

    • Utrex

      Wow, inland snow in March…

    • alanstorm

      No, it stands for Glue Fume Sniffers.

      • Quagmire Cliffington

        Gluttonous Fish-mongering Simp’ring-Sire

    • Aloha12

      bank it…gonna happen 🙂

    • Mike Stephenson

      Another super cold Canada bomb? I forget what a normal storm is nowadays…….

    • Nick W.

      Hm, I got a NorCal vacation around that time. Skeptical about it being too cold, but if it brings rain, I’m fine with it.

      • dylan

        Too cold? That’s never going to happen

    • redlands

      is the snow level down to 500-1000 feet –is this what the map means

      • Crouching Dallas

        This map means very snow levels, yes, in that wonderful place we call fantasy land.

        • Larry

          Gosh, that means we’ll get snow on hwy 38 in Mentone. We’re at 2100 feet.

      • SoCalWXwatcher

        Probably 500′ – 1000′ in Central and Northern Cal if that were to verify.

        I think I may have saved a GFS chart from the March 2006 low-snow SoCal event on my computer at home. If I find it, I’ll post it here for comparison. Basically that dashed blue line with the “540” was almost halfway down into Baja back then.

        http://www.theweatherprediction.com/habyhints/97/

    • Weatherwatcher

      Is that snow on the central coast!!??

    • Holy mackerel!

  • Jason

    For the moment, at least, the eastern crest of the Sierras as seen from Downtown Reno and Donner Lake look pretty good. Unfortunately, there doesn’t appear to be much snow depth and this weekend’s late winter heat wave won’t be good. But enjoy the scene while you can.

    • rob b

      I left Truckee this morning headed to the Bay Area. We had a few snowflakes falling in Truckee but nothing sticking (nor even making the pavement wet). There was decent snow coverage around the summit though.

    • craig matthews

      The snow has the look it of being the beginning of the season, with fresh powder on dirt, not fresh powder on sierra cement as one would expect in early March. The pics are gorgeous. Thanks

    • Charlie B

      I am in Reno. By this weekend those hills will have zero snow cover.

  • SoCalWXwatcher

    Howard Sheckter’s update this afternoon with a little more information on the potential for some major pattern-change-age this month:

    “One reason is because not only has the GFS been touting a Possible AR event, but the ECMWF is showing it now as well. Additionally, there is MJO support as well over the next two weeks. If it was not for the MJO support, I would not be all that excited about the future, but its strong and impressive.”

    http://mammothweather.com/2015/03/02/mammoth-mt-report-10-to-16-inches-storm-total-cold-california-trof-to-begin-moving-east-early-tuesday-with-an-upper-ridge-building-in-mid-week-thereafter-the-weather-to-remain-fair-through-n/

    • Ian Alan

      Aren’t AR events considered to show up in long range models with better consistency / accuracy – the only caveat being where exactly the firehouse will be pointed which is better pinpointed by 3-5 days out….

      • Boiio

        That sounds about right to me. Because it’s a zonal flow, it isn’t an issue of east or west, only north or south and therefore a high likelihood of somebody between Tijuana and BC getting the hose.

      • alanstorm

        Both ARs of Dec & Feb were pretty darn accurate 10 days out. I first noticed this pattern change when the 10 day Jetstream forecast showed it.

    • craig matthews

      Nice to have the ECMWF on board. Lots of potential out there and hope it all comes together this time. If the big Low, now showing up in the models near Hawaii a week from now, is entrained into the trough digging out of the GOA, then we are in for a real treat. But if that Low lingers back west of Hawaii and keeps getting re loaded from energy coming off Asia, once again this will offset the wave/height pattern, then we might get one ok storm then a repeat of what we just had with the mean trough axis further east over land. Hopefully all the activity that keeps getting re loaded near Hawaii will move east this time, in our favor, and both the northern and southern streams will phase over Ca.

    • Weatherwatcher

      That would be great for norcal. Would this affect socal at all?

      • SoCalWXwatcher

        As far as the AR is concerned, I think it all depends on where it is pointed. As far as a West Coast trough and a stretch of increased storminess, that would likely benefit the whole state.

  • Ian Alan

    Plenty of sun today with low clouds/fog moving in….didn’t expect anything convective looking though….

  • StormHiker

    Starting to have a little more faith in the potential pattern change next week…NWS Bay Area included a blurb about it in the discussion released at 2:24 PM:

    “…THIS PATTERN CHANGE WOULD ALLOW FOR AN UPPER LEVEL TROUGH TO IMPACT THE PACIFIC NORTHWEST AND BRING WIDESPREAD RAINFALL TO THE SAN FRANCISCO/MONTEREY BAY REGION WEDNESDAY INTO THURSDAY OF NEXT WEEK…”

    Hopefully it will be cold and above all else bring a pounding to the Sierras!

    • HadleyCell

      Yep. 18z GFS totals through 10 days (240 hours).

      • Skye H.

        3-4 inches for the sierras could be real nice.

        • Nick W.

          Or 3-4 feet of snow

      • StormHiker

        Beautiful chart – I hope it stays that way, or that the reds get some oranges and yellows mixed in!

        • jstrahl

          Indeed!

      • Jose Mota

        Is for good sleying whether?

  • Skye H.

    18z GFS control run is starting to show that atmospheric river developing around the 18th of march! This is still way out in fantasy land (beyond fantasy land, more like las vegas casino land) but it would be cool if it actually happened. In other news, this pattern change just needs to hold on in the models for 24 more hours before I actually have some faith that it might happen!

    • Jose Mota

      I have so glad you bring that up to me! Have made two difference sleys for a snowing. You make hope for me to have use them soon agen.

      • Boiio

        Domingo Ayala, is that you?

        • StormHiker

          I have a suspicion it could be Muzikman’s cousin from the Dominican Republic.

          • Crouching Dallas

            ¡Hombre de la Muzika!

      • Weatherwatcher

        Make me one. 🙂

      • Angel Rocket

        lol

  • TahoeCard

    Curious why Howard is talking about MJO being a positive and Bryan mentioning it as a negative.

    • Xerophobe

      I think Howard is saying the MJO would help with late March. BA is kinda right about 6 and 7 phases. A high amplitude 7 could be wet for NorCal PacNW for this time period of MAM. MJO signals are of less influence as we get into spring and also when the MJO is in a certain phase and amplitude on a certain date it takes 6-10 days to affect us.

      Next week if “it” happens isn’t from an MJO signal.

  • Crouching Dallas

    An important teleconnection that we haven’t talked about: the + MEIL, which stands for My English In Laws. It’s going strongly positive in two weeks, as they’re coming stateside for a visit. Now, combine that rare +MEIL with a zonal flow and a helpful MJO signal…if that’s not a recipe for cold, wet, dare we say British weather, then nothing is.

    • dylan

      LOL I don’t think it works that way. I feel like no matter what we are doomed for warm, dry weather. I am going to the east coast next week and I thought it might rain while I was gone (with my bad luck or something) but it doesn’t appear that it will

      • jstrahl

        Well, the models are stating there’s something for the 12th, which is late next week. FWIW. One wonders if the long range models are any better at weather forecasting than are super models, and the latter are easier on the eyes.

        • SoCalWXwatcher

          LOL. Both tend to be fairly high-maintenence, but it’s debatable as to which variety is the bigger tease.

        • Xerophobe

          Brazil is in a drought too: rain-wise not supermodels.

    • SoCalWXwatcher

      It may not just apply to English In-Laws. I remember when the Queen of England visited California in 1983 and toured Yosemite – “Bingo!” it POURED the whole time she was in California. Hail Britannia!

      • Prince Phillip later described the ride from Santa Barbara airport to the Reagan Ranch (154 to Camino Cielo) as one of the most frightening rides he ever took. And they’ve been to every continent except Antarctica, in the most remote locales you can imagine.
        San Marcos Pass during a rain storm is no joke.
        And this was no ordinary rain storm.

        • SoCalWXwatcher

          Yep, I remember the ’82-’83 El Niño season very well. Crazy wet!

  • RSpringbok

    Question for the met experts: the current SST anomaly map shows a corridor of warm water from Calif to the SW just below Hawaii to the equator. This roughly coincides where an AR fetch would be positioned. Would warm water underneath an AR enhance or diminish an AR?
    http://www.esrl.noaa.gov/psd/map/images/sst/sst.daily.anom.gif

    • Enhance.

    • SoCalWXwatcher

      Anomalously warm water underneath a developing storm will allow it to entrain more moisture, and generally strengthens it.

      • RSpringbok

        That’s the intuitive answer, but I wasn’t sure how much of a “live link” there is between warm surface water and the cloud deck passing overhead.

    • Crouching Dallas

      Oh my – this looks glorious.

      However: is this sort of SST allignment a normal thing, or are we looking at something uniquely saucy here?

      • SoCalWXwatcher

        Its pretty similar to what we’ve had most of the season. And that warm pool in the GOA looks like it has returned. It isn’t our friend. We’d be much better off if those warm SST’s were in the Niño regions near the equator and banked up against the coasts of Ecuador and Peru.

        • RSpringbok

          That red dot due west of Oregon … is the Blob reforming?

          • SoCalWXwatcher

            Somewhat. It’s not as pronounced as it was at the end of last season, but it has built up again lately, probably as a result of the RRR’s return. You can see it in the animation linked below.

            It’s also worth noting that the Western Pacific appears to have cooled since last year and most of the warmth is in the Eastern Pacific.

            http://www.ospo.noaa.gov/Products/ocean/sst/anomaly/anim_full.html

          • alanstorm

            Really? SSTs abnormaly warm STILL. Normally u can’t swim in the ocean up here without a wet suit, but beaches at places like Shelter Cove have had warm surf

  • This latest storm brought to water content of the state’s snowpack up to … 19%
    We’re in real trouble.
    See details here: http://www.sfgate.com/bayarea/article/Snow-levels-reach-historic-lows-6112706.php

  • alanstorm

    By next Wed, subtropical jet gets VERY zonal & strong, pointed straight at Central Ca from Hawaii. Polar jet flows due south through Bering Strait & briefly merges with it. Could this be a cold air injection into a Ca bound AR?
    Better tell Lucy to hold it tight….

    • dylan

      How much rain predicted for your area? 12 mm altogether Tues-Thurs for SF

      • alanstorm

        One thing they haven’t got right is rainfall predictions. Last AR early in Feb they way overestimated it. Dec’s AR unexpectedly stalled over the Bay Area and dumped more then predicted there.

        • dylan

          Yeah you’re right, never mind. It’s still a week away anyway

      • Bandini

        Like 50-60 mm

        • dylan

          Thanks! That’s definitely good news

      • jstrahl

        That’s hardly an AR event. But like us said bekiw, it’s a week away.

    • Crouching Dallas

      Haven’t seen sir alanstorm this giddy and CharlieBrown referency since the last AR. I take that as a very good sign!

      • alanstorm

        Yes, spiked Lucy’s cherry Kool Aid with Rohypnol

        • Crouching Dallas

          Could not have laughed harder at this.

        • Ian Alan

          Now she’s in the Sky with Diamonds!

          • alanstorm

            Hopefully she’s in the sky with a cold GOA low

        • jstrahl

          What flavor?:-) FWIW, Richard Leakey named the humanoid fossil he found in Olduvay Gorge Lucy because Lucy in the Skies with Diamonds was playing on the expedition’s radio/tape player soon before her discovery.

    • April Galanksy

      I’m hoping it will hold that Central CA bulls-eye. I’ve made so many deals with the Universe for rain I’m going to be up for sainthood.

      • alanstorm

        Geez. Scooby would be proud! 🙂

    • I wonder what the April 1st snow survey will show.

      • alanstorm

        Well, the last 2 ARs were pretty muggy, so hopefully we can get a cold GOA low to hook up with an AR & have a party over Ca.. Any cold air is expected?

        • I don’t see much for colder air, but this is in FantasyLand. Lol

          • alanstorm

            Low temps for Willits (1500ft) of 39° Wed , but that’s probably post -frontal passage. High snow levels again ? We need some punch coming off the Ocean, otherwise it may fizzle. The trend has been to move the rainline further north the closer we get to the event. Probably a few days of thunderstorms, which would still be cool

        • Forgot to post picture.

