California fire season explodes with a new lightning outbreak on the way; El Niño strengthening as expected

Filed in Uncategorized by on August 4, 2015 1,978 Comments

A remarkably active California summer

Summer 2015 has thus far featured remarkably active and unusual weather conditions across most of California. Quite a few waves of monsoonal moisture have brought intense mountain and desert thunderstorm activity, some of which has locally made it into the coastal plain and Central Valley.

California coastal temperatures have been very warm in recent weeks as extremely warm near-shore ocean temperatures persist. (WRCC)

California coastal temperatures have been very warm in recent weeks as extremely warm near-shore ocean temperatures persist. (WRCC)

Nearly all of California has been much wetter than during a typical July (though in many places, that's not saying much!). (WRCC)

Nearly all of California has been much wetter than during a typical July (though in many places, that’s not saying much!). (WRCC)

By far the most notable event in the past few weeks was the landfall of the remnants of former Hurricane Dolores in Southern California, which brought a 3-day period of widespread heavy precipitation and prolific thunderstorms to the southern third of the state. This event ended up being the most significant California tropical remnant event in recent memory, and brought record-shattering July rains to the San Diego area and surrounding deserts. Widespread flash flooding occurred, and significant damage occurred in a few spots, including the collapse of a bridge over heavily-traveled Interstate 10. To put the magnitude of this event in perspective: the official city of San Diego observation site recorded more rainfall in 3 days during July 2015 than during all previous months of July since at least the 1800s….combined. Another rather mind-boggling statistic: almost all of southern California experienced more rain during one weekend in July 2015 than did most of Northern California during the entire month of January 2015.

This remarkable animation shows the circulation associated with the remnants of Hurricane Dolores spinning toward Southern California in July.

This remarkable animation shows the circulation associated with the remnants of Hurricane Dolores spinning toward Southern California in July (NRL Monterey).

 

California’s fire season shifts into extreme high gear

There has been much discussion about–and consternation over–the growing potential for dangerous wildfire conditions as California’s extreme multi-year drought persists and intensifies. With a handful of notable exceptions, much of the state had escaped relatively unscathed so far over the course of the drought despite the existence of extraordinarily dry vegetation and rapidly worsening forest mortality. Unfortunately, that relatively good fortune has started to change rapidly in recent weeks as an increasingly serious wildfire outbreak has developed across the northern 2/3 of the state. Last week’s heatwave in NorCal provided the initial trigger for the first wave of fires, and although some of those wildfires are now contained, it severely taxed California’s wildland fire fighting resources. Then, over the weekend, a major dry lightning event unfolded over the northern 1/3 of California, triggering well over 100 new fire starts. The situation has worsened to the point that Governor Jerry Brown has declared a state of emergency, the National Guard has been activated (and Air Force Reserve aircraft have been flying regular sorties into fire-affected areas), and over 10,000 firefighters are currently engaged in active firefights around California.

Numerous apocalyptic images have come out of the Rocky Fire in Lake County, which continues to burn largely uncontrolled near Clearlake. (Photo by Peter Armstrong)

Numerous apocalyptic images have come out of the Rocky Fire in Lake County, which continues to burn largely uncontrolled near Clearlake. (Photo by Peter Armstrong)

 

This outbreak coincided with the explosion in size of the Rocky Fire in Lake County, which (although apparently not caused by lightning) has now burned around 70,000 acres of mixed forest and chaparral east of Clearlake. The Rocky Fire has been exhibiting “ultra-extreme” fire behavior, burning with such intensity and speed that it has routinely generated its own weather conditions. The convection column associated with such extreme “plume-dominated” behavior has produced numerous pyrocumulus clouds, leading to strong and erratic winds, “fire whirls” (which are about as terrifying as they sound), and (anecdotally) even some lightning strikes. CalFire reported that the Rocky Fire burned over 20,000 acres in a single 5-hour period in the middle of the night over the weekend–which appears to be unprecedented for a fire burning in these fuels and in this part of the world. The end result is a fire that has thus far proven to be essentially uncontrollable–and continues to escape all attempts at substantial containment as it burns primarily to the north and east. The severity of this and other ongoing fires in California can almost certainly be attributed to the extremity of the ongoing drought–the magnitude of which has likely been amplified by global warming.

 

Major lightning event possible later this week

Unfortunately, there’s some additional bad news on the fire weather front: a major lightning outbreak is probably on tap for Northern California from later Thursday through early Saturday, and most of these thunderstorms will produce little precipitation. A fairly deep upper-level low off the California coast will further strengthen as it slowly moves ashore late Thursday night into Friday.

