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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  • Dogwood

    New ridge that looks to stay.
    Calling it the Doom Dome.

  • Fire reported off 15s and 76 in San Diego. Reports of cal trans closing sb Lanes of 15s.

    • Micycle

      Go here: http://www.alertwildfire.org/sdge/
      Click Boucher Hill

      Something going on there.

      Also visible on the Red Mountain cam.

      • Is that facing to the north? They’re calling it The #lilacfire now. Also a pretty significant fire just south of the border.

        • Micycle

          When you click on a cam, it shows you the orientation on the map.

    • Dan the Weatherman

      I just checked the San Diego County webcams and saw a fire around Fallbrook. I then went to one of San Diego’s TV station websites to find out where exactly the fire was and they indicated it was off the I-15 and 76 just as you said.

      • Bombillo1

        Plenty of ripe fuel there. We may have an event, very soon, where a very large number of people be trapped. Santa Rosa will be considered minor in comparison.

      • RunningSprings6250

        In bonsall, damn my friend and his family live just a few miles west.

    • rob b-Truckee/East Bay

      looks like this is what you’re referring to:
      https://twitter.com/NorthCountyFire/status/938856769018724352

  • Farmer47

    I know there are a few here that can pull up historical stats rather quickly. going back to the late 1800s, how many years have there been similar situations like we’re in now?
    And of those similar years, how did the rest of the winter and spring turn ou?

    • Dan weather maniac (ORINDA)

      BA posted some stats on this a while back….I think it was like 2 of 13 similiar winters starting like this ended up above average. The majority were below average, but I cant recall the number, but essentailly its unlikley we will be above, more likely below, but decent shots at avg still.

      Generally what intution would tell you given we are really only 1 month into the core rainy season.

      I think this was central to norther sierra not SO CAL though.

      • Bob G (Gustine)

        Yes he did. BA stated based on historical records when we start out this slow, most of the time we ended up below normal.

        • Sumster

          Starting to have doubts that this year will ever get started…driest ever?? Sure hope not. All i can say is this is the worse fall weather wise that I can remember!

          • Pfirman

            How about the worst fall, almost winter, fire wise?

            Sounds like BA likes to go with the numbers as well as hunchy dweebs.

    • Hollow Scene (The Desert)

      I’m wondering if it’s possible for SoCal to have a less than one inch year with this mega West Coast high and the pesky Baja ridge. I feel like in the bigger picture our sample size is pretty small since it’s only from 1877. In our driest fall on record (for LA I think) the rainfall must have picked up considerably at some point because the season ended up with 12.50 total.

  • rob b-Truckee/East Bay

    As noted below the Lilac fire is in Northern SD County around Fallbrook. I believe this is the same area that had fires burn through around 2007 in the last So Cal Fire siege? IIRC that fire burned up quite a few nurseries in the area for avocados and palm trees. Homes tend to be a bit more spread out until you get into the city of Fallbrook.

    • Bombillo1

      Fallbrook, I have never seen a community that size with such horrible access. We are going to witness a convergence of climate change and bad planning, soon.

  • JGold
    • rob b-Truckee/East Bay

      Thanks for posting. If I am following their coverage correctly looks like the area of Bonsal is more the focus than Fallbrook..?

  • Jason Jackson Willamette

    This blog should be renamed to – Fires In The West. I’m just sad and down with this being rainy season and the only news is that my beautiful state is getting torched. Is this some sort of apocalypse?

    My heart goes out to those who are suffering and lives will never be the same.

    Please Mother Nature, your children cry out in anguish and fear. Bring us rain, rain, rain, rain. Now!

  • rob b-Truckee/East Bay

    the link JGold posted for Fox SD is pretty amazing-they have a cameraman at Sullivan MS as the fire is approaching the school…spot fires within the grounds of the school as he walks around.
    http://fox5sandiego.com/on-air/live-streaming/

    • JGold

      It’s crazy watching those embers fall live on tv with no help around. Stay safe

      • rob b-Truckee/East Bay

        I believe they said the producer just told him to evacuate the school-those pictures were crazy each time he turned around another spot fire was going.

  • SoCalWXwatcher

    ECMWF through 60hrs… It’s impressive just how abrupt and straight the edge of the precipitation is out over the Pacific, with the powerful ridge acting as a “wall” deflecting moisture North into Alaska.

    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/985673c444a345e185868b57504eb9d0a873a8ed04a2516d907305c0d102f6a4.png

    • SoCalWXwatcher
      • weathergeek100

        Don’t forget, GOA lows are illegal!

        • Tuolumne

          Along with cold fronts and low-elevation snow.

      • jstrahl

        Someone promised recently to build a wall, he didn’t say what kind and where.

        • 82/83 El Nino baby (San Jose)

          That one is supposed to keep out the Baja ridge…

          • jstrahl

            And the placement aim was really very bad, eh?

          • Pfirman

            Have you heard what he has been saying about Aleuts?

      • One could imagine the bust calls if this was the north/south rain line near I-80 in the valley.

  • Thunderstorm

    Infrared satellite showing the lilac fire as big white dot and smoke plume visible on satellite also. Probably go to the ocean by this evening.

  • Wow incredible footage of hot spots at Sullivan Middle school where just an hour ago they were evacuating children from there.

  • Thunderstorm

    Fox5 has a reporter right next to the fire. Winds are very strong!!!

    • It’s so crazy to see how the embers are starting up flames on campus!

    • sectionmaker

      SB horribly smoky today. RH was 55% yesterday, but dropping now to 38%. Cold too.

  • Thunderstorm

    Long range spotting on the Lilac fire, already over 3 miles long. If I lived down wind of this fire and was under the smoke plume I would leave right quick before the dumbest driver cancelled my plans.

    • rob b-Truckee/East Bay

      I have a cousin who is evacuating with her husband and family. They can see it on a hill above where they live.

    • Multiple houses being shown on fire on w. Lilac road on NBC 7.

    • Pfirman

      This is a horrible version of the two guys camping and the bear, right?

  • Great Winter of 2017 (SMC)

    So in the four days I’m gone more bad fires start and it’s gonna snow in New Orleans and Corpus Christi, where is the rain!

  • Remarkably windless even alllllllll the way down here. Massive amounts of nothing…a calm hot ocean.
    https://i.imgur.com/ziHBbuQ.jpg https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/a0a5e273ab90b1bdf90c64526d93db0c5b5765d2b5a083e478c78ccad853ff47.png

  • Thunderstorm

    Anyone know if there is a name on that 2nd fire north of the lilac fire?

    • Matthew Nelson

      The liberty fire. Lots of flat subdivisions all around it, I wouldn’t be too concerned about that one. The lilac fire is the scary one at this point.

  • Great Winter of 2017 (SMC)

    Was up near Santa Rosa and it was as clear as a whistle, wonder when the smoke reaches there. Last night I swore I saw smoke. And basically what I have taken away from the comments and what I’ve seen is we are getting hammered by dryness and wildfires in December while the rest of the US east of Arizona are having a jolly time.

    • Pfirman

      You must mean when the smoke comes back. I think they have had enough of smoke.

