New insights into the Ridiculously Resilient Ridge & North American Winter Dipole

Filed in Uncategorized by on December 4, 2017 2,732 Comments

A timely example: Persistent Western ridge, Eastern trough next 2+ weeks

A pronounced example of the “Warm West/Cool East” temperature dipole pattern will develop over North America in the coming days. (NCEP via tropicaltidbits.com)

In the coming days, a remarkably persistent weather pattern will begin to develop across North America and adjacent ocean regions. Characterized by strong high pressure near the West Coast and low pressure over the Eastern Seaboard, this “quasi-stationary,” high-amplitude atmospheric wave pattern will essentially become locked in place for at least the next 2 weeks. Patterns like this have a tendency to become self-reinforcing, lasting for much longer than more typical transient weather patterns and leading to prolonged stretches of unusual weather. This particular event will be no exception: California (and much of the West Coast) will almost certainly experience an extended, multi-week warm and dry spell, while much of the East Coast shivers through repeated blasts of cold, Arctic air.

As it turns out, these upcoming anomalous conditions provide a timely example of several atmospheric phenomena my colleagues and I have been studying over the past few years. In this post, I’ll explore the broader climate context of recent North American weather extremes, with a focus on insights gleaned from two recent scientific papers published by my colleagues and me.

A remarkably persistent, quasi-stationary atmospheric wave pattern will develop across much of the Northern Hemisphere, persisting for multiple weeks. (NCEP via tropicaltidbits.com)

 

Recap: Origins of the “Triple R” and California’s severe drought

In 2013, a curious feature began to emerge on the weather maps: a region of unusually high atmospheric pressure (known as a “ridge” in meteorological circles) was consistently pushing the Pacific jet stream to the north of California, resulting in very dry conditions. At the time, I (somewhat jokingly) termed this anomalous high pressure zone the “Ridiculously Resilient Ridge” due to its implausible longevity, assuming that it would most likely recede by the subsequent blog post. Instead, the “Triple R” held strong straight through the entire winter—and then recurred, in slightly modified form, throughout the winters of 2014-2015 and 2015-2016.

Average position of the “Ridiculously Resilient Ridge” over the course of the 2012-2015 portion of the California drought. (Adapted from Swain 2015)

The multi-year persistence of this anomalous atmospheric ridge was nothing short of extraordinary. The co-occurrence of record low precipitation and record high temperatures associated with the Triple R ultimately yielded California’s most severe multi-year drought on record. I previously discussed the rise of the Ridiculously Resilient Ridge—and associated drought impacts—in an earlier post, which summarized findings from our initial scientific investigations (#1 and #2). Two key points arose from these early papers:

 

1) Atmospheric pressure patterns similar to the Triple R are now occurring more frequently than they did in previous decades.

2) The unprecedented magnitude and persistence of recent West Coast ridging can be traced (at least in part) to regionally-accentuated warming of the lower atmosphere.

As is often the case in scientific endeavors, these early findings raised more questions than answers. These lingering questions motivated us to continue our analyses, which resulted in the two new scientific papers discussed below. (And additional work remains in progress.)

 

A “standing wave” in the atmosphere: Warm in the west, cool in the east

Composite middle atmospheric pressure anomaly map corresponding to extreme North American temperature dipole days (compare to current forecast map above!). (Adapted from Singh et al. 2016)

Global wind and pressure patterns are not uniformly distributed across the Earth’s surface. Even at a given latitude, prevailing climate conditions can vary greatly from place to place (compare, for example, the winter climates of mild San Francisco and often snowy Washington, D.C., which are both located near coastlines around 38°N). These spatial variations in climate are a direct consequence of the physical geography of our planet: the exact position of our continents, ocean basins, and major mountain ranges dictate prevailing atmospheric conditions on a global scale.

In North America, these underlying geographical constraints yield a semi-permanent wintertime “wave” pattern in atmospheric pressure (in a two-dimensional map sense), which is characterized by generally higher pressure in the west and lower pressure in the east. This pre-existing wave pattern is not always easy to discern on surface weather maps, but becomes more apparent when considering pressure patterns at higher altitudes (often quantified as “geopotential height” (GPH)). This typical “western ridge/eastern trough” set-up predisposes the eastern U.S. to experience far colder winter temperatures than the West, as relatively mild southwest winds (originating over the Pacific Ocean) blow across the West Coast but harsher northwest winds (originating over the cold Canadian interior) blow across the East—producing a longitudinal temperature dipole. This “standing” (i.e. stationary) wave pattern is also the reason why California can be highly susceptible to long dry spells, even during the winter rainy season. More often than not, rain-bearing storms tend to veer northward just before reaching the West Coast due to the angled southwest-to-northeast trajectory of the jet stream as it approaches the west side of the semi-permanent Western ridge.

 

“Warm West/Cool East” extremes have become more common in recent years

Quite a few recent winters have featured not only extremely dry (and warm) conditions across much of California, but also numerous outbreaks of very cold, Arctic air across the eastern U.S. The Eastern Seaboard, in particular, has suffered through a number of regionally-crippling (and superlatively-named) “Snowmadeggon” and “Snowpocalypse” snowstorms. In most cases, these opposing extremes have occurred simultaneously due to an extreme amplification of this pre-existing “western ridge, eastern trough” configuration. Altogether, this recent flurry of wintertime extremes across North America raises the question: has there really been a sustained trend toward an increasingly pronounced winter temperature dipole?

 

Observed trends in the frequency of occurrence of extreme North American temperature dipole days (different colors represent different definitions of what constitutes a dipole). (Adapted from Singh et al. 2016)

Our recent work (led by Deepti Singh) answers this question affirmatively: there has indeed been an increase in the number of days each winter characterized by simultaneously very warm temperatures across the American West and very cold temperatures across the East. We found that there has been a substantial increase in the propensity for extreme ridge/trough sequences to produce especially severe temperature contrasts across the U.S., and (to a lesser extent) an increase in the frequency of the relevant atmospheric “western ridge/eastern trough” pressure patterns themselves. Using climate model simulations, we further found that an increase in extreme temperature dipole days like those we’ve observed in recent years is considerably more likely in a climate with rising greenhouse gas concentrations than in a hypothetical climate without human influence.

Intriguingly, this increase in contrasting dipole extremes appears to be caused primarily by the increased rate of warming in the western U.S. relative to the eastern U.S. While the eastern U.S. has indeed experienced a recent string of remarkable Arctic outbreaks, there hasn’t been a sustained trend toward cooler temperatures. In fact, when we estimated future changes using climate model simulations assuming continued growth in atmospheric greenhouse gas concentrations, we found that the occurrence of these extreme temperature dipole days will soon start to decrease as winter warming accelerates across the entire United States—making it more difficult to achieve extreme thermal contrasts between the East and West.

One question we weren’t able to assess in this study was how the atmospheric pressure patterns conducive to extreme dipole events might themselves change in the future. But in a separate paper, we have now taken a closer look at the “Western Ridge” half of the equation—and I’ll discuss those results below.

 

Oceanic links to North Pacific winter ridging

Statistical relationships between ocean temperatures in different regions (black boxes) and middle atmospheric pressure patterns (i.e. GPH anomalies), plus long-term trends in ocean temperatures (right). (Adapted from Swain et al. 2017)

There has been a tremendous amount of interest—not just within the scientific community, but more broadly among weather-watchers and other drought-weary Californians—in understanding the causes and longevity of the Ridiculously Resilient Ridge. And that turns out to be a genuinely challenging question to answer, despite several years of formal study by quite a few scientists. To date, the strongest evidence appears to implicate unusually warm ocean waters in the tropical western Pacific, which can trigger a hemisphere-scale wave pattern favoring an enhanced subtropical ridge near California. Other work has suggested that unusually warm ocean conditions in the “extratropical” Pacific (i.e. the so-called “Warm Blob” in the Gulf of Alaska) may also be linked to the persistent ridge—though there’s considerable evidence that the atmospheric Triple R caused the oceanic Blob, rather than the reverse. Still others have wondered whether the striking loss of Arctic sea ice in recent years may have played a role, though the evidence supporting this connection remains sparse. Finally, it has also been shown that random variations in the atmosphere can occasionally produce an extremely persistent North Pacific ridge. In other words: the Triple R may be at least partially attributable to “bad luck.”

In our latest paper, we set out to explore all of these hypotheses using a unified framework. Using a combination of real-world assimilated observations climate model simulations, we asked the following overarching question: are there traceable linkages between tropical/extratropical ocean temperatures, Arctic sea ice, and the occurrence of seasonally-persistent ridging along the West Coast?