A plume of upper-level moisture emanating from Central Pacific Tropical Storm Guillermo has been entrained by the offshore low. (NOAA SSD)

A plume of upper-level moisture emanating from Central Pacific Tropical Storm Guillermo has been entrained by the offshore low. (NOAA SSD)

This setup–with a relatively deep low close to the NorCal coast, an impressive jet streak nosing inland, relatively strong mid-level divergence, and a bit of colder air aloft thrown into the mix–appears strikingly like the classic analogue for widespread autumn lightning outbreaks in Northern California. While moisture will definitely be the limiting element, these is a chance that some mid and upper-level moisture might get entrained into the circulation from East Pacific Tropical Storm Guillermo currently spinning near the Hawaiian Islands. Even without that added moisture, elevated convection would likely occur over much of NorCal, very possibly including coastal and valley areas (i.e. including San Francisco, Sacramento, and Eureka). Dry lightning and associated fire starts will therefore be a major concern, since even if light precipitation does occur, drought-stressed fuels are extremely receptive to ignition sources this year. Events like this are always subject to a great deal of uncertainty, since quite a few ingredients need to come together in order for a major lightning event to occur. But recent model forecasts have actually come into closer agreement that the end-of-week of event could be quite substantial (and perhaps focused further south than the last round of lightning along the North Coast–this time, from the Bay Area into the mid-Sierra foothills).

The NAM model suggests that an upper level low will be in a very favorable position for NorCal thunderstorms by late Thursday. (NCEP via Levi Cowan)

The NAM model suggests that an upper level low will be in a very favorable position for NorCal thunderstorms by late Thursday. (NCEP via Levi Cowan)

 

El Niño continues to mature; very strong event still likely

El Niño update: it’s still there, and it’s continuing to strengthen as expected.The ongoing event is already quite strong, and although much has been made of daily fluctuations in the Niño region ocean temperatures, all available evidence continues to point toward continued strengthening into the fall months and persistence through winter 2015-2016.

Ocean waters near California have warmed further in recent weeks, and remain far above normal. (NOAA RTG)

Ocean waters near California have warmed further in recent weeks, and remain far above normal. (NOAA RTG)

The International Multi-Model Ensemble is unanimous in depicting a very strong El Nino event during winter 2015-2016. (NOAA CPC)

The International Multi-Model Ensemble is depicting a very strong El Nino event during winter 2015-16. (NOAA CPC)

Interestingly, the strongest westerly wind burst yet this year has just occurred in the western tropical Pacific, which has initiated a powerful new Kelvin wave that is now propagating eastward across the Pacific basin and will continue to reinforce the strengthening event through September. It’s still too early to say exactly how El Niño will influence California’s upcoming winter, though it still appears that there’s a significantly increased chance of a wetter-than-average winter. Of shorter-term interest: extremely warm near-shore sea surface temperatures off the Mexican and California coasts will continue to present an increased potential for East Pacific tropical remnant events through September and possibly October.

One thing is certain: this has been one of the most interesting summers weather-wise in California in quite a few years, and that trend is likely to continue over the next couple of months. Stay tuned.

© 2015 WEATHER WEST

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  • Josh

    invest 97e has become better organized today, lets pray it brings us some mositure

  • jstrahl

    Eric Blake tweets: “Nino 3.4 was 2.2C above average this week- warmest August weekly value on record.” Chart included. But hey, it’s easier to believe things will turn out bad. because the last four years have been bad.:-)

  • Ian Alan

    Fun Hurr Hurr hurricane photos!

  • David Thomas

    oct is now a 50/50 of being wet and dry same for DEC but one thing i have noted with the CFS is its now wetter for NOV http://www.tropicaltidbits.com/analysis/models/cfs-mon/2015083100/cfs-mon_01_apcpna_month_us_3.png

    sorry weather W this would be the olny time i would post this i this want too point this out so right now OCT and DEC are 50/50 and nov now looks wet too vary wet

    • Yes you are right…November is trending wetter, while December is a toss-up according CFS. David, if you want I can post a link so everyone can go look at all the months. Let me know.

    • yenlard

      If the effects of el nino generally start in December why would November be wetter ? Doesn’t make sense. Then again nothing does these days.

      • The models are still trying to find their footing when fall will end and winter will start. December may be the tipping point between fall El Nino influences and winter El Nino influences.

        • jstrahl

          Good one, nailed it. As per above, Novembers may show El Nino woking with tropical remnants rather than winter storms.

          • C M

            November is too late for tropical remnants from decaying hurricanes or monsoons. Maybe an early season pineapple express though?

          • SoCalWXwatcher

            Actually Eastern Pacific Hurricane season doesn’t end until November 30. Historically, November can be quite active.

            And that’s with SST’s usually well below what we’re seeing this year.

    • SoCalWXwatcher

      I seem to recall November ’97 had some decent rain (at least here in SoCal), with December being unimpressive, followed by an epic January and February.

      Back in ’82 we had quite the wet November if memory serves, and although December was above normal, it wasn’t impressively so compared to the November preceding it, nor the very wet January that followed.

      • SoCalWXwatcher

        This chart tells the tale, at least for the LA area – El Niños generally go to work during Jan-Feb-Mar. I have a hunch these really strong events enhance Oct-Nov with remnant tropical moisture from the E Pacific though.

        • Inches this year??

