On the heels of warmest winter in California history, no sign of March Miracle this year

Filed in Uncategorized by on March 8, 2015 2,895 Comments

Recent Weather Summary

Conditions across the state of California have varied wildly in recent weeks. While temperatures have in general been far above average–and precipitation well below what would be typical for late winter–a handful of localized but rather remarkable weather events have taken place. An accumulating blanket of small hail blanketed the shoreline at Huntington Beach, and a similar hailstorm in the suburbs of San Jose turned the green hills white with ice.

 

 

An isolated, intense, and truly spectacular severe thunderstorm rolled through South San Francisco at sunset–likely becoming one of the most widely photographed Bay Area weather events in recent years. At least one weak tornado danced across the San Joaquin Valley, and snow squalls brought weekend traffic to a standstill on Interstate 80 in the Sierra Nevada.

 

 

California’s record-warmest winter 

Yet, despite all of this wild weather, the real headline in California continues to be the exceptionally warm conditions that have persisted now for well over a year. December-February 2014-2015 was officially California’s warmest winter on record by a wide margin. February 2015 was California’s singularly warmest February on record. All of this, of course, falls on the heels of the 2014 calendar year–which was California’s warmest calendar year (and 12-month period) on record. While I realize this is all starting to sound like a broken record, that’s precisely why it bears repeating: California (and most of its geographic subregions) have been breaking high temperature records almost continuously for most of the past two years.

Dec-Feb 2014-2015 was California's warmest winter on record by a wide margin.

Dec-Feb 2014-2015 was California’s warmest winter on record by a wide margin. (NOAA/NCDC)

Even in an era of long-term global (and regional) warming, recent temperature trends in California have been extraordinary. I’ll have a more detailed post in the near future on the role of these extremely warm temperatures in worsening California’s ongoing extreme drought (and an increasing the risk of future droughts), but for now I’ll leave it at this: spring has already sprung in California, and winter never really showed up in the first place.

 

Ridiculously Resilient Ridge, Redux

What is the proximal cause of these extremely warm winter temperatures in California? Well, ocean temperatures remain far above normal across a vast portion of the North Pacific, and have in fact been at or near record high levels near the California coast for many months. In addition, the Ridiculously Resilient Ridge, Redux (I offer: the Quadruple-R) has redirected the Pacific storm track to the north of California for much of the past winter, much like the Triple-R before it. Poleward flow on the western flank of the persistent ridge has largely prevented cold, Arctic airmasses from reaching the state this winter–meaning that subfreezing temperatures barely occurred at all even in the colder parts of the Central Valley and that the average elevation of the freezing level in California’s mountain regions has been thousands of feet above what has historically been observed. This record-shattering warmth has been accompanied by generally below-average precipitation, which has been particularly pronounced in the central and southern Sierra Nevada. Further, the precipitation that has fallen in California this winter came in short but intense bursts–and has come interspersed between record dry spells. This combination of record warmth and notable dryness has culminated in a statewide snowpack which has now reached or even exceeded all-time record low levels.

The Ridiculously Resilient Ridge has been present in some form during each of the last three winters. (NCEP via ESRL)

The Ridiculously Resilient Ridge has been present in some form during each of the last three winters. (NCEP via ESRL)

 

Is there any relief on the horizon?

Over the past few winters, the operational numerical weather models have repeatedly suggested that the unusually persistent ridge pattern over the far northeastern Pacific and West Coast of North America would give way to a more progressive, more active, stormier regime. In most instances, these early model forecasts have ultimately turned out to be wrong. Many meteorologists will attest to the tendency for operational weather models to underestimate the tenacity and resilience of so-called “blocking” high pressure systems. Given the anomalous persistence of the North Pacific ridging in recent winters, then, it’s not entirely surprising that these forecast failures have occurred (and have been decidedly prominent, given the closely-followed nature of weather forecasts calling for rain in an era of extreme drought).

The latest GFS model forecasts bring only light precipitation to  Northern California over the next 10 days. (NCEP via Levi Cowan)

The latest GFS model forecasts bring only light precipitation to Northern California over the next 10 days. (NCEP via Levi Cowan)

Unfortunately, it appears that a similar situation has recently unfolded. Despite modest expectations a week or so ago that the first half of March might offer some hope for a colder, wetter pattern across at least the northern half of California, very warm and dry conditions have once again returned to the entire state.

There are currently some indications, once again, of the potential for a shift toward wetter conditions during the second half of March. The Madden-Julian Oscillation (MJO) is currently entering a very active phase (perhaps, according some some model forecast, even an extraordinarily active phase), which in a typical year might portend an upcoming active spell in California weather. Pacific Ocean teleconnections have been been behaving strangely these past few winters, however, so it’s not clear that this enhanced activity in the tropical West Pacific will actually translate to substantial California rain and snow.

Numerical model projections are suggesting a very active phase of the MJO will occur imminently. (CPC)

Numerical model projections are suggesting a very active phase of the MJO will occur imminently. (CPC)

Any such trend would, of course, be welcome news–though, as many observers have already pointed out–even such a development would likely be too little, too late from the broader perspective of the California drought. Current model solutions would fall well short of the Miracle March that many had hoped for. Periodic light rainfall is still likely across the northern parts of the state over the next two weeks, but it’s not clear at the moment whether we can expect much more than that in the near future. Given the big uptick in MJO activity, however, this is something worth keeping an eye on regarding the potential for a late-season surprise.

As I mentioned earlier in this post, I’ll be writing another extensive California climate update in the near future–exploring the latest scientific research regarding the ongoing California drought, its causes and effects, and the role of climate change in influencing the overall risk of drought in the Golden State. Stay tuned!

 

© 2015 WEATHER WEST

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  • Obsessed

    In all seriousness I am honestly expecting California to become completely semi-arid in years to come. I’m definitely no scientist but I’d love to be convinced otherwise.

    • Ian Alan

      I am not. I would be utterly shocked if that became the case.

      Convinced otherwise?! LoL 🙂

    • Lycanthus

      Older as well as more recent studies would seem to agree with you.

      http://www.cnn.com/2015/02/14/us/nasa-study-western-megadrought/

      What I want to know is, what will the impacts be in the Pacific NW?

    • I am beginning to think you may be right and am considering moving north to a wetter area before CA real estate crashes. Can anyone offer suggestions of nice towns to move to in Nor Cal, Pac Nor West or even BC? Seattle is too wet and gloomy for me (though that may change too).

      • Lycanthus

        The real question is, will Seattle get less wet and become more like the Bay, or even wetter?

      • Obsessed

        Eureka/Arcata is nice. I went to Humboldt State first two years of college. And the answer is yes, I definitely inhaled.

        • Gast84

          That place is somehow just immune to heat waves. They’ve never recorded a temperature above 32 C (90 F)! Even while the rest of the state is roasting they still stay nice and cool. I don’t really understand how that is possible but I would love to live there

          • Obsessed

            Maybe all the trees? But it is beautiful up there.

          • Gast84

            Maybe. Also the very cold ocean currents and persistent onshore winds seem to be helpful. It’s very interesting – the immediate Oregon/Washington coastline (North Bend OR, Aberdeen WA) has record highs of 38 C/40 C (above 100 F) while the record high for Eureka is 31 C! Also those areas have warmer summers than Eureka on average.

      • Pfirman

        I recently took a quick tour that went from Roseburg, Oregon, to Ellensburg, Washington, then back down to Oregon through Astoria, then down the coast and turning east at Florence to Eugene, then southeast along Highway 58 through the town of Oakridge and over the Willamette Pass to Hwy. 97 and back down to the Sacramento Valley.
        Highway 58 was most interesting. Lots of lakes. Three of the six days were rainy and none of them were in California, heh.
        I’m now looking to stay here and harvest rooftop rain for gardening. The well water in my town of Woodland is crappy for gardening. Even the feds are after us to do something. “We can drink it, but we can’t flush it,” as a recent mayor put it.

      • Xerophobe

        They’re called the Oregon Ducks for a reason!

        Port Renfrew on Vancouver Island gets about 11 feet of precip.

        If it were me I’d probably want to live IN the Olympic Rain Shadow like Sequim a lot less rain, but the weather is all around nice and relatively more sunny and warm.

      • thunderstorm98

        How about Wisconsin? Very cold snowy winters and warm wet summers with plenty of thunderstorms.

        • Gast84

          Wisconsin! No mountains. Also massive mosquitos. How about the Northeast?

    • tomocean

      It seems WAY too soon to make that pronouncement. Though I have less and less confidence in the ability of climatologists to determine what future impact global warming will have on our weather, the consensus thus far seems to be more extreme events. We’ll have droughts, but it will rain again, and we’ll probably see massive flooding when it does.

    • SoCalWXwatcher

      It’s understandable how someone would reach that conclusion after the 3rd year of historic drought, but there are studies which suggest we’ll be seeing warmer wetter periods as well as the warm dry periods like the one we are experiencing now. Unfortunately, less of the water during those wet years will be stored as snowpack for later runoff, and will arrive in the form of intense atmospheric rivers.

      Drought>> Flood>> Drought>> Flood

      http://www.livescience.com/49225-atmospheric-rivers-double-climate-change.html

      • Dogwood

        Right. ARs do little for the snowpack. Back in December when San Jose had its record wettest day ever for the month, the Sierra got nothing of note. The temps in the Bay Area seem to have stayed around 60f in the recent AR events putting the snow level at 8K.
        In good winters heavy GOA lows are colder as we all know. The sweet spot for rain temps in the low lands normally are 45-50, especially after dark in the shorter days.
        Accounting for 10-15 degree warmer storms is a big water deal, regardless of inches falling as rain.

        • SoCalWXwatcher

          Yup, in theory, a series of intense atmospheric rivers could fill up the reservoirs, but any precipitation that doesn’t fall as snowpack after that will simply drain down the spillway for the remainder of the season.

          • Xerophobe

            Some of those reservoirs move enough acre feet 3-5 times capacity, maybe more.

      • Dan the Weatherman

        This amplified wave pattern has completely shut down the GOA storm track, which is one of the reasons we haven’t been able to get decent snows in the Sierra the last couple of years. The storms that have brought rain have been the warmer, low latitude type from the central Pacific drawing in subtropical moisture that are similar to those that often occur during a good El Nino year, only much more infrequent.

        • Xerophobe

          Not to mention the +PDO. Please know I am just ribbing you 😉

          • Dan the Weatherman

            +PDO is not usually this dry for CA; rather it has been more favorable for wetter winters in past years. I have always thought -PDO is more likely to cause drought than +PDO.

          • Xerophobe

            Yes it does, just not to the extreme it is. I could look in to the top twenty highest PDO indexes for Dec-Feb and probably find those years dryer than average, regardless of Nino, Nina or nada. I could be wrong. My OCD will probably lead me to looking into it today. If I do, I’ll post it here. we’re both learning a lot with this drought.

          • craig matthews

            DJF1958 to DJF1959 I believe had a similar SSTA configuration though not so +++ I think? And that was the beginning of quite a dry stretch after 1957-58 wet winter.

          • Dan the Weatherman

            If that was the case with 1958-59, it must have something to do with where the highest SST anomalies are located or how much warmer than average a certain part of the Pacific is that determines whether we have a major drought or not.

    • alanstorm

      No one saw this amplified wave pattern coming a few years ago so there’s no reason to believe we can predict next year’s weather based on today’s pendulum swing. Sure, I can imagine in this Warmed-Up World (WUW) we can expect more amplified waves, but hey, all it needed to do was shift eastward a bit to usher in the warm, moist ARs. I know, I know, ARs don’t equal snowpack, but it can be drought-busting. We should be trying to find out what makes these waves shift one way or the other.