 

Tropical Pacific may offer early warning of “Triple R”-like patterns

Observed middle atmospheric pressure pattern anomalies during the 2012-2016 (left) vs. predicted pressure pattern anomalies using the methods in our study (right). (Adapted from Swain et al. 2017)

Ultimately, we found that there do indeed appear to be strong relationships between Pacific Ocean temperatures and persistent West Coast ridges conducive to dry conditions in California. Especially prominent are the links to western tropical Pacific Ocean warmth. These connections appear several months in advance, which not only suggests a causal linkage but also hints that it may be possible to predict the occurrence of “Triple R”-like ridges several months in advance. This result agrees with previous work by other scientists suggesting that displaced tropical precipitation associated with West Pacific warming can generate a trans-Pacific atmospheric “wave train,” favoring an enhanced subtropical ridge near California. We also reproduced the already well-known connection between cool “La Niña” conditions in the eastern tropical Pacific and broader high pressure in the Gulf of Alaska, which can also lead to dry conditions in California.

Importantly, the West Pacific relationship exists independently of the El Niño/La Niña (ENSO) cycle: that is, warm conditions in the western tropics can be sufficient to cause a California ridge entirely on their own. Of even greater interest: recent warming of this particular portion of the Pacific Ocean has coincided with a considerable uptick in the frequency of persistent winter ridging near California. This latter point offers further circumstantial evidence that at least some portion of the recent California drought may have origins in the warming tropics.

What about “The Blob?” Well, we did find a strong statistical linkage between warm ocean conditions in the North Pacific and West Coast ridging—similar to that which occurred during the recent drought. In this case, though, the “chicken or egg” issue rears its head once again: while a time-lagged relationship between autumn ocean temperature and winter ridging did exist in observations, only an contemporaneous relationship existed in climate model simulations. We posed two possible reasons for this divergence: either the persistent ridging itself caused the subsequent ocean warmth (rather than the reverse), or climate models may be underestimating the role that warm North Pacific SSTs can play in ridge-building. Additionally, it’s still plausible that warm ocean temperatures in this region, once in place, can enhance the persistence of ridging via self-reinforcement (i.e. high pressure causes the warm ocean in the first place, which then favors more high pressure, thus causing an even warmer ocean).

Observational analysis suggests a possible link between sea ice loss and West Coast ridging (here, blue represents ridging when sea ice decreases). Climate model simulations, however, do not support this relationship. (Adapted from Swain et al. 2017)

And how about the sea ice hypothesis? Well, the link between Arctic sea ice anomalies and West Coast ridging remains…unclear. Our observational analysis hinted at a possible relationship, but climate model simulations disagreed. As my co-authors and I have previously emphasized, however, a scientific “absence of evidence” is not necessarily equivalent to an “evidence of absence.” That is to say: just because we didn’t find strong evidence of a connection doesn’t mean one doesn’t exist in the real world. The Arctic is now warming more than twice as fast as the rest of the world, and sea ice has been disappearing at a greater rate than had projected by climate models—a rapid rate of change that has complicated scientific investigations into high-latitude linkages. Indeed, the relationship between “Arctic amplification”/sea ice loss and mid-latitude climate remains the subject of a vigorous and ongoing debate in atmospheric and polar science circles. While it’s increasingly clear that these profound shifts in the Arctic have the potential to alter mid-latitude weather, it still is not clear precisely where, when, and to what degree. Thus, while our work does not obviously implicate sea ice loss in recent California extremes, it’s still plausible that stronger evidence could emerge using more sophisticated modeling tools or new observational approaches in the future.

 

Some conclusions, and thoughts about the present winter

Ocean temperatures have been cool in the eastern tropical Pacific and warm in the western tropical Pacific since early autumn. (NOAA via tropicaltidbits.com)

Ultimately, we confirm that unusual ocean temperatures are linked to seasonally-persistent West Coast winter ridging similar to the Triple R. Tropical warmth (in the West Pacific) and coolness (in the East Pacific) are both linked to different patterns of North Pacific winter ridging, and may offer an early warning of seasons with an elevated risk of dry conditions in California. Interestingly, tropical Pacific Ocean temperatures during autumn 2017 were warm in the west and cool in the east amidst a modest (and ongoing) La Niña event—a combination that suggests a substantially elevated likelihood of West Coast ridging this winter. To date, Southern California has experienced one of its driest starts to the Water Year on record, and strikingly persistent West Coast ridging is now expected to last at least two weeks. It will certainly be interesting to see how this winter plays out in the context of these new research findings.

 

This blog post focuses on peer-reviewed research from two separate papers published in scientific journals (Singh et al. 2016 and Swain et al. 2017). While most Weather West articles are primarily based upon my own informal thoughts and analysis, this piece is directly informed by formal investigations by a team of scientists. I would like to thank my collaborators in this work—Deepti Singh, Daniel Horton, Justin Mankin, Tristan Ballard, Leif Thomas, Bala Rajaratnam, and Noah Diffenbaugh—for their invaluable support and ongoing insights.

I am happy to provide a personal copy of any paper mentioned above (on which I am an author) upon email request.

Want to learn more? Follow climate scientists on Twitter!
Daniel Swain, Deepti Singh, Daniel Horton, Justin Mankin

 

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  • Bombillo1

    Winds howling here, middle of the night. The ridge is building in, and we’re 600 mi North of this fire. Wind directions are not going to change but fuel availability could dictate fire course. Camarillo and San Fernando V in harms way?

  • Dan the Weatherman

    The power went out here in Orange for about 20 minutes or so from 3:05 a.m. to 3:25 a.m.

    • redlands

      What did u get down to

  • 805 Weather (Camarillo)

    Reporting in after loss of power earlier… We are having a meltdown all across the county, Ventura was the heart of these lands & unfortunately my earlier fears before it jumped the 150 came true… They held their tongues too long while it was spotting to the eastern side of the highway for areas directly SW under the plume and then it as the sundowner Santa Ana’s kicked in, they underestimated ROS & it made a run straight for Ventura. Now 8,000 homes are under evacuation and resources are very thinned, in fact current objective is to save property. They aren’t putting any effort into getting this thing out until morning. https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/913b06604a9cec8d51a58b44afed3272702538ae0d20ec2b493c2374364191a3.jpg https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/c9ed2c7a82b3b94f4a26348d36732b349fd7605833837ed29989f4bdbe8b273d.jpg https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/550137a78b519a90abb41d6067cafc314b7fdd5af31981e0653d60a9b3414dc1.jpg https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/f3e8fd4cf4cd1185379ca914ff63a5e8f994eabe51ce44b7110ee6722160acfb.jpg

    • alanstorm

      Really sorry to hear this! Brings back the bad memories.
      Fires are the WORST

    • Wolfpack

      I’m hearing lots of people trapped in their homes surrounded by fire with no escape. Just horrible.

    • Candleman (Santa Barbara)

      This is eerily similar to what happened in the North earlier this year. Awful. Twice in one year for California. I hope there was better notice for people to get out.

  • Unbiased Observer

    Doomsday is officially upon us, a study implicating warming arctic now as well:

    http://www.latimes.com/politics/la-na-pol-climate-california-20171205-htmlstory.html

  • Yolo Hoe

    50F in far southwest Davis and NW wind still blowing — high pressure is in control

  • flyboy45

    These climate predictions and their consequences are troubling and seem to be verifying each day, recurring long dry spells, alternate water shortages and floods and fires. What’s really getting worse is the number of people affected. Let’s face it, increasing development in hurricane zones, tsunami zones, tornado alleys, deserts, fault lines etc are putting more and more people in harms way… just a fact.
    In reading Daniel’s latest study, I find it simply verifies what a a couple hundred years of climatology already has been telling us.

    From the first time I opened my tiny Golden Nature Guide on weather (still have it) , semi permanent features such as the “Pacific High” and the “Aleutian Low” have alternately directed storms to and away from most of California.

    Yes, there are arid and semi arid regions in California, even deserts, drought prone, fire prone and without renewable water sources. There’s a reason for it. Geography plays a big part but so does the Earth’s general circulation. We engage in weeping and hang-wringing when it doesn’t rain for a whole month. I live in Arizona and the latest ENSO update verifies it hasn’t rained a drop in over 90 days! Why? It’s a desert.

    Studies like Daniel’s offer some insight into year to year variations, Dweebs and Nerds like me love these discussions and anything that can accurately forecast them or predict a potential major climate change is important, but we should not be surprised what climatology has been telling us for a very long time.

  • thebigweasel

    Definitely not very good news for us in California. We saw some of the ramifications of this in the Santa Rosa area two months ago, and as I type this, our power has been off and on last night, apparently because Ventura is under a similar siege. Best of luck to the folks down there.

  • Jim (Watsonville)

    A new fire in Kagel Canyon in the Sylmar area threatening homes…fire at 2,500 acres…called the “Creek” Fire

  • weathergeek100

    No, not Ventura. Not Ventura!!!

    From cnn- ‘At the fire’s roughly acre-per-second burn rate overnight into early Tuesday, it would have covered Manhattan’s Central Park in about 15 minutes.’

    These rates are the same as the north bay fires. I ask you guys, how, just how can a fire burn at an acre per second??? I cannot comprehend that. Common sense physics makes it difficult to believe that. I know the wind is blowing 50+ mph but still! Doesn’t it take time for fuel to burn before it advances?