          • SoCalWXwatcher

            In 1982, November saw the largest single-day total for precipitation, and the most precipitation in one month for 1982, while in a “normal” year, December should trump November. (Los Angeles) Of course the subsequent Jan-Feb-March really delivered the goods.

            “The day with the largest quantity of precipitation was November 9. That day saw 1.248″ of liquid (or liquid equivalent) precipitation, compared to a median value of 0.135″. The month with the most precipitation was November, with 3.508″, compared to a median value of 0.787″.”

            https://weatherspark.com/history/30699/1982/Los-Angeles-California-United-States

      • jstrahl

        In Berkeley, November ’97 was 2.5 times average, December about 2/3 of normal, huge January (double figures) and an epic February, almost average March. For ’82, November was bout the same as ’97, December a bit wetter than ’97 but still below average, January well above average, February above average March epic, double digits.

        • SoCalWXwatcher

          it looks like Major El Niños don’t really do Decembers.

          • jstrahl

            They go home to pick up holiday gifts and then return.:-)

  • thunderstorm98

    The low was 55 degrees this morning in Santa Maria. It felt great!

    • Ian Alan

      That was my same low temp here this morning in running springs and believe it or not was the only low below 61 for the entire month of August lmao – average is low 50’s maybe upper 40’s by now…

  • Charlie B

    Alright. Last month I asked everyone who had been tracking their July precipitation to post their numbers and location. Several responded.
    It is now the end of August. Did anyone get anything this past month?
    For me, Graeagle, elevation 4400 (Plumas County, Northern Sierra about 5 miles east of the crest) received…drum roll please…ZERO!!!!!!!
    Any other numbers of note?

    • Thunderstorm

      In July .01, August 0.0 By Fremont SF bay area. A few distant lightning events.

    • C M

      San Jose
      June; 0.10 inches
      July: trace
      August 0.02 with a good lightning event that produced mostly dry lightning with sprinkles and maybe a light shower.

    • thebigweasel

      We got about .75 inches in July, and .1 in August here in Siskiyou County.

    • Tyler Price

      Alright so for the month of July in Van Nuys, CA (San Fernando valley) I got 0.61 inches of rain (mostly all from Dolores).. The hottest temperature for the month was 96 degrees (with the humidity though -_-) June’s hottest temp was 102.. And August’s hottest temp has been 109!

    • Nick W.

      .61 in my rain guage in the SMV; none in August.

  • C M

    It looks like we could be in for a major heat wave during the second week of September; does anyone see this rivaling the heat wave of July of 2006?

    • Pfirman

      Not me. For one, the days will be shorter, lessening any pain.

    • tomocean

      Seems highly unlikely that September would have a heat wave to rival anything in July.

  • CHeden

    Ziltch for rain for Aug. in the north Sac Valley. Lows now occasionally in the high 50’s, and it looks like no more 100+F days.

    To add to other reports for 1997, here are the Aug-Oct rain totals from Pacifica (where I used to live). Since Pacifica/Cent Cal was “bullseye” for the 1997-98 El Nino, the rain totals are particularly representative of that specific El Nino rain pattern.
    In general, an underwhelming start to what turned out to be a record rainyear. All told, only 9 rain days for the entire three months, with > 80% of total precipitation falling during just two events.

    08-97
    Total rain: 1.15″
    # rain days: 2
    Comments: Major tropical event 8/19-20: 1.12″ fell over two days. Repeated T’Storms training S-N along the coast producing on/off thunder for 18 hrs. Rest of month dry

    09-97
    Total rain: 0.12″
    # rain days: 1
    Comments: 0.10″ on 8/14.

    10-97
    Total rain: 1.12″
    # rain days: 6

    Comments: First GOA CF of season on 10/08-10. 0.82″total rain for the event. Pattern turning stormy after 10/31

    • jstrahl

      In Berkeley, things didn’t get stormy till around November 12. The October storm brought more rain to Berkeley than to Pacifica. Otherwise very similar.

    • “… it looks like no more 100+F days” in the north Sac Valley? For all of September? That would be a surprise.

      • CHeden

        For Sept., 1997, the max high temp was 97F (@ Redding Airport). Yes, Sept is not usually when the 100+ temps end (climatologically speaking), but this year is different. El Nino patterns seem to result in early-season troughiness along the west coast with a generally cool/dry pattern dominating until the flow off the Pacific overwhelms the continental high and storms start pummeling the coast (usually around November). May need to keep an eye on that possible heat event next week, but I don’t think we will see as much heat as places farther south or nearer the coast.

  • Dan the Weatherman

    From San Diego AFD:

    PRESENT INDICATIONS ARE THAT THE BENIGN WEATHER PATTERN ACROSS SOCAL WILL HOLD TROUGH THE FIRST TEN DAYS OF SEPTEMBER. THE MODELS INDICATE LITTLE LONGWAVE MOVEMENT OVER THE WESTERN HEMISPHERE…WITH THE MASSIVE EASTPAC RIDGE ALONG 160W…AND THE RIDGING OVER CENTRAL N.A. HOLDING. THESE ARE NO DOUBT HELPING TO ANCHOR THE WEAK TROUGH
    ALONG THE WEST COAST…WHICH DEFLECTS ANY MONSOONAL FLOW FARTHER TO THE EAST OF SOCAL…AND MAINTAINS ONSHORE FLOW AT THE SURFACE WITH SEASONAL TEMPERATURES.