  • David Thomas

    talk about low #

    The northern Sierra snowpack is 16% of average for the date, while the central and southern Sierra are 20% and 22% respectively

    http://www.mymotherlode.com/news/local/235058/water-officials-surprised-bleak-snowpack-numbers.html

    • He Who Must Not Be Named

      Tragic. I am really concerned about the agricultural impacts this summer. Where will the lettuce and tomatoes for your delicious burgers will come from? I assume the potatoes for fries are imported from Idaho.

      • dylan

        Yup. Although those are the least of our worries. We need to get rid of the produce using up the most water – for example, those almond trees!

        • Janet Johnson

          We need to get rid of hydraulic fracturing and its two cousins, cyclic steam injection and matrix acidizing, a process that uses high volumes of precious water and injects highly toxic chemicals into the ground and our water table.

          • dylan

            Yes absolutely – we were just talking about almonds in a previous conversation, of course the almonds aren’t the main problem

  • Socal

    00z already back pedaling, typical.

    • Crouching Dallas

      ’twas but one run. Let the GFS go home – he’s wasted. We’ll see him in better spirits sans spirits tomorrow.

      • Socal

        I dont mean to sound the alarm but it’s annoying.

  • Thunderstorm

    Nice moisture field from Hawaii all the way back to Indonesa. I will take a guess that the bulls eye will target Santa Barbara up to Santa Cruz. Possible totals 0f 20 inches in the mountains. Also think the door stays open until mid May. Warm water all the way. On the other side of our nation the great lakes are now 88.3% frozen over, a new record.

    • dylan

      Really? Next week? Is the GFS showing this or the ECMWF? Wunderground shows nothing for Santa Barbara

    • jstrahl

      No, no, no, i’ll give you Santa Barbara if you bring the north end up to Mendocino.:-)

      • dylan

        I’ll give you Santa Barbara too! They can fend for themselves, I’m bolting out of there

        • SlashTurn

          Good! To many transplants and tourists here that think SB is some sort of destination. This little town needs an exodus.

          • dylan

            I’ll never understand why people call this place paradise. I am thrilled to leave this boring small town and especially its dull, unchanging weather, so whatever.

    • Socal

      Wishful thinking

    • Yeah………

  • Still not totally convinced regarding a major pattern change in mid-Feb. I will probably have a post Friday or Saturday regardless…

    • Thanks. Look forward to the new post.

    • C M

      You mean Mid-March? Do you think that thunderstorm with hail on Saturday was our grand finale with no more rain until next fall? Or do you still think we have a decent shot of picking up some interesting weather for the second half of March and/or sometime in April?

    • Crouching Dallas

      We’ve long given up on mid-Feb, Dan. Both literally and figuratively.

    • It may be early February in the Bay Area, but up here, it’s early March. You know how I know this? We’re looking at 50 degree swings between the lows and the highs over the next few days. That’s March weather…

    • David Thomas

      weather W did you see my post about the snowpack update ?

    • alanstorm

      Well, at least Oregon will get wet.

  • Muzikman1

    “Who is that boy, the one who looks like a bobble head?”

    They were talking about me.

    “That’s Muzik, he was picked up a few days before yesterday.”

    The orderlies were giving a tour of the premises. I felt like an animal on display.

    “Why does he have those foam fingers on?”

    I knew that they were talking about me and I wanted to answer badly. Ohhhhhhhhhh I wanted to tell them how I was trying to hitchhike to Arizona to see my beautiful boys in training!!

    “We’ve got him on heavy Tranquilizers, we had to. We’ve caught him twice trying to sneak into the storage closet with a computer. He keeps mumbling about Dopplers and ensembles.”

    The orderly looked at me with a severe expression. This is the same one who jabbed me in the gut while changing my diaper last night.

    “We found him with a duffle bag full of dolls.”

    I hid my face behind my foam fingers and tucked my pole back into my gown. It is imperative that I escape this place and get back to my babies. I buried the other duffle bag deep in the desert.

  • Here is the link for that FantasyLand storm. I give this a 0% chance of happening. Lol

    • He Who Must Not Be Named

      Kindly remind the GFS that it made us a promise! It forgot about it in its latest run. It is getting late though, maybe it had one too many and blacked out.

  • HD

    I flew from San Francisco to Taipei this past Sunday. The flight was 1 hour shorter than usual. The Pilot announced before the start of the flight that Jet Stream is weak and hence we will reach early. So If I’m getting this correct, is Jet Stream partially responsible for our troubles in California and RRR? I also get it that the water near Alaska is warmer than usual and hence the Ridge. I have been silent observer on this blog for past couple of months. Just trying to learn things.

    And here a picture of the rainbow I took in the mid Feb storm. Here is to hoping we will get more storms before end of the season!

    • I don’t know about the flight time being faster, but a loopy and weak Jetstream is probably responsible for the RRR including the above normal SST’s

    • alanstorm

      I’ve done that flight back & forth many times, EVA Airlines is the best. The flight back is a good 2 hours shorter cause of the Jetstream, so yes, it makes a difference. Tip: if you take the 1am flight from SFO, pop a sleeping pill & sleep the whole 16 hrs, you wake up in Taiwan in the morning with virtually NO jet-lag!

  • Ian Alan

    Good enough for me! I’m in!

    THE RIDGE
    WILL WEAKEN EARLY NEXT WEEK AS WESTERLY FLOW DEVELOPS FARTHER SOUTH
    ACROSS THE EASTPAC. BOTH OF THE LATEST OPERATIONAL RUNS OF THE GFS
    AND ECMWF SHOW THIS PATTERN CHANGE MAY BRING MORE PRECIPITATION TO
    THE REGION FOR THE LATTER HALF OF NEXT WEEK.

  • Ian Alan

    Doesn’t look the like 06Z GFS is our friend in this though.

    • thlnk3r

      I saw that this morning as well. I would not necessarily depend too much on the GFS for 7+ days out. The ECMWF (from what I understand) is a better tool for that. On that note here is the EC 500mb run (March 4th 00z) 240hrs out: http://tropicaltidbits.com/analysis/models/ecmwf/2015030400/ecmwf_z500a_namer_11.png

      Probably by this weekend we’ll have a decent idea of how middle of next week will play out.

      • Ian Alan

        Thanks for sharing that – yes I’m not going to take any one model run too seriously until the weekend which will give the models a better grasp, knowing both how/where the ridge sets up for the rest of the week and also how it will exit the region.

  • Bandini

    12F and still nice snow coverage on my yards and neighborhood, but that will be changing by Friday when temps hit the low 60’s again. The snowpack is going to continue to be dismal as long as every snowstorm we get is followed by absurdly warm temps and rapid melt. BA posted on his blog the other day that February was actually above average for water, but way below for actual snow. Makes sense, it rained about 6″ at my place but virtually no snow.

    • inclinejj

      Was the 6 inches of rain in the beginning of Feb or last snow storm??

  • inclinejj

    Oroville is currently at 757 ft out of 900. This is dramatic improvement from the 650 we had this summer and another 25 ft improvement from early February. http://cdec.water.ca.gov/cgi-progs/queryF?s=ORO&d=03-Mar-2015+16:05&span=25hours

    Shasta Dam is at 990 feet out of 1,067. http://cdec.water.ca.gov/cgi-progs/queryF?s=SHA&d=03-Mar-2015+16:05&span=25hours

    • Unfortunately, that’s not as rosy as it sounds. It means Shasta is at 58% capacity, Orovile at 49%. http://cdec.water.ca.gov/cgi-progs/current/RES
      That wouldn’t be too bad for this time of year, except that the northern third of the state is at a dismal 11% of water content in the snow pack.

      • AlTahoe

        Yep we will be way below last summers numbers by the time this summer ends. There has never been a snow pack this bad before so this summer could get very scary.

        • alanstorm

          That’s the key. No snowmelt to refill them over the Summer. Reservoirs are only short term holding facilities.

        • scott

          Exactly! Short term benefit for a long term problem.

      • Ian Alan

        Ah yes that makes sense – while 990 out of 1067 sounds “full” it’s that last 70 feet that holds the most volume. ????.

        • There’s also the fact that the deepest part of the Lake is around 350 or so…

    • Ian Alan

      So overall it sounds like we are indeed in better shape than we were at this same point last year.

  • cthenn

    From the Bay Area forecaster discussion:

    DUE TO SOME LESS THAN STELLAR MODEL PERFORMANCE THIS WINTER FROM ALL OF THE GLOBAL MODELS IN THE DAY 7 TO 10 TIME FRAME…BEST COURSE OF ACTION SEEMS TO BE CONSERVATIVE WITH THE POPS

    …word

    • Dan weather maniac

      They even mentioned waiting until it was in the 5 day timeframe!! I read that this morning and was laughing. I was looking for the Charlie Brown reference. They get it. I wonder if they read this blog.

      • SoCalWXwatcher

        I have a hunch some of those guys lurk here.

        • Crouching Dallas

          They’ve given us a few subtle shout outs, I think. Remember their “slug of subtropical moisture” mention right after we’d all been joking about that (slug) being the newest name for the same thing?

          • alanstorm

            Yep. Imitation is the sencerest form of battery. Next thing you know they’ll be calling the next AR the “Pruneapple Express” cause it will end this constipated pattern.

          • Obsessed

            I’ve seen Ridiculously Resilient Ridge thrown about here and there, it even has its own Wikipedia page:

            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ridiculously_Resilient_Ridge

    • weathergeek100

      Smart thing to do!

  • cthenn

    Question: does the ECMWF actually do a precipitation forecast model or just pressure/atmosphere stuff? I haven’t seen one if it exists.

    • Utrex

      Paid EMCWF does. Free EMCWF doesn’t have it though.

      • click

        How much does that subscription cost? I’m assuming I can’t afford it since I’m not a government agency or nation state.

  • Obsessed

    Looks like the system on the 11th if it does come through will bring light rain and showers to Norcal. It’s better than nothing, but nothing to write home about.

    • Skye H.

      Just on the GFS – still looks strong on the Canadian.

    • alanstorm

      Probably a 1 & Done, but a 1 & Done is better than a None & None. BTW- temps here interior North Coast above 1000 ft are forecast highs 61° lows 41°, so another warm storm.

      • Obsessed

        True that. But I am dreading this weekend’s March heatwave that is forecast to be in the mid to upper 70s, which is more acceptable in March than in February and January, but a disgusting atrocity nonetheless.

        • alanstorm

          Yeah, pretty much a deafening silence up here in the mountains: no babbling streams! These little in-between storm heat-waves dry up all the small gains we’ve made. Should be wet & mucky here till April

  • jstrahl

    New this morning from Howard.

    “The Dweebs are still watching for the possibility of an AR event later next week as the ECMWF control is all over it. The GFS did its dance too last night run, but was not as convincing. Usually, the European is the better model for longer range as a rule…..So the GFS may snap back into agreement. As mentioned the past day or so, the MJO is lending support to an West Coast AR event week two, extending well on shore to the Sierra Crest…. So the Dweebs are watching and eagerly waiting to see what happens as we get closer time wise….toward the 15th of March.” – See more at: http://mammothweather.com/#sthash.60G8S0Da.dpuf

    Hmm, hasn’t he said in the past that he thinks the GFS is better? Cherry picking?

    • craig matthews

      Unfortunately, the powers that be, whatever they are, in the ocean/atmosphere have made a home for a Low to continuously develop near 35N-160W(near Hawaii) and be re loaded by energy coming off Asia, with a sub tropical ridge developing at 30N-120W which acts to keep any undercutting of the southern branch at bay, and at the same time, it either shunts the northern stream, or the GOA shortwaves further east to over the rockies, or causes that northern stream energy to shear, with a part of the energy being entrained into the Low near Hawaii. 3 days ago, the models had a ridge in this same area, go figure. Now even the spaghetti has all come unfolded:( The latest GFS doesn’t even show any west coast trough at all for the next 2 weeks, and keeps that energy held back west of 140W. BUT, it could still all come together.