    I can’t believe this is happening all over again.

    • Jim (Watsonville)

      The fuels ahead of the fire are being preheated making ignition much quicker…pretty insane. I was on the Cedar Fire in 2003 and it too had some crazy rates of spread…was mind blowing to watch.

    • thebigweasel

      I find it all too easy to believe. The Painted Cave fire in Santa Barbara burned 6,000 acres in two hours, covering six miles in the process.

    • tomocean

      The fire is constantly spreading out. It doesn’t have to burn through fuels before expanding. If the wind is fanning it, in addition to spotting, proximity combustion become a thing too. The flame doesn’t even need to touch a fuel source. The heat is so intense that the fuel burns from a distance.

      • inclinejj

        The fire super heats what’s in front of it so when the flames reach the structures they just explode into a fire ball.

        • tomocean

          I’ve seen them burn without any flame ever touching them! If the fuel is super dry and the heat is so intense they combust.

    • inclinejj

      When you have 65 mph winds and no rain for 6-8 months. I saw a fire in Trinity burn up from 299 to the top of the ridge and over in about 15 minutes. Before I could run back up to my truck and call 911.

  • happ [Los Angeles]

    I can see the smoke from the Little Tujunga [Creek fire] blowing out over the San Fernando valley. Power outages reported all over the foothill areas may be responsible for these fires in Los Angeles and Ventura county. Some minor wind damage here include a large tree branch down and plant pots turned over.

  • RunningSprings6250

    It is incredibly windy here and has been since last night, temps steady around 30F….

    Thomas Fire has to be 40k+ acres now? Inciweb isn’t updated – 31k acres at 3:40am.

    Just nuts, and sad…..

  • thebigweasel

    ABC has extraordinary footage of some of the most extreme fire behaviour I’ve ever seen. It seems to be exploding in all directions at once. The official estimate is one dead, 150 homes destroyed, 31,000 acres, but the second pair of numbers are pure fantasy, and were probably unduly optimistic when they were issued three and a half hours ago.
    Here in Santa Barbara, we have a red, red sunrise, unusually cold temperatures (32 here), and a glowering brown grey wall of smoke over the channel. The power seems to have stabilized for now.

    • RunningSprings6250

      31k acres was four hours ago – waiting for the morning report…

    • Jim (Watsonville)

      ABC7 reporter at the command post says the fatality that was reported was found to be a dog…hoping thats accurate

      • Sublimesl

        Not a dog lover?

        • Jim (Watsonville)

          What makes you ask that ? I have a black lab…was just confirming there wasnt a human fatality…

  • happ [Los Angeles]

    TV coverage shows a huge fire from Santa Paula all the way west into Ventura. This is beautiful country under siege of santa ana winds.

  • sectionmaker

    huge Ventura evac goin on…the area from freeway 33 to 126 is like a flat funnel. Winds just howl through there all the way down to Santa Monica mts.
    fire is spotting ahead of itself as in Santa Rosa.. Wind event was forcast to be in the southern channels, and not as much Carp up to Goleta.

  • inclinejj

    I think the blog had a couple guys from down that way. One guy was more around Paso Robles but further inland. I could have swore we had a couple guys from Ventura. Hope they are all safe.

    • RunningSprings6250

      Where’s cornhole Master….

      • SoCal Al (El Monte-SGV)

        He’s awol cuz the story is about SoCal. Remember when he posted……”I can care less about SoCal.” Unfortunately, there’s a negative bias from others up north about our lifestyle, sports teams, fans, our complaints about lack of rain, or any other issue that raises their hackles.

    • 805 Weather (Camarillo)

      Yes, unfortunately several of them are evac’d.

  • davdorr

    Sorry if this was already discussed, but found this article that relates to Daniel’s post above. It talks of a connection to Arctic Sea Ice and lack of winter precipitation in California. https://www.nature.com/articles/s41467-017-01907-4

    • jstrahl

      Thanks!

  • PRCountyNative
  • rob b-Truckee/East Bay

    Looks like the first strike teams being sent from Nor Cal left around 6am. I’ve seen Marin, Alameda, San Mateo, and two made up from the Sacramento area. Most of the Cal Fire stations in the North Ops area have already gone into winter mode and closed for the season or not staffing multiple engines.

    • Jim (Watsonville)

      Santa Cruz County was toned out around 6:30 this morning

      • rob b-Truckee/East Bay

        Haven’t seen anything yet but it looks like the Alma Cal Fire Helicopter (106) isn’t on base today and it was there/staffed yesterday. Guessing it was sent south this morning.

        • Jim (Watsonville)

          Bummer wildlandfire.com went under…was a good source for info

  • thebigweasel

    As Ventura burns…

    Climate scientists see alarming new threat to California
    http://beta.latimes.com/politics/la-na-pol-climate-california-20171205-htmlstory.html

  • PRCountyNative

    Remember when water used to fall from the sky? Would run down the hillsides, collect, run down the streets?

    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/0519cdcb1eba0625de6000687b1c5132696dd5b840f3973649578d596644dc3b.png

    • rob b-Truckee/East Bay

      That picture is very similar to the ones that came out during the Oakland Hills fire.

      • PRCountyNative

        Exactly what I was thinking. That was the first time I’d seen, imagined, fire burning through residential neighborhoods, uncontrolled.

        Juniper bushes turned into flamethrowers.

        • Bombillo1

          That is the problem with billows aided fire. These things burn much hotter than just a lit flame. Even asphalt, cars, metal buildings everything becomes fuel under these conditions.

  • rob b-Truckee/East Bay

    For those interested-Broadcastify https://www.broadcastify.com/listen/ctid/201 (radio traffic)

    Also those that are members it looks like the Wildland Hotlist is having issues with all the traffic coming into their site and it’s down.

    • Jim (Watsonville)

      The site is no longer. The parent company went bankrupt and i believe the site is for sale

    • Jim (Watsonville)

      You can still access the “they said” part which addresses the issue.

  • 805 Weather (Camarillo)

    Everybody is distraught around here. In disbelief that it could hit home so hard, & this is the unfortunate “sh*t hit the fan” scenario that people brush off with living under these conditions until it happens to them which is what we are seeing unfolding.

    • Candleman (Santa Barbara)

      It is a constant fear I have living in Santa Barbara… I thought being December we would be safe but I guess this shows you that it can happen at any time.

      • AlTahoe

        I had a friend that lived in the hills above downtown Santa Barbara and the roads up there are insanely tight and narrow. They even had signs that during a fire everyone had to go one direction to prevent a Oakland Hills type scenario. You couldn’t give me a home for free up there.

        • 805 Weather (Camarillo)

          It’s not worth it anymore honestly. This is an inevitable situation to all areas built into wind/fire prone areas across the state and with the way our climate is rapidly changing, I believe these occurrences will be seen more regularly…

          • Yes I think small areas of homes in the Sierra that could go up in a flash that haven’t, yet.

          • matthew

            Believe me, I think that all (most) of us are painfully aware of the danger every summer. Life is full of risks and tradeoffs. Living in fear is not living.

          • AlTahoe

            Those videos out of the Northbay where people were driving through flames to escape looks like one of the worst things imaginable. At least at my place, I can just walk down the street and stand in the lake until the fire passes. I imagine the rest of South Lake Tahoe would be a nightmare though with everybody clogging the only road in and out of town.

          • alanstorm

            After what the Tubbs Fire did to Santa Rosa proves that NOWHERE in Ca is safe.
            The only reason it didn’t continue its march thru the rest of the city was because the winds stopped.

          • Tuolumne

            Actually this is nothing new. Consider the1923 Berkeley fire. Came down out of the hills with a strong northeast wind and took out hundreds of homes in a heavily urbanized area.

            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1923_Berkeley,_California_fire

          • alanstorm

            Well, my future plans for residing at my current location are *completely up in the air* after Oct 9.
            Not sure I want to live under this threat every summer & fall.
            Our mountain/subdivision has absolutely no viable escape plan besides driving thru flames

        • I’d take an estate home in Montecito.

      • Dan the Weatherman

        I feel that if we had a couple of decent storms in November, this fire situation may have been much less severe with some moistening of the ground and fuels.

  • Bombillo1

    While city planners and engineers preoccupied themselves with schemes to rob various water resources to continue development, no one really thought through what other consequences there might be for our lack of naturally occurring water. Fine, water still comes out of your faucets, but tell me how liveable Ventura is right now. Obviously this isn’t a problem confined to Ventura but a rhetorical question for all.

    • Water will now need to come out of wet sprinkler systems on all new residential construction. That’s pretty easy for one home but a neighborhood? This Isn’t really a lack of water issue but an engineering one.

      The following is my opinion only. The Tubbs fire that skipped over 101 almost happened in 1964(?) Should that residential area (Coffey) have been built in the late 80’s? Hard to say even after the Tubbs fire. In SoCal it was apparent that building homes on a ridge complete with 24/7 fire stations and public hydrants doesn’t ‘work’.