    • Tuolumne

      Thomas Fire smoke got up to the Bay Area today, as seen on the MODIS photo for central California.

  • alanstorm

    According to today’s 12z GFS, the ENTIRE WESTERN 2/3 OF THE UNiTED STATES & CANADA will be completely dry for the month of Dec .

    No rain, no snow.
    Rocky Mtns, etc.

    Is this a national news yet???!

    • I would give it another month for national news.

      • alanstorm

        Google “Weather News” & lead story is “Cold weather for Army Vs Navy game”

        & with little or no snow accumulation, so they’re getting screwed this winter as well

    • SoCalWXwatcher

      How could the GFS depict this when it only goes out 384hrs to the 23rd & depicts precip in the Pacific NW?

      • alanstorm

        Was referring to this GFS model from the NOAA site. Ok, 1 week short of “ENTIRE MONTH”
        Geez, now I’m Mr.Negative
        https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/ea8469d83045b50e9b9e14b965062b0121f9f60c50b514a81fc39e114e6ac9a3.gif

        • SoCalWXwatcher

          No worries, LOL, I wasn’t sure if I was misunderstanding what you meant of if I was looking at the same model run. 12z does depict precipitation across the Northern tier at various points through its run. Not completely dry for them, but certainly sucks for CA.

          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/c1ac633a3d1ceb32b59375d5eb880d1c76abd016d6e79734bf3a0aaf88a84c8e.png

          • SoCalWXwatcher
          • Bob G (Gustine)

            I thinl until.tjat damn low pressure in east dislodgrs we will.stay stuck in ths pattern

          • Bob G (Gustine)

            I thinl until.tjat damn low pressure in east dislodgrs we will.stay stuck in ths pattern

          • jstrahl

            On the other hand, i’ve seen change happen in December, and it was DRASTIC. Thinking 2002, Friday the 13th, in fact, dry as a bone, then 4.5+ inches that day, 12.5+ for the month.

          • SoCalWXwatcher

            I’d take that, only problem now is if we get an onslaught of heavy storms at some point, all the burned hillsides will produce bad mudslides.

          • jstrahl

            A bad choice, for sure, though what would no rain do? Assuming there are only these two choices.

          • SoCalWXwatcher

            Easy choice. We need the rain, even if it means mudslides. Otherwise we face even worse of a disaster.

    • Fairweathercactus

      It will not be news because it is not the East coast the only coast the media cares about.

      • SoCalWXwatcher

        The West Coast is simply a place for them to stand in front of when they point out stuff on the weather map.

        https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/7023f3bb8d267278df669517134162730913d49374161362cbccef58c7e6d662.jpg

        • alanstorm

          Totally.
          Everyone in L.A. should collectively kick him in the kidney

          • Charlie B

            A bit lower would be my suggestion. An it should be repeated every 5 minutes until it rains again out here.

          • alanstorm

            We should ram the Bullet Train “you know where”

          • Pfirman

            And then again when he turns around to say wtf?

        • jstrahl

          And not even a babe!

        • Pfirman

          Brilliant. You have been tearing it up. As in crying.

    • AlTahoe

      This will blow the Dec 1985 dry streak out of the water for the PNW

      • Pfirman

        Ha, you had to put dry and water in the same post about dry.

    • weathergeek100

      The media has an east coast bias towards weather. Look back at the hurricane coverage vs the fire coverage. HURRICANE HARVEY HURRICANE IRMA big bold print first thing you see on CNN. The north bay fires? Scroll way down and see it in smaller print.

    • weathergeek100

      The media has an east coast bias towards weather. Look back at the hurricane coverage vs the fire coverage. HURRICANE HARVEY HURRICANE IRMA big bold print first thing you see on CNN. The north bay fires? Scroll way down and see it in smaller print, even though the fires caused as much destruction and death (if not more) than the hurricanes.

      • FR44

        “The media has an east coast bias towards weather.”

        This is absolute truth.

    • Pfirman

      You sound so rational, should be national.

  • Great Winter of 2017 (SMC)

    Has 805 evacuated?

  • Matt.B Salt Creek

    Hey guys long time no talk. I’m living in Cardiff by the sea. The lilac Fire is about 25miles East but winds are increasing now. Hwy76 is closed according to fox 5 news. Also people can bring horses to the del Mar fairgrounds

    • Matt.B Salt Creek

      Going to try at seaside beach before the sun goes down.

      • sectionmaker

        got waves? Rincon flat and ugly.

        • Matt.B Salt Creek

          It was about 2/3ft and howling offshore. Made for some fun little barrels only about 10 people out

    • alanstorm

      Sorry to bring you to this forum from such a wonderful area under such bad circumstances.
      Hopefully the emergency communication apparatus is functioning for you all there, as
      it completely failed/was non-existent in my area Oct 9.

      • Pfirman

        Not only your area. I’m sure multiple fires in crazy locations all blowing up at night is not the best scenario for controlled responses. Not to rain on your parade….shit, another bad metaphor.

  • SoCalWXwatcher

    More amazing views of SoCal Burning today, from the ISS:

    https://twitter.com/AstroKomrade/status/938911554795274240

    • Cal Fire just updated to 2000 acres since around noon for Lilac Fire.

      • Tom & Koyano Gray

        And something has been burning south of Tijuana all day, and the smoke is getting worse.

        • Pfirman

          Poster from there has been offline for a while. Prolly not much good to say if you like precipitation.

  • molbiol

    I’m still going to withhold judgement until Dec 20th. If the models still look the same going into January then we are in serious trouble. Climate-wise, January is the month when these dry spells take place during NORMAL winters. If the current pattern is a sign of things to come then January may end up dry as well…..I jokingly said earlier that the first major rain event would be in July due to a monsoon surge it would suck if I am correct..

    • When does Lancaster and the IE get most of it’s rain? Winter with hit or miss monsoon?

      • RunningSprings6250

        I posted this in the last post – San Bernardino, ca. In the ‘heart’ of the IE – Lancaster is high desert though, not inland valley.

        Average precipitation inches
        Jan 3.15
        Feb 4.06
        March 2.53
        April 1.02
        May .25
        June .07
        July .03
        August .13
        Sept. .25
        Oct. .82
        Nov. 1.29
        Dec. 2.41
        Year 16.01

  • Great Winter of 2017 (SMC)

    If the ridge continues through the end of December I think it’s right to say the RRR has returned

    • Freddy66

      The way things are going this could end up being worse if it lasts through January. If I remember correctly LA had some rain during that time. This is really depressing.

      • Great Winter of 2017 (SMC)

        Do the weather Gods hate us or something, lol. Little to no rain in December would be devastating.

        • Pfirman

          We’ve been here before, and we are still here now. Have some forbearance and go lo-flow.

    • Pfirman

      When people say ‘Is that right?’ to me, I Iike to reply, ‘No, but it’s so’.