      • Bob G

        So all the rain from March 10th on is toast?

        • craig matthews

          Hopefully not. Just the current models are trending dryer and warmer which is disconcerting. Still a models forecast out past 6 days away, and it could still change back in our favor. The NWS folks are still onto the potential for a nice AR here, so that’s good.

          • jstrahl

            Do you mean all current models, or just the GFS? I think the point made above by Boiio that focusing only on the GFS is cherry picking is valid, people here are a pessimistic lot.

          • craig matthews

            Last nights ECMWF trended drier then its previous run and GFS much drier now. So I was looking at the trends more then the specific forecast. I don’t know if that’s good. Anyway, go ECMWF.

        • TahoeCard

          no

        • Bartshe

          maybe

    • dylan

      Well that’s good that they’re still predicting an AR, but I don’t see one, wunderground only predicts 7 mm for SF next week (Wednesday). I suppose the AR is pointed at Oregon or something

    • Boiio

      Cherry picking would be going with the GFS. The euro, GEM, CPC, and the CFSv2 all show some sort of AR. The latest GFS also shows it, just later on.

      • jstrahl

        Excellent point. Is there a reason that people on this blog like GFS?

        • Xerophobe

          ECMWF access is very limited unless you subscribe to a website that offers some Euro and UK stuff. The ECMWF sells their stuff at a steep price. Free available…legal for use from ECMWF is at http://www.tropicaltidbits.com/

        • Boiio

          Because ‘merica!

        • dylan

          Who knows! I much prefer the ECMWF. I feel like it’s been more accurate from my experience

    • Xerophobe

      If west coast includes BC then sure spot on…LOL

  • craig matthews

    I wish we could move California out to 150W. Hopefully the NWS will have encouraging words. The 12zGEFS spaghetti still shows signs of hope for some wet weather in Ca. But not the nice GOA trough developing down off the west coast like what was shown 2 days ago:(
    I’m done!!

  • Robin White

    It’s been said here that models have a difficult time when entrenched patterns are teetering and about to shift. OK. Perhaps they have en even more difficult time when bigger patterns- large and long-term enough to redefine what “normal” west coast weather even means- have changed. A double hex on their predictive ability.

  • darrenking

    I know the latter half is kind of fantasy land, but my accuweather app is now indicating 9 days of rain, starting around Tuesday night/Wednesday morning for here in Folsom. Haven’t seen anything like that in quite a while. You read that right- 9 days in a row with some rain. Now that’s what I’d call a trend change.

    • click

      Accuweather has been discussed here before, they are “confident” (read: making stuff up) enough to forecast “an evening thunderstorm but otherwise clear skies” 30+ days out.
      Now that I think about it, I suppose they are almost as accurate as the GFS fantasyland!
      A broken clock is still right twice a day haha

      • darrenking

        Sure. No one’s saying (certainly not I, anyway) that distant projections are accurate. But, as I said in my post, the start of this pattern shift is mid to latter next week – not so far away.

        • click

          sorry, wasnt trying to attack your projection, I’m as happy as you are to see any and all moisture coming our way! (And praying it verifies)
          Just making a joke about fantasyland, and how consistently inconsistent it is.

    • Obsessed

      I don’t trust Accuweather forecasts past the 5 day mark.

  • SoCalWXwatcher

    Mickey Shuman at WSI Blog with his 3rd consecutive post in 3 days regarding the Pattern Change. Seems like the last few runs of the GFS have thrown a wrench into the gears, and, as with Howard Sheckter, he’s casting his lot with the ECMWF.

    “Confidence in the forecast has dropped today as medium ranges models diverge with the details of the pattern, which begins during the 6-10 day period. The forecast will continue to lean along the lines of yesterday’s forecast thinking and the ECMWF guidance”

    http://www.wsi.com/blog/energy/us-11-15-day-discussion-a-pattern-change-is-still-expected-but-there-is-plenty-of-uncertainty-with-the-details/

    • Xerophobe

      It seems these major changes always get pushed into the future. The ECMWF has usually been the ‘FILO’ model so this isn’t surprising, but the backpedaling is upsetting, again. Next week was on the horizon of long range models, then slowly flipped flopped and now out. Right now things look okay the week of the 15th…still need to see them happen. I’m tired of seeing big stuff being forecast, then poof..there is still time. I haven’t checked anything myself, yet but did read the NWS forecasts this morning.

      • thlnk3r

        Both Los Angeles and San Diego NWS offices talk a tiny bit about some light precip mid next week for Southern California but still nothing “major”. The latest EC 500mb 12z runs for hour 240 do bring a trough from the North all the way down the coast. Looks chilly. The GFS 12z 2 meter temperature anomalies runs aren’t catching onto this though.

        In the meantime we (Inland Empire, So Cal) have mid-80’s forecasted for this Weekend.

        • Xerophobe

          Well if anything positive can be made, the GFS has been tardy with temps this season

        • SoCalWXwatcher

          Wow, that MJO appears to be going berserk.

    • SoCalWXwatcher

      And yet another update on the big GFS vs ECMWF “battle”…

      “It’s been a while since we’ve had a good GFS versus Euro battle in the 6-10 day period, but we’ve got one now. This is about as good as it gets; the models diverge early in the run and by day 7 are nearly 180 degrees out of phase”

      http://www.wsi.com/blog/energy/medium-range-mayhem-gfs-v-ecm/

      • Xerophobe

        It was like this with MJO a week ago and ECMWF won.

      • jstrahl

        Go, Euro!:-)

  • AlTahoe

    Well here is the snow plot survey for the Highway 50 corridor. Most of these sites average 400-450″ of snow a year. It is starting to look more and more likely that I am going to have what is essentially a snow less winter here in South Lake Tahoe. Never thought that would be possible, My seasonal total is 7.5″

    • rob b

      I was talking to my neighbor in Truckee about the lack of snowfall the last 4 years. We both noted how many new residents were in the area and when (if?) we ever get back to a normal winter they’ll be in for a major shock. All these people questioning why they’d pay for snow removal, why certain snow shovels are better than others, and why there is a rush in the fall to get your snowblower tuned up will be in for a major shock. I sure miss the days of snow being piled up 4-6′ around my driveway and counting down the days until spring…when I could start to see a hint of flowers and grass around the house.

      • AlTahoe

        The (sad) joke going around South Lake Tahoe is that winter is the new off season. There has been less people up here on the weekends then we would normally see in the traditional off seasons of April-May and Sep-Nov.

      • scott

        I have seen the same thing here in the Kern County mountains. Some flatlander city slickers moved into the backwoods two years ago and joked about how easy the winters were. They thought it a waste of time to insulate pipes and keep a generator on hand. They won’t get a 4WD and think they won’t need it at all. I tell them about 2008 when we lost power for 2 days with two feet of snow at 3500ft and they looked at me like I was kidding. Yeah, they are in for a real shock when things return to normal, if they last that long. Most city slickers can’t handle the country for too long.

  • Xerophobe

    New discovery: 13 b’ak’tun Mayan Long Count ended 12/21/12. 14th b’ak’tun begins. “RRR” evolves and continues. A b’ak’tun is 1440,000 days. You do the math.

    This is tongue in cheek.

    • SoCalWXwatcher

      3,945 years of RRR? Shoot me now. 😉

      • Archeron

        He is talking about end of the world on the Mayan calendar lol.

        • dylan

          Oh that BS? lol

        • SoCalWXwatcher

          No, he’s talking about the 14th b’ak’tun. The Mayans never said it would all end with the 13th b’ak’tun.
          😉

    • dylan

      What are you talking about anyway????

  • Archeron

    Question for Mr. Swain. I know its being researched, but are there any viable theories you guys are investigating as to the cause of the RRR? I know there are a lot of people saying climate change and things like that. I was just wondering if there might be something actually tangible that you guys might see as possibly causing this. I have lived in California my entire life and have never seen this type of weather. Not sure if I can say unprecedented, but certainly unusual.

    • weathergeek100

      He mentions Sea surface temperatures in several of his blog entries from last year. They’ve been significantly above average ever since the drought began. I’m not sure if that’s really the reason. It may be. But he’s also not the only one who mentions that. Howard Sheckter from mammothweather.com also explains that above normal SSTs tends to cause high pressure along the west coast.

    • Bob G

      Daniel has some posts from last years dealing with this. I posted something in comments section last week. It was a study done on what could be behind the drought and RRR.

    • weatherhead

      I have heard that the oceans have been absorbing 95% of the earth’s global warming. As earth-dwelling, air breathing creatures, we tend to think that the warmer air temperatures we are experiencing are all there is to anthropogenic warming . And yes, except for East Coast winters, the air has been warmer. But the oceans have been dispropotionately affected. They are just so big, there has been a lot of heat they have absorbed. And that stored heat energy will be a force to be reckoned with.

  • Xerophobe

    Speaking of MJO and going berserk in phase 7….NO GUARANTEES folks but something look for development. MJO signals take some time for their effects to get into the subtropics and NAmerica. With the ridging and SST’s who knows.

    from http://www.soest.hawaii.edu/ with modifications to put explantions with phase 7 diagram

  • Bartshe

    James Inhofe can still make a snowball, so all is good.

    • Obsessed

      I always consider 1982 as my favorite year. I was 7 and had not a care in the world AND it was the wettest year? I’m like Uncle Rico from Napoleon Dynamite.

      • Bartshe

        same van?!

        • Obsessed

          I wish.

  • Charlie B

    AlTahoe’s comment below regarding the (lack of) snowpack should send shivers down everyone’s spine. This is unprecedented, folks. RUNOFF WILL BE ESSENTIALLY ZERO UNLESS SOMETHING EXTRAORDINARY HAPPENS, AND SOON. The window is closing fast. That having been said, the same situation exists all the way up to Alaska. Juneau’s ski area has a base of ZERO. I read that Crater Lake snow is at an all time low for early March, even though precipitation is 104% of normal!
    I don’t ever recall a situation where total precipitation is not all that bad (due to the warm/wet December and February storms) but the snowpack is non existent.
    I’m not sure why this historic anomaly hasn’t gotten more press.

  • Be Logical

    The GFS runs just keep getting drier and drier as usual. What a joke the system is a forecasting anything over a couple of day! You would have better luck in Vegas!

    • jstrahl

      Good points below that the GFS is not necessarily the best model to rely upon.

    • SoCalWXwatcher

      It appears our hopes for a wet forecast are in the hands of the ECMWF now, assuming it has the better grasp. Either future runs of the GFS will start to flip towards the ECMWF or the opposite will happen. They both can’t remain 180° apart.

    • I’m going there on Tuesday! Maybe that will cause rain here.

  • Alison

    I’m with the camp of hopeful that we’ll get some good storms in March. That aside for a moment, it does seem pretty clear that unfortuantely this isn’t going to be the year that pulls us out of the drought. With that in mind, I’m wondering what else California residents can be doing on an individual level or perhaps collectively to help with mitigation.

    On an individual level, I’m honestly not sure what else I can do. I’ve taken advantage of some of the rebates the MMWD offers (rain barrels, showerheads, hot water diversion systems), I don’t water my lawn, I take four-minute showers, I only run one or two loads of laundry a week, I water my plants with leftover shower water (they’re all succulents anyways, so they really don’t require much water), etc. If the Marin Muncipal Water District starts calling for conversation cuts again this summer, I’m really out of ways to cut water, short of stopping showering or washing clothes (I think my co-workers would object…).

    On a collective level, I really don’t know what to do. Do folks on this board pay attention to what their local water authorities are doing or proposing as far as water contingency planning? I know desal is controversial for multiple reasons (and the MMWD seems to have considered it recently, but dismissed it, but I wonder that they won’t reconsider in the future). I know dams (either the building of new ones or increasing capacity) are also controversial (don’t know if anyone saw Patagonia’s DamNation….) for multiple reasons. I just wonder that as this drought drags on, what kind of hard decisions are going to have to be made, and to what extent folks on this board have or will get involved in the advocacy side of things. I know sometimes all you can do is wait, but when I see the pictures coming out of Sao Paulo, the idea of just “waiting it out” kind of scares me. I hate passivity. : )

    • Bob G

      Long term, who knows what the state is going to do. I am in Central CA. Most cities in my area rely on wells and don’t have a surface water source so while they are looking to conserve water, not going to be anything dire yet. Ag is going to be hit hard again depending on water rights. Senior water rights holders will be getting some water, others will be gettting no water this year. Southern Central CA will be a disaster. Many people in the Bay Area don’t realize how bad this drought is really becoming but that is going to change.