    This sounds much more like a La Nina summer pattern rather than one found during El Nino with the ridging over the Central U.S. keeping the monsoon moisture at bay.

    I will admit that if this were winter, we would likely be getting some good rains in this type of setup with the ridging at 160W and over the Central U.S. with a nice trough over the West Coast. Let’s hope this pattern shows itself during the winter months, January-March!

    • jstrahl

      Sept ’82 and ’97 did not feature a lot of rain, in fact very little, at least in Berkeley.

      • Dan the Weatherman

        Socal experienced the remnants of Nora in September 1997, and brought nearly 1/2″ of rain here in Orange. The remnants must have not affected Norcal, or the showers were very widely scattered by the time it reached your area.

    • click

      The other effect of this setup is the Santa Ana’s can’t really start blowing.

      I see it as a trade off I guess, no monsoon (or the associated lightning and fires), but also no Santa Ana’s to fan the flames either.

      The moisture would be most welcome, but it needs to be widespread enough to counter anything that sparks up along with it.

      • Dan the Weatherman

        Even if we had high heat in the first half of September, it still likely wouldn’t include Santa Ana winds. Santa Ana winds are caused by surface high pressure that builds into the deserts from the NW, and the air associated with those highs are cool to begin with since these systems travel the jet stream and come from higher latitudes. The jet stream is still too far north for those kinds of air masses to penetrate the region this early in the season. However, when the very end of September comes around and especially going into October, the likelihood of Santa Anas increases greatly as the jet begins to buckle and sags south as a more fall-like pattern begins to develop.

  • redlands

    Redlands, Ca — Southern Ca Monthly Rain Totals
    ——————————————————————————————
    JAN-2015 — 0.48
    FEB-2015 —- 1.07
    MAR-2015 —- 0.33
    APR-2015 —- 0.60
    MAY-2015 — 0.77
    JUN-2015 —- 0.00
    JUL-2015 —- 2.12 — Yes 2.12 — not a mistake
    AUG-2015 —- 0.01
    ————————————————————————————-

    • click

      Awesome for July! And not 00 for August, so I’d call it a win lol.
      My totals at the top of the cajon pass:
      July – 2.44 (thanks Delores, feel free to come back anytime)
      August – 0.12

      In my area, these totals are not totally representative, as the highly localized nature of t-storms can cause a deluge in one place and almost nothing in another. The official Hesperia station got .38″ total for Delores’s Day, while I got 1.5″ in less than an hour.

      A neighbor of mine about a mile away got just under an inch for August, thanks to a couple well placed downpours.

      On several occasions I watched the storms to my east and west pouring, while I had clear skies.

  • redlands

    Interesting — Notice how they talk about it being a storm system — like only one big storm https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lCAkgYIwlpQ

    • One lesson I’ve learned over the past few years is that often the science stuff that ends in mainstream media simply isn’t right. Obviously, El Nino isn’t a single storm system. But I think everyone on here knows that… 🙂

      • Tuolumne

        I have a few more decades than you of gritting my teeth over that kind of stuff. In one case, I wrote to the reporter and it turned out that the editor garbled her article, presumably to save space. On the other hand, I’ve seen some in-depth articles that really were well-reported and accurate. It can go either way.

      • Quagmire Cliffington

        But The Weather Channel said, “All storms must bow before.. EL NINNOOOO” so clearly you are wrong Daniel. El Nino IS a single storm. Those are facts.

        • Thunderstorm

          Thanks for the LONG GREAT laugh.

    • University of Youtube videos on El Nino? Lol!

  • Models suggesting potential for a pretty extreme coastal heatwave in mid-September, and perhaps another monsoonal-like outbreak. Does not look like summer is over yet by any means! Also, looks like there may be a big and northward-tracking hurricane west of Baja in ~10-12 days.

    • Dan the Weatherman

      It wouldn’t surprise me at all if we have a heatwave later this month. The hottest weather of the summer often occurs in September with the combination of a strong upper high and a weak offshore flow (not strong enough for a Santa Ana event).

    • I just checked and noticed everything you said. I was just about to post it! Hopefully the Monsoon progresses, rather than the heatwave.

    • Weatherwatcher

      This heatwave wouldn’t be a santa ana would it? Or perhaps a similar high pressure event we got last week.

  • April Galanksy
  • Josh

    man this weather is boring hope something exciting, like delores comes.