  • Jim (Watsonville)

    Wow…losing lots of homes on the Lilac fire in the San Diego area…

  • Jim (Watsonville)

    Wow…losing lots of homes on the Lilac fire in the San Diego area…

  • Charlie B

    Right before we temporarily relocated to San Clemente for a month and a half I jokingly commented that my wife had been praying fervently for nice weather and her prayers were being answered. She now realizes this is not a good situation. When she returns from the beach later this afternoon she promises to start praying for a pattern change.
    It is about 75 degrees or so here with a bit of a breeze. Back home in Reno I understand it is miserable. Cool days and cold nights. Heavy inversions with lousy air quality. Hopefully Shane Ritter is coping. I have to deal with that for 4 days next week.

    • Shane Ritter

      It’s definitely been very chilly. Lows around 20. High around 40. Inversion isn’t bad tho. Been breezy in the afternoon, cold east winds.

    • Pfirman

      Four days. You are breaking my heart. If I were to temporarily relocate from my home, it will be the woodshed, or doghouse, whichever is closer. So, yes, not a fan of bad situations.

  • Freddy66

    When is the next El Nino due to happen ?

    • SoCalWXwatcher

      If it’s anything like the last one, it may not matter.

      • Hollow Scene (The Desert)

        That year was one hell of a mirage chase

        • Pfirman

          What about this year?

          • Hollow Scene (The Desert)

            There’s no mirage this year, only the wall of despair out in the pacific…. but I know there’s no guarantee this pattern will last all winter, we could still have a decent JFM even if we end up below average in the end.

      • Pfirman

        It will for the data bank. Sigh.

  • matt

    Looks. To me like every county in socal has a fire. Up and down the socal coast. 10.000 foot flames in one of the fires. One big fire storm. santa anas aren’t helping with dry brush.

    • Pfirman

      If flames are that tall, that means you would not be safe on top of Mt. Lassen from a wildfire at sea level. Were the sea nearby, I hasten to add. Just wait.

  • Great Winter of 2017 (SMC)
  • AntiochWx

    I think we need to order a few tankers full of Ex lax and start cloud seeding where the ridge is located 🙂

    • Pfirman

      Damn, I am buying shares in ExLax tonight.

      • AntiochWx

        Novartis thanks you.

    • None of that pink goop! Quantum torpedoes!

      • AntiochWx

        50 tons should do it! Fast, effective relief.

  • honzik

    I was looking at the total precipitation GFS forecast which shows for the next two weeks (336 hr) the Olympia Peninsula is getting less than 0.5″ of rain. Pretty much everywhere else on the West Coast is dry.

    Sorry, not buying it.

    • jstrahl

      Welcome to the new world climate order. Or rather, disorder, chaos.

    • Pfirman

      The Olympic Peninsula is mostly a temperate rain forest. This is straight up intemperate. Bad enough to have fires in December, though explainable, horribly explainable in SoCal, but to have then in a rainforest might even get the attention of this administration. Ah, never mind.

      • AntiochWx

        ya right, nothing is going to change this administration. I would NEVER think about voting R until they start funding and believing is science and major climate change initiatives.

    • Yeah I hear you the models are all doing and gloom yet here I am sitting thinking said doom and gloom involves long range forecast assumptions. Those assumptions have been chucked into the bin several times lately, it’s only natural for this to be wrong too. Yes I’ve seen musings about this being an entrenched pattern and the thermodynamics lean toward ridge instead of not, however I like you don’t buy a dry PNW. I believe wet will return this month to NorCal. SoCal – you’re possibly still screwed.

  • Unbiased Observer

    This is just getting too depressing on here….going to drink away my sorrows.

    • RunningSprings6250

      ?

      I haven’t gotten ahold of my old coworker (7 years working side by side) but his house is directly in the path of Lilac fire and might be toast….

      Saw a post about 500 race horses being set free to run from the fire – sucks sucks sucks

      • Pfirman

        Even without fire, 500 race horses set free, almost no matter where, would be crazy, a sight to see, and desperate at any rate. Agree, sucks big time.

        • RunningSprings6250

          Right?!

    • Sideways Sleet

      Way ahead of you.

    • I’ll join ya tomorrow! 😉

  • RunningSprings6250

    And for good measure, 3x full size semi trucks on their side on the 210 right over the 15 freeway…

    • Phil(ontario)

      Wait. Are you trying to tell us it is windy outside?

  • Fairweathercactus

    Time to grab your favorite drink, put some music on and numb the pain away. Just lay in bed and dream about next winter.

    • Phil(ontario)

      I thought I was the only person with this song playing over and over in my head.

    • justsomeguy

      One of the best marriages of sound and video ever made.

  • Whittier weather dude

    Nice one cactus. Bad religion. I’m ready for a beer also

    • Fairweathercactus

      I do not listen to punk like I did when I was in high school 11 years ago but I still put it on once in a while.

      • malnino

        Get a sixer on the table and put on, movie or soundtrack, The Decline of Western Civilization. Very fitting for these times, and you’ll just feel a whole lot better!

        • malnino

          Numb your ears and your pain!! Hell, maybe it’ll even bring rain!!

  • Whittier weather dude

    I’m over 50 and I still do. Got to do something until it rains ?

    • Fairweathercactus

      Remember when Whittier would have great lightning storms in summer and winter? Even weak storm could kick some butt around here? That felt like it ended in 2006. I miss the days when it would rain so hard the trash cans would go down the street in a flood.

      • Pfirman

        Now they just blow down the street?

        • Fairweathercactus

          Or melt.

    • Pfirman

      Still do what?

  • RandomTreeInSB

    Thomas Fire has burned 115,000 acres now with 400+ structures destroyed in Ventura. Meanwhile mandatory evacuation order has extended to Cravens Ln. west of Carpinteria, and Summerland is placed under voluntary evacuation. Starting to get a bit nervous…

  • RunningSprings6250

    The winds were forecast to be strongest this morning.

    While they were indeed notably strong, we are experiencing our strongest sustained winds and house shaking gusts right now….

    • Pfirman

      So what about the ridges and so-called ‘favored’ places? Yikes.

      • RunningSprings6250

        I am protected, get out to the open and the hilltops and i’d imagine you’d have trouble standing.

        • Pfirman

          Are you protected from falling and/or burning trees?

          • Tuolumne

            That’s what the beer is for. You won’t care. 😉

    • Phil(ontario)

      Interesting. Down the hill this is the lightest wind I’ve had since monday afternoon.

    • Thunderstorm

      Wind has picked up in San Diego area too.

  • Paul huntington

    This powerful ridge is not at all a surprise too me with most every global teleconnection in perfect place for rex or omega blocks to establish in the northeast pacific basin (NAO positive/neutral, PNA neutral/negative, AO positive, La Nina/strong Walker Circulation, MJO disrupted by equatorial rossby waves, low sun spot phase/high levels ozone in poles). I dont see this pattern changing for next couple years or longer. What i think will shift large scale pattern will be a very strong MJO episode in the West Pacific around the Spring Equinox generating gravity waves and deep warm oceanic kelvin waves that propagate eastward thus disrupting the energized Walker Circulation or La Nina. Im thinking maybe Spring 2019 might be the forcing that sets up a wet Winter for 2019-2020??

    • alanstorm

      So this is a regular occurrence/nothing to see here scenerio?

      • Pfirman

        Heh. It’s like a CHeden post boiled down to two tablespoons. He lost me a few acronyms in. Except for the 2019-2020 bit. Just shoot me now.