  • Charlie B

    At this time exactly 33 years ago I was trudging across the deserted Squaw Valley parking lot headed back to my second floor loft apartment. There were a few white mounds around, which were abandoned and buried cars. It had snowed a foot and a half overnight, and around 6 feet in the past 4 days. Squaw had been either closed or on very limited operations for the duration, and the daily drill was the same: wake up, bundle up, head over to lift ops located underneath the old Red Dog chair lift, check in, be told there was no work, get credit for an hour, and head home. This morning was little different from the others; heavy snow, wind and the rumbling sound of avalanche control doing its thing.
    We had been told the highway 89 between Alpine and Tahoe City was closed due to a large slide, and that there were other reports of small slides in the area, but I wasn’t going anywhere because I hadn’t seen my truck in several days.
    I don’t remember what I did the rest of the day: probably wandered around the area and fought cabin fever. The BOOM BOOM of the big guns resounded around the valley all day. I probably had some Top Ramen, a few Lucky Lager beers with buddies and did whatever else possible to beat the boredom.
    That night I went to sleep completely unaware that seven people had just perished 3 miles away over at Alpine and Anna Conrad lay buried but alive in the wreckage of the Summit chair lower terminal.
    A white curtain continued to fall overnight.

  • jstrahl

    From NWS SF/Monterey:

    “Models continue to disagree with next week with the European model (ecmwf)
    bringing rain back to the region on Sunday as a system drops down
    to the northwest coast. GFS remains drier and has it much farther to the
    north. It is Worth noting that the European model (ecmwf) is trending drier
    compared to the past couple of runs suggesting that the GFS line
    of thought may be the way to go. Only made very minor changes to
    the probability of precipitation past day 5.”

    In other words, the European model does not agree with the GFS, it is trending drier than it was. Of course, no telling what this means once the dice actually roll.

  • jstrahl

    From Howard this morning. Note how he too falls into the habit of calling the prospect of snow (up in his neck of the woods) a “threat.” His description of the Euro trend is “a bit drier,” NOT that the Euro has converged with the GFS, an idea someone might get from reading some of the posts.

    “No changes for the short term with winds already up in the high country and cooling moving in. It will be breezy in town (TOML) both today through Wednesday with a high near 59 today and mid to upper 40s Wednesday. Night time lows will be in the teens in many areas by Thursday AM. The weather system responsible for the cooling will brings rains to the pacific NW and as far south as Northern CA. A secondary impulse will bring a slight chance of showers to our region Thursday AM. After that, a break in the pattern of wind before another stronger Trof brings winds and cooling back into our area by Saturday night and Sunday with wind 1st and then cooling Sunday into Tuesday. At the Moment, the favored global models are at odds with each other with the GFS Pretty dry and further north with the Sunday -Mon system, while the Euro continues the threat of snowfall for our area early next week. With that said, the EC did trend a bit drier over night and I guess your could say more toward the GFS solution. However there is plenty of time for an adjustment either way. – See more at: http://mammothweather.com/2015/03/30/after-another-very-warm-day-monday-a-slow-change-to-normal-temperatures-will-occur-this-week-with-periods-of-wind-beginning-tuesday-pattern-change-this-week-will-continue-into-the-following-week/#sthash.abEWlaFF.dpuf

  • Obsessed

    Here’s some pertinent Q & A with NASA scientisits regarding megadrought:

    http://www.weather.com/climate-weather/drought/news/megadrought-scientists-reddit-ama-0

    Some excerpts:

    “do you see drought becoming a nationwide problem in the next 50 years?

    NASAEarthRightNow

    76 points4 days ago

    Ben Cook:

    Over the next 50 years, I think droughts will continue to be a major problem for much of the West and that the droughts, and their impacts, will likely get worse over time. First, the climate is changing, and we expect North America, along with the rest of the world, to get steadily warmer over the next century. Even disregarding changes in precipitation (rain and snow), these warmer temperatures will mean more evaporation and lower lake and reservoir levels, reduced streamflow, and drier average soil conditions. So, when natural droughts do occur, they will occur in this much drier baseline and be that much worse compared to droughts of the past.

    Second, Western North America (where we expect these future drought impacts to be the worst) is an area with 1) a growing population and associated water demand, 2) home to most of the domestically grown crops in the US, and 3) rapidly declining non-renewable groundwater resources. Combined with changes due to climate, the increased demand and reduction in groundwater availability will mean that droughts, when they do occur, will be that much more impactful to agriculture and local communities.”

    “From my limited understanding, the recent variations in temperature and extreme storms (the big freeze in the East Coast) are directly linked to climate change. Do you see that continuing or will it eventually taper off. Or get worse?

    NASAEarthRightNow

    6 points4 days ago

    Ben Zaitchik: there’s no simple link between these kinds of extremes and climate change. The recent East Coast freeze had to do with the position of the jet stream, which in a direct sense was a product of climate variability that might not have anything to do with climate change. However, scientists are currently studying if and how changes in global temperature might influence the frequency of this kind of extreme. Some have hypothesized that warming in the Arctic, for example, is influencing the course of the jet stream in a way that could lead to more frequent “polar vortex” events in the US and other kinds of extremes. But these ideas are still being explored.

    We do know something about trends in some kinds of extremes. For example, in some regions we expect increases in extreme precipitation because there’s going to be more water vapor in the atmosphere to feed storms.”

    • Dan the Weatherman

      “Over the next 50 years, I think droughts will continue to be a major problem for much of the West and that the droughts, and their impacts, will likely get worse over time.”

      I don’t know how it could get worse than what we have experienced this season. The only way it can get worse than this year is if California goes completely rainless and snowless from fall through spring making us as dry as the Atacama Desert!

      • Ian Alan

        Even just one more year of drought could lead to a true ecological and economical disaster, two more years possibly a certainty?

        Can you imagine the massive migration out of the state/region when water actually runs out – with plummeting real estate prices & no one able to sell their home to begin with to fund moving – on top of continued endless development currently happening.

        It’s a scary thought and we all assume/hope it will rain sooner than later. I don’t think there’s anything in the short term that can be accomplished to save the state in a matter of one to three years…….

        At the 5/126 interchange in Santa clarita / Castaic there are many industrial/commercial complexes and I was shocked to see them building more – one particular area is paved with sidewalks and grass and parking lots but no buildings yet, I’m assuming because no business want to move in, yet the grass is mowed and as green as can be….

      • Mike

        Last week the Atacama got 7 years worth of rain in 12 hours, so maybe that would be an improvement? Unfortunately that came with serious devastation and flooding.
        Our anecdotal experience with Chilean weather in relation to California weather (the company I work for farms there and in the San Joaquin Valley) indicates that we seem to run in the same cycles. They’ve been in an extended drought that seems to be breaking, and we’ve come to expect that to be a reliable projection for CA’s next winter. Anyone have any thoughts/ evidence regarding this?

        • Dan the Weatherman

          Hopefully the drought starting to break in Chile is a good sign that we may be wetter next year.

  • weathergeek100

    Wow. Read Howard’s discussion this morning. Unbelievable:

    “Mammoth Pass:

    There was a depressing report that came out from the DWP this AM. The updated telemetry showed an inch of water up on the pass. I am sure that they will go up and measure what there is to measure manually today or tomorrow on several areas around the pass to come up with an average or the mean. I do not know which they use.

    1 inch of water in the snow pack at this time is equal to 2% of the normal water in the snowpack for April 1st. That is deemed to be the end of the water year here on Mammoth Pass. As a comparison, the driest year on record showed MAMMOTH PASS with about 10 inch’s of water in the snow pack. You do the math…..

    This is not only the driest year on record for April 1, but possibly a 1 in >100 year event. Just think, you were alive to experience history from a hydrological perspective. As a comparison, at the opposite end of a time scale, this is probably equal to or greater than a winter of

    >300% of normal on the opposite end of the scale, or the equivalent to the projected historic ARC storm winter that may hit the sierra some day or a 1000+ inch winter. The infamous winter of 1969, the greatest winter on record according to DWP records going back to 1940 was 277% of normal. There are plenty of photos around town with the famous areal shot of the Main Lodge being close to buried. That winter is the high bench mark of all winters here in Mono County according to DWP records. I will also add this. Although the siege of storms began the 10th of January of 1969, there were plenty of good storms during the month of December 1968. I have researched the re-analyses 500MB and 250MB charts on that winter…….”

    – See more at: http://mammothweather.com/#sthash.QzZS7xYB.dpuf

    • Canyon

      We are in a historic drought, how is it unbelievable?

      • weathergeek100

        I’m just being dramatic. It’s obviously believable because it’s in front of our eyes.

        • Ian Alan

          What I can’t believe is that I/we had to ‘waste’ 4 years of my weather enthused life to drought, lol. We need a four year deluge of rain/storms to bring balance to the equation!

          • Xerophobe

            Just think…in your life time the chances of this happening again are 1 in maybe 500 (less if you think we are in an exponential climate change regime and it will never be the same again..lol)

          • Actually the chance of seeing extremely low snow winters in the Sierra Nevada will rise dramatically over the next 20-40 years. There’s an excellent chance that most of us on this forum today will witness a California “snow drought” like the current one again in our lifetimes.

          • Xerophobe

            Since I’m at least twice as old as you are, okay. You whippersnappers will live to be 120 anyway.

          • Ian Alan

            Not if they eat what the freeway billboards tell them too – “beefatarian”(McDonald’s new one) yikes – I’m not sure if you’re suppose to read that as Beef-atarian or Be-Fat-arian.

          • Ian Alan

            I definitely feel worse now – LOL

          • Ian Alan

            I’m not sure if I feel better or worse now 😀

    • By all available metrics, the current near-absence of Sierra snowpack is far greater than a 100-year event in the context of 19th/20th century climate.

      • weathergeek100

        Completely agree. That was the only part of this that I questioned. The current snow pack does not only beat 76-77, it beats it BY FAR. I’m thinking more like once/500 years.

  • lightning10

    The warmest March in history can go rest in piss.

    • Pfirman

      Assuming warm piss, eh?

    • AlTahoe

      South Lake Tahoe is running +11.32F above average for the first 90 days of this year. I wonder if any place in the country has every had an anomaly that high for 90 consecutive days?

      • Xerophobe

        I heard that on the news you’ve had 70+ degrees there already???

        • AlTahoe

          Yep I have been wearing shorts and sandals since Jan. We had a 66 degree day in Jan (new record) and a 65 degree in Feb (new record) and two days ago it was 71 degrees at 5:00pm when I was done mt biking.

          • Xerophobe

            That’s great Wx for mtn biking…You the one that has that super sexy mtn bike that was posted a few days ago? from what was said she climbs like a goat, too. If it was you do you think it’s the 27.5’s?

          • AlTahoe

            Yes it is a YT Capra 650b (27.5). I am trying to get in shape the first California Enduro series race in Reno so the weather couldn’t be better for that. Although skiing everyday could have gotten me in shape as well 🙂

          • weathergeek100

            Yup saw that on my phone. It’s insane.

    • Nick W.

      At this rate, let’s have the warmest April, May, June…ad nauseum while we’re at it. X(

      • Archeron

        Its actually fairly cool today.

        • Gast84

          Yes, today actually felt fairly “normal” for a day at the end of March. There were even *shockingly* some clouds in the sky. Just absurd how warm and sunny it’s been the last couple months.

        • Felt pretty good today!

          • Xerophobe

            I practically coasted home traveling south 101 in south Santa Clara County. MRY bay is all whitecaps and whipping sand onto Hwy 1. A few weeks ago this was a target rain event day that disappeared but the dry front sure is windy.

        • Nick W.

          Right below March 2015 average, yep. I like those kinds of windy days.

  • jstrahl

    Howard’s update to what i posted a couple of hours ago.