    • RSpringbok

      Write your congressperson and ask them to support HR 1060. This bipartisan bill by Garamendi (D) and LaMalfa (R) will speed the approval of the Sites Reservoir. Voters authorized funds for this new dam.

      • No point. We need rain to fill up the Reservoir.

        • RSpringbok

          I have the opposite impression. Sites is surface storage, getting water diverted from the Sacramento River when flows are high. Consider last December’s AR event — there was a lot of runoff that fed into the Sac River south of Shasta Dam that just ran out to sea. With Sites a considerable amount of that high water could have been captured, both for farmers and for the delta ecosystem later in the year.

          If these infrequent warm rain events are California’s future we are going to need more surface retention and storage projects like Sites.

    • Bartshe

      Sounds like you have done your part and more.

      The situation in Sao Paulo has little in common with CA except drought. The degree of infrastructure neglect, poor planning, and utter disregard for environmental regulation has positioned that city in the cross hairs of disaster. California absolutely has its share of challenges in these departments, but we look like water utopia in comparison.

      No complacency of course, but we are better off looking toward what Australia achieved in the face of unprecedented drought (Millenium Drought) for some interesting solutions.

      Suspect there will long be enough water for urban use in CA (plenty of opportunities & innovations remain in the toolbox–though none cheap or easy), but the environment and agriculture will suffer beyond comprehension if drought and heat continue to mount. There are fewer opportunities to assist these victims. Dramatic changes are already underway beyond the scope of daily news/business. These changes are slower and not so easily noticed until they reach the point of no return. Oh yeah, and then there’s the ski industry…

      • redlands

        There was an article last few days in the San Bernardino Sun — talking bout the drought — stating there might have to be restrictions – where one could only water outside once a week – during certain times during the day. Theres gonna be a lot of plants, trees suffering/dying because of there restrictions. Kinda upsets me when I see new housing developments in the Redlands, Ca — Southern Calif — new houses popping up — we have too many people — Calif does not need any more people — where are they gonna get the water ??? Makes no sense !!!!

  • supercell1545

    I hate the GFS! They build it up and build it up and then just when you think you’re absolutely looking at something significant, it just disappears!

    • so.cal.storm.lover

      Then it comes back 2 days later then disappears again.

    • Obsessed

      The GFS and the RRR are in collaboration to torture us.

    • Aloha12

      Our tax $ at work.

    • SoCalWXwatcher

      It would be a feather in the GFS’ hat to beat the ECMWF which currently has over 6 times the processing power of the GFS, but I’m not rooting for the underdog on this one. It will be white-knuckle time when the 00UTC ECMWF starts spitting out charts this evening.

  • rob b

    I am totally confused now-if I am correct the 18zGFS via http://meteocentre.com/models/models.php?map=na&lang=en is still showing rain next week. The 18z via http://www.cnrfc.noaa.gov/weather_models.php shows nothing?

    • TahoeCard

      It says Wed 18z but after the first few slides is reverting to yesterdays. Look at initialization date at bottom of slides

  • Obsessed

    The latest from NWS Sacramento:

    “The ridge gradually weakens on Monday and then shifts eastward on
    Tuesday. High temperatures should lower a few degrees each day.
    Models continue to show the approach of a system for mid to late
    week, but have slowed the onset of precipitation some, especially
    the latest runs of the ECMWF. The GFS is now showing a weaker wave
    pushing in Tuesday night and Wednesday, while the ECMWF and the
    GEM still show a significant upper level trough moving in for
    Wednesday and Thursday. In spite of differences in timing and
    intensity, the bottom line is that there is increasing confidence
    for some precipitation mid to late next week. How widespread and
    just how wet it will be remains to be seen. Snow levels are
    expected to start over 8000 feet, lowering to pass levels and
    potentially a little lower. An unsettled pattern could bring
    additional periods of precipitation into the weekend.”

  • inclinejj

    http://www.waterfence.com

    Ran across this the other day, pretty smart kid.

    • gray whale

      very cool

    • dylan

      That’s amazing!

  • Bob G

    CPC 6 to 10 and 8 to 14 day outlook

    PROGNOSTIC DISCUSSION FOR 6 TO 10 AND 8 TO 14 DAY OUTLOOKS
    NWS CLIMATE PREDICTION CENTER COLLEGE PARK, MD
    300 PM EST WED MARCH 04 2015

    6-10 DAY OUTLOOK FOR MAR 10 – 14 2015

    TODAY’S MODEL SOLUTIONS ARE IN GOOD AGREEMENT ON THE 500-HPA PATTERN FORECAST
    FOR THE 6-10 DAY PERIOD. ALL ENSEMBLE MODELS ARE FORECASTING A TROUGH OVER
    EASTERN ALASKA EXTENDING INTO THE NORTH PACIFIC, A RIDGE OVER WESTERN CANADA,
    SPLIT-FLOW WITH A TROUGH OVER THE CENTRAL CONUS INTO MEXICO, AND A TROUGH OVER
    EASTERN CANADA AND NORTHERN NEW ENGLAND. NEGATIVE 500-HPA HEIGHT ANOMALIES ARE
    FORECAST OVER NORTHERN MAINE AND SOUTHERN TEXAS BY MOST MODELS, AND POSITIVE
    HEIGHT ANOMALIES ARE FORECAST OVER THE REST OF THE CONUS.

    ENHANCED PROBABILITIES OF BELOW-NORMAL TEMPERATURES ARE FORECAST OVER SOUTHERN
    REGIONS OF NEW MEXICO AND TEXAS, AS WELL AS A SMALL PORTION OF NEW ENGLAND,
    UNDER NEAR OR BELOW-NORMAL HEIGHTS. PREDICTED ABOVE-NORMAL 500-HPA HEIGHTS
    ALOFT ENHANCE PROBABILITIES FOR ABOVE-NORMAL TEMPERATURES OVER THE REST OF THE
    CONUS. ABOVE-NORMAL TEMPERATURES ARE MOST LIKELY FOR THE SOUTHERN ALASKA
    PANHANDLE AND THE NORTH SLOPE, WHILE BELOW-NORMAL TEMPERATURES ARE MOST LIKELY
    FOR MOST OF SOUTHERN ALASKA, WHERE BELOW-NORMAL HEIGHTS ARE PREDICTED.

    ABOVE-MEDIAN PRECIPITATION IS MOST LIKELY FOR THE PACIFIC COASTAL REGION FROM
    CENTRAL CALIFORNIA NORTHWARD, AS WELL AS FOR PARTS OF ALASKA INCLUDING THE
    PANHANDLE, AHEAD OF THE TROUGH OVER THE NORTH PACIFIC. ABOVE-MEDIAN
    PRECIPITATION IS ALSO MOST LIKELY FOR PARTS OF THE FOUR CORNERS REGION AND
    SOUTHERN TEXAS AS WELL AS THE SOUTHEAST, AHEAD OF THE SOUTHERN STREAM TROUGH.
    BELOW-MEDIAN PRECIPITATION PROBABILITIES ARE ENHANCED FROM THE CENTRAL AND
    NORTHERN PLAINS INTO THE NORTHEAST, DOWNSTREAM OF THE PREDICTED RIDGE.

    TODAY’S OFFICIAL 500-HPA BLEND CONSISTS OF 25% OF TODAY’S 6Z GFS ENSEMBLE MEAN
    CENTERED ON DAY 8, 40% OF TODAY’S 0Z EUROPEAN ENSEMBLE MEAN CENTERED ON DAY 8,
    10% OF TODAY’S OPERATIONAL 0Z ECMWF CENTERED ON DAY 8, AND 25% OF TODAY’S 0Z
    CANADIAN ENSEMBLE MEAN CENTERED ON DAY 8

    MODEL OF THE DAY: THE 00Z ECMWF ENSEMBLE MEAN

    FORECAST CONFIDENCE FOR THE 6-10 DAY PERIOD: ABOVE AVERAGE, 4 OUT OF 5, DUE TO
    GOOD AGREEMENT AMONG THE MODEL FORECASTS AND AMONG THE TEMPERATURE AND
    PRECIPITATION TOOLS.

    8-14 DAY OUTLOOK FOR MAR 12 – 18 2015

    ENSEMBLE MODEL PREDICTIONS OF THE 500-HPA HEIGHT PATTERN FOR THE WEEK-2 PERIOD
    ARE IN FAIR AGREEMENT OVER NORTH AMERICA. ABOVE-NORMAL 500-HPA HEIGHTS OVER THE
    WESTERN CONUS ARE EXPECTED TO WEAKEN FROM THE 6-10 DAY PERIOD TO THE 8-14 DAY
    PERIOD, AS ABOVE-NORMAL 500-HPA HEIGHT ANOMALIES PROGRESS EASTWARD TO BE
    CENTERED OVER PRIMARILY THE EASTERN CONUS DURING THE 8-14 DAY PERIOD.

    FROM THE 6-10 DAY PERIOD TO THE 8-14 DAY PERIOD, THERE ARE ONLY SMALL CHANGES
    IN THE TEMPERATURE PATTERN OVER THE U.S., WHILE THERE ARE MORE SIGNIFICANT
    CHANGES TO THE PRECIPITATION PATTERN. PROBABILITIES OF BELOW-NORMAL
    TEMPERATURES ARE NO LONGER ENHANCED OVER NEW ENGLAND WHERE NEAR-NORMAL
    TEMPERATURES ARE MORE LIKELY, AS ABOVE-NORMAL 500-HPA HEIGHT ANOMALIES ARE
    PREDICTED TO INCREASE. ENHANCED PROBABILITIES OF ABOVE-NORMAL TEMPERATURES HAVE
    DECREASED OVER THE WEST AS ABOVE-NORMAL HEIGHT ANOMALIES DECREASE IN MODEL
    FORECASTS.

    ABOVE-MEDIAN PRECIPITATION CHANCES ARE ENHANCED FOR A LARGER AREA OF THE WEST
    WITH DECREASING POSITIVE HEIGHT ANOMALIES, WHILE PROBABILITIES OF ABOVE-MEDIAN
    PRECIPITATION ARE INCREASING FOR THE SOUTHEAST AHEAD OF A RELATIVE TROUGH OVER
    THE SOUTH-CENTRAL CONUS. BELOW-MEDIAN PRECIPITATION OVER THE CENTRAL AND
    NORTHERN PLAINS, THAT IS MOST LIKELY IN THE 6-10 DAY PERIOD, IS LESS LIKELY IN
    THE 8-14 DAY PERIOD, WITH NEAR-MEDIAN PRECIPITATION FAVORED OVER MUCH OF THE
    REGION AND ABOVE-MEDIAN PRECIPITATION MOST LIKELY FOR EASTERN PORTIONS OF THE
    NORTHERN PLAINS INTO THE WESTERN GREAT LAKES REGION.

    THE OFFICIAL 8-14 DAY HEIGHT PROG CONSISTS OF: 25% OF TODAY’S 6Z GFS ENSEMBLE
    MEAN CENTERED ON DAY 11, 50% OF TODAY’S 0Z EUROPEAN ENSEMBLE MEAN CENTERED ON
    DAY 11, AND 25% OF TODAY’S 0Z CANADIAN ENSEMBLE MEAN CENTERED ON DAY 11

    FORECAST CONFIDENCE FOR THE 8-14 DAY PERIOD IS: AVERAGE, 3 OUT OF 5, DUE TO
    GOOD AGREEMENT AMONG THE TEMPERATURE AND PRECIPITATION TOOLS, OFFSET BY
    INCREASED UNCERTAINTY WITH THE EASTWARD PROGRESSION OF THE CIRCULATION PATTERN
    FROM THE 6-10 DAY PERIOD TO THE 8-14 DAY PERIOD.