      • jstrahl

        I disagree with him, he seems to neglect…. climate change.

        • AntiochWx

          and yet this state isn’t moving fast enough. We need to move faster with more climate initiatives. We need faster EV adoption, as close to 100% renewable energy as possible, great access to faster clean energy public transportation, and better recycling programs.

    • 2018-19?

    • gray whale

      you are essentially describing the genesis of our last ENSO+, which didn’t even really set up a wet winter. so who knows.

    • jstrahl

      Have you accounted for the melting ice in both polar regions? Or for the increasingly warming oceans, e.g. the pool of ridiculously warm water between Australia and New Zealand, water temps up to 6 deg C above normal? Or…. ?

  • Craig Matthews

    Wind/flow has switched to the southeast advecting smoky skies all day up over Monterey and surrounding area. One pic is of Mt Toro in a layer of smoke, the other is looking across Salinas Valley toward Fremont Peak early this morning. Third pick of red sunset this evening….reminds me of a late summer-early autumn day here….light ese flow up Salinas Valley all day , temp near 80, and smoky skies…Our thoughts and prayers continue to go out for all the folks affected by these fires down south. https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/bda3a9193be0f7fe282def2beb4f04883feef32913b0e210ec270c39b7a2fe1b.jpg https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/e002be3e8013cf81c1546da38cfffe7f81ada8c5cbbdd3830d566df9ae6f831a.jpg https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/1379074e163170d404a0173ee9fb593dece03f0a9f6ed4fb0bcad0b06894300d.jpg

    • PRCountyNative

      Exactly! It was like a summer day, smoky hazy warm. Nice shots.

  • Great Winter of 2017 (SMC)

    20,000 more acres from last update https://twitter.com/cal_fire/status/938960266842185728

    • Thunderstorm

      Been watching this relentless fire on the Venturi web cams on and off today.

      • Pfirman

        Venturi web cams? Because of the wind it has come to this?

  • Thunderstorm

    Some good COMMON SENSE finally! Power companies starting to cut the power in the high wind areas.

  • Admode (Susanville)

    My buddy is a hotshot on the Los Padres and is on night shift tonight: https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/55422cdc64946f1e08af3f4140b7703bb4bf3cadca7dd2f5e19cff542dcfce33.png

    • Pfirman

      Dang, either way.

  • celo

    Things that are different weather wise in Santa Barbara for my son vs myself as a kid:

    1) Extreme Wildfires in December.
    2) Extreme rainfall events in the summer, such as a microburst.
    3) Used to be snowfall on the Santa Ynez mountains at least 5 or 6 times a year. Seems to happen once a year if at all.
    4) Less marine layer. I remember hating it as a kid and now I long for it.

    Amazing how in my lifetime I am seeing the effects of a warming planet. Dramatic to say the least. Every year things are changing.

    • SlashTurn (Santa Barbara)

      Copy that…I seem to dwell too much on those facts…longing for the old proportionate wet patterns. The stress on the ecology from all of this is what hurts the most from my perspective.

      Are we just in a dry cycle and might revert back? Maybe. History shows this land has been in that pendulum (just not as extreme as this round)

      • celo

        From what I have seen from the snow events that used to happen in Los Angeles, this may just be a continuation of a trend. At least for snowfall

      • Hollow Scene (The Desert)

        I think the wet 90’s spoiled us

        • AntiochWx

          This last century has spoiled us, long term climate hundreds of years ago was epitome of desertification.

          • Hollow Scene (The Desert)

            Its a tough pill to swallow. Obviously climate change is most likely not helping, but its a scary to think that CA can enter multi decade or longer droughts naturally. This is a cool read if you have a little time http://ocp.ldeo.columbia.edu/res/div/ocp/drought/medieval.shtml

          • AntiochWx

            Instant bookmarked! Thanks for the link. It is scary to think CA can enter a multi decade drought naturally, and with AGW thrown in, I can see why some are confused on what atmospheric patterns to expect.

          • AntiochWx

            The thing I have the hardest time understanding is. During the natural climate variations that took place without AGW, the natural cycles of SSTs and solar forcings seemed to be the primary forcings responsible. Now that we have AGW in the mix with a general warming of our atmosphere and oceans, how will continual warming oceans effect the global precipitation distribution? For me it seems its going to be a huge mix bag with greater climatic extreme variations of periods of drought and floods. I think the general precipitation trends especially in So Cal will be decreasing, but you could get that random year that overperforms like no other with a juiced up pineapple express due to warming Pacific ocean temperatures.

    • molbiol

      Here in Lancaster the biggest change is the lack of snow events. Typically we would get one once or twice a year with a major event (at least by Socal desert standards) every few years. Not anymore

    • Phil(ontario)

      Yes. As a kid fog in the mornings was almost daily. This year we have had 2. And one of those days was this past monday!

  • Osse (Redondo)

    Rant alert!!! I know this was said below, but I’m really sick of national media, including the so-called Weather Channel, CNN, etc. not covering weather and its impacts west of the center of the country. FIRE WEATHER IS WEATHER!!!

    • Fairweathercactus

      It does not draw big ratings and stop subways.

      • Osse (Redondo)

        Yeah well, what is that statistic about the “GDP” of California making it equivalent to the 6th or so “national” economy in the world? I’m going out and buying my bear state flag tomorrow. Hah!

        • RunningSprings6250

          I’m just wondering why care about national media especially with this in context and especially with the crap it all is anyways…

          • Osse (Redondo)

            Well, you make a very good point there. I agree they are pretty much useless crap anyway.

    • jstrahl

      FWW, CNN has been running several minutes on this every hour.

  • Thunderstorm

    A venturi effect must be ongoing tonight sucking up the hot embers. Big time long range spotting. Running Springs having strongest winds yet.

  • Candleman (Santa Barbara)
    • SlashTurn (Santa Barbara)

      crap…all that brush above Foothill and 192 hasn’t burned in a long time.

      • celo

        I heard parts of Summerland are under some kind of evacuation

    • hermit crab

      I got out. Just couldn’t breathe. Have barely any clothes though!

  • Thunderstorm

    Just looked at the vegetation map where the San Diego County fire is headed. Whole lot of fuel in front all the way to Escondido.

  • celo

    California needs to wake up about safe fire abatement and soon. We need to pick the safe weather times to have controlled fires where the wild lands meet houses and slowly and in a controlled fashion burn those areas back.
    We allow the most dangerous and insane times of the year to have our wild lands burn….And this is what we get. IT’S TIME for the political and will to institute a new fire management that incorporates fire on a consistent basis:
    Good for the chaparral ecosystem (It used to burn a lot)
    Safe for the people that live near the back country.
    Enough already. The time has come.

    • PRCountyNative

      At first I thought you were going to call for massive clearing: Death to thousands of oak, pine trees, etc.

      Yes, if we are going to grow population forever, right up into the last wild places, where actual plants grow, then we ought to do as you say. What do you think the chances are?

      There are a lot of things we ought to do.