  • David Thomas

    not going too post the CFS but nov still looks wet and DEC now getting back to wetter has of the 12z CFS update on monday ouct looks like a 50/50 this Fall and winter may be the 1st norml to above norml wet fall we have seen in some time with and a vary strong El Nino CA is going too be in for a fall and winter we have never seen be for

    on a side note the GFS is now out too mid too late SEP so so next week some time we will be albe to get the 1st peak of OCT

  • David Thomas

    now that we are in SEP has we head in to mid too late SEP you will see that will have less and less heat waves we may still get them but its getting to that point of year too where are heat waves are olny in the mid 90s to around 100 has we head too mid too late SEP things really start cooling off and we start seeing some rain around late SEP and the start of OCT

    • xeren

      Are you talking about norcal? Because September is the most reliably above normally hot month in Socal. It’s the doldrums of hot weather

      • jstrahl

        Same thing in the Bay Area, Sept and Oct have generally been the months with the warmest temps since i moved here in early 1970.

      • David Thomas

        what else would i be talking about

        • xeren

          so touchy, DT. you need to work on that

        • Stereolab

          No offense, but frequently it’s extremely difficult to read what you’re writing…

          • thunderstorm98

            Its like a foreign language.

        • The Thank You Carp

          Take a deep breath dude, and chill out a little bit. California is a HUGE state, and making generalizations is bound to get some dissent.

          I wasn’t going to saw anything about this part but since you insist upon being a d*ckhead when people say something to you…
          When Xero asked if you wanted the link for the CFS forecasts, that was also a kind way of asking you to share it if you have it… you know, others might be interested.

        • Sierrajeff

          given we have no idea where you are – since your post said nothing about geography (other than an implied “in California”) – you could bet talking anything from coastal Humboldt County to the interior of Death Valley. So, when people ask you a legit question, chill.
          As others have noted here, as far as the Bay Area goes, Sep. and Oct. are the most consistently warm times of the year, historically – not the time when things start cooling off.

          • Quagmire Cliffington

            Sep and Oct show us why it’s called the Golden State!

          • Tuolumne

            Depends where in the Bay Area you are. Farther from the coast, like Walnut Creek, it’ll be warmest in July and August. The real divide here is not Bay Area vs. elsewhere but coastal vs. interior California.

    • KabbasaSac

      Yes, except areas along the coast which are more populated, who experience their warmest times of the year in September. I believe these areas are more vulnerable to the 80’s which become similar to the inland areas. Less marine layer B/c the lack of temperature variation and the weakening of the N Pacific high pressure offshore creates this scenario.
      (Correct me if i’m wrong<;)
      BTW: First time posting but I've been following this blog since Dec '13 (:

  • Ian Alan

    Sure looks like the southern facing Alaskan coast will get an official crap-load of rain in the next two weeks

    • thebigweasel

      Alaska is in desperate need of rain and snow, too.

      • Ian Alan

        Indeed it is!

  • 805 Weather

    This is the month, every year, we begin feeling the fall transition. The month when changes begin to catch the eye quicker and then we roll into that almost fall like feeling, but just not quite there yet also. Now typically from my memory when we weren’t in the 4 year drought and normals seemed actually normal, if I’m correct this month usually brings the last of the unwanted heat, a shot of rain at the end of the month that falls through and then we hit October and that’s where I put my cards on the table. But this isn’t gambling now is it? 😉

  • lightning10

    That nasty ridge is back on the 6z in the long range.

    • 06Z seems to be the Debbie Downer of the forecasts.

    • Quagmire Cliffington

      The ridge will be predominantly present until the change from Fall to Winter. Why do you think that in the first 2 weeks of September we should be getting hammered with storms?

  • honzik

    This is off topic somewhat. Is it just me or does it seem that naming a tropical storm “Fred” (in the Atlantic) seems a bit unconventional? It sounds like a punchline: A hurricane walks into a New Orleans bar, and the bartender says: Hey, we have a drink named after you. The hurricane says: You have a drink named Fred?

    • Ian Alan

      Maybe. But Freds got nuthin’ on Olaf!

    • SacWxPress

      “Jemina”

  • Weatherwatcher

    0z fantasy land is such a tease

    • Nick W.

      What I don’t like is it’s two weeks off.

  • Quagmire Cliffington

    What are the chances we hit +3 now that we’re into September?

  • Josh

    Is that ridge in the east pac the ‘RRR’ that we saw in the winter months beccause if it is I know how that story ends

    • It is what it looks like, but it is not persistent enough to call it that. We should know by January.

      • Quagmire Cliffington

        Everyone’s already spooked by a ridge on September 1st, when CA gets some of it’s hottest weather.

        Reeelaaaaaxxxxxxxxxx people…

        • rob b

          Agree 100%, SF normally sees it’s “best” weather Sept and part of Oct.

        • Nick W.

          As Aaron Rodgers would say: R-E-L-A-X.

    • jstrahl

      Like what the other say, relax, and do read Daniel’s update tomorrow, he will deal with the RRR.

    • KabbasaSac

      I believe the ridge is still common in the east pacific until the end of October where the Pacic is open for storms, combine with the more powerful jetstream!

  • rob b

    I just received an email from Snowbomb, they’re banking on 300+ inches of snow on Donner Summit. If it doesn’t snow at least 300 inches they’ll offer everyone who purchases their Snowobomb Platinum card a free card for the winter of 16/17.