    FORECASTER: DAN COLLINS

    NOTES:

    AUTOMATED FORECASTS ARE ISSUED ON SATURDAY AND SUNDAY. OCCASIONALLY MANUAL
    INTERVENTION IS NECESSARY TO ADDRESS QUALITY CONTROL AND CONSISTENCY ISSUES.
    IN THESE CASES, FORECASTS ARE MANUALLY DRAWN BUT A FULL DISCUSSION IS NOT
    ISSUED.

    THE NOTATION FOR THE CATEGORICAL FORECAST INDICATED ON THE MAPS IS
    THE SAME AS THAT IN THE TABLES: A-ABOVE N-NEAR NORMAL B-BELOW

    THE TEMPERATURE MAP SHOWS REGIONS WITH > 33% CHANCE OF BEING WARMER
    (ORANGE, “A”), COLDER (BLUE, “B”), OR CLOSE TO (UNSHADED, “N”)
    HISTORICAL AVERAGE VALUES FOR THE CALENDAR PERIOD OF THE FORECAST
    (DASHES, “F”). LABELS ON THE SHADED LINES GIVE THE PROBABILITY
    (> 33%) OF THE MORE LIKELY CATEGORY (B OR A). PROBABILITY OF N IS
    ALWAYS 33% CHANCE OF BEING
    WETTER (GREEN, “A”), DRIER (TAN, “B”), OR CLOSE TO (UNSHADED, “N”)
    HISTORICAL MEDIAN VALUES FOR THE CALENDAR PERIOD OF THE FORECAST
    (DASHES, “INCHES”). LABELS ON THE SHADED LINES GIVE THE PROBABILITY
    (> 33%) OF THE MORE LIKELY CATEGORY (B OR A). PROBABILITY OF N IS
    ALWAYS < 40%.

    IN THE SOUTHWEST AND OTHER CLIMATOLOGICALLY DRY REGIONS – THERE WILL
    BE A GREATER THAN 33.3% CHANCE OF NO PRECIPITATION AND OCCASIONALLY
    EVEN A NORMAL (I.E. MEDIAN) VALUE OF ZERO – ESPECIALLY DURING THE DRY
    SEASONS. IN SUCH CASES A FORECAST OF NEAR NORMAL IS EFFECTIVELY A
    FORECAST OF LITTLE OR NO PRECIPITATION.

    THE CLIMATE PREDICTION CENTER USES 1981-2010 BASE PERIOD MEANS FOR
    TEMPERATURE…PRECIPITATION…AND 500-HPA HEIGHTS AS REFERENCE IN
    THE CLIMATE OUTLOOKS.

    THE NEXT SET OF LONG-LEAD MONTHLY AND SEASONAL OUTLOOKS WILL BE RELEASED ON
    MARCH 19

    ANALOGS TO THE 5 DAY MEAN OBSERVED PATTERN CENTERED 3 DAYS AGO (D-3)
    FOR THE REGION FROM 20N TO 70N LATITUDE AND 175E TO 60W LONGITUDE
    INCLUDE THE 5 DAY PERIODS CENTERED ON THE FOLLOWING DATES:
    19890213 – 19660214 – 19560311 – 20060219 – 19670306

    ANALOGS TO THE 7 DAY MEAN OBSERVED PATTERN CENTERED 4 DAYS AGO (D-4)
    FOR THE REGION FROM 20N TO 70N LATITUDE AND 175E TO 60W LONGITUDE
    INCLUDE THE 7 DAY PERIODS CENTERED ON THE FOLLOWING DATES:
    19890212 – 20060219 – 19890217 – 20020304 – 19670307

    6-10 DAY OUTLOOK TABLE
    OUTLOOK FOR MAR 10 – 14 2015

    STATE TEMP PCPN STATE TEMP PCPN STATE TEMP PCPN
    WASHINGTON A A OREGON A A NRN CALIF A A
    SRN CALIF A N IDAHO A N NEVADA A N
    W MONTANA A N E MONTANA A B WYOMING A N
    UTAH A A ARIZONA A A COLORADO A N
    NEW MEXICO N A N DAKOTA A B S DAKOTA A B
    NEBRASKA A B KANSAS A B OKLAHOMA A B
    N TEXAS N N S TEXAS B A W TEXAS B A
    MINNESOTA A B IOWA A B MISSOURI A B
    ARKANSAS A N LOUISIANA N A WISCONSIN A B
    ILLINOIS A B MISSISSIPPI A A MICHIGAN A B
    INDIANA A B OHIO A B KENTUCKY A N
    TENNESSEE A A ALABAMA A A NEW YORK N B
    VERMONT N B NEW HAMP N B MAINE N B
    MASS B B CONN B B RHODE IS B B
    PENN N B NEW JERSEY N B W VIRGINIA A N
    MARYLAND N B DELAWARE N B VIRGINIA A N
    N CAROLINA A A S CAROLINA A A GEORGIA A A
    FL PNHDL A A FL PENIN A A AK N SLOPE A N
    AK ALEUTIAN B N AK WESTERN N N AK INT BSN B N
    AK S INT B N AK SO COAST B N AK PNHDL N A

    8-14 DAY OUTLOOK TABLE
    OUTLOOK FOR MAR 12 – 18 2015

    STATE TEMP PCPN STATE TEMP PCPN STATE TEMP PCPN
    WASHINGTON A A OREGON A A NRN CALIF A A
    SRN CALIF A N IDAHO A A NEVADA A A
    W MONTANA A N E MONTANA A N WYOMING A N
    UTAH A A ARIZONA A N COLORADO N N
    NEW MEXICO N A N DAKOTA A A S DAKOTA A N
    NEBRASKA A N KANSAS A N OKLAHOMA A N
    N TEXAS A A S TEXAS B A W TEXAS B A
    MINNESOTA A A IOWA A N MISSOURI A N
    ARKANSAS A A LOUISIANA A A WISCONSIN A N
    ILLINOIS A N MISSISSIPPI A A MICHIGAN A N
    INDIANA A N OHIO A N KENTUCKY A A
    TENNESSEE A A ALABAMA A A NEW YORK A N
    VERMONT A B NEW HAMP N B MAINE A B
    MASS N B CONN N N RHODE IS N N
    PENN A N NEW JERSEY N N W VIRGINIA A A
    MARYLAND A A DELAWARE A A VIRGINIA A A
    N CAROLINA A A S CAROLINA A A GEORGIA A A
    FL PNHDL A A FL PENIN A A AK N SLOPE A N
    AK ALEUTIAN N N AK WESTERN N A AK INT BSN N N
    AK S INT B N AK SO COAST B B AK PNHDL N A

    LEGEND
    TEMPS WITH RESPECT TO NORMAL PCPN WITH RESPECT TO MEDIAN
    A – ABOVE N – NEAR NORMAL A – ABOVE N – NEAR MEDIAN
    B – BELOW B – BELOW

    THE FORECAST CLASSES REPRESENT AVERAGES FOR EACH STATE. NORMAL
    VALUES – WHICH MAY VARY WIDELY ACROSS SOME STATES – ARE
    AVAILABLE FROM YOUR LOCAL WEATHER SERVICE FORECAST OFFICE.

    FOR ADDITIONAL INFORMATION SEE MESSAGE FXUS06 KWBC – ON AWIPS AS
    PMDMRD.

    $$

  • Crouching Dallas

    Latest Euro counter to GFSaysNo. This truly is a battle. Today we are all sleepy Spaniards and smelly Frenchies.

    • SoCalWXwatcher

      What, you left out the Brits? What would your In-Laws say? 😉

      • Crouching Dallas

        Ha! They’d love it, actually – those soggy islanders hate everyone on the continent! As my father in law fondly says, “the only good German is a dead one.”

        He is of course kidding. I think.

    • Bob G

      Hopefully the Euro kicks rear end

    • Bartshe

      Reality is that the Ridge bats last and usually pulls out a win.

    • Jose Mota

      This is look a good sleying whether?

  • supercell1545

    The one thing I’ve picked up from the GFS’s handling of this system is that they have no idea what they’re even doing until a storm is 3 days out. That’s the way I’ve seen the GFS for a while now. They’re consistent on one thing, and that’s being inconsistent.

  • And there it goes. GFS essentially dry again for 10+ days. A Miracle March would have to occur all in the final two weeks at this point…

    • kipling

      so does this mean you are trusting the GFS over what the European model is forecasting? Or have the models come into agreement on this depressing outlook?

      • ECMWF is wetter, but also trending drier. Not a slam dunk either way, but the trend isn’t promising.

    • supercell1545

      Oh crap!

      • Bob G

        See my link to the GFS above

    • Crouching Dallas

      All due respecto, Señor Swain, but I hope that you’re terribly wrong about this!

      (and I’ll bet that you feel the same!)

    • Obsessed

      Swain, once again, keepin’ it on the realest.

    • jstrahl

      Or else the GFS would turn out to be a loser to the Euro.

    • Boiio

      Wait until the 0z before you give up hope….

    • OMG!!!

    • alanstorm

      Neat.

    • weathergeek100

      I really have no words anymore.

  • Sierra snow water equivalent has hit an observational record low as of today. Yikes. http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2015/03/150304-snow-snowpack-california-drought-groundwater-crisis/?now=2015-03-04-00:01

    • Bob G

      LOL, is that some sort of surprise? We see a tweet or posting about it every day.

      • Bartshe

        reaches a national audience, we’re mostly locals here.

    • SoCalWXwatcher

      Hard to imagine that not causing serious ecological damage in the Sierra. How many consecutive record dry years can those forest systems endure?

      • SlashTurn

        Last years monsoon really helped isolated sections of the Eastern Sierra so lets hope this year gets more widespread.

        • Bartshe

          helped like a man dying of thirst who gets a thimble full of water.

          • Archeron

            I dont know. I think with the insanely warmer ssts we might be in for an i terering summer.

      • Bartshe

        already happening

    • dylan

      Just keeps getting worse

  • yenlard

    How can both these models be so different?

    • SlashTurn

      garbage in/garbage out…

      • Azmordean

        Usually the Euro is far more accurate than the GFS. GFS gets a lot more play here because the Euro isn’t available for free.

        But there’s a “the trend is you friend” argument in favor of the GFS, since the trend is dry. That said, the GFS is flip flopping a bit. It had the storm in the 12z, lost it in the 18z. Should see if it comes back in the 0z. Generally the 0z and 12z are more accurate runs.

        • ECMWF had some edge on GFS, though with the recent upgrade they’re essentially neck-and-neck. I do agree that the GFS is favored in casual discussion since the products are freely available (which is not really a justifiable reason! 😉 )–but I myself am guilty of this as I don’t have access to some really basic stuff from the ECMWF (Levi Cowan’s site is the best in the world for this as far as I’m aware, but it’s still limited).

    • SoCalWXwatcher

      Different approaches – the GFS crunches a smaller amount of data but is run every 6 hours, while the ECMWF crunches a larger amount of data but is only run every 12 hours.

      This article is a couple years old, but explains some of the differences. The GFS has been upgraded quite a bit since this was written though:

      http://www.energyblogs.com/weather/index.cfm/2014/1/6/Differences-Between-the-GFS-and-ECMWF-Weather-Models

  • Bob G

    GFS vs Euro – Interesting piece at WSI.blog.

    http://www.wsi.com/blog/energy/medium-range-mayhem-gfs-v-ecm/

  • Ian Alan

    Two words – Screwed!!

    • jstrahl

      Again, if you believe the GFS over the other models.

      • Bartshe

        Euro is not trending the right direction

        • SlashTurn

          Elaborate…is the 00z dry?

          • Bartshe

            no, but less intense and farther north with low pressure

          • Archeron

            How far north?

          • SoCalWXwatcher

            ECMWF output for 03/05/14 00UTC isn’t available yet is it?

      • weathergeek100

        GFS usually is the first one to go dry, then the others follow its trend. Already NWS Monterey has changed its tune with the end of its most recent discussion mentioning the low may “go by to the north or stay offshore as a cutoff”. It’s so ridiculously frustrating.