      • celo

        The lack of controlled burning cost people in this state billions of dollars, lots of stress and even some lives. We need a plan as a state that can lesson the amount of damage fires do by burning the fuel before it can cause such severe fire storms.

        • SlashTurn (Santa Barbara)

          Thank you for bringing all this to attention celo. I’m just as passionate about your stance…

          • celo

            It gets tiresome. The constant fire emergency and news cycle. I think we are smarter in this state than this. I think we can do better

      • ben

        Thinning forests effectively waters the plants chosen to remain by reducing competition, resulting in healthier, more beautiful wildlands.

        • celo

          Chaparral is not really an ecosystem that can be thinned

          • Pfirman

            True, but it can be left to burn with not very serious consequences.

          • celo

            I agree

          • ben

            True. Can thin and burn were chaparral transitions to forest to protect the forest from getting torched. In many locations, the forest will likely be replaced by chapparal.

    • Nathan

      I concur. This cannot possibly be more expensive than what we have now…

    • Jim (Watsonville)

      There would be the typical ones that would complain that we are creating pollution and that they had been adversely affected by the smoke…it would be a political nightmare…

      • celo

        Yeah but what we have now is not working. Pick a day when onshore winds are light and will blow the smoke toward the back country.

        • Jim (Watsonville)

          Oh Im with you…31 years in the fire service and went on a dozen strike teams to these fires….I just know how some folks are….

          • celo

            Sitting around and waiting for fire armageddon to happen over and over, just doesn’t seem to be a great strategy. I think we can come up with something better

          • Jim (Watsonville)

            Totally agree !!!

          • jstrahl

            One step is to stop creating the circumstances which bring about this armageddon.

      • celo

        Set up strong fire breaks. Burn sections at a time and put all our fire personal in the state at the locations that will go through the control burns. Then put strong well constructed storm water abatement systems in place for winter rains

    • Darin

      On the one hand, I absolutely agree with the sentiment and enthusiasm. On the other hand, this is not an issue of political will. It’s an issue of insurance and local action.

      If you would like to see long term lasting reform, then the insurance companies need to charge more money for areas that do not have fire abatement and less for those that do. This cost and claims can be shouldered by L&L, HOA, city, county, and state.

      What we have seen and experienced was known even before Yellowstone burned in 1988. The facts have not changed nor has the calculus for controlled burn versus reaction.

      Until the insurance companies shift the burden of responsibility from the firefighters to the tenant, the local organizations will find themselves once burned, twice shy.

      • celo

        I agree except who picks up the bill for the uninsured or the poorly insured? There is disaster relief and it costs tax payers a lot of money. But it isn’t just burned homes. Lots of people have lost there lives.
        We haven’t forced people to clear brush. Maybe that needs to occur with a good control burn initiative.
        We can’t control when hurricanes, tornadoes or floods occur, but we could control when a fire occurs so that it would be under the least severe circumstances.

        • Tuolumne

          Fires are put out fairly readily except under difficult weather conditions when they spread rapidly. That guarantees that the vast majority of acreage burned happens under bad fire weather, so the fire burns extra hot and damage to ecosystems (and structures) is maximized.

          • celo

            Fires should be let to burn out under less severe circumstances. This is still a semi dangerous scenario, because weather could change fast and make for more extreme conditions. Lighting fires and prepping areas for burns would eliminate a lot of the risks in the letting it burn scenario

        • Darin

          The question of uninsured or underinsured not as simple as my answer will suggest. At the time of home purchase, the tenant would be required to have a fire assessment and pay accordingly. If they can’t, they don’t qualify for the home. There are other issues regarding renters, assessing risk, timing, etc. that are both theoretical and beyond the scope of this forum. Remember fire abatement and controlled burns are different things, the former being the end and the latter the means. There’s more than one way to solve this problem.

    • jstrahl

      Problem is that the potential problem areas are so huge that even setting controlled fires would create huge air pollution issues. It’s also time for the will to insist that development not be extended into vulnerable areas, regardless of the impacts on property values and economic growth.

      • celo

        Growth in to those areas will happen whether you like it or not. Great views, beautiful wilderness and gorgeous surroundings. The most expensive homes usually exist there.
        But have you noticed lately…Fire is pushing into areas that were not considered under threat, in Santa Rosa and Ventura. We are living in a more extreme fire time and as we transition to a warmer climate. The threat of wildfires on communities will occur quicker and with more ferocity as we continue to warm and dry out.
        We need a new plan. The one we got does not work under the current conditions

        • jstrahl

          Saying growth will happen makes it seem as if it’s a factor of nature. It is in fact a decision, just like a policy of controlled burns. Do we keep doing stupid things knowing the consequences because somehow we can’t help it? in Santa Rosa, the development has pushed ever further into the open spaces, that’s why more threats are being created. Continuing to do that is a very bad plan. But economic growth is sacrosanct, regardless of the consequences. Or so it appears.

          • celo

            The back country and oak woodlands were meant to burn. Let them burn under less extreme circumstances and with a lot less fuel. This is my point

          • jstrahl

            I agree, and would add my point: stop building into areas which are fire prone, or as Bob G says right above, flood prone.

          • Bob G (Gustine)

            You are on my soapbox now. Building in fire zones and flood prone areas. It is all about money and these issues are swept under the rug

          • jstrahl

            Thank you, Money considerations trump ecological logic.

        • Dan the Weatherman

          I also believe we have had an increase in arson fires in recent years that is contributing to these massive firestorms as of late. An arsonist will know the ideal setup, including forecast winds, and will start a fire at such a time for maximum impact. Of course not all fires are arson, but a fair number of them are or of suspicious origin. Just something to think about while we are on the subject of wildfire.

      • alanstorm

        Yep. Pretty much EVERY urban area in the state, except maybe S.F. is a potential firestorm if the right combination of circumstances are in line.
        With high winds, it could burn thru areas considered “safe”.
        Makes you rethink the whole idea of permanence

        • Great Winter of 2017 (SMC)

          I can attest to that as there has been no wildfires in my town ever

        • jstrahl

          Very well-said!

      • Great Winter of 2017 (SMC)

        Smoke and air pollution is suppose to get worse for the Bay Area tomorrow.

    • alanstorm

      Obviously, in theory, that’s one potential solution.
      Again, there were homes that ignited easily because of all the STUFF cluttered & stacked next to otherwise fire-safe homes. Trees, decorative shrubbery, furnature, fences, decks, etc.
      When homes are crammed close together like they were in Coffee Park, forget it.

      As far as controlled burns?
      Good luck doing a “controlled burn” in the Calistoga/Mark West Springs area where the Tubbs fire originated.

      Fireproof homes surrounded by dirt.

      • celo

        I agree, but I think it will be tougher maintaining homes vegetation then doing a controlled burn scenario. Maintaining setbacks are done by individuals. The other can be done on large areas and overseen by a prepared fire officials. I’ll take the prepared fire officials.

        • alanstorm

          I do tree-carving as a trade & when I mention the potential fire danger of the multitude of trees surrounding their wonderful homes, advising maybe removing most, it’s always “NOOOO!! That’s why we moved here!”

      • Admode (Susanville)

        Exactly. Firefighters were pulling Christmas trees and furniture out into the yards because those spots were safer than the homes. Unprecedented fire behavior.