    The Dweebs should have much better confidence by Thursday for the Sunday-Monday system. Evidentially the pattern will take more time to develop and thus the next storm cycle is most probably further down the road but not out of the question in April. – See more at: http://mammothweather.com/2015/03/30/after-another-very-warm-day-monday-a-slow-change-to-normal-temperatures-will-occur-this-week-with-periods-of-wind-beginning-tuesday-pattern-change-this-week-will-continue-into-the-following-week/#sthash.Q9DyONZN.dpuf

    • gray whale

      As a result of the Howard update, I just went down an internet rabbit hole looking at 1969 snow pictures / articles. Amazing.

  • Xerophobe

    This forecast is good for POSSIBLE good to very good El Nino…If it continues to bury (inactive) in phases 8, 1 and 2 for the spring and summer.

    • gray whale

      You may have seen it already, but the stormsurf video forecast had a lot of MJO related material (as usual) on the Sunday update. Different scenarios playing out in different models, as well as interesting info regarding past forecasts and actual outcomes. Good stuff starts around 13:00.

      • Bartshe

        This is great, thanks for posting.

      • Xerophobe

        Yes. Thanks for posting the Sunday reports are always worth watching especially now.

  • Sublimesl

    GFS just trended a tad bit wetter with some light April showers for the Bay Area on Sunday/Monday. See if it holds for the next run or disappears.

    • Obsessed

      RRR as the Joker: “How about a magic trick? I gonna make this trough DISAPPEAR!”

      RRR proceeds to stab the system right through the eye.

  • click

    Not sure if it’s the very first of the year, but SoCal has a wildfire burning at Mojave Narrows. If I can get any clear pics I will try to post one or two.

    • 70 Acres based on Cal Fire’s Facebook page.

    • admode1
      • click

        Thanks for the link, that’s a keeper.

        Some more info; it was started as a controlled burn, the wind shifted and is ran out of control. Seems like they should have known better than to start it today, there was a high wind advisory in effect. At any rate, from what I heard it’s mostly contained at this point and evacuation orders have been lifted. Couldn’t see the smoke column at sunset, hopefully it’s out by morning.

        • admode1

          You bet.

        • admode1

          There were two escaped controlled burns in Butte co. I agree, it’s not like the winds weren’t predicted.

  • Nick W.

    Westerly 38 MPH gusts at SMX at this hour. I’ll take it over a Santa Ana event anyday. Still thirsty for rain, though. It’s going to be a long while, at this rate.

  • thunderstorm98

    http://www.wpc.ncep.noaa.gov/qpf/p168i.gif?1427845696

    What’s with the random spot of very light rain on Santa Barbara County?

    • Nick W.

      Drizzle?

      • thunderstorm98

        Most likely.

  • Martin Pettet

    Ha Ha Ha. The rain chance on Monday just went down to 40% on Monday with 20% on either side. Now it’s just ‘chance of showers.’ Probably end up with quite a lot of clouds for a couple of days and a few spattering spots of drizzle on the windshield on Monday. Then its back to the good ol’ sun again. Please dispense with these models. It’s bad enough being in a drought, but it’s really annoying being teased about it all the time.

    • jstrahl

      Per which source?

    • jstrahl

      Per which source? NWS SF/Monterey at 3:09PM said:

      Latest model runs are beginning to focus in on a common solution
      with the chance of precipitation increase for the Sunday time frame. Have
      maintained the current forecast thinking however as the models
      hone in on a wetter solution the forecast may need to be update to
      reflect the new thinking. Stay tuned in to the latest forecast
      updates.

    • Dan the Weatherman

      Maybe we all need to stop looking at the models until further notice.

      • Too tempting. Lol

      • Ian Alan

        I am – They are all over the place even worse than the last few months! Atrocious!

    • Archeron

      Funny on wunderground the chances increased for San jose.

  • SoCalWXwatcher

    SST’s March 30 2015 (top), vs March 31, 2014 (bottom)
    Warmer East Pacific (and Cooler West Pacific, especially around Southeast Asia), than this time a year ago. It’s going to be interesting to see how things develop once that strong Kelvin wave surfaces.

    • Xerophobe

      Also, at least for now the water around Darwin is cooler than Tahiti. Maybe that is good for -SOI?
      Tangential is the~13c spread in SST’s off SE Canada. The distance seems to be a couple hundred N.miles

  • Jose Mota

    Yes a true I have many day just drink now to weight for sleying. Now have live into my garaje the wife has put me into it for safety.

  • alanstorm

    Mendocino Co:
    70% chance of rain for Sunday
    80% chance of rain for Monday
    Lows around 34°
    Tomorrow it will be 40% & 20% of drizzle
    Day after tomorrow 20% & 0%

  • Tomorrow is the snow survey. Shouldn’t be too much of a shocker for us on this blog.

    • Xerophobe

      Search LA Times or Sacramento Bee or SFGate, they usually will get it out pretty quick…before it gets posted on gov sites.

  • Thunderstorm

    Did some research on hydrophobic soils. With heavy needle drop oils stick to the top layer of soils that are dry. Usually bacteria eat the oils in moist soils for water infiltration. So seems dry helps more dry. Dry needles add oil to soil to clog infiltration and dry soils cause more needle drop. I guess this is natures dry cycle. The forests will indeed become stressed.

    • Xerophobe

      The soil in our area is very hydrophobic. At first thoughts one might raise an eyebrow because of the high percentage of sand being close to and geologically once under the ocean. On beaches sometimes the sand above the high tide marks is very hydrophobic until the barrier is broken. A concentration of fire ash from campfires on the beach or above ground from burning of many trees. In my case Monterey pine trees.

  • redlands

    Redlands, Ca – Southern California – March 2015 Summary — This March 2015 – I recorded my Hottest Maximum And Minimum – records since March 1982 at my station in Redlands, Ca

    Hottest March – Maximum
    1) March 2015 – 83.12903 —- 8 days 90 or hotter
    2) March 2004 – 82.93548

    Hottest March – Minimum
    1) March 2015 – 50.03226 — 8 days with daily records
    2) March 2004 – 49.58065

    The March average is 73.52182 – so March 2015 was almost 10-degrees above average — Another interesting fact is that February 2015 almost was the hottest Feb Ive recorded – if it weren’t for the brief end of the month cool spell – however February 2015 ended up as 2nd warmest – records back to Feb-1982

    • Nick W.

      March 2015 in Santa Maria averaged a whopping 77 (or 76.5) degrees for the high. *sighs in disbelief* Our climate is so screwed up.

      Only below average day: March 2nd.

      • Ian Alan

        That’s the average high (or slightly higher) for July / August up there!! Nuts!

        • Nick W.

          Even an average August day is cooler than this. :S

    • RSpringbok

      Wow, 5 significant digits. So you say you’ve got a really, really accurate thermometer? 😉

      • Xerophobe

        Probably had to get into the 100,000ths of a degree for the record…LOL

      • Tuolumne

        My thermometer goes up to 11 significant digits. 😉

  • Arnold Weather Fanatic

    In an effort to conjure snow, I put away the snow shovels, took down the poles marking the edge of the driveway, and returned the address and name board to the pole by the road (snow plow always knocked it down.) Success! A rain-snow mix is forecast for Sunday. But the forecast high is 52, so no sledding 🙁 .

    • Lycanthus

      You mean sleying?

  • Muzikman1

    Buster was watching me with that old familiar look of disgust as I climbed out of the pit in my backyard. All the other bobble heads were engaged in various tasks involving shoveling and moving dirt around with their wheel barrows. Ohhhhhhhhhh my babies were working under the sun just like I knew they could!!

    This is the third pit that we’ll be covering up this month.

    I’ll admit to my beautiful brethren of the basin that I am doing my part in the conservation of our most precious resource; water. The babies and I have had the plumbing turned off for nearly five weeks now!!!! Ohhhhhhhhhh it has been glorious to participate in such a noble cause!!

    Unfortunately many of my babies were timid about going into the pit. Poor Buster went nearly seven days before finally making in a baby pit that he dug in an absolute frenzy. It was almost too late for the desperate boy but in the end he did what he originally thought he would never be able to do.

    He made in his pit and we all cheered him on while he did it.

    It wasn’t that different for myself. First I told myself I said in a frightened way I says to myself I says: “You can’t make in there.” But eventually I did. I did it!! I did what I originally thought I would never do! And once I did it I realized that the original fear was only half as bad as the actual thing. Then we all used the pit as needed until we had to bury what we ended up making.

    And now there are three buried pits scattered about the yard in the warm sun.

    • Xerophobe

      What an inspirational story! My heart swelled and I became teary eyed. Might I offer assistance to your cause? You can install a “sewer-popper” with a top that unscrews giving you access to your sewer drain. Instead of having your babies dig (albeit with courage and fortitude) their holes. Some water needs to be added to their ‘stuff’. A clandestine siphoning of a neighbor’s pool or possibly placing buckets on sidewalks to collect the overspray from landscape watering are only a couple of ideas. Many here will feel the same as I do and hopefully will respond in kind.

  • weathergeek100

    Sierra snowpack survey today! What will we record? The first single digit percentage ever will also be THE DRIEST EVER, BY A VERY VERY WIDE MARGIN. 1977 and 2014 were driest so far at 25%.

    http://www.water.ca.gov/news/newsreleases/2015/032715.pdf

    • Charlie B

      Per Reno paper: Snowpack for Tahoe and Truckee basins:
      2011. Tahoe 213%; Truckee 178%.
      2012. Tahoe 60%; Truckee 65%.
      2013. Tahoe 52%; Truckee 60%.
      2014. Tahoe 44%; Truckee 32%.
      2015. Tahoe 3%; Truckee 14%.
      Gosh, I harken back to the previous drought years, with small tears forming in the edges of my eyes. If it was just 2012 again!.

      • Nick W.

        This is just sad. Next winter better change this awful trend.

  • jstrahl

    NWS SF/Monterey this morning. Yes, might not pan out, but it’s out there.

    Various computer models are finally in better agreement that moisture
    associated with the trough will move to our area as early as Sunday.
    The big change from yesterday is evident on the GFS which now has
    the main low moving south to the Washington coast. That compares
    to previous runs that had the low off the British Columbia coast. Bigger
    question is what will happens by next work week. Various models
    generally show at least 2 good shots of picking up at least some
    rain although there is less agreement on the timing. Probability of precipitation were mostly put in the chance category. Wpc 7 day quantitative precipitation forecast product shows 1/4 to 1/2 inch for most of sf Bay with up to 3/4 of an inch for the North Bay. For locations to the south less than 1/4 of an inch is
    depicted. Worth noting that the dgex…GFS operational…GFS
    ensemble mean…and Gem all have higher precipitation values over the
    next 7 days. European model (ecmwf) numbers are the lowest and are the closest to the wpc numbers.

  • jstrahl

    And Bryan’s newest, just posted, has some interesting scenario maps from the GFS and Canadian, he says the Euro is similar to the Canadian. New pattern may persist till mid month. Of course, today is April 1st.:-), though i’m sure he and the models are serious.

    • Xerophobe

      Euro is a wee bit drier, or maybe pushing the precip forward to the 9th-10th. Either I’m mistaken or Bryan is but MJO phases in April that favor precip best is phase 1 (also with a high level of significance on the MJO chart) which is way the f over off Africa, NOW. The connections between MJO phase location and weather impacting the CA west coast takes time. From that far away the timing of POSSIBLE precip is spot on at 8-10 days out from NOW depending on the wind velocities. If I’m wrong…somebody turn me in the right direction. Both MJO phase now and a -PNA near April 8-10 is what I see as the possible rain/snow event. Still unknown is how much precip

  • Bandini

    This would make me happy, we’ll see…

  • gray whale

    The Sunday-Wednesday system has the Semi-Permanent Pacific High shifting more or less *south*, like it’s supposed to, rather than shoving over to the east only to rebound immediately. To my eye, this is the “typical” GOA winter pattern, and I’m pretty jazzed about it.