      • Bombillo1

        Ceiling sprinkler systems, now required on all construction after 2010, are only meant for saving the occupants, not the structure. Again not designed to extinguish the fire. Also, no way the water pressure would hold if several houses in the neighborhood were initiated.

    • redlands

      Should the houses have been built there. We’re they built to withstand hurricane force winds and burn proof

  • BP (Ventura)

    Well brethren, it’s hit me, my first evacuation due to a fire. West side of Ventura is under evacuation, I stayed put with family and hosed off property and house. Fire is currently a 1/4 mile from my house, I see LA city firefighters in the neighborhood, that’s a 70 mile drive for those guys, a big thanks. I’ll post later once we have power, cell almost dead. One more thing, this fire started by Steckel Park in Santa Paula, by the crow, 15 miles from my house, within 3 hours, I saw flames licking down the hills! 3 freaking hours!!!

    • Jim (Watsonville)

      Stay safe…dont be a hero..when its time to go, go !!

    • RunningSprings6250

      We’re with ya brother! Stay safe!

    • PRCountyNative

      Good luck.

    • Arnold Weather Fanatic

      I’ll underscore the “when it’s time to go,go!” Start packing the essentials in your vehicles–now. Stay safe!!!!!

    • 805 Weather (Camarillo)

      Stay safe!

    • jstrahl

      Best wishes, stay safe!

    • Hollow Scene (The Desert)

      BP If you need anything let me know, I have a truck, I’m in Riverside

    • I was wondering about you, stay safe and get a particulate filter mask if you can.

    • alanstorm

      Geez. Sorry to hear all this horrible news. I know the feeling: pure adrenaline & disbelief.
      Thoughts are with you all!

  • RunningSprings6250

    45k+ acres —-

    Search “#Ventura” On instagram…..

    • Hollow Scene (The Desert)

      For reference, the Blue Cut fire was only about 37,000 acres, and this fire grew this size overnight!

  • PRCountyNative

    Casitas Springs/Fresno Canyon mandatory evac.

    No fixed wing aircraft too windy. 40 – 50 mph sustained.

    • PRCountyNative

      Endeavoring to keep “flames out of both sides of Ojai Valley” where wind will line up with fire. Without planes, tough challenge.

    • rob b-Truckee/East Bay

      Last night it was mentioned that many of the contracts for fixed wing with the USFS were probably done for the year. I know some of the VLATs head to Australia this time of the year for their summer. Those DC10s and the 747 can really help.

      • PRCountyNative

        Doin’ things the old way, in a new world. December is the new October.

  • Osse (Redondo)

    The broadcastify link to venture fire that someone provided below is great. But, depressing.

    • Osse (Redondo)

      It’s coming up Sulfur Mt. now. Maybe the radar will go.

  • rob b-Truckee/East Bay

    Much like we saw in the newer areas of Santa Rosa many of the homes burning are built with what is thought to be modern construction. Cement/Tile roofs, stucco siding, and trees not right against the homes. When the winds blow like this with low rH there really isn’t much that can stop the freight train of a fire from moving.

    • alanstorm

      Most homes have so much flammable material placed around in the form of furnature, knick-knacks, fences, plants, vehicles,etc. When the embers land on these items, & then that wind blows on them, there’s your source of ignition.
      I saw quite a few open areas that went unburned but every single home was completely erased.

  • SoCalWXwatcher

    I’m just curious, when was the last time the 540dm line made it all the way down to Monterrey, Mexico and the 534dm line down to the Rio Grande near Big Bend Nat’l Park in TX? That cold air is really expected to dive pretty far South by Friday.

    The high temp in Monterrey, MX is expected to be 45°F on Thursday with an overnight low of 35°F. (It’s going to be 80° there today) I’m not familiar with the climate there but this has got to be some sort of record.

    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/d5b5adbd8cb09aee45ae0ed4e3eced3626c009665c4ae1eba9a17ba633bb348d.png

    • Nearly every winter.

      • SoCalWXwatcher

        Interestingly, the record low temperature in Monterrey for December 7 is 35°, so if the forecast verifies, it would tie that. Also of note is that the record of 35° was set back during 2013.

        • Yanet Garcia (on a beach)

          Tienes razón

    • weathergeek100

      I’m not THAT surprised. Monterrey is continental. Look at the difference in winter temps between, say, Miami and Brownsville. Brownsville doesn’t have water to it’s north and northwest.

      Interesting nonetheless.

      • Thunderstorm

        Was wondering why the fire was burning hottest on the north side of the fire. Higher pressure to the south. So winds Wednesday night may turn more to the SE and that would drive the fire towards Santa Barbara as the high pressure strengthens to the south.

  • 805 Weather (Camarillo)

    Bringing in the big one! Might have to go film this airshow… https://twitter.com/globalsupertank/status/938098358413078528

    • rob b-Truckee/East Bay

      Well that answers if the 747 is available…good news. That thing is amazing!

    • SoCalWXwatcher

      A 747-400 making low sweeps in 50mph wind gusts will be quite a sight. Get some video!

  • 805 Weather (Camarillo)

    New start out in Santa Clarita… Jeez.

  • AlTahoe

    Saw this today and I was thinking how similar this is to 1999. I believe that February was very stormy with like 25+ days of rain for norcal
    https://twitter.com/NWSSeattle/status/937641347359555585

    • Fairweathercactus

      1999 winter was 100x better then this crap.

      • AlTahoe

        I meant for this current Ridge placement and strength. It is almost an exact match. I remember being in Tahoe that year for New Year’s and there was only patches of snow on Kingsbury grade. That winter started off very slow and didn’t get going until Mid January. We actually have had more precip and high elevation snow so far this year than that one.

      • Dan the Weatherman

        The fall of 1999 was bone dry in Socal, but I don’t remember if there were any major Santa Ana events or major fires that fall.

    • FWIW AO was flipped and NE Pacific looked very different.
      It may give PacNW some hope.
      For the month State of Washington as whole didn’t fare bad at all. Oregon south, yup world of hurt.
      That’s from 12/20 to end of year, BTW

    • Dan the Weatherman

      This year has reminded me the most of the 1995-96 and 1999-00 seasons to date so far.

  • Fairweathercactus

    Someone posted this in a Pacific Northwest message board. This is for Seattle but none of these years turned out to great for So Cal at all. https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/2e5e60505e6d75614b817456947a0ba2bb70d79ed4d326e4022f9d74503385de.jpg

    • MakeSoCalWetAgain (SMX)

      Except for 2005 and 2009, which were decent rain seasons. We need to flip the switch on this trend.

      • Dan the Weatherman

        1985-86 was a pretty good rain season in Socal. I believe Downtown Los Angeles received around 18″. 1999-00 started out bone dry like this year, but turned wet in February through April, and L.A. received around 11.5″ for that year. 2005-06 wasn’t too bad and there were several colder storms in the March – April period if I remember correctly. 2009-10 was a moderate El Nino year that brought around 18″ for L.A.

        The two driest seasons on that list for L.A. were 1980-81 and 1989-90.

  • Wet Line(San Diego)

    The 3rd fire in Santa Calrita is really blowing up and burning toward I-5. Really bad situation.

    • rob b-Truckee/East Bay

      I believe that’s the one now with radio traffic on the LA County channel, asking for more resources.

  • Too bad Goes 16 is not available, here is the regular imagery from NOAA.

    Friends of my folks probably lost their home north of Foothill in Ventura. Others I know are evacuated. Terrible situation with a new fire now in Santa Clarita.
    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/b7d0f04e1dd93fd257a1b8943c5bce85bf3abcdd8e6fd1da327bd7998de75328.jpg

    • Wolfpack

      Another now in Santa Clarita? There’s not enough resources, wow.

      • PRCountyNative

        West side of Hwy 33. New mandatory evac’s.

  • 805 Weather (Camarillo)
  • Fairweathercactus
  • weathergeek100

    Love Howard’s posts:

    “Based upon this mornings run, most of it remains to our north and that may be a good thing! The week 4, 500MB height anomaly if we choose to believe it, definitely shows the Break Down of the +PNA pattern over the far west and SW Canada. So the pattern goes into transition, the last week of December. Yesterdays European EPS PNA region showed the +PNA dropping to neutral by the 28th of December. What is even more encouraging is that the Western Pacific Oscillation goes negative about the Frist of January and the Eastern Pacific Oscillation goes negative beginning the first week of January as well. There two Teleconnections indicate that high pressure aloft blocking will develop between Alaska and the Bering Sea the first week of January and into the 2nd week. Just using these teleconnections along with a negative PNA, that tells the Dweebs that a stormy period will take place beginning sometime toward the end of the month of December and most likely into the first half of January. Of course, the Dweebs will have better visibility in about 1 to 2 weeks.”