    • Redlegs6_Susanville

      Fires in this overgrown unmanaged ecosystem are a huge problem, structures in the Wildland Urban Interface are a fuel of there own. This state has allowed it to continue to grow and its all about money! I’ve been in the business of fire for 25 years and it will not get better anytime soon. Global warming or not, I say change things will get worse and people continue to build in these areas that we all know will burn under the right circumstances and the state and local government’s will keep taking those checks.

    • Admode (Susanville)

      If you can figure out how to conduct a successful prescribed burn in social chapparell, mixed in with structures, please submit your managment plan immediately to your nearest fire agency. The biggest factor to be able to have a successful prescribed burn is favorable weather conditions. It’s December. Look at the fire behavior occurring right now.

  • Skye H.

    Hey Daniel, fantastic if sobering post. I remember you’ve been talking about the American dipole pattern becoming enhanced/further entrenched by climate change for years now. Crazy stuff, and with huge implications as we are seeing with these rapidly spreading fires so far out of the typical fire season.

    On an unrelated note, my classmate Caroline interviewed you this week…I looked over her paper and happened to see your name on it and was elated! I told her I would have been a bit starstruck myself, and while she didn’t quite understand my meteorological mania, she seemed to have had a very positive interaction with you.

    • Nathan

      the texture of my hands reflects this. they feel like old rope.

    • SolarWinds56

      I live in North County San Diego (Vista) off Melrose Drive. I saw this fire (Lilac Fire) start. Just before I left for work around 11:25am, I scanned the horizon for any fires, but saw none. Then, about 10 mins later, I looked in my rear view mirror to see a huge plume of smoke!! It was very windy. I live about 4 miles south of evacuation zones. My dad was at the Palomar College Satellite Campus construction site near the 76 & 15 Freeways when the fire started. He said he’d never seen a fire move so fast. He saw mobile homes being burnt up. I can see the flames from my house. Winds are relatively calm for now.

      • Dan the Weatherman

        Do you have any idea what might have started this fire?

        • weathergeek100

          Probably a cig butt

          • SoCal Al (El Monte-SGV)

            ………or, just a “butt” hole.

  • jstrahl

    From the NWS SF Bay Area, 8:49PM, 12/7/17.

    “Models currently show no evidence of the West Coast ridge
    breaking down anytime soon, at least not through the next 10 days.
    The longer range gefs ensemble forecast indicates that the
    positive height anomalies currently centered over the West Coast
    will shift to the northwest and be centered over Alaska by
    December 18. Such a pattern change would result in either a cold
    air intrusion from the north, or the westerlies over the Pacific
    to undercut the ridge and finally bring precipitation back into
    the Golden state.”

    • Unbiased Observer

      Wouldn’t that be nice.

    • Bob G (Gustine)

      This is what has been talked about

    • molbiol

      GFS 00Z ensemble does show retrogression of the 500mb anomaly toward the Aleutians but again, spread is very high (not surprisingly since this is fantasy land). Also, no definitive height falls are apparent over California and if the block retrogrades too far to the NW, the end result is usually another subtropical ridge bulging into California from the south. Yes, we are all getting very desperate as we look at the models for any sign of hope.

      https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/0978a190b29f6eecf8f2b2d68bc22e1307fbb5f1bb8ad3dcd52402562682f286.png

  • Jason Jackson Willamette

    I know the word is that the ridge will stay in place and nothing will change for at least another 10 days. But – tonight’s sat. image and sequence shows a lot of energy knocking at California’s door. One can at least have some hope.

    http://www.ssd.noaa.gov/goes/west/nepac/flash-rb.html https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/2d4e4190187092b7c0ff1c78c23068a8bdcc226ce0e3bf631f2ea6161a8aff4d.jpg

    • RunningSprings6250

      Nah that’s just smoke from the fires….

      • Jason Jackson Willamette

        Didn’t someone write a song about that? Something like, umm,
        Smoke on the Water? Oh YEAH!

  • Great Winter of 2017 (SMC)
    • Blue__Bear

      A man crawls across the desert floor towards the shimmering patch on the horizon. Is it an oasis or a mirage?

      • Jason Jackson Willamette

        He’ll know when he gets “there.”

    • I wish we had 384hr access on wx.graphics ;'(

    • SoCalWXwatcher

      GFS Operational Run is such a cruel tease. Borderline sociopathic.

  • Dan the Weatherman

    The winds have really calmed down here in Orange tonight to just a breeze, which is certainly a good sign that this wind event is finally beginning to wind down.

    Last night’s winds were not as strong as I feared, which means that Monday night and Tuesday was the time period of the strongest winds in this area.

  • Jason Jackson Willamette
  • Nathan

    Weather question for you folks: would the following setup, at 168h on the EC, result in similar winds as the past few days? I’m not really good at spotting “Santa Ana conditions” in the models. My take on this would be that because the surface high is not as strong as the one over the west in the past few days, we would get some offshore action, but not as bad. Is that assessment correct?

    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/c5f3a2af1169b9d55c3e7d7953f90bcae716c6f323590f22f4b330a2518dc92b.png

    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/06d33460cf08134340690067023104e9b5244b69cd5275fdb283ad2fb10cbc33.png

    • yep.

      • Nathan

        sorry, to which part? the “similar to last few days”? or “not as bad”?

    • Dan the Weatherman

      I hate seeing that low in SW AZ and northern Mexico on that run. These lows have a tendency to add support to a Santa Ana and strengthen it. Surface high over the Great Basin in combination with a low over AZ or the Four Corners region are two sources of NE flow and the combination often results in a strong offshore wind.

    • jstrahl

      I’d say especially over the Colorado River Valley. (i.e. Arizona/Ca state line) and towards southern parts of the city of San Diego.

  • AntiochWx

    If we truly are entering into a 20-200 year long drought pattern this state used to go through, we are going to have to come up with some quick solutions. Our farms will NOT be allowed to continue using the amounts of water they use unless they manage to either buy desalinated water or truck in water. One thing is certain, either Calfornians will be forced to buy relatively cheaper food from other states/countries, or expect to pay much higher prices in a drought stricken state. Stop growing so many almonds!! They use so much water.

    • I’ve still yet to see any research that actually says that. Droughts may well become more common/severe here, but that is unlikely to be the perpetual state of things. I’ll be able to discuss in more detail within a few months, but there will almost certainly be increasingly intense wet spells too.

      • AntiochWx

        It’s hard to tell, but when I was doing undergrad at Penn St. some of the climatologist there were fairly confident that some places in the desert southwest could go back to some form of a megadrought. I think NASA has a paper that talks about California entering into a possible long term drought pattern. I will see if I can find it. I’m looking forward to reading your paper.

        http://advances.sciencemag.org/content/2/10/e1600873.full

        • Indeed. California is actually the exception, to a certain extent, even in that paper. Their argument centers on the extreme drying effect of warming temperatures, which could indeed induce a form of “soil moisture” (and, perhaps, ecological) megadrought. But there’s still a difference between a precipitation “megadrought” and a temperature induced one.