    • AlTahoe

      Satellite has been showing multiple lows spinning in the GOA for the first time in years with cold air clouds behind the fronts as well. The fronts are swinging south and falling apart like they would in late Oct or Nov. Eventually they will moisten the atmosphere, break down the ridge and make it to Cali. Now that the normal GOA pattern has shown up after being absent for so long I feel better about next fall/winter prospects for cold storms.

  • Still planning to have a full blog update very soon. Does look some precip will be possible next week, at least across NorCal, and it may even feature snow levels near/below 4000 feet (wouldn’t that be novel!). However, given the trajectory this entire winter and the fact that we’ve entered April, I’m still a bit skeptical that this possible temporary reprieve won’t evaporate as quickly as all the others have in recent memory. I’ll hold off on updating until a clearer picture emerges over the next 24-48 hours.

    In the meantime, there will be an official announcement later this afternoon that Sierra Nevada snowpack this year reached astonishingly low values–blowing past previous all-time record lows by a margin of at least 200-300%. Snowmelt runoff this year is projected to be near-zero — a first in California history.

    • gray whale

      FWIW I want to be on record as a “believer” in the system knocking on our door for next week. I like its different look. Anyone with me? Wunderground calling for an inch in Placerville from Sun-Tues — my chips are in the pot.

  • lightning10

    Death Valley, CA hit its most early 100 degree day. It was their warmest March with 104 degrees.

  • Ian Alan

    I had to share these as I know you all will appreciate as much as I did! This feed is worth a follow if you’re on Instagram. Amazing.

    And sorry I couldn’t pick just one! LoL

    • supercell1545

      Dang that’s legit!!

    • SoCalWXwatcher

      Awesome shot. The eyewall of a major typhoon/hurricane is one if the most amazing things that occurs in our atmosphere.

  • thlnk3r
  • Jason

    I know this isn’t much consolation given the dismal/ non-existent state of California’s snowpack. However, the minimum sea surface temperatures at two stations off the Northern California coast (Pt Arena and Pt Reyes) are now around 50 degrees, the lowest they have been in a long time and close to “normal”. Hopefully, the winds over the next few days and the potential disturbance on Sunday and Monday will stir up the waters more. Any thoughts on whether this is transitory or a fundamental change in the RRR we’ve been seeing?

    • I’m pretty sure this is a coastal event. It would take much more to cool off the entire warm areas of the ocean.

    • gray whale

      Right, as G_S says below, that’s nearshore. The cooling is caused by local upwelling from winds associated with a tight pressure gradient, not by mass displacement of the warm water. You can see it if you look at the NOAA SST anomaly map.
      However, one thing that I was speculating is that the cool nearshore water could act as a “sink” for the warm water, and help out in a small way. I don’t know if this is a proven phenomenon.
      Regardless, you’re right, it’s a good thing, just maybe not on a major scale. We can also take solace in the fact that it’s a “normal” occurence for this time of year!

  • Xerophobe

    This is why we need to temper excitement for next week…it ain’t two months ago.

    • gray whale

      I havent looked at a run of the EC model, but I thought it was pushing back the bulk of the precip a couple days. Which would make Monday not the day to look at?
      EDIT: or maybe i just don’t understand what the anomaly is based on in the figure on the right.

  • Brown just announced 25% mandatory reduction in water use. No word yet on what the baseline will be.
    Here’s the graph that explains his action:

    • SoCalWXwatcher

      Hear that? It’s the sound of millions of Californians getting hit over the head with reality.

    • RSpringbok

      Brown got 2 out of 6 on my list

      25% cut in residential use — check
      Remove 50 mil sq ft of lawns — check
      Prohibit car washing without recirc system — missing
      Require swimming pool covers to stop evaporation — missing
      Prohibit new almond orchards or rice — missing
      Moratorium on new large housing developments — missing

      • Sierrajeff

        A moratorium on new housing would be short-sighted and fairly pointless – at the risk of a bad pun, not even a drop in the bucket compared to overall agricultural use.

        Pool covers are similar – my understanding is that unless you’re in Palm Springs, evaporation off a pool surface is actually less than the transpiration of water from a lawn.
        What we do need are water police to go around and cite people using water in a stupid manner. Anyone hosing off a sidewalk (absent homeless detritus, of course) or using a hose to “de-dew” their car in the morning should be shot, er, fined heavily.

        • gray whale

          Maybe a common ground is “smart” water systems in place at all new major developments.

        • RSpringbok

          New housing — so if a town has a severe shortage, it’s OK to add a 10,000 unit development that will need another 2 mil gals per day, putting more stress on the people and groundwater already there?

          Pool — pools lose 0.3 gal per sq ft per day, lawns 0.6 gal per sf day. Use a pool cover and the 0.3 becomes nearly zero. The only way for a lawn to match a pool cover’s water savings is to kill the lawn.

          • Canyon

            It’s Jerry Brown…the tax man…, those guys in Sacramento REQUIRE developed residential growth…it’s sad but true. How else can CA afford to pay for CALPERS.

        • thlnk3r

          Water police? Do mean “City Enforcement” ? I think the Google needs to be used with this one.

          Several cities in Southern California have had mandatory water restrictions in place for a while. Watering vehicles gets you a citation in my City. Pool draining and refilling requires a written approval from the City. Even CLEANING pool filters will get you a citation. We’re only allowed to water on odd days after 8pm pst and before 8am pst. The list goes on. Also new Home developments in my City are built without landscapes.

          It’s not like some Cities are just now becoming aware of the drought…

          • Sierrajeff

            I’m glad to hear that some areas have had their eyes open on this crisis for a while – but that’s not true everywhere. At least a couple times a week I see some of the stupid acts that I describe above – truly senseless behavior, which currently goes completely unremarked (let alone punished).

      • I think car washes are required to have recirc systems already.
        Market forces alone pretty much guarantee that there won’t be any new almond, rice, or other water-intensive farms. The current ones are going bust.
        Santa Barbara and Goleta tried a housing moratorium in the 70s. It was an unmitigated disaster.
        Swimming pools: agreed. Most pool owners do have covers now, if for no other reason than to keep debris out.

      • SFBay2

        I just want one thing. And it would resolve every issue.

        Sell every drop of water in California’s aqueducts and reservoirs on the open market.

        Ditch our feudal system of senior water rights that give water away to grow rice in the desert. If there’s a market demand for California rice, the market will pay the price for water.

        Right now, 80% of the water in our aqueducts and reservoirs goes to support the 1.6% of our economy that is agriculture.

        • Xerophobe

          Did you know cannabis the CA #1 AG product?
          Do you think state government is THAT stupid to put billions into water transportation if you say it’s such a small part of the GSP?? Oh but wait they do want to build a bullet train to nowhere so maybe I need to eat crow again :-j

          • SFBay2

            I refer you to this report, page 5-3, stating that agriculture (and forestry, hunting, etc) combine for 1.45% of Califoria’s economic output.

            http://aic.ucdavis.edu/publications/moca/moca_current/moca09/moca09chapter5.pdf

            This report puts it at 1.21%

            http://californiawater.org/cwi/docs/AWU_Economics.pdf

            I was actually being generous when I said 1.6%.

            As for why the state government is that stupid to keep providing below-market water to a tiny part of our economy? Well, that’s a really good question.

          • Xerophobe

            There is a multiplier effect that goes beyond the numbers that are quoted. Think of what would happen if one took that 1.6% completely away. Would we miss it? Think hard.

          • SFBay2

            That multiplier effect works the other way as well. How much would Napa and Sonoma valleys suffer without tourists from the San Francisco Bay? How much would the ski industry suffer without wealthy coastal spenders?

            In contrast – how much do Central Valley residents spend in Silicon Valley? Heck, how many have even been to Silicon Valley?

            How would Central Valley schools pay for their schools and roads without the constant subsidy of tax dollars they receive from the coast?

            I’ll be blunt: economically speaking, the Central Valley is a net drain to California. But it is part of California, and we’re all a family that has to look out for each other. However, that does’t mean we have to keep throwing good money after bad. And we don’t have any business providing more water to grow almonds to sell to China.

          • Xerophobe

            I agree that water has been manged poorly. I’m just going to leave it at that. I’d rather discuss weather with you here.

          • SFBay2

            Fair enough. “Whiskey’s for drinking, water’s for fighting.”

          • Pfirman

            Heh, did you mean mangled or managed?

          • Jeff Albergo

            i suggest looking at the numbers again. while agriculture is only 1.21% of the STATE economy. California grows half the fruits and vegetables the entire US consumes. after redirecting water away from farms, food prices will skyrocket. with much higher food prices all those people that you say are going to spend money in Silicon Valley or Napa are now staying at home trying to buy food.

          • SFBay2

            Any raise in food prices would allow the ag companies to buy more water. But most likely, they would just learn to be more efficient with no rise in consumer prices.

            It’s ironic how “free-market” farmers can turn into market-interventioning socialists with demands for below-market water.

          • SoCalWXwatcher

            #6: Ditch the Bullet Train and divvy those funds for desalination, upgrades to water storage infrastructure, water reclamation, replacement of 100+ year old water mains that are prone to rupture, and for re-landscaping public sites with drought-tolerant vegetation.

          • beeluci
        • gray whale

          a bold statement

        • Sublimesl

          Buying water means nothing unless you have a way to transport it, from point a to point B (which costs money). To the extent that water districts have such transport, they are buying water on the market for a lot of money (LA just bought some for quite a high price, and EBMUD is buying some Sacto river water, at a pre arranged price, through an option they have). So its happening, but not to this extent.

        • Bartshe

          You could pull it off if you go back in time 500 years and start working with the Spanish.

      • Xerophobe

        5) you know zip about water use when it comes to orchards (new) rice fields or planting rice as a whole?..yes this is a test.

      • Jon Bartel

        Moratorium on fracking- missing.

      • Dan the Weatherman

        For those who still want the lush look of a lawn without the water, artificial turf would be an ideal choice. Some of the artificial turf I have seen recently looks so good that it is almost indistinguishable from the real thing, and there are other types that still have somewhat of an artificial look for various reasons whether it is color or texture.

  • RSpringbok

    Link to Gov Brown’s Exec Order on water:
    http://gov.ca.gov/docs/4.1.15_Executive_Order.pdf

  • What;s the official percentage of the snowpack? I hear they already took the measurements based on the video of Jerry Brown earlier.

    • Pfirman

      Excellent. Now if they can just tie fracking to his appearance. Oh, wait.

  • Hot off the press and looking good!

    • Not this map again! Luckily it’s a 6-10 day outlook.

    • weathergeek100

      If you photoshopped this image to make an April fools joke….ohhh man this is a mean one. I went to the climate prediction center just to make sure this is valid and it is….unless one of the meteorologists there decided to play a joke.

      • SoCalWXwatcher

        Lol. The meteorologists don’t need to play a joke, the CFS takes care of that itself. 😉

    • Nick W.

      Looks good, but I have seen disappointing results before.

  • Thunderstorm

    The real problem now will be, not lack of water but how much tree death will occur from beetles and hydrophobic soils. This is the bigger problem now starting. People will stop watering their landscaping and give the plant diseases and pests a fabulous banquet. Red flag warnings in urban areas coming.

    • Pfirman

      Trees make rain. This is a bad feedback loop to contemplate, or endure.

  • I guess the snow survey was 0% for Echo Summit snow survey site. Electronic readings at higher peaks is 6% of average.

    • Pfirman

      Wow, the only white in sight is on the heads of the surveyors. Whoops, and chins, which means for sure it was not recent snow on the heads.

    • Nick W.

      Something is definitely wrong with this picture. There shouldn’t be grass on the ground at this time of year.