    • Charlie B

      We are in trouble if Donner gets only 300 inches. It should get 400+.

      • Ian Alan

        what did Donner receive for the 14/15 season?

        • AlTahoe

          I don’t think they even hit 200″ last season. Squaw valley was reporting 223″ at 8000′. So with the Donner pass recording site at 6900′ I think they would have been around the 150 -175″ mark.

          • Charlie B

            Finding reliable snowfall totals on the internet is tough. I did find Tahoe City, which reported 33 (average 190) and Donner State Park, which reported 18 (average 186). If Donner gets that again Bandini’s wife will be livid since she had to stack those 2 cords of wood while her hubby was lounging at Tahoe with his “injury.”

          • AlTahoe

            I found this after posting and it is from the Berkley snow station on Donner Summit. Worse than I thought.

            “We’ve received 320cm (126”) of snowfall this past year, this is the lowest amount the Snow Lab’s ever measured.
            Winter 1977, the next least snowiest year, had 464cm (182) snowfall. We
            have had more precipt than 1977 though. What significant storms we did
            see this past year were warm with a fair bit of rain and little or no
            snow. Average snowfall here on May 1 is 1006 cm, so we’re about 32
            percent of average. Our max depth occurred Dec 20 at 79 cm. We reached 0
            snow depth on March 13, about 71 days earlier than average.” – Randall
            Osterhuber

        • Charlie B

          I think Al is right (maybe even generous). During 1976-77 the Snow Lab got 150 or so. That was the previous low water mark.

  • click

    Just wanted to say thanks to Daniel, the mobile site looks really nice!

  • jstrahl

    Eric Blake tweets: “2015 does seem to have some warmer water at depth to potentially tap than 97 did- shud be an interesting fall.” Charts.

    • CHeden

      Thanks for the catch. I checked his post and the depth of the thermocline is shallower in the far west for 2015 than 1997, although there is slightly warmer water near the Cent. Pacific surface in 2015. VERY similar, though.

    • Need a big WWB to stir it into the mix. Looking at mid October then we’ll see the crescendo.

  • CHeden

    And then, there were none.
    GFS TPW graph for 9-15.

    • Darin

      Don’t see it…

      • xeren

        gotta refresh your browser sometimes

  • UrbanBazaar

    Nice piece in Bay Nature, with quotes from Daniel!

    Today in El Nino Advice: Don’t Worry About the Blob https://baynature.org/articles/today-in-el-nino-advice-dont-worry-about-the-blob/

    • Best jab at the blob and its influence (NOT) by Michelle L’Heureux. “There’s a Dynamics 101 issue here.”

    • jstrahl

      Excellent find. Something to remind those who insist upon talking about the Blob, till tomorrow’s post here.:-) (And beyond).

  • David Thomas

    temper on thusday and friday will really feel like fall in the foot hills with highs in the upper 60s too to mid 70s there all so a ch of showers in the mts i say with the cool tempers and the ch of showers in the mts there a good ch for snow showers for areas above 8,000 on thursday or friday with any showers

    • xeren

      which foothills?

      which mountains?

      • David Thomas

        am talking about N CA am not talking about you boys down in S CA

        • xeren

          southern CA matters too!

          but either way, it would help if you could specify – not everyone remembers where you are located

          • Quagmire Cliffington

            No it doesnt! just kidding… but seriously it doesnt.

        • The Thank You Carp

          I didn’t know that foothills had tempers, but i guess it makes sense they can trip and fall. Do they like to kick when they throw their little tantrums?

          • CHeden

            LOL.

  • Nick W.

    Hot weather returning around Labor Day. I say enough!

    • thunderstorm98

      Wonderful

  • David Thomas

    the mts of N CA will see the 1st WIDESPREAD frost or FREEZES for many of the mt valleys of N CA so if you are camping thursday and friday pack a hvy jacket your going too need it

    • The Thank You Carp

      couldn’t we just have a campfire instead?

      • xeren

        not during this wildfire season!

        • Darin

          It’s hard to read tongue-in-cheek on the internet but I’m going to say that “The Thank You Carp” is having a little fun. 😉

          • xeren

            It’s hard to read tongue-in-cheek on the internet but I’m going to say that I was also having a little fun. 😉

    • Bandini

      Lows of 27F and 29F for Friday and Saturday in Truckee forecasted. I’m camping in either Tuolumne Meadows or Shasta this weekend, I’ll make sure to bring an extra Snuggie.

      • click

        I’m camping this weekend too, but in SoCal. Lows forecast to be in the 50s…

        • Ian Alan

          It’s finally in the 50’s at night here the last few nights – showing highs in the low 60’s end of week and could dip into the 40’s which would feel so nice! Not so much for the last of the summer crops struggling to bear fruit LOL

      • Ian Alan

        And make sure the wife packs an extra bundle of wood!

      • Quagmire Cliffington

        I hate that I have to take my snuggie off to ski.

  • thunderstorm98

    I hope we see a 2010 summer again in 2016 due to La Nina.