        • jstrahl

          So you’re totally dismissing the several analyses by Howard, Weather Center,… re how the GFS and Euro are diverging?

    • Joseph B.

      Isn’t that only one word? 😉

      • Ian Alan

        Exactly, that’s how bad it is!

    • weathergeek100

      It’s insanely frustrating. Good thing there’s a blog like this we can all vent on. I mean, that’s it. Climatologically, it’s all over. The dry season is quickly coming upon us. I’m in absolute disbelief that the season turned out like this.

      • thlnk3r

        For myself I’m not surprised. Southern California usually has 3-4 dry years before we get a wet year and then after that it goes back to dry. Very typical pattern for down here. The past 3 years have been dry so I’m expecting a wet one around the corner 😉

        • Archeron

          Agreed. Its not like we javent had droughts before and they usually come in a series of 3 to 4 years. We just now have a lot more people in the state thatn before which taxes our resevoirs a lot harder. It might help a bit if they built more.

  • Jose Mota

    I scratched my heads in frustrashen when to look at the model. Is make a miserable to my emoshion this game to play. I make a nother new sley this after noon and the family is ready now.

    • Mike Stephenson

      You can use a trash can lid as a sleigh! And make sure you bring enough blankets for everyone this time in the van!

    • Crouching Dallas

      No te preocupes, José – ¡se puede hacer la “”sley”” en el mar también!

      La llamamos “surfing”!

  • RSpringbok

    Excellent chart that visually demonstrates the drastic change in snow levels in the West and the massive shrinkage of snow coverage. The Sierra freezing level in Feb 2015 was a whopping 3,350 ft higher than normal… http://goo.gl/cF4Ieg

  • weathergeek100

    We get excited for late January- nothing happens. We get excited for mid-February- nothing happens. We get excited for late February/early March- nothing happens (well, something happened in SoCal with spotty showers in NorCal interior, but we all know what we REALLY want. San Fran got 0.00 from those two storms.) Then we got excited for mid-March- what do you think is going to happen?

    most likely….NOTHING.

    Oh well! Maybe next year.

    • Mike Stephenson

      Can we still get a nice cutoff low in april? (As unlikely as it is) The winter death grip has to start loosening sometime and maby something can sneak by. A cutoff low this late should be very convective!

      • weathergeek100

        It won’t do anything though. It’s already too late. I’m awaiting headlines from the media now about what kind of water shortages the Central Valley….and dare me say it, urban coastal areas face this summer. This is very very very bad.

    • jstrahl

      Say you toss a coin four times and get four heads. What’s the probability that you get tails on the fourth?!

      • Mike Stephenson

        (You mean the fifth time) its still 50%. However in black jack when you lose 4 hands in a row, the chance of winning the 5th seems higher than 50% (I know the true odds are like 47% or w/e)

  • weathergeek100

    Just think about how much worse it’s gotten. Imagine if our snowpack was 50% of normal instead of 15% or whatever it is. That would be a dream! What’s funny is that back in October, we were all freaking out about what’s going to happen if we have another dry year. We were hoping for an above normal year but even a normal year would be nice. A 100% snowpack would alleviate some short-term drought concerns but nowhere near the long term improvement we need. We need several wetter than normal years to get us out of this hole. A 50% of our normal snowpack would be an absolute nightmare. No way could we get only HALF of our normal precip. That would be very dangerous and only exacerbate the drought conditions from worse to….uhhh…..even worse.

    Today, a 50% snowpack would mean that we got 3x the snow that fell in the Sierra this season. It would be a dream come true!

    JUST PUTTING THINGS INTO PERSPECTIVE, YOU KNOW?

    • Mike Stephenson

      We were all so excited by the end of December…. Well at least the hills are green here instead of brown like last year. These Canada bombs were better than nothing down here, but man this is going to be a brutal summer for everything!

      • redlands

        In Redlands, Ca — Southern California — I recorded the 2nd wettest Dec in 2014, however after that — Jan/Feb been a big flop !!!! — I was excited too that we would have a good season — but its been another flop season

        • Dan the Weatherman

          We have had too many dry months during the heart of winter during the last few years. I think the same dominating factor(s) has/have been driving our pattern since sometime either in 2012 or 2013.

        • redlands

          last good month was December 2010 – when I recorded over 10 inches –in Redlands, Ca — Southern Calif

    • jstrahl

      The perspective i see is that you’re really depressed about the season so far. So am i. But please try to keep that in context.

    • SFBay2

      Remember – when viewed from a water perspective, the picture is a bit brighter.

      • redlands

        Explain – please how its brighter ???

        • Tuolumne

          Because total precipitation as a percent of normal is in better shape than the snowpack as percent of normal.

          The usual winter/spring snowpack has two main benefits. First, as it melts it’s like delayed precipitation. By then the flood season is largely over so it’s possible to let snowmelt fill up the reservoirs more than would be allowed in winter. It’s like a huge temporary reservoir whose contents transfer into our regular reservoirs in the April-June period. However, with our reservoirs so low this situation no longer holds- we can expect our reservoirs to catch and hold any runuff we can reasonably expect to receive during the paltry remainder of our wet season. So purely from a water supply standpoint we could use more of either rain or snow right now.

          The other benefit of our snowpack is again the simulation of delayed precipitation. As the snowpack melts, it waters the mountain vegetation and delays greatly its drying out. This is a big reason why so many people in the mountains are so concerned- this year the vegetation won’t get that boost much if at all, and things are going to be very dry up there with probably a huge increase in fire risk and intensity.

          • redlands

            Are we really that much better — looking at my stats in Redlands, Ca- Southern Calif — its like getting a 50% grade on your 1st exam — the second grade u get is 52% — its still an F

    • Quagmire Cliffington

      YEAH MAN WE KNOW.

  • SoCalWXwatcher

    3/5/15 00UTC ECMWF, 4pm PST Thursday (top) & 4pm PST Friday (bottom).

    • Crouching Dallas

      Was just looking at these. What’s your take? Certainly a boost over the GFS, right? Scaled back for sure, but at least it’s something.

      PS Thanks in advance for the help! You should get an WW award (WaWard?) or something for schooling us n00bs on this stuff.

      • SoCalWXwatcher

        Without benefit of a precipitation chart for the Euro, it’s hard to infer how wet, but it’s definitely a low pressure system hitting CA, which I’d gladly take over a ridge. Doesn’t look as potent as earlier runs, but I have a feeling models are going to keep fiddling with different solutions over the next few days before reaching a consensus.

        • Xerophobe

          It’s not all that $$. Obviously posting ECMWF stuff except for what is free and open on the net is big no, no.
          All I can tell you is the 00Z 192 hr you have posted above shows some precip for NorCal and more as you go north. Not a lot though in CA, yet it gets wetter..still not a lot. I think we need to wait 10 days to see if late March is wet or not. Things get pushed into the future and fizzle. At least MJO that Howard has mentioned is possible light for late March.

  • I’m not too happy with the 0z GFS loop right now…

  • Someone on my Instagram feed posted this picture of a Ski Resort in Lake Tahoe a few days ago. Very disturbing….

    • thunderstorm98

      So much snow. 🙁

    • Bandini

      Dude as horrendous as it is up here right now, and anyone living in the Sierra will surely confirm how ugly things are, it seems to me irresponsible to post a picture that is not accurate for shock value. That picture was not taken “a few days ago.” A few days ago would be Monday, and Monday was preceded by roughly three days of snow which varied from 12-32″ at most resorts. Will the bases look like like that again next week after several days of 60F+ heat, most certainly, but not one resort looked like that “a few days ago.” Last week I was mountain biking on trails that should be buried in snow, this week they’re unridable. I still have snow all over my neighborhood and i’m lower than any resort around here. I don’t work for the ski industry luckily, but honestly the best skiing of 2015 has been the past few days.

      • I was not trying to cause “shock value.” I was just sharing what I saw posted. I should have stated “several” days ago.

        • Bandini

          Hey Geo, sorry to sound agro. I just wanted to point out that the photo didn’t seem up to date, I could have gone about it differently. I don’t think that you posted it for shock value, the situation is horrendous for sure. I always enjoy reading your posts and learning from them.

    • AlTahoe

      That is Homewood on the west shore and the base probably has about 6″ of snow still from the last storm. Here in South Lake our 4″ of snow has melted already so only the base of Heavenly on the California side looks like that currently.

  • Ian Alan

    06z GFS is ever so slightly ‘better’ than 00z – but still laughable….

    NWS SD discussion, the redundant return of the RRR. At least temporarily, but that’s how it always starts right…..

    WHILE A HUGE SWATH OF THE SOUTHERN AND EASTERN UNITED STATES WILL
    BE DIGGING OUT FROM HEAVY SNOWFALL THIS MORNING…TEMPERATURES
    WILL BE ON THE RISE ACROSS SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA. WARM WEATHER WILL
    BE THE STORY THROUGH THE END OF THE WEEK WITH TEMPERATURES TOPPING
    OUT FRIDAY THROUGH SUNDAY BY AS MUCH AS 17 DEGREES ABOVE NORMAL.
    THE CAUSE FOR ALL OF THIS WARM WEATHER WILL BE A STRENGTHENING
    UPPER LEVEL HIGH PRESSURE CELL ACROSS THE EASTERN PACIFIC AND
    NORTHERN CALIFORNIA…WHICH WILL PERSIST THROUGH THE UPCOMING
    WEEKEND.

    Now, some good news…..kinda? Sorta? Maybe? Not really? I hope…..

    A SIGNIFICANT PATTERN CHANGE IS STILL LIKELY FOR MID NEXT
    WEEK…ALTHOUGH THE DETAILS ARE A BIT FOGGY AT THIS MOMENT. WE ARE
    CONTINUING TO MENTION A SLIGHT CHANCE FOR PRECIPITATION ON
    WEDNESDAY…ALTHOUGH THE FORECASTER CONFIDENCE IS LOW AT THIS
    POINT DUE TO SO MUCH RUN TO RUN VARIANCE IN THE MODELS. A WETTER
    PATTERN IS STILL POSSIBLE FOR LATE NEXT WEEK…BEYOND OUR
    OPERATIONAL FORECAST PERIOD….SO KEEP AN EYE ON OUR LATER
    FORECASTS FOR MORE DETAILS!

  • Emerald

    To prevent myself from getting depressed, I’m just pretending it’s summertime and this weather is unseasonably cold.

    • Dan weather maniac

      Haha. Sounds like a strategy I would use! I like it.

      What nice unseasonably cool weather for a late June day, inland east bay. Could be 90…..nope 73!!!!.

  • snarflebarf .

    Update from the Euro-GFS staring contest: It seems at 06z, the GFS blinked!

    • snarflebarf .

      And my first venture into disqus image posting is only semi successful…

      • Ian Alan

        It’s happened to all of us – lol

      • SoCalWXwatcher

        Disqus is clunkier than that old Daewoo Lanos I used to commute to work in.

      • RSpringbok

        Look at the bright side. The accidental extra image could have been a lot more embarrassing than that.

    • SoCalWXwatcher

      Wait a minute, you mean the GFS uses an old version of Adobe InDesign, running on an old version of Mac OS? (first image)
      That explains a lot 😉

  • David Thomas

    weather W dont give up yet even if the GFS dos not have any thing for us we still have 2 other mode runs too look at

    AREA FORECAST DISCUSSION
    NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE SACRAMENTO CA
    236 AM PST Thu Mar 5 2015

    Tuesday
    night onward, still a bit of discrepancy between model solutions.
    Large scale trough and associated low will continue to spin
    offshore as it slowly moves eastward by mid-week. GFS continues to
    depict a weak shortwave moving thru far northern portions of the
    state Tuesday night into Wednesday with most of the area remaining
    dry as parent low moves far north into WA and western Canada. Latest
    ECMWF and GEM depict a more significant system for NorCal with
    several waves moving across the state beginning Wednesday and
    continuing thru the end of the week as low cutoffs and drops south
    across CA. Thus tricky forecast remains this far out but at least
    there is some sign of precipitation by mid to late next week

    seems like sac is learning more for the ECMWF and gem then the GFS

  • Archeron

    I do not think even with how bad things are that this is a permanent deal for us. Of course our frustrated side tells us this is how it will be forever, but in reality these droughts are not abnormal. This past year we received a lot more rain than previous years with storms in October and a good part of December. The prior year that was non-existent. Maybe its a slow change back to the norm, or maybe not. Just trying to keep some of the positivity alive!