    • Bob G (Gustine)

      Howard has nothing to talk about currently. Gotta love his optimism

    • SoCalWXwatcher

      Worth watching. Hopefully future runs are consistent with the ridge backing down in late December. During the RRR years, models would suggest something like that only to backtrack as the date got closer. If they did something like that with this ridge, it would be a very bad sign. Hope for the best, brace for the worst…

      • The big 3 winter atmospheric oscillations are still all over the place. PNA may be the only one that is showing a change yet with that possible change are zero guarantees of anything but maybe a dry cold inside slider.

      • Bob G (Gustine)

        Brian A over at Opensnow sees a potential change in the long term models. He was quick to point out it is too early and how inaccurate those can be. I am glad we aren’t dissecting the operational models today. Those are so maddening lately. I looked at them but passed on posting anything.

  • MakeSoCalWetAgain (SMX)

    Firestorms, Satanic Ana winds that never end, record heat and cold in the same week? Mother Nature is showing no mercy on us. I hope most of Ventura survives the week.

  • Dan Carter

    What will happen in the East is far from extreme. It’s moderately below average, but seasonal, winter weather. In the Milwaukee area we’ve gone from 50s and 60s to highs in the middle 20s to lower 30s. Who woulda thunk it might be below freezing in December?

  • BP (Ventura)

    Thanks all for the well wishes and offers of support. I really appreciate all of you on this forum. Currently evacuated now, winds made the fire creep too close about an hour ago, decided to split. Grabbed everything we all thought was important, 2 kids and wife, pics, docs, surfboards, underwear, and bits and pieces able to fit in Tacoma. You’ve all heard me over the past years moaning about our state and the state we are in, this event has broken my back, I will be looking at relocating to WA or Idaho in the near future. Vta is the epicenter of this drought and this fire just confirms my room and gloom.

    • RunningSprings6250

      I have a spot on the McKenzie river east of Eugene OR that is looking very likely for us to relocate to come end of the school year….we’ll see….

      • justsomeguy

        Used to live there. Good choice. You missed this year’s massive Willamette NF fires though.

        • RunningSprings6250

          I was visiting during it, – well I think I was, the smoke was so thick I didn’t know where I was really!

    • 805 Weather (Camarillo)

      So tough to hear…

    • Bob G (Gustine)

      Wish you the best. If i didnt have family here, i probably would have left california

    • Bartshe

      Best wishes.

    • Wolfpack

      I feel ya, I hope your home survives the devastation. Good luck.

    • gray whale

      Sending positive thoughts BRP

    • Bombillo1

      Spent most of the summer getting my family away from N. Cal fires by running to Jasper Canada. Central Oregon was burning, Idaho was burning, Montana was burning, Banff was burning. You know more about what is happening to us than the average person so you can now use that knowledge.. Plan well and live in peace my man.

    • matthew

      Keep us up to date on your research of the NW. As I have mentioned in the past I am considering purchasing some land up there. Have not yet decided on exact location and would be interested in hearing the results of your research.

    • PRCountyNative

      Go in on a ski cabin for 6 months of the year? Then the tropics for summer/south swell season?

  • Candleman (Santa Barbara)

    Does anyone know where I can find real time air quality information for Santa Barbara?

    • Thunderstorm

      Got a evacuation plan?

      • Candleman (Santa Barbara)

        Yep, working with work as well. Smoke is thick in SB. If it went from SP to VTA overnight it easily could come this way.

    • thebigweasel

      Well, there’s this, but given that it claims our present air quality is “good” it’s probably a waste of time.
      https://www.airnow.gov/index.cfm?action=airnow.local_city&cityid=288

      The smoke is following an offshore eddy that takes it out over the channel and then back at us. Ironically, when the NE winds tonight start moving the fire in the direction of SB, our air quality will improve.

      • Candleman (Santa Barbara)

        Found a little info from that link, thank you.

    • CreeKarl

      https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/f3055d8f2f1132b7fa9e3b5aada0de560b4fa01cebf2b3397374027ab71244d2.jpg purpleair.com has four sensors in the SB area. This was the best site for tracking AQ during the SF North Bay fires in October. The figure is from a few minutes ago- the red is Unhealthy.

      • Candleman (Santa Barbara)

        This is great, thank you!

      • Palos Verdes Snowstorm

        This is way too healthy for India

    • rob b-Truckee/East Bay

      There are also some apps you can add to your phone-they’ll even notify you if the AQI gets bad. AirVisual and Air Bubbles for iOS are ones I’ve used.

  • Thunderstorm

    Just now a third white spot has showed up on the infrared satellite. Close enough that the two fires may merge as one. For all of you that are thinking about waiting. You must remember that the dumbest drivers will certainly run out of gas on the escape routes and then everyone is not moving!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! This is a 10 day red flag event. Thursday will be worse,then the inside slider comes and reinforces the off shore winds again over the weekend. Likely that power Will go out Thursday so no one gets gas. SO PLEASE GAS UP TODAY!!! Please remember about the dumb drivers that will alter all your plans.

  • 805 Weather (Camarillo)
  • Bartshe

    Deeply sorry for what is happening to folks in Ventura/Socal area. This with the well-researched information communicated in the blog above really punctuates the rapidly increasing tide of change facing us all.

    In regards to linkages with arctic sea ice and CA Climate being less certain in blog this just dropped: “Here we identify a new link between Arctic sea-ice loss and the North Pacific geopotential ridge development. In a two-step teleconnection,
    sea-ice changes lead to reorganization of tropical convection that in
    turn triggers an anticyclonic response over the North Pacific, resulting
    in significant drying over California.”

    https://www.nature.com/articles/s41467-017-01907-4

    • Bombillo1

      Interesting that Daniel has not opined on this. He sort of wrote around this question in his treatise here.

    • 82/83 El Nino baby (San Jose)

      This makes sense. But all those same variables we’re in place last winter. It must be all about placement of high and lows. With HP ending up in unfavorable locations most years.

    • GuestForToday

      Interesting that this contradicts Daniel’s previous study/paper in terms of future CA rainfall prospects (fyi the WW post summarizing that paper is here http://weatherwest.com/archives/3996)

      • I would actually argue that it’s complimentary, rather than contradictory. It’s a fascinating paper. I’ll discuss it a bit when things calm down.

        • GuestForToday

          Fantastic! Looking forward to the discussion, hopefully once things aren’t so hectic.

          And, appreciate the clarification–contradicts was too strong a word. Too often, blog comments tend to oversimplify complex research like this, and I may have just done the same thing here.

    • Phil Johnson

      anyone sending/tweeting (condensed to 140 bits) this to the Great Orange Cheshire Cat POTUS?

  • Apollo
    • alanstorm

      Like seeing mile wide F5 coming

  • matt
  • SoCalWXwatcher

    Some food for thought – the 2006/07 season was the driest on record for LA.
    We’re currently running 1.13″ behind that season so far.

    In 2006/07 we had 1.31″ rain by the end of December. LA is currently sitting at 0.18″ total so far this season.

    • Dry Bones

      I remember that season. It literally “rained” only three times. This year feels like that.

  • thebigweasel

    https://www.nesdis.noaa.gov/
    IR image of fire from predawn hours.

  • Candleman (Santa Barbara)
  • MakeSoCalWetAgain (SMX)

    I was going on a road trip Sunday. With the way these fires are going, I don’t think it will happen. I’m unhappy.

    • Bob G (Gustine)

      Delete

  • sezwhom
    • Bob G (Gustine)

      Honestly, I would give up looking at these operationals at this point. It is pretty much agreed by everyone there isn’t going to be any rain over the next two weeks plus. Beating a dead horse at this point

      • Dan weather maniac (ORINDA)

        Agreed, this just depresses us all why repost over and over. In 10 days we will have to start looking at late DEC more…until then, just enjoy the nice clear warm(ish) days in Nor Cal…in So cal, jeez I dont even know what to say other than I hope all the smoke does not blow over the urban areas and the fires arent too bad.

        • Bob G (Gustine)

          Yep, these come out every six hours and it is rinse and repeat. Looks like some potential changes out in fantasyland but way too early to start touting that

    • SoCalWXwatcher

      Christmas is 91 hours beyond the 384hr window of that GFS run (UTC -7hrs). But it does look like the ridge is holding strong through the 384hrs depicted there, like a vertical barrier keeping the rain at bay out in the Pacific.

      • Phil Johnson

        … and just what Texas needs. More water.

      • I heard Santa has relocated to the Antarctic and declared Christmas will now be celebrated only in the southern hemisphere.

        • SoCalWXwatcher

          They should shift it to June 25th to coincide with S Hemi Winter.

        • SoCalWXwatcher

          Does this mean penguins will pull the sleigh instead of reindeer?

  • 805 Weather (Camarillo)

    It’s like the ghost of those season came back to haunt us… https://twitter.com/epn473/status/938140950492200960

  • Farmer47

    Any sites to look at that show a live view of the smoke plumes of the fires?