          • AntiochWx

            Interesting, I need to read more about these things in regards to climate. So I have a couple of questions for you. During the 20-200 year droughts California has experienced in the past, which forcing was responsible for that? Also, wouldn’t an expanding Hadley cell cause greater precipitation droughts, especially in So Cal? Wouldn’t a further north jetstream cause few storms to track in the southern parts in the US, or could a more moisture laden subtropical jet stream makeup the difference?

          • celo

            I think future rainfall amounts for California are still up in the air. I agree temperature induced ecological changes are currently on going.

        • Bombillo1

          Aren’t deserts by definition in a chronic state of low rainfall? Otherwise they wouldn’t be “deserts”…

          • AntiochWx

            Yes, but desertification of the southwest would imply reduced annual rainfall amounts. The southern parts of CA are seeing signs of desertification.

      • CHeden

        I recently came across this authoritative paper detailing how Polynya’s (holes in Antarctic sea ice) can have global effects.
        Interesting to note that the multi-year Polynya centered around 1974 that the paper mentions, immediately preceded the Great Pacific Climate shift of 1975-77, which many have defined as the start of a “new” atmospheric base state.

        https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/09/170911122659.htm

        Anna Cabré, Irina Marinov, Anand Gnanadesikan. Global Atmospheric Teleconnections and Multidecadal Climate Oscillations Driven by Southern Ocean Convection. Journal of Climate, 2017; 30 (20): 8107 DOI: 10.1175/JCLI-D-16-0741.1

    • Daniel Garcia
      • AntiochWx

        I suspect the recent loss of arctic sea ice has some influence on our atmospheric circulation patterns, as it disturbs the arctic low and high pressure systems. I find it hard to believe antarctica sea ice loss increases California precipitation, I wonder how they drawed their conclusions? Atmospheric wind patterns rarely cross over between hemispheres, so I fail to see how that could affect California.

    • Chris

      The ultimate answer is to reduce the human population.
      But we as a species fall prey to the “me me me” syndrome.
      Imagine being told or advised to not have a big, loving family like your parents and generation before experienced.
      But it’s the right thing to do IMO.

      • As long as the state keeps raising taxes shouldn’t be a problem. People are leaving in droves anyway.

        • inclinejj

          Wait until this massive bubble bursts. We have a stock market, real estate and tech bubble. Almost 100,000 people moved into SF in the last 7 years.

          • RunningSprings6250

            Same to Oregon and Colorado for the pot bubble, then the prices of pot plummeted…

            Pot will save California though.

          • inclinejj

            A pot shop is right next to my office. Pumpkin Heads in and out all day.

      • inclinejj

        The problem is, responsible people do. The breeders don’t. Guess who pays for the breeders? The Taxpayers!

  • SolarWinds56

    Lilac Fire in North County San Diego as of a couple hours ago has burned over 4,000 acres and is 0% contained. I live in Vista, about 4 miles south of evacuation zones. Right now winds are calm for now.https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/7b0fd0be4b62e7e052e84532702afeca2eee5cb4cefa11d155d84dda47f4bd95.png https://uploads.disquscdn.com/imLages/e97a1d441ca0e60fd70d6fa5c1a4add180502242c3d01109e955bc2f114b286c.png

    • Osse (Redondo)

      My mom lives near the mission. Still a ways west, but we went and got her out just in case.

  • SolarWinds56
    • AllHailPresidentSkroob

      While I get the point… I’d be furious if my power was cutoff under the “potential” a wild fire could happen…

  • AntiochWx

    Isn’t there a general rule of thumb, precipitation follows Santa Ana wind events? Is it usually 2 weeks time? I would love to see if there is any studies done about following rain events and Santa Ana wind events.

    • weathergeek100

      I don’t think there’s any correlation. I remember weeks on end of non stop Santa Anas growing up in SoCal in the early 2000s. Winter dry spells down there were always associated with these winds.

    • Hollow Scene (The Desert)

      I think it might be hard to draw a direct connection, but I feel like one thing is for sure, An active Santa Ana pattern isn’t a bad sign. Other than being suppressed during some el nino years, they are a normal part of California fall and winter. Cold inside sliders weren’t around during the RRR years, and in the shorter term it can be a sign of an active pacific. We didn’t get any real winds last month, and not much rain either. This wind event might be an exception if this high pressure dome stays anchored… Just my observations

  • Daniel Garcia

    As if we haven’t had enough bad news already here comes an article saying melting sea ice may drive precipitation away from our state. https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/melting-ice-could-cause-more-california-droughts/

    • Chris

      Daniels post stated it was somewhat less clear on how melting sea ice may affect CA precipitation.
      Wait and see, wait and see….

  • Looking at the latest Doppler, it is snowing in parts of Louisiana. Is that normal?

    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/0bfce7697e037eeb2e30cd9588bdb2cc12f94eff8350eb4148f5f32084e381dd.png

    • AntiochWx

      It happens every once in a while, its rare but it does happen.

    • Dan the Weatherman

      Looking at Lake Charles, LA’s NWS site, local observations are showing some light snow in some cities, including Lake Charles. I don’t know how often it snows in Louisiana, since they are so close to the Gulf Coast, but I do think it is somewhat rare. Cold air masses can descend from the north into the region at times, and with no mountains to block cold air, it can get quite cold (colder than coastal Socal) even near the Gulf Coast under the right conditions.

    • inclinejj

      Heavy snow warning for Houston and the gulf beaches.

    • AlTahoe

      The gfs showed the snow storm for the gulf coast way out in fantasy range like 10+ days ago and it is actually happening. Way to go gfs

    • Jeff

      once every 5-10 years, snow south of the lake in New Orleans is a little less common than Baton Rouge (photo from LSU), last time there was snow in New Orleans was 2008 https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/fa8036fa8185b813879b03ff7942a7aa20b83308cbc9884b191b9ea7ae378dd1.jpg

  • John

    Weather/cultural question here:
    Are other parts of the globe or hemisphere experiencing the extreme weather conditions that we seem to be facing?

    I ask as a person subjected to its effects already – – the soils engineers who have examined our failing hillside attribute that in some part to the extreme drying effects of the next-to-last several dry years that desiccated the soils, followed by last year’s very heavy rains that infiltrated those soils more heavily than normal. (Think of it as complementary to the fires now taking place THIS WINTER FOR GOSH-GOLLY[S SAKE!!) in SoCal with their lush-to-dry cycle down there.

    I don’t see as much climate-caused tragedy being reported in other parts of the world, which admittedly is probably more a function of our selective journalism than reality. But, if the effects are being especially felt here, isn’t it ironic, to say the least, that the country that refuses to recognize climate change is being hit hardest by it?

    • RunningSprings6250

      Obviously there’s going to be the immediate “the warming arctic” response but outside of that I am also interested and often think globally on this topic but haven’t found the answers….

      I’m assuming the general answer is – Yes. But details please! Lol

    • inclinejj

      Greece and Italy had record rainfall. London had brutally cold for 3 weeks.