  • yenlard

    All the money for that stupid bullet train should have gone to build de-salinization plants. There’s all that water just sitting there…and yet we can’t use it. But no we need a quicker way to go from north to south.

    • Voter bond for train: $9.9 billion.
      Voter bond for water infrastructure and conservation: $25 billion.

      • SoCalWXwatcher

        And the cost of that train has soared to $69 Billion since voters approved it.

        • That’s money yet to be allocated. As for Desal plants, they’re something of a mirage. And as noted, we already have $25 billion allocated for infrastructure/conservation, with more coming.

          • SoCalWXwatcher

            But it’s still the price tag if we want to build the Bullet Train project to completion. There’s a modest mirage nearing completion in San Diego that will produce 50 million gallons of freshwater per day. There are technologies such as Graphene that may make desal a lot more cost effective as well, and it would be worth taking a serious look at it. I guess the question is whether that kind of money might be better spent on getting our hydrological needs in order, as opposed to building a train that will offer a window seat of the Central Valley wastelands as we speed off to Frisco or LA.

          • That’s only 153 acre-feet a day. And how much will that daily output cost, quite aside from startup costs and profits?
            As for graphene, I know it has a lot of extraordinary properties, but I’m not aware of what role it might play in desalinization. Do you have a link?

          • SoCalWXwatcher

            That 153 acre-feet per day will comprise 7% of San Diego’s water needs, from one plant, which will shift that much of the burden away from relying on natural runoff and aquifers. That’s nothing to sneeze at, especially when things are so dire we’re all being asked to cut back by 25%.

            With regard to graphene, Lockheed utilizes it for their Perforene membrane filter (as others have mentioned here previously). Even if it proves to be only half as efficient as promised, it will still be a big step forward for the cost effectiveness of Desal:

            http://www.greenoptimistic.com/perforene-graphene-water-filter-20130313/#.VRyvvYZHanNof

          • I went looking for more recent news on Perforene and found this: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Perforene

            Lockheed Martin have backed way off that 100x savings, and now say that it represents a 10-30% energy reduction. Significant, but hardly a game changer.

            There remains the problem of the brine effluvium. It isn’t just salt; it’s loaded with heavy metal and other pollutants, and dumped into shallow coastal waters, present a major threat to sealife in the area, and will cause dead zones with massive algae blooms.

          • SlashTurn

            Ouch.

          • Gast84

            Yes desal is not only energy intensive but it also creates this nasty brine which sinks to the very bottom of the ocean (much denser than the ocean water), below the mixed layer and kills essentially any organism living down there.

          • Thunderstorm

            Check out Lockhead Martin for desalination. They have the technology for this application.

    • beeluci

      This is a great comprehensive pro and con on high speed rail.

      http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2015/01/california-high-speed-rail-the-collectors-edition/384443/
      I recommend reading it. I came out for it after considering these views.

    • Bartshe

      Desal is a part of the solution, but it’s not THE solution…yet.

      Think we can turn to Australia to see how many of their desal plants rushed into production/operation during the millenium drought are still operating.

  • Charlie B

    I can now predict with a fair degree of confidence, and without looking at charts, computer models, Ouija boards, dice, stats, historical data or consulting with palm readers that the official April 1, 2016 Echo Summit snow survey numbers will be better than April 1, 2015.
    Take that one to the bank. In fact, I’ll lay $20 with anyone who disagrees.
    (Of course, it’s tough to beat zero, but hey, I’m from Nevada and we live and die by the numbers after all. And it’s rigged.)

    • I’ll raise you $40.

    • yenlard

      In el nino we trust

    • Bartshe

      Well, technically, after zero, there’s soil moisture content. Maybe they should have measured that at Echo Summit?

    • Pfirman

      Nevada is a gaming state and you bet twenty bucks? Pfffft.

      • Charlie B

        Residents don’t gamble much. We leave it to the out of state suckers.
        I’ll up it to $100.

  • Ian Alan

    This was bad timing to redo my yard for food production 🙁 I live in the forest so my yard is literally forest with nothing that would otherwise NEED to be watered……I’ll try to compromise and only water the areas that will grow food this year and not the areas that were planted with cover crops…..unfortunately we didn’t even receive enough rain/snow melt to get them going on its own.

    In other news, if the 18z GFS played out as is I would be one happy camper as it looks like it’s about as good as it gets / can be expected in April!

    It certainly looks like an extended pattern change is possible……thoughts? Just yanking our chain? I vowed I wouldn’t fall for the GFS again but I think I’m swooning – Jose get your sleys ready LOL

    • SoCalWXwatcher

      We’ve all been sucker punched by the models too many times this season. I’d like to believe we get one more crack at a decent storm or two, but I won’t believe it until I have to take out an umbrella.

      And to think how good the season was looking after those storms last December. I would never have expected it to turn out *worse* than last year’s dry winter.

      • Ian Alan

        Exactly, I agree and I agree!

        Despite the ongoing 4 year drought, there has not been an April/May timeframe that went rainless/snowless in the 8 years I’ve lived here, and oddly enough every one of those 8 Mays had snow including May 2014 with snow twice including an equal snowfall to our largest single snowfall of the season last year at 5″.

        • Archeron

          For all we onow this pattern change could hit and stick with us through April and part of May. Maybr that is a tad too optimistic though.

          • Pfirman

            Not optimistic enough. Maybe too realistic.

      • jstrahl

        The only way it’s been worse is snowfall, certainly not in terms of rainfall.

        • SoCalWXwatcher

          In terms of rainfall, Socal’s numbers are pretty close to last season, but we seem to have had a drier late season with more heat waves. March was miserable this year.

          • jstrahl

            March was miserable here too. .16 inches. Only times it’s been lower were 1923 (.03), 1926 (.05), 1956 (,03) and 1988 (.09). All those were measured at the UC station, which closed in 1990 or so, what you see since then re “Berkeley” was recorded at several different stations.

          • Dan the Weatherman

            This March sort of reminds me of March 1997, which led into a very warm spring in Socal, particularly May. Hopefully things are different this year and that it turns wetter in April and lasts a while.

          • SoCalWXwatcher

            And by late ’97 we had a super El Nino underway, which led to a very wet Winter. A repeat of that scenario would he good.

        • Pfirman

          Rainfall certainly counts, but counting against it is wind. Is there an accounting of wind that dries out?

          The early winds here in upstate, north winds, have been frequent. I also hear a lot of posts about unseemly Santa Anas down south.

          It would be nice to have an accounting.

          • jstrahl

            All true, but then rainfall in upstate has really been not too bad, and in the Bay Area certainly better than last year. All i’m saying is that saying “worse” is not really accurate.

    • Bartshe

      18z GFS, “April Fools’!”

      • Ian Alan

        DOH!!!!

    • Weatherwatcher

      How big is your garden? You probably have some cool plant life in the mountains. If i grew my backyard with native plants it would be an ugly sight of dry bushes maybe some cactus :p.

      • Ian Alan

        The potential is there for 1/2 acre – currently just a small fraction of that, average yard size. On the property we have native incense cedar, white fir, spruce, ponderosa, lodgepole/sugar pine and a couple other varieties of pine. The original owner planted 3 sequoias of which one is about 30 feet tall and I’ve planted another 8 saplings a few years ago. There’s a few aspens. Plenty of native manzanita and a patch of willow oh and of course the native black oaks & a single canyon live oak. A slue of native wildflowers and a few other shrubs I haven’t identified yet.

        I just added blueberries, marionberry & boysenberry, hopefully they’ll take well!

  • alanstorm

    So this cold upper level trough setting up for NorCal starting Sunday could be the COLDEST OF THE YEAR!!! Precip chances now at:
    70% Sun
    90% Mon
    80% Tues
    With lows in the 30’s around here, I may actually see snow for the first time this winter, at least in the surrounding mnts.
    Holy crap. Cold GOA storms in April after a record hot & dry March? Time to get happy.
    Did anyone see this coming?
    Noooooooope.

    • tomocean

      Hey! I was on about this storm over a week ago. Everyone told me I was on crack for believing the models. Pfffft to all of you doubters. 😛

      • alanstorm

        Easy, Champ. The moderator is about to come on & announce this will be a feeble blip on the Drought Apocolypse radar.

        • tomocean

          Anything that forestalls the drought apocalypse is good by me.

      • xeren

        Even a broken clock is right twice a day, the models are not even right that often but eventually they have to right by accident right?

        • Pfirman

          There are such things as happy accidents.

        • tomocean

          Yes. I wonder if the recent GFS upgrade was from a Commodore Vic20 to a C64?

          • Dan the Weatherman

            Hopefully it was from a C64 to an Amiga 4000, but that remains to be seen.

    • SFBay2

      Is there any chance of a game-changer this late? Like, 10 feet of snow in the Sierras? Sure would be nice.

      • alanstorm

        I’m just happy there’s a chance of anything besides the current doom-pattern. Probably just a dusting, but at least enough to know unexpected change is totally possible.

        • Pfirman

          That would be unexpected positive change, right? Unexpected negative has been around in heaps and proved itself more than possible, but predictable.

      • AlTahoe

        The snowiest month in US history was in April at Donner summit 298″. But no that will not be happening this year 🙂
        If April ends up with 3′ that would be a mini miracle for us this year

        • Ian Alan

          Even 3 feet will certainly be a small blessing at this point!

    • jstrahl

      Not unprecedented, though, very much like ’88, when the pattern change didn’t start till April 19 in fact. As i mentioned elsewhere, Berkeley got even less rain in March ’88 than this year.

  • Mota might want to get his Sley ready.

    • Pfirman

      Hush, or the weather gods will slay your wants. One can do what one wnats, but one can’t want what one wants….rough quote of Schopenhauer.

  • Gast84

    Yes, what’s the deal with agricultural water restrictions? I saw in that article that agricultural water suppliers have to have some sort of “plan” for drought management but it doesn’t say anything about water restrictions. Of course this has to be dealt with, simply reducing residential and business water use isn’t going to do much when 80-90% of water use is from agriculture.

    • Pfirman

      The plan appears to be ‘plant almonds’ in many areas.
      Someone called it the “Second Gold Rush”.

    • Mike

      The “plan” for agriculture is to fallow ground, pay 10-20x the historical rates for whatever available water there is in the spot market, after paying 100% of the costs of our supply, of which we’ll receive between 0 and 20% of. That’s not enough? Also, agriculture is about 70% of water use in the state and is used to produce food and jobs (most of which are for low income residents) as opposed to ornamental lawns.

      • Gast84

        Yes I received my answer now from you and from Jerry Brown’s interview (posted above in the WW twitter). Sorry for my idiotic remark.

  • Crouching Dallas

    GFS 00Z like whoa. I want so badly to buy what it’s selling – especially post ~200hrs. My head and heart say no…but my crouching loins say yes.

    I’m trusting Mota on this one. We sleying or what, hombre?

  • Bandini

    What do you know, it’s snowing. From the looks of the radar it probably won’t last more than a few minutes, but hopefully it’s a little preview of what might come next week.

    By the way: Is anyone else having issues loading comments through iPhone?

    • Yes. I am having major issues with my iPhone connecting on here.

      • Ian Alan

        No issues on this iPhone.

  • J Tang

    the drought is partially causing the weed/water hyacinth problem in Stockton so badly that the city brought in hippos (aka biological control) to help with the … weeding.
    http://californiawaterblog.com/

    • Dogwood

      Hippos AND manatees AND capybaras!
      That’s a whole load of awesome. I hope they like it there. Nice story.

    • Nick W.

      Wow, that’s so cool!

    • Archeron

      That is super cool!

  • Bandini

    Nice uplslope coming from the east and Reno. It’s actually snowing good and sticking. I guess we get excited over dustings in drought years!

    • From the webcams, it looks like almost half an inch on the snow stakes at Heavenly.