    • SoCalWXwatcher

      It’s been my feeling that this multi-year severe drought will be followed by multiple seasons of damaging El Niño storms. The pendulum making bigger swings between wet and dry, with both the dry and the wet years being warmer than those of the past.

      • weatherhead

        I get that same feeling. It seems to me that if the jet stream is unstable, it could swing either way. BTW, it has been hypothesized that this is what took down Anghor Wat, which was the biggest empire in the world at that time.

        http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/03/100329203547.htm

        • Xerophobe

          Would be interesting to compare their drought to other areas of the earth that experienced a very wet time period. Thanks for info…new to me.

      • jstrahl

        Makes a lot of sense. I too see that as likely.

    • Obsessed

      The strong possibility of climate change being a factor puts this drought in unknown and unprecedented territory. I don’t know if the natural cycles will hold through this time.

    • AlTahoe

      This drought is most definitely abnormal compared to the big droughts of the 1920’s, 1975-1977, and the 80’s droughts. In our normal drought cycles storms still come out of the gulf of Alaska but the fronts tend to wash out and weaken over the state. Then High pressure moves back in before the storm door really opens They still bring a little bit of snow and cold air with them.

      This drought has been abnormal in the sense that not a single storm from the Gulf of Alaska has come into California with a weakening cold front since Dec 2012. We are just getting these weird Sub tropical storms that come up from the south or an occasional inside slider from the Great Basin. In our time of record keeping this setup as never happened before.

      This stat will illustrate it nicely on how abnormal this is. The worst snowfall winters I can find for lake Tahoe is somewhere around 50-70″ of snow during the 1976-1977 winter. If I combine last winter’s and this winters snowfall together at my house I get 37″ of snow. Research papers indicate that the snowfall during 1976-1977 was a once in a 100 – 250 year scenario. If the last two winters combined don’t even equal that one I am not sure what that puts this as.

      • Tim

        Excellent post, could not agree more. My recollection of the 75 – 7 drought was how it was cold and clear for weeks on end in winter, no 70’s and surely no 80’s. These last three years just don’t have any coralary to that mid 70’s drought in my mind

        I started following this blog a year and a half ago when my favorite Resevor (Uvas) dried up and the triathlon events for last year were cancelled or moved. Uvas is now at the highest level it’s been at in four years and just one more big storm from cresting the dam. I never would have thought that could happen in one year without the Sierra’s being buried in snow but I too expect the Gulf of Alaska storms to bring us rain and this new normal of LA like winter weather is something I’ve never seen in my 50+ years here.

        I can’t remember the last true GOA rain event yet San Jose will likely end season at or above normal, but it’s not normal in any way

        • AlTahoe

          I actually grew up in Morgan Hill as a kid during the 80’s drought and all of the reservoir’s were empty. The first time they filled up my brother and I were amazed as they had always just been ponds.

      • Xerophobe

        good link…http://www.wrcc.dri.edu/
        Good point about GOA storms this year compared to the other drought years.

      • Charlie B

        You hit the nail on the head. Remember, this year many locations in California have near normal precipitation totals. I have mentioned in the past that the entire west coast up to Alaska has been warm and damp/wet this year, with little snow anywhere. Mt. Baker’s base snow depth today is 21 inches. ski areas up and down the west are marginal or closed. New normal?
        (I also remember one big storm in the 76-77 year that hit around new years and closed down 80 and 50 for awhile. It was a GOA storm to be sure.)
        This should be getting more attention than it is. This is not a localized situation.

        • dylan

          Yes, it’s been a mild winter all the way up into parts of interior Alaska. I read that there is very little snowmelt in the Cascades too, insane. Just near-record low snow everywhere on the west coast. It’s beyond alarming, and I just don’t get it. How can it get any worse than last year? Unbelievable

    • Dan the Weatherman

      That’s true. It depends on what is causing this abnormal drought pattern. If it is natural variability, chances are that it will change eventually and it will turn wetter at some point as we return to a more normal pattern. If something man-made is contributing to this drought, such as China and Asia’s pollution for instance, then it will require human-induced changes, such as a reduction in emissions (coal burning for example), to attempt to get the pattern back on track.

      • dylan

        The sad thing is that there is no turning back, all we can do is keep it from getting worse. The damage that’s done is done, so we can’t really get the pattern back on track

  • andhravodu

    Ok, Kenny may not be the most popular person here, but it looks like he may be right on the El Nino thing. A weak El Nino is now confirmed by feds. The usual disclaimers still apply (little rain predicted, may not be enough for drought relief), but, it’s official now

    http://www.latimes.com/science/sciencenow/la-sci-sn-el-nino-rain-20150304-story.html

    • dylan

      Who cares? A weak el nino isn’t going to do anything for CA

      • Xerophobe

        Yeah. I remember the lather here, myself included early last year. After the big WWB’s Jan-Mar? There wasn’t any meaningful further support. The relative surface pressures between Darwin, Oz and Tahiti dropped like a rock then but nothing was sustained. I was hoping/pulling for one but it became suspicious to me by late June early July that it was going to be a dud or weak at best.

        • Bob G

          Yea, I remember too. I am going to wait till it actually happens this time.

      • Dan the Weatherman

        Sometimes a weak El Nino is wet for CA, and other times it leads to very dry conditions. 1977-78 and 2004-05 were very wet winters for Socal with a weak El Nino, but a total contrast was 2006-07, which was Los Angeles’ driest year on record.

    • He Who Must Not Be Named

      That is not at all what Kenny was “Forecasting”. Its been no secret that the SSTs were hovering right around the threshold, but not a strong event, and its only really an event in hindsight, thanks to statistical analysis. Not the kind of event that we would have seen helping CA in the present.
      Daniel has talked about it before, that the link between El Nino and California precipitation is overstated, and that it takes a special setup in order for there to be a direct link between the two.
      What Kenny wanted to happen was the strongest El Nino in history to develop, followed by crazy oceanic temps off the coast of CA with Hurricanes slamming us daily.

      • Weatherwatcher

        Kenny!

      • Quagmire Cliffington

        Funny how Kenny and Kamau both disappeared completely from this blog kind of like every storm past 7 days on the GFS this year.

        • dylan

          I know. What a relief!

    • Bob G

      I didn’t mind Kenny. I just started ignoring his posts after awhile. Last fall on this blog we continually tracked WWB’s and the potential of a moderate El Nino developing. Didn’t happen, so I will believe it when I see it.

  • SoCalWXwatcher

    Today’s 00UTC GEM for 4pm PDT 3/12 and 4am PDT 3/13 respectively.

    • SFBay2

      This is pretty good news, right? And not in total Fantasyland.

    • jstrahl

      So why doesn’t the GEM ever get mentioned? Why the total focus on GFS?

      • SoCalWXwatcher

        As I understand it, the GEM is often regarded as less reliable than the ECMWF and GFS. I often look to it as a “2nd opinion” when it leans towards one model or another, especially when there is such disparity amongst the models. Right now it appears to lean towards the wetter ECMWF, although we haven’t seen today’s 12z run of the ECMWF.

        • jstrahl

          Good approach, use it as a second opinion, likewise he Canadian. And it seems the GEM and Canadian are supporting the ECMWF.

          • SoCalWXwatcher

            The GEM is the Canadian.

          • jstrahl

            OOPS! Thanks for the reminder.

      • dylan

        It seems like people prefer to believe the dry forecast, I guess that’s why. Anyway, the GFS sucks

        • jstrahl

          That’s the crux of it. Having been screwed so many times, we now tend to believe the worst.

    • craig matthews

      Oh that looks so good. Looks like the sierra would get the brunt too if this was to verify.

    • dylan

      What a relief to finally see the accumulation in mm! That looks pretty good

  • Xerophobe

    Ho long has this blog been around? I caught on sometime late December 2013.

    • craig matthews

      2006.

      • Bob G

        Have you been around that long? I came along about the same time Xero did. I suspect interest in this blog jumped due to the ongoing drought. If we had, years of normal winter weather, there would not near be this level of activity. It would just be the true weather geeks

        • craig matthews

          No. I found this blog in either late DEc 2013 or Jan 2014.

          • Bob G

            Lol. That is how I stumbled upon it.

          • Same here. Last summer is when I found this blog.

  • AlTahoe

    Howard just updated this morning and said that an AR is off the tables as are any major storms 🙁

    http://www.mammothweather.com

    • TahoeCard

      I’ll paste the important part since that doesn’t give the whole picture.

      … The Global Models are having more difficulty
      with Pacific Pattern for later next week trying to bring in a decent system.The idea of an “AR” event seems now to be off the table for the time being as models struggle with a pattern shift next week. It does look like we will get some precipitation, however at this time it does not look like a major storm. With that said, that could change.

  • gray whale

    Perhaps some good news is that the jet stream still looks to flatten out and target CA pretty well toward the middle of next week. If you watch the run you can see a low spinning in between a split jet, then getting absorbed into the lower (stronger) stream that is the one that targets us. However, it may appear that it breaks off and stays north. Even so, it does flatten toward us afterwards (and there seem to be other lows off in the NPAC that could ride the flatter jet toward the end of next week).

    Check it out:

    http://www.stormsurfing.com/cgi/display_alt.cgi?a=npac_250

    • jstrahl

      Good news indeed.

  • craig matthews

    Updated March 5. Off the charts strong MJO signal still in this forecast. And potentially a very powerful south pacific tropical system developing sw of the dateline along with potentially another WWB. With these powerful forces in the tropics, wonder how much the models will swing in the next few days or longer?

    • gray whale

      Woah. Great way to phrase the question.

      • Quagmire Cliffington

        I think you mean … great way to phase a question!

        • Boiio

          you should look at kamau40’s disqus profile and see the awful stuff he posts on other sites….you will get a kick out of it.

          • dylan

            lol

          • Quagmire Cliffington

            Jesus Christ! 😉

      • craig matthews

        Is it? I really don’t know enough to know yet. It seams like the models lost grip of the pattern change a few days ago right around the time MJO forecast shifted to off the charts 7. Maybe its the trigger that is causing the MJO to spike the next 10 or so days that is causing model flips, rather then the actual MJO signal itself, being that right now the MJO is not that strong.
        Edit: what I meant to say is, maybe it is the trigger causing a strong MJO that is causing the models to flip out a bit, rather then the MJO signal itself???

        • jstrahl

          Good point. Noticeable that the naysayers aren’t dealing with the MJO factor, aside from dismissing everything which appears to conflict with total despair.

          • Xerophobe

            MJO is really the only thing to hang any hat on this year. There’ve been many dud and teasers, I’ve been duped too many times. We’ll see if 1) there is a good sigma phase 7 2) how long it lasts 3) what PNA is +/- 4) if it rains. I think a -PNA will be the key. 1996-97 had two major phase 7 sigma’s one the PNA was – and a MAJOR AR in late Dec 96-early Jan (Yosemite flood event) and in March of ’97 with a +PNA with nada as far as rain. Granted so many other things are different than as now, as well as seasons in the 96-97 years but a -PNA may still be the kicker.

        • Xerophobe

          I posted a phase 7 chart and impact yesterday it’s long gone…look for it, or I’ll repost it here. One thing I’ve seen today is both GEFS and ECMWF go to a decent sigma and sorta ‘hang’ up there rather than speed through.

          • craig matthews

            Yep I have lots to learn about MJO. Found those charts.

          • Xerophobe

            What’s true is I KNOW Jack Sh^t about MJO.

        • gray whale

          see Xero’s post below in response to jstrahl. That seems right to me. And with regards to your question, I think either option is still an interesting / less conventional (here at least) way to ponder it.