  • 805 Weather

    Gorgeous tropical high clouds with enough moisture to throw in some virga over here in Carpinteria almost that calm before a tropical storm honestly. Enjoying the summer weather as much as I can.

    • Ian Alan

      Enough to obscur the sun often throughout the day here – making that upper 60’s daytime temp feel that much cooler today!

    • Tyler Price

      Nice looking alto-cumulus clouds overhead here in the San fernando valley

  • Josh

    from the nws los angeles discussion :

    The GFS and European model (ecmwf) solutions diverge after Sunday. The European model (ecmwf) shows
    little change on Monday and Tuesday when compared to Sunday. The GFS
    is consistently showing a weak upper level low just off the Southern
    California coast. Most significantly…this low would bring
    southerly flow to the area…which always means a window of
    opportunity for clouds…moisture…and thunderstorms. Being at the
    end of the forecast window…will punt having to choose a
    solution…but the GFS remains the model of choice based on its
    performance this year.

    do you guys see anything in the gfs models with regards to a weak upper level low bringing Socal showers and thunderstroms

    • SoCalWXwatcher

      The 18z run of the GFS doesn’t show much, if anything, as far as showers or thunderstorms in SoCal next week. (Although the Monsoon looks to be in high gear in AZ next week)

      Of course, this could easily change once the 00z run comes out. The NWS is wise to punt at this point and wait for some consistency between model runs.

      • Josh

        thanks

  • 805 Weather

    Was driving and just got a little bit of sprinkles coming out of the clouds above here in Ventura. 😀

  • Tyler Price

    I know this is a little far-fetched and impossible to predict in the long-long range, but what are the chances this year might be California’s mega
    Flood? It has happened before and seems to occur every 150-250 years apart and is now long over due.. Well I was just thinking, since we have only been keeping records on El Niños since the 1900’s there’s no way to know if the last mega flood that occurred in california during the 1850’s was a strong or (MEGA) El Niño of epic proportions like 3.0-3.5 degrees Celsius above
    Normal in the ENSO 3.4 region.. Since some models are predicting Over 3.0 degrees Celsius and we still have a couple months to go until peak Intensity it could quite certainly be possible we see another mega flood event where it rains for 40 days+ in a row and flood all the valleys?? Just something fun and scary to think about.. We won’t know until it’s pretty much about to happen

    • Josh

      definitely a possibility , my parents told me there was a big flood in 1994 but I don’t know to what extent. and you know what they say about California , when it rains it pours

      • Tyler Price

        there have been several bad flooding events even in recent memory, but the kind of event im talking about literally flooded the entire Central Valley and they had to move the Capitol of california. What is now Orange County in Southern California turned into an I land sea aswell as the inland empire.. Pretty much all the valleys became inundated with flood waters that took a long time to recede..

        • Tuolumne

          The story about flooding the “entire Central Valley” in 1861-62 has lots of life, thanks to a self-contradictory quote at the time from William Brewer that makes that claim but then states that the area flooded was 20 miles by 300 miles, far smaller than the entire Central Valley.

          While the valley may seem perfectly flat, on a broader scale it has a lot of terrain and goes from near sea level to 500 feet elevation, often with complicated rises and falls near the periphery. There is simply no way to flood the *entire* place without creating water 500 feet deep at the Delta, and nothing of the sort happened in 1861-62. Water got maybe 20 feet deep in what is now downtown Sacramento.

          That said, the same flood today would be catastrophic and would flood major portions of the valley – the huge areas of lower-lying land that do vary by only 10-30 feet in elevation.

      • jstrahl

        Did they mean 1995? There was severe flooding in March of that year, a bridge on I-5 washed out in the Valley, Castroville near Santa Cruz was isolated by the Salinas River and the Pajaro River flooding and cutting off both access roads into town, downtown San Jose flooded, a part of I-880 in Fremont loaded, closed for several days. But nothing like 1862.

    • xeren

      if a major flood happens every 150-250 years, aren’t we at the lower bounds of “overdue”? not that the concept of being “overdue” can apply to a very rare event. it may happen twice in a decade and then not again for another 1,000 years

      • Tyler Price

        Yes you are absolutely right about that, but that is just a number and like you said an event of that magnitude doesn’t have a true timeline on how many years apart it can occur, but as history shows it has happened every 200 years almost like clockwork.. One in 1850’s the one before that in 1600’s and before that in 1400’s..

        • Ian Alan

          Might as well be this year, let’s get it over with.

      • Tyler Price

        Ahhhh I see interesting.. So basically it was just an AR event on steroids?

    • A huge El Nino like the present one probably does increase the odds of a major flood event in California, including something like the great 1860s flood. But even doubling the risk of a very unlikely event in a particular year means it’s still very unlikely.

      • Tyler Price

        Thanks!! Yeah you are right, there really is no way to predict when an AR event of that magnitude is going to happen.. And history has shown that good AR’s can happen on any given year (like the last big La Niña we had in 2010 or 2011..) im sure we will get at least ONE good AR this coming winter! ?