  • weatherhead

    Interesting graphic re: ocean rise in warming future. Not new info, but well illustrated.

    http://www.businessinsider.com/what-if-all-the-ice-melted-earth-2015-4

  • lightning10

    Looks like the good old days are coming back where No Cal gets all the action and the rest of the people in So Cal just sit and grump around.

    • Nick W.

      As long as we get snow in the Sierras, I probably won’t be griping.

      • Archeron

        I second this for sure lol. Rain is nice, but the snow is where its at.

    • weathergeek100

      You guys got plenty of rain since December compared to us. Outside of 3 days of moderate rain in February, we’ve had almost nothing since December.

      • Angel Rocket

        No we have not had “plenty” of rain compared to you guys ,

        • yenlard

          My rain gauge here in the San Fernando valley has a little over 7 inches this winter. So yeah…not much

          • Angel Rocket

            We got about 6″ according to weathercurrents , out here in lake Elsinore ., we average 11″ , so its not horrible but definitely really short of avg ..

          • click

            Sadly i don’t know what I got from the December storm, BUT i can say that since December 25th i have 2.46″ in the gauge. Pretty sure that’s atypical but this is my first winter at my current location (mojave desert/ cajon pass area)

          • Archeron

            I wouldn’t expect too much out there considering that its desert. Mosoon season might give you some more, though not 100% sure.

          • click

            I went digging and found some records courtesy of NOAA for Hesperia (closest city). records start in 98, (although there is quite a bit of missing data) with the station at 3290ft, it was moved in 2000 to 3055ft.
            And yes, my area is certainly dry… Where i am (4000ft) is still close enough to the mountains that i receive a little extra rain than further down in the valley.

            Some historical perspective:
            Generally it looks like there are 2-3 storms a year that dropped 1″+, with looong dry spells in between.

            The December storm registered 0.54″ in hesperia (i know i received more than that) vs the Baja Low in January rang in at 0.52″ ( i registered over an inch for that event)

            The infamous December 2010 storm brought a total of over 10″ over 5 days, (with a high of 4.88″ in one day)

            From the data, it doesn’t look like the monsoon season is especially nice to my area, so i probably won’t see to much of that t-storm action.

            (I haven’t had a chance to import and analyze for averages or min/max by month/year yet)

      • Ian Alan

        Total precip for J/F/M isn’t even close to just one of those months average precip. December was just average.

      • Nick W.

        SMV barely had an inch for the past 3 months and roughly half the average overall.

  • Looks like Fantasyland really wants to bring in a cold storm!

    • Ian Alan

      I’m actually starting to feel like April could be the second wettest month of the season (after dec of course) and how ironic if it is also the coldest….

      • Nick W.

        After the record-breaking first 3 months of the year, this could be a refreshing change. We need a near average month in temps/Above average rainfall.

      • honzik

        I’m with you on this.

        BTW, I was looking at the historical data from San Jose and noted with interest that in May1977 (the end of the 76-77 drought) 1.7″ of rain was recorded. Similar for May 1990 with 2.38″ of rain.

        Could this be a pattern, namely, that toward the end of a drought (I know, wishful thinking) we see more than the usual amount of late spring rain? There’s really not enough data to support this, but I’m curious nonetheless.

        BTW, here’s the historical weather data link:
        http://weather-warehouse.com/WeatherHistory/PastWeatherData_SanJose_SanJose_CA_May.html

        • Archeron

          I think you are right. With the developing conditions, I think we are seeing a transition out of a drought period and back into a wet one.

          • Ian Alan

            It’s been discussed briefly here and there that a spring pattern change will be the beginning of the end of the drought with it rolling into an El Niño winter with an early start to the 15/16 year in October.

            All the ‘officials’ though are saying continued & extended drought…..

            It doesn’t matter what anyone says in the long term as Mother Nature always seems to throw curve balls and often behaves in ways no one predicted as has been recently proven year after year….

          • Archeron

            those officials also weren’t predicting this nice surprise that we have coming this next week. If we can get El Nino to kick in and perhaps get some of those SST’s to cool off we might be in business.

          • Ian Alan

            In a natural system I believe in the swing of the pendulum and balance of extremes and I’ve mentioned before about this current winter being the rubberband pulled all the way back to one extreme before it snaps us into the opposite extreme… In a system of organized chaos I know it’s not true or to be expected every single time but nevertheless its a thought that doesn’t leave the back of my mind….

          • Aloha12

            When ‘officials’ predict continued and extended drought, bank on deluges, moonsoons and flooding.

    • Wunderground actually has us pegged for 1-3″ of snow on Sunday.

    • honzik

      Just before that, the High Resolution GFS still showing rain around the middle of the month. Let’s hope they both pan out!

      • Archeron

        Wunderground showing rain for San Jose threw at least the 10th.

  • Cachagua1

    There’s a lot of frost this morning in the valley where I live, so much that it looks like snow in some places. The low here was 28 last night.

    • gray whale

      Not good for R. Watson and the rest of the Carmel Valley wine crew!
      But otherwise very cool.

      • Cachagua1

        Ah, yes. You know the area. Upper Carmel Valley had a solid freeze last night, a probably 6 hour period of sub freezing temps.

        • Dan weather maniac

          Carmel Valley is amazing

        • gray whale

          Yikes! In some ways though crop damage from a solid freeze is preferable — at least that way you know there was nothing you could do about it. When its from frost you just beat yourself up for the next 12 months about what you could’ve done better to prevent it.

          • Cachagua1

            Heller vineyard a stones throw away from me is doing ok from what the workers are saying.

  • Charlie B

    The hills to the west of Reno were dusted in snow this morning. It’s like a bad April fools joke.

    • Archeron

      The storm hasn’t hit yet.

      • Charlie B

        I know. That is why the bit ‘o white was surprising. I did see a few remote sensors pick up a few hundredths of an inch of precipitation last evening. If the snowpack was 3% of normal yesterday it’s now 3.0000000000000000000000000001%.

        • Archeron

          LOL!

        • Ian Alan

          What is 3% of normal, a few inches or so?

          • Charlie B

            I look at it this way. Normal IQ for a human is 100. If someone was 3% of normal then he would have the IQ 3, which equates to that of a dust mite. Or a politician.

          • Ian Alan

            Sounds perfectly reasonable to me! LoL

          • Quagmire Cliffington

            Or Kamau40!

          • thlnk3r

            Wow Quagmire. I’m not too sure why that comment was directed towards Kamau40…

          • Guest

            I know why…

  • It does increasingly look like NorCal at least will see a dose of rain/snow early next week from a largely convective cold-core system. There may be some additional precip after that, but that’s tenuous at the moment. Snow will likely fall at or below 4000 feet, which in a typical year would be entirely unremarkable but in this most extraordinary one will be pretty noticeable. Widespread heavy precipitation is very unlikely, though a few spots may pick up over half an inch of liquid and some higher mountain areas could see 6+ inches of snow. This will hardly be a game-changer drought wise, but it will bring some welcome moisture before the start of the long(er) dry(er) season that’s rapidly approaching.

    I’ll have an update soon discussing the upcoming activity, ENSO prospects, and the drought evolution since January.

    • Cachagua1

      Do you have an idea how far south this storm will deliver the rain and snow?

    • Quagmire Cliffington

      Why does everyone always constantly feel the need to remind us that it isn’t a drought buster. Yes. We know. One storm with a half inch of rain will not end the drought. Can we just enjoy every drop that does fall without any negativity?

      • tomocean

        They’ll be reminding us of that for years and years. All I have to say is: I’ll take it!

      • Archeron

        People cry for rain and when it comes, they then complain. Its in people’s nature to be pessimists it seems =/

      • Gast84

        Don’t kill the messenger! Nothing that he said was false. Still some very welcome moisture as WW said.

      • SlashTurn

        Most people are incapable of living in the present moment.

  • Ian Alan

    Score for the central coast whose valley oaks desperately need it if this fantasyland storm came to fruition – A drive across 154 showed a sad contrast of bright green spring growth sprinkled with the brown of dying oaks and Cachuma Lake at its lowest that I’ve ever seen…

    Yes I’m feeling optimistic for April into early May, sorry can’t help it LOL

    • Nick W.

      I’ll believe it when this happens. These models are so inconsistent.

      • Ian Alan

        Yea we shall see when it happens or not – the way the models acted and the season unfolded tells us a big fat NO or a very mild outcome….

      • Archeron

        Not this time. This has nothing to do with the models. Look at the change of weather we already have. Its noticeably cooler than the last month already and we are not even remotely in fantasy land for next week’s storm. I understand not wanting to be disappointed, but posting some positivity on this forum certainly doesn’t hurt.

    • rob b

      I noticed that 12z GFS sure looks nice for upper 2/3 of CA at least. Hopefully it holds together and we see storms every few days in April. It won’t dig is out of this drought but at least it’s moisture to hold off fire season, enable ppl to (hopefully) turn off their sprinklers, and fill up area lakes some more.

      • Archeron

        I seriously think this change is going to hold for most of the month. Yes there will be neighsayers, but truthfully we have not had any pattern changes remotely like this in the last year or so. Enjoy the rain!

        • Gast84

          Yes, please do enjoy the rain. I’m rooting for it, even though we may not/probably will not get any down here in southern california

          • Archeron

            You never know! If this low continues to push south and ridge doesn’t kick back in then maybe it will be possible.

          • Gast84

            I like your optimism 🙂

          • Ian Alan

            Its looking like very light and spotty precip in socal Tuesday/Wednesday, in the mountains they did add slight chance snow for Monday night through Wed. One can only hope like many of these weaker hard to forecast storms of this season start increasing in strength as we get closer.

          • Gast84

            Indeed, it seems like they either strengthen a lot or disappear completely. Frustrating

          • You never know.

          • Gast84

            Yes that’s true, wunderground is showing 7 mm for Santa Monica next Friday!

    • thlnk3r

      Here is the cfsv2 precip total percentage through the second week of May:

      • click

        sure looks nice for southern california; sadly even if we get 200+% of average it doesn’t add up to much if average is only .01″ (exaggerating of course, i am grateful for every drop).

        Oh, i just saw the init date on there! (4/1/2015)

    • I hope this happens! Weather Channel has rain on the Central Coast on Tuesday and next Friday. I kind of believe Tuesday, Friday is too far out to take seriously. I feel your pain about the oaks, our Valley, Blue and Live Oaks are all having die offs.

  • Archeron

    El Nino still continuing to develop. The water in the EPAC along the equator is heating up nicely and the SST’s are starting to drop slowly along western NA. Not sure if the cooling will continue, but nice to see this change.

    • Ian Alan

      Indeed, let’s get this one raging!

    • yenlard

      Where does that cool pool of water need to be…doesn’t it need to move further east?

      • Archeron

        No the water off the western US just needs to cool off in general. The upcoming storms might help with that.

        • click

          What kind of effect would the current SST setup have on the impending Nino event? Right now is PDO+ right? Would it be better to be in negative phase?

    • Xerophobe

      One of a few things to look out (IMO) for 1) is the timing of the peak NIno 3.4 SSTA’s. The ONI’s that peaked in the fall were precip disasters for 1.5C+ ENSO in Nino 3.4. Those would be 65-66 and 87-88. The others that were 1.5C+ had peak SST’s in December. 97-98 may have peaked late November but it was such a monster.

      2) MJO I feel will need to be inactive if not dead from August on. 87-88 year the MJO signal was weak but still traversing phases 2-5.

      Maybe these 2 go hand in hand though.

      The changes in the trade winds from E to W to neutral to E or W to E is more or less what helps to hold or push back into SA in Nino1+2 late when it’s in ‘full bloom’. More crow to eat for me. I better not say anything more.

      • Angel Rocket

        Was the 97 98 el niño predicted in advance or did it just hit us by surprise? .