  • rob b-Truckee/East Bay

    If you need a break from the fire coverage-Howard updated; hopefully the end of the month things change.
    http://mammothweather.com/

  • MakeSoCalWetAgain (SMX)

    My glass half-full predictions sees an inside slider two weeks from now, then a strengthening atmospheric river opens up at 35 degree N towards SoCal between Dec. 21-25, bringing 1-5 inches from the Bay to Tijuana. Something’s got to give. It can’t be dry forever.

    • RunningSprings6250

      Agreed and x3 in the mountains.

      • MakeSoCalWetAgain (SMX)

        There will be a White Christmas above 7-8K feet. #MakeSoCalMountainsWhiteAgain

        • RunningSprings6250

          Ah come on now man don’t leave me out of that party…

          ….”black cat” right? Always changing names! Lol

          • BlackCat

            That is the other Santa Maria post. 😉

          • RunningSprings6250

            Y’all be confusing me….lol

          • Dan the Weatherman

            You are Thunder98, right?

          • BlackCat

            Yes

          • MakeSoCalWetAgain (SMX)

            I’m not a black cat. 😛

      • Dan the Weatherman

        This pattern has got to change at some point, and I believe these cold Santa Ana winds, which are absolutely normal for this time of year (only abnormality is the lack of rainfall this fall prior to the winds) are the beginning of a change in the pattern which will eventually lead to rain.

        • thlnk3r

          It will. PNA still forecasted to tank to negative phase. AO looking to flip as well. This will help us out greatly.

        • RunningSprings6250

          I’ve always agreed with you on this one, no doubt!

  • rob b-Truckee/East Bay

    Anyone on Twitter I’d suggest you follow 805 he’s retweeting non-stop. Much like Andrew Sicilliano on DirecTV Redzone I do wonder if he ever takes a break….

    • 805 Weather (Camarillo)

      For an hour or two lol. I’m running on two hours of sleep, but that’s the weather guy/firechaser in me.

  • Thunderstorm

    Infrared satellite showing another fire south of the Creek fire. The hot spot map showing the Thomas fire entering Ojai. Infrared really showing intense fires in all 4 locations. Been watching ABC 7 live looking at the vegetation around the houses burning. As suspected the landscaping has been let go to the point of being hazardous to the surrounding neighborhood.

  • Does anyone have any fire information in regards to the Angeles National Forest? Was planning on going up there from SD to hike on Saturday.

    • RunningSprings6250

      See above post #CreekFire

    • rob b-Truckee/East Bay

      being it’s Tuesday that’d be hard to say. The wind warnings are up until Friday morning, depending on how stretched the USFS is and fire danger would make that decision something that could change quickly. You;d be best looking late Friday to figure out for sure what is open and what isn’t.

  • RunningSprings6250

    Creek fire?!

    https://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/5669/

    Dont know why Thomas fire isn’t listed – out of jurisdiction or something? They should just list all fires….

    • rob b-Truckee/East Bay

      I believe it’s a matter of being state/local or Federal fire. Could be wring though but I remember something about inciweb in the past and that coming up.

      I’d think in the next 24 hrs or so we will see what they did with the Wine Country fires and merge them into larger fires so they can manage the resources more effectively.

      • RunningSprings6250

        Ah yes that sounds right, thanks!

  • And a 4th fire now. San Bernardino . News quote from the Sun:

    A fire near University and the 215 Freeway that has burned 25 acres — and already caused three burn injuries — has prompted authorities to close the 215 Freeway, officials said.

    The Little Mountain fire was heading south, San Bernardino County Fire’s Eric Sherwin said.

    San Bernardino police announced on Twitter that both sides of the 215 were closed due to the fire. They also closed the Palm/Kendall and University Street offramps.

    • RunningSprings6250

      That hill burns 2-3 Times a year, must be scarry for that big White House on top of the hill – all grass, hopefully burns itself out quickly and not any homes or people with it…don’t think there’s really anywhere for fire to spread from there..

  • rob b-Truckee/East Bay

    We all love our animals-here’s a horse rescue that was initiated by the FOX reporter-well done to the reporter, citizens, and LA County Fire that stepped into help with everything going on around them.
    http://www.ktvu.com/news/horse-rescued-after-falling-in-crevice-during-fires-in-sylmar

  • BlackCat

    Temperature of 74F with a extremely dry dew point of 5F! My hands are already feeling very dry. Great

    https://i.imgur.com/nVpFFbu.png

    • RunningSprings6250

      Well, it’s 37F here with DP at 3 and pretty darn windy….

  • BlackCat

    Also a Freeze Warning for the Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo County Central Coast for Wednesday Morning.

    https://i.imgur.com/rER2NYn.png

    • alanstorm

      That’s one of the odd things stuck in my mind about the Oct 9 fire was scrambling to gather belongs at 2am, thinking how ironic it was to be FREEZING & having to bundle the heck up with the orange glow of a megafire coming over the hill.
      I was sure the day of a big fire would come during one of those 100° + events.
      Was in the low 30’s the next few nights.
      Added misery for the evacuees living in cars as well.

      • CHeden

        Plus, added misery for the firefighters!
        Puts snuggling up to the campfire in a totally different context.

  • RunningSprings6250
    • alanstorm

      Jetstream pushing due north??

    • Hollow Scene (The Desert)

      Lol the rain literally stops at the state line

    • SoCalWXwatcher

      They built the wall to keep the Precipitation out. Just until we can figure out what the heck is going on.

      • MakeSoCalWetAgain (SMX)

        I wish there’s a wall to keep these dumb ridges away from us.

    • MakeSoCalWetAgain (SMX)

      I don’t want to bring out any conspiracy theories, but this is not the direction jetstreams are supposed to go. It should go west-east, not south to north.

      • SoCalWXwatcher

        Put an epic high pressure ridge in front of that Jet and it will go up and over.

        • RIght. Essentially a persistent atmospheric river on the west side of the persistent ridge.

        • RIght. Essentially a persistent atmospheric river on the west side of the persistent ridge.

          • RunningSprings6250

            And when the ridge shifts but remains equally as strong, allowing the AR to punch through….that’s how a potentional future arK storm comes to fruition?

          • Pfirman

            There still has to be a giant fist of water to power this. Where is it?

        • SoCalWXwatcher
        • But wait! There’s more! Call now and pay only shipping and handling for another epic RRR! And if you call in the next 15 minutes we’ll include…….

          • SoCalWXwatcher

            A free set of ShamWow towels?

          • Doug Carlisle

            operators are standing by!!!

          • WXPhotographer

            Is there an extra charge for shipping and handling?

          • Pfirman

            When do they go on sale?

    • SoCalWXwatcher

      If you look at the precipitation charts for the GEFS Ensembles, the white donut hole of dry death over CA begins to slowly fill in after the +220hr range. Not sure what it’s keying in on out there in fantasyland yet, but I hope it means something.

      • RunningSprings6250

        Yo tambien!

      • RunningSprings6250

        Yo tambien!

      • Bob G (Gustine)

        In the long range the ridge retreats north and west on the last couple of runs. I hate even saying this because it might come back big and ugly on the next runs.

        • SoCalWXwatcher

          Yeah, it’s definitely way to early to trust anything the models are hinting at this far ahead.

        • Yes but this pattern needs to ReallY change to get any significant rainfall anywhere this winter.

      • DoHoD

    • Pfirman

      King with the magic touch was not Coriolis, though that could be argued. My favorite king is Canute.

  • Thunderstorm

    Thomas fire continues its march towards SB.

    • Candleman (Santa Barbara)

      source?

    • MakeSoCalWetAgain (SMX)

      More like the SB County line.

    • SlashTurn (Santa Barbara)

      edit

  • MakeSoCalWetAgain (SMX)

    I’m not too surprised. Melting Arctic ice caps can melt away California’s winter: http://www.sciencemag.org/news/2017/12/vanishing-arctic-ice-could-drive-future-california-droughts

    • Pfirman

      Those maps should show smoke too.

  • rob b-Truckee/East Bay

    Northern Nevada area has one strike team being sent to So Cal as of now. Reno Fire also posted a video of one of their brush engines leaving the station at The GSR hotel.
    https://twitter.com/TMFPD/status/938197889020342272

  • RandomTreeInSB
  • Huff (Anaheim Hills)

    Best thoughts to those in the Ventura and Santa Barbara area affected by the fires. Having been through it last month in Anaheim Hills, it is super scary and surprisingly emotional. It’s amazing how random the fire acts in the winds as some houses burn and others survive. Best to all affected and our fire fighters.

    • Pfirman

      Survivor guilt assures nobody survives.

      • Huff (Anaheim Hills)

        Huh?

        • Pfirman

          Forgot….without scars.

  • happ [Los Angeles]

    This has been a miserable day; even when the temp was 70F it felt cold in the strong wind. Skin is itchy in 0° dew points. Any smell of smoke provokes unease. https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/c8429d12aa7c6fea5d41b6e50aa367cad13ac6bd483a2998804387bfc0ce68a0.jpg

    • MakeSoCalWetAgain (SMX)

      I hope the smoke signal is strong enough for a SoCal Pineapple Express for Christmas.