  • 805 Weather

    What is this small disturbance moving in? No talk of it at all and its doing pretty good with the cloud cover.

    • SoCalWXwatcher

      I wasn’t expecting as much mid-level cloud cover as we’ve gotten today.

      • 805 Weather

        It’s actually got me puzzled is this in any of the AF updates? If anyone has noted?

        • SoCalWXwatcher

          They’re only calling for some stratus/marine layer and some high clouds.

    • Thunderstorm

      This is the start of the season for EL-NINO. Mark the date as the start line for this event!

    • SoCalWXwatcher

      NWS considers it a weak upper-level low, but it looks like the mid level deck is a bit thicker than they would have expected. The LA and SD AFD’s only mention a thickening marine layer with some high clouds.

      • 805 Weather

        Looks a lot more like a monsoonal flow but out of the southwest

  • Tyler Price

    Yeah first time hearing of it this evening.. It’s clouding up real nice out here in the San fernando valley.. Nice thick cloud deck overhead

  • Thunderstorm

    RobertSchribner also believes that the RRR is starting it’s demise. Read his latest article. El-nino is just too strong and getting stronger.

  • StormHiker

    Whoa! The new mobile layout is awesome – much easier to read and scroll through, especially the comments. Thanks Daniel!

  • lightning10

    With the exception of Fred that is about as blue of an Atlantic ocean as you will see for early September.

  • 805 Weather

    Sunset with a lot of virga in Oxnard!

    • 805 Weather

      !!

      • thlnk3r

        The weather was fantastic today. It actually felt like Fall this evening with the cool breeze and virga 😉

  • C M

    We’re planning on driving down to L.A on Friday for the long weekend and will return Monday night. Is there a good chance we’ll run into remnants of the now-forming tropical storm Kevin?

  • I’m calling it now, the Ridiculously Resilient Ridge is going to be undercut by an El NinWHOA fueled TTT.

    A Terrifically Tenacious Trough!!!

    • Tyler Price

      I’ve got a feeling the triple R is gonna get crushed all together.. At least when winter arrives. I can see it getting undercut in fall, but the atmosphere is responding so well right now to El Niño that I think there will be enough mixing and upwelling of the “blob” to really start cooling it down and making it less likely that the RRR will be as Persistant as the previous years. Who knows how long it will take for “the blob” to cool back down to average temp, but I’m sure it’s gonna get cooled A LOT during this El Niño! The storms are coming! I can feel it ??????

      • jstrahl

        Check out this article which was posted here earlier today, the people quoted include Daniel (aka Weather West). The factors which created RRR (a name Daniel coined) just aren’t there, no need to “crush” it or undercut it at all.

        https://baynature.org/articles/today-in-el-nino-advice-dont-worry-about-the-blob/

        • Tyler Price

          Thanks! I read this article earlier today and thought it was great! Daniel really seems to be getting recognized in the meteorological community more and more!! I’ve being seeing his quotes and points being bought up in all kinds of articles! ?

    • Don’t make me happy. Lol

  • The big El Nino update will be up tomorrow morning. Thanks for your patience!

    • Boiio

      Looking forward to it!

    • AlTahoe

      Love the new mobile site. Nice work

    • click

      The mobile site does look great, but I noticed in the menu at the top the only item is “terms of service”, there’s no options for the home page, or the links page.
      Also, it would be nice to have a link to jump to the comments section at the top of a post still. I know it’s a design choice, (I’ve done my share of web site development) so it’s all good either way.

      Thanks again for all you do, and for providing us avid fans a great place to discuss California weather! I truly appreciate it!

  • David Thomas

    sac NWS ADF says we could see are 1st dusting of snow

    AREA FORECAST DISCUSSION
    NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE SACRAMENTO CA
    330 AM PDT WED SEP 2 2015

    This system does not look like it will bring widespread showers to
    most of the area at this time, however, sufficient moisture and
    strong dynamics will likely squeeze out some showers and perhaps a
    few thunderstorms over the northern third of the forecast area
    mainly on Friday and Friday night. Some of the higher peaks in the
    southern Cascade Range and far northern Sierra Nevada may see
    their first dusting of snow for this season.

    i would say this is are 1st cool fall storm of the season may not be march but it will bring tempers that N CA have not seen since last falll and are 1st dusting of snow for some N CA mts

    whats your in take on this weather W?

  • Bandini

    Forecasted lows dropped again for Saturday: high of 57F, low of 27F. Like David said below, looks like a chance of a few flying flakes.

    • SoCalWXwatcher

      Hopefully the first of many snowfalls this season!

  • click

    Looks like the TOA/TRITON buoy system finally worked out whatever glitch was causing it to show a bubble of 30C water at depth. temps are impressive none the less. Now they just need to get the ones closer to the 1+2 region working again.

    EDIT: the discus caching feature is still showing the image i linked from August 24th (with the bubble), so i removed the link and will add the image below.

    • click

      here’s the current one, sorry if it duplicates for anyone

  • dale

    Feels like home again(long beach). Now we’re talking! No firebugs please!