    • Bob G

      Hopefully the Euro is right about next week and there is something more significant beyond that

      • craig matthews

        Is the Euro still showing a wet storm? I don’t have access to its precip outputs.

        • Bob G

          That is what the latest weather updates are saying so it is second hand info

          • craig matthews

            Go ECMWF, and GEM. Did you see the GEM forecast SoCalWxWatcher posted below. The GEM shows a very wet pattern developing later next week.

          • jstrahl

            For some reason, the GFS has been allowed to trump the ECMWF and GEM. It’s not like it’s been more accurate.

          • dylan

            Screw the GFS. Wunderground is still showing 12 mm next week Wed-Fri for SF. Anyone around there should be happy. I wish I were there

          • craig matthews

            True.

          • Bob G

            I just posted BA’s update which has the Euro precip in it. Hope the GFS is wrong again

    • alanstorm

      TWC (The Leather Channel) still showing 3 days of rain for NW Ca. Maybe they prefer the Euro over GFS which doesn’t show a drop.
      Wed- 70%
      Thurs- 70%
      Fri- 50%
      High temps 65°, so useless for any snow

    • Xerophobe

      MJO needs to go where forecast, then wait 6-10 days if there’s an effect on west coast.

      • craig matthews

        Ok thanks. Maybe the end of March we might see the effects. That is if things line up. Right now though, there are some interesting developments taking place in the tropical western pacific as far as what looks like a WWB, though its a little south of the line, and a developing TS that could really crank up in the south pacific. It seams like when the western tropical pacific gets active, even in the south/western pacific, then the models go haywire. But there’s just so much noise out there now its hard to really tell.

  • RSpringbok
  • SFBay2

    A buddy and I skied Kirkwood yesterday, coming up on the ski bus. Looong day, waking up at 3 AM to catch the bus at 4 AM. But we got in a solid 6.5 hours on the slopes, from 9:30 AM to 4:00 PM. We had a blast.

    The snow was about what I was expecting. A few bare spots here and there, but the mountains were mostly the “right color” as one fellow skier put it. I was surprised by how warm it was. Eventually I took of my jacket, had the ski pants as ventilated as possible, etc.

    The snow quality was the type that will “make you a better skier.” Shifting from soft grippy sludge to sudden ice, it literally keeps you on your toes to adjust to the quickly changing conditions. It required a constant focus, but it was fun.

  • Crouching Dallas

    Today we are all Canadians – purveyors of maple syrup and much needed storns alike!

    • dylan

      Eastern Canada was slammed this winter with snow. Crazy

    • rob b

      Agree with you Crouching-sure hope the Canadian runs continue to keep rolling…

    • SoCalWXwatcher

      Raise the flag of whichever country’s’ forecast model is the wettest, LOL!

      • Larry

        Thank you for the poster. I almost became a Mountie in my youth, a loooong time ago.

    • jstrahl

      Almost as good as watching a Kelly Rowland video.:-) Go Canadian!

      • Obsessed

        If this comes true, it would be aboot time! Sorry.

        • Ian Alan

          Lookin good for your area eh? 😉 hehe

    • Azmordean

      It’s seldom mentioned because its record is about as good as mine at the craps table in Vegas.

      It has some value close in, but my understanding is it pales compared to the Euro and even GFS for forecasting anything more than a few days out.

    • SoCalWXwatcher

      Another view of the 12UTC GEM (Canuck) with precip delineated in mm.

      • Weatherwatcher

        Does any precip go further south in later frames?

    • Ian Alan

      That’s rough for us down here – and for the record my water comes from snow melt in these mountains (San bernardino) so yes I want snow in these mountains as much as the Sierra AND across all parts of the state where local natural ecosystems would benefit tremendously with one or two good end of season dousings! 😀

    • Xerophobe

      I can’t post the JAMSTEC put it paints a flame thrower at the bay area.. LOL

  • jstrahl

    WSI 6-10 day discussion re continuing differences between the models.

    “The ECMWF still offers a warmer solution (below). It never really brings the cold front south out of Canada. A “back-door” cold front and a wave of low pressure over the Southeast does bring some cold air into the Northeast, but keeps above average warmth in place across the bulk of the central US. This is actually even warmer than past runs as CONUS HDDs are only 86.5. This less cold solution is supported by the ensemble and the Canadian.”

    See the Canadian right below (posted by Crouching Dallas about 5 minutes ago)

  • inclinejj

    Just read this, think its time to go outside and wash the truck!!

    http://www.sfgate.com/news/science/article/El-Nino-finally-here-but-this-1-is-weak-weird-6116484.php

  • Bob G
    • SoCalWXwatcher

      It appears our Allegretto/Sheckter index is down from earlier in the week.

      • Xerophobe

        We have an index for them?

        • click

          I think it’s similar to the MEIL index (ala the croucher) and the APCOWW benchmark (acrimonious post count on weatherwest, mentioned a couple weeks ago)

    • Xerophobe

      The GEM is but the Euro is hella drier and not that much different than the GFS.

      • SoCalWXwatcher

        It looks like the 12z ECMWF has a system approach Point Conception next Thursday, and then make a right turn into Baja.

        • Xerophobe

          I don’t have 12Z Euro for any precip associated with it yet

          • SoCalWXwatcher

            How bad does it look? Did “Goose” just hit his head on the RRR?

          • Xerophobe

            more like “Maverick’s disengaging.” “I knew it, sh^t!”

            Hopefully he will hear Goose talk to him again by late March, if not.

          • Obsessed

            If only if we could get an awesome homoerotic volleyball game of an AR.

      • jstrahl

        Via BA’s blog? That wasn’t the impression i got from him.
        “the Canadian and European model runs are much wetter with the system.” (the update Bob G posted).

        • Xerophobe

          “the Canadian and European model runs are much wetter with the system.” Do you have access to an ECMWF total precip to compare? If not, then that’s what I am referring to: the euro and GFS are pretty close, the GEM is ‘much wetter’. I’m just overly critical of his blog, that’s all. I haven’t followed him at all, ’till he was mentioned here.

          • jstrahl

            I don’t have access to the ECMWF, i was simply referring to the impression i got from Brian. The latest now is further divergence between the Euro and GFS, see TahoeCard about an hour before “now” (the time i’m posting), about two hours after you posted this (the post i’m responding to). And Crouching Dallas has Howard’s update right above TahoeCard.

    • thlnk3r

      Thanks for posting the link up Bob

  • Dan weather maniac

    Oh now El Nino shows up? Winter is basically over, dry season a month or so away??

    WTheck?

    http://www.sfgate.com/news/science/article/El-Nino-finally-here-but-this-1-is-weak-weird-6116484.php

    • I am lost…

    • Bob G

      really doesn’t matter anyway. As Daniel has noted, there isn’t a correlation between weak el ninos and wet winters. Unless the El Ninos are really strong, you cant count on them

    • dylan

      Already discussed below

  • Angel Rocket

    Has there ever been a really wet april?

    • AlTahoe

      There were big snow’s in April of 1963 (closest match to this year), 1967, 2003 (kinda similar to this year)

      • SlashTurn

        Don’t forget 83′ el nino I remember that month as being very significant as a kid in Malibu,Ca. Lots of mudslides on PCH…

    • SoCalWXwatcher

      Wasn’t April 2003 pretty wet? I seem to recall some decent storms in April but not sure that was the year.

      • Xerophobe

        Yup and it’s the closest there is to this year’s pattern…wet Dec. drier Jan-Mar, wet Apr. in 2002-03.

      • jstrahl

        Yep, an inch+ event here in Berkeley, month ended well above average.

      • craig matthews

        April 1967.

    • A while back, yes.

  • AlTahoe

    The Feb monthly totals for South Lake Tahoe are available now. We finished the month +12F above average for the daily high temps and +9F above average for the low Temp. These are both obviously new records by a large margin.

    • Bandini

      60F in Truckee today but feels warmer. Our five day voyage into winter is over.

      • Crouching Dallas

        Intrepid travelers, all of us!

      • Dan the Weatherman

        What is the average high for Truckee this time of year when the weather is clear and dry like it has been today? I know that the temps have been ridiculously warm in the mountains of most of the West this entire winter for some reason and it sounds as if today is no exception.

        • Bandini

          Average high is 46F for March. We’ve been beating average highs month after month by huge margins. Which begs the question: is “average” even relevant anymore? Here’s a cool climate summary link for us: http://www.wrcc.dri.edu/cgi-bin/cliMAIN.pl?ca9043

          • Ian Alan

            LOL guess I could have scrolled down two posts – 🙂 “thanks”!

          • AlTahoe

            South Lake Tahoe had 16 new daily high records between January and February. We also set new all time monthly record high Temperatures for Jan and Feb. The 66F in Jan was incredible and even a couple years ago I would have bet you a lot of money that it would not have been possible. The new monthly record for Feb is 65F

      • Ian Alan

        You guys get warmer over there like big bear here being on the eastern slopes but I figured with being further north you might still be cooler than my location…but you are further inland also. My high was 51. On the flip side we never get the bitter cold nights, much milder overnight lows being on the westerns slopes.

        What’s the max summer temps there? Sorry, going off topic but just curious, I know I could look it up too so no worries. 😉

        • AlTahoe

          I am close to the water here in South Lake so it is really hard to hit 90 degrees in summer. Truckee gets much warmer and can hit the upper 90’s

    • Charlie B

      I used to fret. Now I put on Dark Side of the Moon and watch the girls walk by. Tank tops and shorts in early March. In Reno. After all, I could be in Mosul.

  • inclinejj

    74.6 degrees in Pacifica today!

  • TahoeCard

    Looks like models went farther apart
    From Sac discussion…. Models diverge even more than previously after this point. with the GFS quickly moving it through to the northeast and drying things Thursday night and Friday. On the other hand…the ECMWF gradually moves the core of the low over California on Friday bringing lowering snow levels, additional precipitation and the potential for thunderstorms.

    • Obsessed

      In a battle between wet and dry, it’s a safe bet that dry wins.

  • Crouching Dallas

    Howard’s refusing to wave the (red) white (and blue) flag on this one – he added a paragraph to this morning’s post clarifying his thoughts on the MJO phasing from 7 to 8, and seems to think that there’s still reason for hope about the ~ March 15 timeframe.

    Maybe he’s sipping that spiked maple GEM syrup sizzurp, too.

    • jstrahl

      The MJO seems to be the fly in the ointment for all the dry forecasts. Of course, it’s always possible that the MJO will turn out to have zero or little impact, and the ridge will beat it back.

      Question: does anyone know if the intense mega-storm affection the entire spread from New Mexico to New England, two feet of snow trapping thousand on the Interstate south of Louisville, was predicted yesterday? None of the major cable news networks mentioned it, they usually go gaga for big storms. Was it predicted and they ignored it in favor of other news, or was it not predicted and hence nothing to see here? Was it on the radar (figuratively and literally) or not? If not, then we have a major failure on the part of predictive models, so perhaps there are new factors at work in the global climate system that the models are just not picking up on.

      • dylan

        When I looked at the forecast a couple days ago for Boston, I didn’t see it. I just saw light snow and rather cold conditions (not brutally cold, though). But then again Boston could not have been affected by it, I guess.

      • AlTahoe

        The weather channel was hyping it up all week with another stupid name and 24 hour coverage.

        • dylan

          I’ll never understand why they give them these cheesy names! I mean if it is a catastrophic hurricane/blizzard that’s one thing I guess. From what I can tell Boston received a grand total of 7 cm from the storm.

        • jstrahl

          Thanks, i stopped watching TWC when they stopped doing regular broadcasting, running pre-recorded programs except during unusual events. What’s the point of watching if i can’t see any of the babes?:-) But usually, CNN and Fox would run extra weather coverage, have been doing so all winter, and didn’t this time till today, after the fact.

  • 75 high today in San Jose. With temps forecasted to reach the lower 80’s this weekend. Good grief…

    • dylan

      Yet again. It just never ends. We’re getting summerlike weather here in Santa Barbara too.. It’s been a two year summer now with some breaks lasting several days