      • Dan the Weatherman

        I am really hoping for some rain very soon! In most years we have had some rain to wet the fuels and the ground before these cold Santa Ana winds hit in December, which usually reduces the fire danger to some extent. We don’t normally have this amount of fire activity in December with a cold Santa Ana event, although I have seen fire activity on occasion this time of year in drier falls. The utter lack of rain so far this season has greatly contributed to the extremely dry fuels in the region.

        • Dry Bones

          Yes, October fires burning out of control is relatively normal. December fires… I’m struggling to think of a significant December fire season in my 16 years as a SoCal resident.

          • Phil(ontario)

            Not December but in 2014 there were multiple wildfires in January and May!

  • Dan the Weatherman

    The activity on this blog has been almost non-existent for a couple of hours. Has there been a major power outage, or is it there is nothing else to discuss at this time?

    • Wondering the same thing.

    • Freddy66

      Other than the hellacious winds and fires here in the southern part of the state nothing much going on.

    • Thunderstorm

      This dry spell is starting to remind me of 1976. Was a dry year with off shore winds quite often. Biggest precipitation I received that year was in training showers in mid April 1977. .55 inches. Total that season 6.72

      • Freddy66

        With the way things are going down here that total seems acceptable. The following year we got walloped.

    • happ [Los Angeles]

      I am depressed and can see the smoke over the ridge in Tujunga/ Sunland. The weather has really been a bummer; it just feels even worst when fires explode out of nowhere. Must be downed wires sparking all these fires.

    • hermit crab

      We keep losing power here in Carpinteria. Probably so are others…

      • Dan the Weatherman

        Many people in Ventura County have been without power off and on so that is definitely having an impact on bloggers living in that area.

  • Fairweathercactus

    0z is coming out but I do not think to many people care at this point. Since it will most likely be another serving of humble crap.

    • Freddy66

      No sense looking at models for another week.

  • Osse (Redondo)

    Hopped in the car to drive home from work just in time to hear an excellent interview with Daniel on our local NPR station, KCRW.

    • Charlie B

      What pearls of wisdom did he impart?

      • Osse (Redondo)

        He talked about what might have increased the probability for these recent fires (warmer summer for longer, etc.), he noted the multiple definitions of “drought” (much appreciated by me, as a hydrologist), he talked about the “Western Ridge” and potential ramifications. I thought his explanations were clear and well-balanced.

    • Dan weather maniac (ORINDA)

      Link plz!

      • Osse (Redondo)

        Errrr…not sure how to supply a link. There’s probably a podcast somewhere.

    • SBMWill

      Love KCRW.

  • Phil(ontario)

    I think the blog has progressed through the stages of grief in regards to California weather. We had denial, definitely anger, bargaining, all kinds of depression, and finally acceptance. Nothing left to talk about.

    • happ [Los Angeles]

      A winter rainstorm would improve attitudes greatly.

      • 805 Weather (Camarillo)

        I’m telling myself I’m probably just overthinking, but I have a really ugly gut feeling for damaging rains in these burn areas this season. Why? Just pure memory, no correlation… The good news is that wind speeds are lower than they were this time yesterday for the Oxnard Basin, however still dealing with erratic fire behavior.

        • Jim (Watsonville)

          Weather guys down there stating tomorrow night even stronger ???

          • 805 Weather (Camarillo)

            Yes, repeat of conditions earlier scene like yesterday and earlier this morning.

        • Dan the Weatherman

          I wouldn’t be surprised if we see flooding rains in these same areas later this winter once the rains finally get going. That seems to be the way it goes around here: fires, floods, and flows. The fact that we are having a cold Santa Ana wind right now makes me think that the pattern is finally starting to change that will eventually lead to some good rains for the entire state. One of the main reasons I feel this way is that strong cold multi-day Santa Ana events are normal for December and I have seen this pattern many times before. If I remember correctly, we have had this pattern in very wet winters as well, and it seems that I remember this pattern in December 1997 in between rains..

          • SoCalWXwatcher

            Thats the Four Seasons of SoCal – fire, flood, mudslides and earthquakes.

          • 805 Weather (Camarillo)

            You and I both getting a tingle in our weather senses lol. It’s just something I always remember growing up was a general intraseasonal pattern in the same way you’re describing it.

        • SoCalWXwatcher

          It happened in late January 1994, heavy rains and mudslides right after the terrible fires across SoCal a few months earlier. Nature even threw in the Northridge Quake for good measure, just so nobody felt left out.

          It wouldn’t be out of the question to get a nasty AR or two sometime later this season.

          • 805 Weather (Camarillo)

            We would certainly have quite a hefty debris issue here on the basin. That’s for sure.

      • Jason Jackson Willamette

        From last year, Thursday, ?February ?9, ?2017, ??11:37:37 AM

        So. Cal experiences heavy rains, minor flooding.

        https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/2938129c93cb1f3ecd290873f9cc4dc718b524f0aaee96979c3a7802b751657f.jpg

        • Dan the Weatherman

          It would be nice to have some of that right about now!

        • RunningSprings6250

          INCONCEIVABLE!

        • Tom & Koyano Gray

          Yep! That’s us, its either up to our ass in water or dry as a popcorn fart.

    • matthew

      Must have missed the acceptance part.

  • John Bukowinski

    Wicked Ridge of the West.

  • John Bukowinski

    New rules for California: if it’s yellow, let it mellow, if it’s brown, let it mellow.

  • Dan the Weatherman

    The winds seem to be getting stronger again here in Orange this evening after dying down somewhat late this afternoon. They have been blowing here all day long.

  • Osse (Redondo)

    I’m only a few blocks from the Redondo Beach police station. Should I drop by on behalf of Weather Westies and see if there’s someone in a cell due to an outstanding warrant that looks like a Cap’n?

    • annette johnson

      If he is there, he probably would be easy to spot. More than likely he is the fittest dude in there due to the mountain biking, hiking, snowshoeing, etc, etc.

      • are you kidding? this man eats twinkies when the RRR is Raging

        • PRCountyNative

          …and doesn’t stack his own firewood!

          • Osse (Redondo)

            Somehow I keep picturing THE Dude.

        • annette johnson

          ??

    • inclinejj

      Do you know his name? If so I can find out.

      • Bombillo1

        He’ll have 4 gold bars on his shoulder pads, or sleeves. In addition to the bar they found him in.

      • Osse (Redondo)

        No. He’s a Cap’n of mystery.

        • inclinejj

          For some reason I thought his name was Vince or Vic?

  • Flyin_Pig

    First hard freeze of the season here this morning. One therm said 27, the other 25. So the tomatoes and peppers are done for the year, officially. I think this is about 3 weeks later than normal.

  • hermit crab

    Crab in Carpinteria ok (so far) but no thanks to the weather. Not far to the southeast though, heartbreak in Ventura. Was talking tonight to a friend of mine in Santa Rosa. This has been an equal opportunity summer from hell; no NoCal SoCal split on sadness.

    I’m having enough trouble breathing that I have to stay indoors on oxygen. And I feel very lucky.

    But I’m told we should be keeping an eye on the winds even here over the next couple of days

    • Dan the Weatherman

      I am assuming that you are downwind of the Thomas Fire and that it has been extremely smoky in your area. Or, is the smoke bypassing you?

  • inclinejj

    Talked to my cousin in Santa Barbara briefly yesterday. She said they are ready to go at a moments notice. Left a voice mail for a friend of mine ahe hasn’t called back. Santa Barbara also. A couple people I know in Ventura message went straight to voice mail.

    One problem the cellular carriers had in Santa Rosa-Napa fires. First the system was overloaded then the towers were damaged or destroyed. They had to bring in mobile towers right after the fires.

  • Yolo Hoe

    Wow, the satellite imagery for the Pacific is interesting — it shows certain characteristic features we typically love to discuss here all compressed further west as they slam into the wall of high pressure and get shredded — humbling example of nature’s dominant forces and which ones are paper, scissors or rock in terms of California at this moment.

    30F, barometer steady at 30.28 and winds calm here in far southwest Davis — first night below freezing — Pfirmin’s summer vegetables are finally done.

    Sitting at 1.88” to date for the WY and praying for folks down south as they endure this cruel beginning to December.

    • I don’t know it it is noteworthy that the STJ seems to be stronger than in other diy years. Maybe it’s just the amplified pattern. The sweet spot might be very small this year

    • CHeden

      Wow. 30F?
      Due to gentle downslope winds, we’re at 48F at my house, and Redding is 55F. Katabatic warming has it’s advantages. Highs in the upper 60’s-lo 70’s, and low’s above freezing looks to be our forecast for the foreseeable future.
      And, no tule fog.
      Looks like some late season fishing is in the cards.