        • Aloha12

          Well in advance.

          • Angel Rocket

            Nice.. hopefully we get a monster el niño but then again I remember this time last year there was an 85% chance of a moderate to strong el niño and that was a bust..

          • Ian Alan

            I thought it never showed more than 50-60% chance for moderate/strong and from their in it kept getting downgraded…..

          • Angel Rocket

            No it was way up there in the spring but as we got closer to the rainy season chances started to decrease and by the fall it was at 60% to 50% , I was patiently waiting for it to come but it never showed up at least not a strong one..now I have to wait again but this time my expectations are not as high,

          • Ian Alan

            Wow. Guess I forgot. 85% that far in advance is practically saying it will happen – wth that in mind I’d fully expect the powers at be will be much more cautious with this coming seasons El Niño predictions!

          • jstrahl

            They were basing a lot upon historical records. The oceans have never been as warm as they are now, at least not during the human era.

          • Xerophobe

            The data and graphs from IRI at Columbia University most likely do not include the mid March high amplitude Phase 7 MJO that kicked the WWB into high overdrive. These WWB’s have continued and are forecast to continue in a couple of weeks. IRI does have a mid-March update, but the MJO signal was right on top of the update timing. My guess is these may change to a more optimistic looking forward to a real El Nino because of what occurred in mid-March.

  • supercell1545

    I’m very optimistic about the next few storms coming our way. Hopefully we get some thunderstorm action with these cold core storms!

    • Some storms will be great! It’s pretty rare in San Jose to get good thunderstorms.

    • Utrex

      Saturday is looking interesting…

      • alanstorm

        I think were in for some action in Tornado Valley. Cold air. Warm April

  • Bandini

    Chances of snow n cold in the Sierra seem pretty consistent/solid for Sunday-Tuesday. Time will tell.

    • Ian Alan

      18z gives me a good shot down here too come tues night/wed. 🙂

      • Bandini

        Nice! 6-10 and 8-14 outlooks are looking promising too. This is the first legit sequence of GOAs this year.

        • Joel

          I keep seeing it, but what does GOA stand for? budding weather guy…

          • click

            Gulf Of Alaska, where the true cold winter storms originate.

          • Pfirman

            So not Gross Outlandish Aridity?

          • Skye H.

            Gulf of Alaska low. Cold moist storms from the gulf of alaska, the kind of pattern we want as opposed to “pineapple express” systems from Hawaii or worse, from the f**king equator

    • SlashTurn

      Stoked for you bandini! I hope you have waist deep powder this time next week at squaw/alpine. And help get that lake level back up to where its should be.

      • Bandini

        Yeah man it’s looking like it could be fun. I spoiled myself with a new Tacoma (my other vehicle died on me), so I’m wondering if I’ll get to actually test the 4wd in the snow. Also have a friend coming up tomorrow through Wednesday, so our mountain biking plans might be changing into snow plans. A sneaker pow day would be fine with me. But more than anything I just want to see the mountains healthy and maybe the creeks flowing.

  • lightning10

    The 18z was a little nugget of gold.

  • Thunderstorm

    The current drought,natural climate or something else? U.S. patent 6315213? Check out ellenbrown.com. Lots of articles about our long term drought and what the future may be. So whats in that film on the windshield every morning?? I earlier posted a couple weeks ago that I thought it might be microscopic quartz. But maybe it’s u.s. patient 6315213.

    • click

      The application of the substance in that patent has to be seeded into rain clouds… Something that has not been around thanks to the RRRRRRRR. Spraying that into empty skies has no effect.

    • jstrahl

      The idea that the weather can be brought under human control is one of the most extreme forms of human hubris i’ve ever seen. People don’t even fully understand the global weather system, don’t even know all the parameters, let alone are able to measure them all, let alone are able to manipulate them. The system is not a machine, but an organism, with a huge degree of feedback and a high level of indeterminacy and contingency. And Ellen Brown is a lawyer who masquerades as an economist, is not a climate scientist.

      • Xerophobe

        Somewhat tangential, but the word organism prompted me to look for some quotes from astronauts. We all need to take care of her.

        http://homepages.wmich.edu/~korista/astronauts.html

        • Pfirman

          Most poignant is the line from the German guy, Ulf Merbold, “I was terrified by it’s fragile appearance.”

  • Utrex
    • jstrahl

      YUMMY!!

      One thing to keep in mind: some times, things just don’t materialize because the air is so dry from a long period of dry weather that a storm spends much if not most of its energy moistening the atmosphere. Not trying to jinx anything,:-0 just pointing out.

    • Nick W.

      And I get on my knees and pray….we don’t get fooled again!

    • Don’t judge me. This is orgasmic. Fine, judge me, I don’t care.

  • Ian Alan

    It felt so foreign to read this!

    (NWS SD)

    ONSHORE FLOW WILL STRENGTHEN SATURDAY BUT IT WILL REMAIN
    UNSEASONABLY WARM. THEN IT TURNS MUCH COOLER SUNDAY THROUGH TUESDAY
    AS DEEP UPPER LOW WEST OF BRITISH COLUMBIA MOVES SOUTH DOWN THE WEST
    COAST. THIS TROUGH WILL BRING GUSTY WEST WINDS TO THE MOUNTAINS AND
    DESERTS SUNDAY THROUGH WEDNESDAY. OF GREATER INTEREST IS THE
    PRECIPIATION POTENTIAL WITH THIS SYSTEM. TUESDAY AFTERNOON THE 00Z
    GFS FCSTS A DEEP 542 DM LOW OVER THE BAY AREA…AND A SURFACE LOW OF
    1002 MB OVER CENTRAL NEVADA. BACK TO BACK RUNS OF THE GFS HAVE BEEN
    CONSISTENT WITH THIS WINTER-LIKE PATTERN WHICH LOOKS LIKE IT WILL
    BRING WELCOME PRECIPITATION TO NORTHERN AND CENTRAL CALIFORNIA.
    THERE IS REASON TO BELIEVE THAT THIS POSITIVE TILT TROUGH WILL
    CONTINUE DIGGING SOUTHEAST TUESDAY NIGHT…DRAWING A NARROW RIBBON
    OF HIGHER PWATS OF 0.80″ INTO SOCAL. THIS MOISTURE ADVECTION COUPLED
    WITH STRONG UPPER DYNAMICS IS FAVORABLE PATTERN FOR AT LEAST SOME
    PRECIPIATION TO REACH SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA TUESDAY INTO WEDNESDAY

  • Jose Mota

    There is a small happy onto my face now for seaing the developer whether now. Is danger to becoming too much excite, now is time for exercice pashence to wait. But I make honestly that have my sley ready now for the drive to Rightwood. My family is look to me with anticipashen and fear.

    • Scap

      I hope that means you don’t have to stay in the garage anymore.

  • J Tang

    Just want to say thank you to everyone here for opening up my 3rd eye regarding weather and weather forecasting. After being on this blog for over a month and checking comments daily, I finally (kinda) understand what 18z means and how to read weather maps with only isobars with no color patches! Thanks everyone! (this is not sarcasm, see, I googled it: http://www.theweatherprediction.com/habyhints/75/)

    • Xerophobe

      Thanks and welcome! You may want to edit your link and either remove the ) or add a space between it and the link. I’m in your class of (kind’a) understanding, too.

  • Hmmm…..Is that a pattern change on the 0z? Good enough for me. I can finally use my rain gauge! Lol

    • Xerophobe

      Wow models trending better, wetter. The models did show the height anomaly but only recently are tossing in more PW. Around mid April could be very interesting, too. Did you need your gauge in early February? PS If this all falls apart your avatar will be deemed ‘offensive’ :-j LOL Did you just change it back recently?

      • I used my gauge once in February. I changed my Avatar last night. Lol

    • Ian Alan

      And continuing on the 06z and 12z……I’m holding back childlike giddy excitement! LOL

    • I bought one too. Maybe that is what we should all do, go buy rain gauges and send Jerry Brown to go stand in brown patches…

  • Dan weather maniac

    Well looks like the first half of April may be chilly (for April) and a few GOA storms. Maybe the SST cool more. Maybe we get “average” rain and snow this month.

    Side bar…. I have to believe the standard deviation on what is defined as “monthly average” precip for California, is very hi. Very hi! Avergae here is a strange idea.

    Maybe just maybe we get this pattern through May, possibly June. Before summer really starts. At least cooler weather would help the drought stressed plants even if precip doesn’t come….a few years ago we had a huge early June storm and then a huge late June stirm so I know it can happen.

    Can’t wait for weather west next post, hopefully with some more EL Nino discussion.

    • Xerophobe

      My excel is very retarded but fortunately formulas are pretty easy to do: IE San Jose the AVG is 1.12, Median is .76 and SD is 1.04. Do these numbers help verify your thoughts? PS I do not know if average deviation and standard deviation are the same.
      years 1875-2013

      • Dan weather maniac

        Are those annual or monthly. If annual its probably probably much more “average” though even I have to question that.

        If monthly I would be surprised at the 1.04. That seems way to low!

        • Xerophobe

          April precip

          • Dan weather maniac

            Then, same logic for anything less than say….60% of the average. If you get 25% of the time on the other/low end, then you standard deviation has to be huge!

            Or in other words, something like more than 50% of the time you do not have +/-20% of avg.

          • Xerophobe

            All I did was apply a standard deviation function to the totals for April.
            =STDEV in excel
            Here’s the link…maybe I’m not doing it right or you can try it yourself.

            Let me know!

            http://ggweather.com/sjc/monthly_rain.html

          • Dan weather maniac

            Nice chart. Im saving that link for later usage. I am a numbers fanatic as well as a weather fanatic.

            I got your apr “avg prec” of 2.55in, on 141 samples. The Stdev (using excel too) is 1.97, which I think means in on average the average variance to the average is almost 200%!!

            Can any real math person help out here…I am not certain it means 197%, but I think that is correct or very close.

            Which, eyeballing through the yearly april totals, seems about right…your april numbers are all over the board, rarley near the “average!”….CA weather is insane….the misleading use of averages…

            Im going to look at this a bit more later area for my area (East Bay), but I think the story is about the same.

            Thanks again for the link.

          • Dan weather maniac

            Oops edit. I was looking at Feb. April is different. I need to look at this more…my mistake.

          • Xerophobe

            I wish I knew how to do a bell graph…..
            Looking forward to what you come up with.

  • Muzikman1

    The ensembles have me in an absolute frenzy. My pole has begun twirling involuntarily with each new run of the models. I have carefully unpacked my jumpsuit again like I used to in the days of yesteryear. My mittens were wadded up underneath my cot but have now been cleaned and dried.

    My babies stand attentive and ready as they watch my quiet preparation.

    First I lay everything out and take a step back to assess and evaluate. Then I step forward again and rearrange to the way I think it should be. After that I stand way back in the corner to see everything from a different angle before I decide what I know I think I might have to do or not do. Before a final decision I grip every pole I can see like I know I should.

    Is it possible to arrange everything the way it should be like I used to do?

    Ohhhhhhh but I can’t!!! It is all in front of me but my frenzy is too great. Now there are poles twirling and coming at me aimlessly. I grip my own pole for the fourth time like I think I shouldn’t but I still do. Then I need to start the original thing over again.

    I had planned on packing the van for the basin but nothing looks like it used to or like the way I think it should. My babies are mocking me in my desperation. The ensembles keep getting better and it is imperative that I tend to everyone’s twirling pole as if they were my own.

    It is clear to me now that I will be in the shed much longer than I should be.

    • StormHiker

      Your song resonates with us all!

    • alanstorm

      In the shed? Gripping your twirling pole?
      I’m confused….

  • supercell1545

    So I’ve been looking at the GFS a ton lately and I’m noticing that after the sequence of cold GOA storms comes, there is another low that branches off and drifts south, south enough to gather much more tropical moisture + energy to create something that looks like it could turn in to another atmospheric river. Another thing I notice is that a different low comes through the ridge in the middle pacific, and I’m just wondering if we could still get an absolute onslaught of storms this month or if it’s already too late to get any significant precipitation events.

    • alanstorm

      My thoughts are that this amplified wave pattern responsible for looping the jetstream & storms up into Canada & allowing the high to intensify has shifted Westward enough to put us in the cold southward flow of the wave/jetstream. If it had shifted Eastward, warm subtropical flow would have resulted from being on the back side of the Omega.

      • gray whale

        Westward a little but also gets smushed south, which is significant

  • Xerophobe

    Can’t post a graph from WxBell ‘cuz it’s a no-no but CFS ‘percentage of norm’ ramped up April precip to about 150% across the state and more for eastern Sierra and south San Joaquin Valley. These DO change run to run and have been a big disappointment because they have been encouraging, then vanish. This time the forecast has gone from okay to good, rather than from great to nothing.

    • Ian Alan

      Well, Im starting to really be swayed that April will indeed be the 2nd wettest month, statewide, of the season. And we are entering this wetter pattern pretty much NOW in NorCal.

      • AlTahoe

        It is starting to look like that it will also be the snowiest month of the year up here at South Lake Tahoe. Wont be that hard to beat Decembers 4.5″ and February’s 3.5″ of snow 🙂

        • alanstorm

          Snow level here in Mendocino Interior is at 2500 ft, which ends up being 2000ft in Willits area, so depending on the timing, (3-4am being optimal) I may get snow. Amazing for April & after record warmth.
          Of course I will miss it all working in Walnut Creek this weekend with an elevation of 150ft.

          • rob b

            If the temps drop low enough you might see a bit of a white on Mt. Diablo….

          • alanstorm

            & not ruling out a severe thunderstorm or 2 in Tornado Valley (Northern Sacramento Valley)

    • craig matthews

      That is encouraging news. Better late then never.

    • jstrahl

      For Berkeley, 150% would be about 3 inches. Nice.

      • Xerophobe

        That’s better than Palo Alto, but Stanford has the Ax.

        • jstrahl

          You can keep it.:-)

  • craig matthews

    This whole set up really looks good all the way out 5 days on this model. It,s one model run, yeah, but love the model thought pattern lately. Hope we all get some.

  • MuzikmanZero

    The nutcrackers have revolted, and seem to have left me in the night. Without them, I have fallen into a deep, razor-filled depression. Oh, they were all I lived for, their treachery what made me cackle in the mornings and helped me walk the sand wastes.

    Now I must walk without them.

    My tablet tells me that the closer I get to the basin, the farther away it gets from me. I know that this is impossible yet nothing has ever felt truer. Heeheee I have always known that logic is as big a lie as snow is.

    I begin to shave again, but it is a determined shave this time. I know the clock is ticking, and every hair I take from my head gives me more and more power, power I need to keep going.

    As I type this onto my tablet, my fingers have started to melt. I must must must find my double before it is too late.

    • Joseph B.

      You aint the real thing…

    • alanstorm

      Your silly poems, however poetic, don’t make any sense to me. You sure you have the right blog?

    • “Now I must walk…”

      Please. Do.

  • Looks nice and active early next week, especially in NorCal, with some decent precipitation, relatively low snow levels, and some likelihood of thunderstorms. Blog update will be posted either tonight or tomorrow morning.

    • SlashTurn

      Can’t wait, unbelievable that it’s April and we’re getting the first legit GOA long wave trough with progressive characteristics.

      • craig matthews

        I cant believe how long we have gone without ONE bon-a fide GOA storm. I don’t know if the Halloween system ’14 could be classified as a GOA storm? The Dec ones were more outta the west/southwest. Maybe the last GOA storm was around a year ago? Anyway, its about time!!

        • AlTahoe

          The last real one was Dec 2012. All of the others were inside sliders that came down from BC and then swung back out over the water off of California. Or weird subtropical messes with no cold air behind them

          • craig matthews

            Wow, way too long. I hope this is a sign of things to come for next winter too. That is, if in fact the GOA storm train re opens.

          • craig matthews

            Forgot to post the March 31-April 1 2014 storm I was referring too:
            http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/gibbs/

          • jstrahl

            Indeed! It was really chilly here in Berkeley the first few days of April ’14, we got several shots of hail.

          • Xerophobe

            I went down to the mouth of Carmel River thinking it was going to breach…..and we’d be off and running with a wet year…thought that way too in Dec 2014

      • AlTahoe

        If I hadn’t seen a legit cold GOA trough before the end of this season I would have started to believe that maybe they were gone for good. This gives me hope for next season that our pattern has not permanently changed

  • craig matthews

    Another precip chart for San Francisco. Taken from: http://www.climatestations.com

    • Xerophobe

      Jan Null tweeted back in December that every year SF had x amount of rain in December the total precip for the year was at least 20″ for SF. I don’t know what x amount was but December 2014 was 7th wettest. All top 20 westest Decembers had a total either 20″ or above, so I say at least 4″ more for SF (thru June 30th of course 🙂

      • craig matthews

        Bring it!

  • Emerald

    Total accumulated precip. through the 13, we could get some rain and snow all the way down to the Mexican border:

    • SFBay2

      Irksome color scheme, but I think it’s saying good things.

      • Emerald

        Nearly 2 inches for the SF peninsula? Sounds good to me!

    • Nick W.

      Nice to see some colors in CA.

  • J Tang

    are your rain barrels ready?!

  • thunderstorm98

    Yay! Finally rain likely forecast on Tuesday, Tuesday night and a chance on Wednesday! 🙂

    http://forecast.weather.gov/MapClick.php?lon=-120.42889&lat=34.88585#.VR8avY5jXwk

  • Ian Alan

    4 days out and my area in Running Springs looks like it could get 3″-6″ snow with NWS already pegging the snow level at 5000′-5500′ ….. We shall see!

    Now at ten days out the GFS has been showing this system pictured coming in directly to the west off the pacific followed immediately by a GOA type Low dragging across the state from the North…..with the track record this season (and the last few!) of course this could change drastically but would anyone think this warmer system could converge with the GOA system for a possible AR or at least a decent subtropical tap? Is there a usual outcome to this type of scenario? I’m assuming timing plays a huge roll of course….

    • jstrahl

      Timing is everything.

    • Xerophobe

      I don’t think an AR. Lots of lows are forecast. The southern and especially SE Sierra may be in for a treat.

    • Angel Rocket

      Late season rally , maybe?

  • click

    Brush fire in the Cajon Pass, not very big and crews are on sight putting it out. Plus not too windy today so it probably won’t claim more than an acre or two.

  • Thunderstorm

    The usual track for a good thunderstorm tuesday afternoon would be. Starting line, Clear Lake then go south thru east side of Napa then thru Concord over Mt. Diablo then storm blossom out from Livermore into the Santa Clara Valley and turns the mountains white (snow and hail) 2,000 ft level east of San Jose. Total time about 3 hours. Its a fun drive, done it a few times. Timing has to be right with core moving just east of Tracy.

    • Sounds good to me. Lol

    • alanstorm

      You got it! Just north of Clear Lake are the mtns of the Mendocino National Forest. Snow Mtn at 7056ft is 20 mi due east of me and is responsible for blowing up so many of those severe storms that end up tracking into Colusa, Butte, Glenn & Sutter counties just north of Sacramento. How many times have we heard of severe warnings around Willows?
      Red Bluff’s storms tend to blow-up on the Yolla Bolly- Middle Eel Mtns (8000ft) & Redding’s severe storms LOVE to blow-up on the Trinity Alps (9000ft)
      That is of course when the instability is tracking eastward. Different story with the northward monsoonal stuff.

      • Thunderstorm

        If el nino does happen later this summer you will have daily thunderstorms. I noticed last time we had a big el-nino there were daily thunderstorms up by northern clear lake. Also daily convection over the higher terrain of the coastal mountains. Likely start date would be late july thru mid september. If this happens then el nino is on 100%. Almost nobody studies the sky like I do. Been doing it since I was 8 years old.

        • alanstorm

          Yea, I was always jealous hearing about all those tornados in the Midwest when I was a kid. The weather was always the most exciting thing going on, esp when it got crazy. I grew up on an old ghost-town on the Eel River that had been demolished in the ’64 flood, so every winter I was freaking out, driving my parents crazy claiming it was gonna be the “big flood”!
          There’s been so much humidity this last year, I can imagine an El Nino would juice it up even more thunderstorm-wise.

  • Arnold Weather Fanatic

    Polar Express Top at Bear Valley on Hwy 4

  • Arnold Weather Fanatic

    One more time

  • Bandini

    I’m still planning a mountain bike ride Easter morning in defiance of Mother Nature. I hope she kicks us off the trail with sideways snow but I’d be a fool not to be skeptical of anything more than some flurries! Having said that, the NOAA forecast for Truckee through Wednesday looks great:

    Tonight: 30% snow
    Sunday: 80% snow
    Sunday night: 80% snow
    Monday: 30% snow
    Monday night: 40% snow
    Tuesday: 70% snow
    Tuesday night: 70% snow
    Wednesday: Chance snow
    Wednesday night: Slight chance snow

    My take away: We could possibly see a few flakes. Low expectations, less heartache!

  • alanstorm

    Monday night-tues appears to be the main event, over an inch expected in Mendo Co, with areas of the Coast Range getting the first snows since Dec 2013. The first front tomorrow looks weak & north of the Bay Area, but Monday-Tues looks like an old fashioned GOA winter cold front sliding down the entire state! Snowboarders rejoice! The half-dead conifers will get a reprieve & maybe my creek will start running again (briefly).
    And look at the unsettled instability to follow which spells the possibility of severe thunderstorms everywhere.
    & look at the next upper-,level low tracking into SoCal at the end of the week!
    Something for everyone. Enjoy.

    • craig matthews

      Mendo looks like its in the bulls eye on this one. Laytonville area should get some snow, you think?

      • alanstorm

        Yeah, the further north u go from here, the better the water situation. There was a lot of steady rain events all thru March, with the rain line around Cape Mendocino. Starting in Ukiah & going south, u can see LOTS of recently brown conifers, dead or in the process of dying, esp along hwy 101. Not sure this rain will due much for them, maybe some will snap out of it.
        When they say 2500ft snow levels up here, that usually means 1500-2000ft in areas like Laytonville & Willits. Sure will be a suprise to all the pot growers digging holes & putting out starter plants!

        • craig matthews

          If anything, hopefully this summer will be cool with a thick marine layer just to give these stressed out trees some relief if we don’t get an eleventh hour miracle here. Yeah, lots of people around here buying plastic tarps re: your last sentence.

  • supercell1545

    Will Sacramento get a chance of thunderstorms form this one? So far the only thunderstorm setup that’s happened this year was a North-to-South one, which doesn’t ever put out for my area, but this time we should have the common severe setup of Southwest-to-Northeast right? I’m a big thunderstorm junkie sorry.

  • supercell1545

    And one more thing to ask: Is this a week long weather change or a more long term pattern change that gives us stormy weather for a month?

  • craig matthews

    This looks awesome! Am I dreaming??? Really, we are actually going to get a good GOA storm, practically at the eleventh hour.

  • Chilly8

    One of the things too that probably made the made it the warmest average winter on record were some very warm tropical rainstorms we had in December. Here in Sacramento, there was one night where the temperature did not get be below 72.

    And valley fog forming at much higher temperatures. 70 degrees and foggy in Sacramento is something you do not normally see in the same sentence.

    The very warm and muggy nights from that rainstorm brought is part why California has just had the warmest average winter on record.

  • David Bishop

    Warming for 10K years, Earth’s accelerating change with no help of Man