      • inclinejj

        See my note on Eagle Lake? Fish have been running huge lately. Like 6-8 pound hogs,

        • Admode (Susanville)

          I didn’t see your note, have you been fishing eagle lake?

          • inclinejj

            No I just got unexpectedly busy for this time of the year. Normally it’s quite from Mid November till January. No vacation time till May. Maybe a couple longer 4 day weekends up to the Lake but I am still working.

          • Admode (Susanville)

            Copy that! it’s not your typical california type of fishing, glad to see folks here who have and do fish it.

        • CHeden

          Best time of the year up there right now until it closes end of December.
          Gotta time the weather right, though.
          Not a fan of breaking ice off my rod every few casts.

          • Admode (Susanville)

            When you have to break the ice off your rod is when fishing is best:) I’m glad people have been pulling out big fish. It’s been hard to catch anything over 3 lbs for a while. Everyone I know who has fished it this year has remarked on how hard it has been to catch big fish. My coworker fished pikes over the weekend and landed 3 3 pounders. I really want to try to fish the youth camp soon.

          • inclinejj

            Big fish smarter fish!

          • Admode (Susanville)

            That’s true, it just seems like the drought really affected the big fish, for whatever reason. Have you ever heard of Mccoy reservoir? I watched my buddy pull out 5 and 6 pound eagle lakers there a few weeks ago. All I could manage was a 2 lb brown.

  • Arnold Weather Fanatic

    Two relatives impacted. One in Ventura in evacuation area, and one in Santa Clarita. Bad Day in So Cal.

  • The wind won’t stop until the ridge moves?

  • David Spyder Rosenthal

    Will the Thomas fire burn to that beach with th https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/cfae50e36ae2b7039010f5ddc9891e22c1480436f08b56409c0f557e463fbf00.jpg is forecast. It’s already bad out here.

    • PRCountyNative

      I think it already did.

    • Bombillo1

      It’s going to keep on going. They’re evacuating Santa Rosa Island now.

  • Sumster

    Interesting fact from Oxnard NWS….
    ” Offshore flow will continue unabated through the period and it
    looks like we will see at least 10 consecutive days of it. Which
    while impressive is still a far cry from the record 24 consecutive
    days of offshore flow that started on December 9th 1951 and ended
    on the 2nd of January 1952. “

  • Bartshe

    morning cheer from Reno:
    “What did look to be a glimmer of hope for changing conditions mid-
    month, does not look as favorable in recent forecast simulations.
    Previous model runs showed a strong zonal jet across the Pacific,
    which could have lead to an undercutting of the ridge, whereas
    recent runs are significantly more amplified. This is likely to only
    reinforce the current longwave pattern, especially given the deep
    trough downstream over the eastern CONUS.”

    • Charlie B

      My mom always told me that if I did not have something nice to say I should say nothing at all. If the NWS forecasters followed that rule they could take a leave of absence and head to Maui for the duration.

      • PRCountyNative

        “Fabulous beach weather will continue over most of California. Kite flying will be a favored activity. Mold and mildew problems will abate with the low humidity and rapid air flow. Solar energy production will continue at an above average pace, windmills are producing well too. Seasonal affected disorder sufferers are doing well with the extra sun and summer-like weather. Infrastructure repair after last year’s hard winter are able to continue.”

        • Alice Paul (LA)

          And camping is now allowed on the major So Cal freeways.

      • Bombillo1

        The NWS forecasters just got back from Maui, their “no weather” season break.

  • Sublimesl

    Hope they have contigency plans to put those Monet’s and other paintings in a fireproof basement. Too late to safely move them to another location now.
    Getty Center never should have been built in such a location.

    • Alice Paul (LA)

      My daughter interned at the Getty Center for a couple of years during some fires and they do have contingency plans for the art. I wouldn’t be surprised if they have already started moving art.

  • matt

    Here in the high desert Lancaster area was about 26 out according to my weather station at 6:30am this morning.

  • Thunderstorm

    Infrared satellite showing 5 fires. Not seeing anyone on this blog reporting 2 new fires. What are you seeing down there. Remember what I said yesterday. Your dumbest driver with no gas will eliminate all your planning.

    • Hollow Scene (The Desert)

      It’s nice that a lot of this is getting blown offshore at least. I can’t see any smoke anywhere from Riverside

      • Dan the Weatherman

        There isn’t any smoke visible here in Orange, either.

  • RunningSprings6250

    41F currently and the warmest of the week, equally as windy, DP at -6…..make that -7….

    • redlands

      what are your stats for dec 6 2017 hi/low

  • rob b-Truckee/East Bay

    Just talked with a cousin who lives close to Burbank and her husband works at UCLA in management. He left at 6:30 and as of almost 9am he still isn’t at work, I believe he needs to be at work there because he’d be classified as a “necessary” employee.

  • The newest fire is actually quite close to UCLA campus (I can see it easily from Westwood). Winds are much weaker right now than yesterday, but are expected to pick up dramatically later today.

    • Bombillo1

      Better get back to Northern California. You don’t want to be in L.A. when it dawns on 20 million people that the place is uninhabitable.

      • cthenn

        It’s not much better up here. It gets worse and worse every year. Traffic is borderline unbearable in some places, and they just. keep. building…more and more and more subdivisions. The inland East Bay, Dublin, and Walnut Creek (where I live) is just exploding with more and more housing. Not long until California stops having seasons, and turns completely into an overpopulated desert wasteland.

        • Bombillo1

          Good water in Hetch Hetchy still…

          • cthenn

            Well I guess you could move to SF for the “exclusive” HH water.

          • Bob G (Gustine)

            Or Modesto

        • Bob G (Gustine)

          I see it spilling into the Central Valley. Full of bay area people now. Long term the Central Valley will turn into a overpopulated smog infested wasteland if we continue this

        • Steve

          Yet do you notice nobody talks about the ever-growing human population anymore? Odd isn’t it? As if any scenario no matter how optimistic could support unlimited population growth!

          • PRCountyNative

            Yep. I notice. And there’s more…

        • PRCountyNative

          I’ve been contemplating the jump from 19 million to 38 million, in my time. And lately, what 76 million humans in California would mean, look like. It ain’t pretty. You are right.

      • Candleman (Santa Barbara)

        Huh? Didn’t 40+ people die in northern California this year due to wild fires?

      • Hollow Scene (The Desert)

        We take your milkshake!

      • matthew

        Yeah, let’s start a NorCal/SoCal war on the board. Great idea!

        Maybe we can talk politics and religion too!!!

        • Admode (Susanville)

          NORCAL TILL I DIE!!!

    • cthenn

      Raging wildfires in December, insane.

    • weathergeek100

      Please keep us updated. The Getty Center is one of my favorite places in LA. Really hope it doesn’t burn down (or really, hope nothing burns down but that’s wishful thinking).

    • Hollow Scene (The Desert)

      Is it possible for this offshore pattern to persist past this week? It’s going to be one wild December if so

      • I asked the question earlier, too.

        • Hollow Scene (The Desert)

          It seems the giant high pressure over the west could reinforce the surface high in the Great Basin? Or does it require more inside sliders?

  • cthenn

    I was about to post something from the Bay Area AFD, which they stated no rain until “January 20th”, which I read this morning, but it looks like they changed it to say “December 20th”. Hell, it seems like they could have kept it the way it was…

    • Might have been Fairweathercactus. Even he is having to move north.

    • Chris

      I saw that too!
      I figured they meant December ?

  • Shane Ritter

    PNA forecast to begin to weaken around the 14th, near neutral by the 18th.GFS/GEFS reflect that pattern shift, trying to bring in weak storms. MJO is progressive, just in the phases, but maybe it will keep strengthening. The one thing that is scary is the AO is forecast to go deeply negative after 15th. That could suck.

    • One site I look at has a break out to >1 amplitude into phases 8, 1, 2 in late December through early January.

      • Shane Ritter

        That usually spells a solid AR for the West coast.

  • Bob G (Gustine)

    From Michael Ventrice; Make that Alaska North Pacific

    https://twitter.com/MJVentrice/status/938409632065839105

    • Bob G (Gustine)

      Michael Ventrice stated this pattern was not good for CA in response to a tweet. He said maybe a storm in January but grim.

      • Aleutian high is a fixture in Nina winters. It’s shifted more west than where it is now. It’s pretty large though and still very meridonal. The -AO doesn’t help us, IMO (high pressure pattern over the Arctic.

        • Bob G (Gustine)

          IDK what that means but hope something sets up in January so we can get some rain and snow in CA

        • Hollow Scene (The Desert)

          Where do we want the high to move? (Or can it move) North or west?

      • FolsomPrisonBlues

        Looking at that graphic it seems like there would be a lot of room for some storms to make it into CA, being that the ridge looks to be out over the Aleutians and not right on top of us.

        • Bob G (Gustine)

          Maybe. That graphic is a bit difficult. If that high went to where it was last year

        • That’s not a favorable pattern at all. Hudson Bay low dominates.