    • Off the top of my head, recent events would be drought in Australia, drought and heat in Russia (remember the fires and 100 degree heat?) Back to back years of rain in the Atacama. Snow in the Sahara. Doesn’t matter if it heat cold drought or copious rainfall other areas are experiencing weather on an extreme far right or left of a bell curve

    • Darin

      I believe Australia added two new colors to their temp graphs a couple of years ago.

    • Blue__Bear

      The monthly Global Climate Report provides a summary of anomalies worldwide:
      https://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/sotc/service/global/extremes/201710.gif

    • CHeden

      Within the last year:
      Mega-fires and drought in Chile/Peru.
      Mega fires in Portugal and Spain.
      Mega fires in California and western NA
      Record cold and snow in Siberia/NE Asia
      Mega drought over much of Africa
      Incredible Atlantic hurricane season with repeating (as compared to a wildly unusual single event) storms approaching theoretical maximum strength and remaining at full strength for record-long periods of time
      Near freezing temps at the North Pole in Winter
      Record rains/record heat/record dry for the NA west coast.

      And that’s just a start.
      Sigh…..

  • inclinejj

    IF anyone is planning on buying a weather station consider this LaCrosse Technology tech and customer service is horrible.

    • Bombillo1

      That is the Costco station on sale now!

    • Darin

      I’ve been casually shopping for one, thanks for the review. I’m not sure which features are wants and which are needs.

    • 82/83 El Nino baby (San Jose)

      I have been happy with my Acurite weather station. Not professional level, but still works well and is reliable.

      • Mine still shows rain for the past month.

        • SoCal Al (El Monte-SGV)

          Note my post…….same here. Called Acurite and they told me to “reset” the display when the barometer hits 29.92″ (sea level pressure) and the unit will be more accurate after another 14 day “learning mode.”

    • I have a 2813 system from 2011 (the Costco bundle). It worked great up until a few months ago when the anemometer and rain bucket crapped out. I am going to get a Davis Vantage Vue in the next few months. For now, at least the temperature gauge works and I can monitor on WU. I have heard their customer service is non-existent, but I try to troubleshoot issues myself so I do not have to call them.

      • inclinejj

        They basically told me to screw over Amazon. Buy another one and return the old broken one.

        • SoCal Al (El Monte-SGV)

          Bought the Acurite 01536 weatherstation last summer and installed it Oct 1st. I believe all the readings are fairly accurate compared to local observations. One big problem is the 12/24 hour forecast which has shown rain everyday since it finished the 14-day “learning mode”, except for the last two days. It’s seems overly sensitive to small increases/decreases in the barometric pressure which changes the daily forecasts.

  • Drought Lorde

    Good Morn’ weather westerns. Tis’ i, Lord of the the droughts. I bring you bad news, for alas i have returned. I will strike you down with a vengeance this winter ( if you will be able to call it that). i have my high pressure locked in over the West coast this winter. You can kiss your storms good bye. After Dec 28th, i will ensure that it remains dry until Feb 12th. Ill give you a glimmer of hope then, but quickly squash it. The Sierras will end with a 25% snow-pack. LA will get 6.5″ of rain. Muahaha. Good luck fools!

    • weathergeek100

      I’d be very surprised at this point if LA got 6.5” of rain. My estimate is more like 3”.

      • Hollow Scene (The Desert)

        In our driest fall on record, 1929, LA ended up with 12.5 inches, which means the rain really ramped up at some point. Im sure its not likely, but anything is possible if the pattern swings in JFM

        • Shane Ritter

          1″ at the very end of Dec, 4″ from 2 storms January, a 4″ in February from an AR, 3″ in March from 6 small storms, 1″ in April from end if season storms, and suddenly it’s a 13″ winter.

      • redlands

        I agree

    • malnino

      6.5″ ?? Not bloody likely, mate. Seems that would be almost ideal at this point. Tell ya what, you take that 6.5″ to Vegas, they put an o/u 6.5 on it, and we’ll be on our way to the books with boatloads of cash on the under.

    • AlTahoe

      My upvote is purely for the name Drought Lorde, because it is awesome!

    • SoCal Al (El Monte-SGV)

      Is that you ‘Cactus????

  • Great Winter of 2017 (SMC)

    It’s broken 40F this whole week

  • AlTahoe
    • weathergeek100

      I didn’t know there was actually snow at lake level up there. Nice.

      • AlTahoe

        This park sits down about 30′ from a steep hill and faces north. The half an inch of snow we picked up last weekend has stayed on the ground at this location. This is pretty much the only spot with snow left.

  • Great Winter of 2017 (SMC)

    It’s snowed more in Corpus Christi then Lake Tahoe this year.

  • Sublimesl

    Exactly 8 years ago, we had snow in the Oakland Hills on this day. I don’t see that happening again in my lifetime, I could be wrong, but I just don’t see it.

    • Dan weather maniac (ORINDA)

      Yup that was my sons birth so I recall it well. The inland east bay hills had snow more or less to the base of all the hills. Flurries in both concord and Walnut Creek as well. That was a cold storm! That was the same year we got the massive hurricane remnant infused oct deluge.

      I had just moved to concord from Oakland and the morning lows were 19 for two days in a row! I was like wtf.

      The good old days.

      • inclinejj

        Yep and Pacifica was in the donut hole that time. We had snow flurries in Daly City and down south.

    • Yeah, I didn’t get snow at my house, but we went to the Clayton side of Mt. Diablo and my daughter and nephew played in the snow for a bit. They were only 2 at the time.

    • ThomTissy

      It’s not incredibly likely. Snow in the Bay Area is extremely rare. San Francisco had a 35 year break in between snows, 1976-2011.

      • AlTahoe

        In the South Bay area we would see snow level flurries every 5-10 years. In Morgan Hill at 300′ elevation we had accumulating snow in 1989,1990, 1995, 1998 and I think 2013.

        • Chris

          February 24th 2011. None in 2013.
          I have pics of 2011 but this damn disqus won’t let me upload.
          We had 1-2” December 28th, 1988, and snow flurries in February 1989.
          )That’s amazing to have snow TWICE in one season. )
          No snow in 1990 but it hit 14 degrees!

          • There some flurries in late 1998 1999? Maybe just a sporadic shower. They were there though. My wife may have some pics. You can reduce the kb of those pics and they should upload. I think 5000kb is limit. I remember 1990 freaking cold for San Jose, too.

          • AlTahoe

            Morgan Hill was 17F on 3 straight nights in 1990. San Jose had like 32 days of temps below freezing that winter.

  • CHeden

    41F this morning in Cottonwood…and like the rest of the state, bone dry.
    Recently I was rummaging around for the latest date of freezing or below temp in Redding…and this morning Mike Krueger on KRCR mentioned Dec 21 is the latest date for <32F.
    ATTM, there is more than a reasonable chance we will break this (another) heat related record.
    Oh boy. Can't wait.

    • Dan weather maniac (ORINDA)

      Yup no freeze yet in orinda either. Not sure the record here, but way later than the past 2 years.

    • matthew

      Been pretty chilly up in the mountains. I have had single-digit mornings for at least a week now and have not seen temps get above 40 in that time. Good news is that the 2″ of snow that fell is still hanging in there. If it sticks around for another 2+ weeks we may even get a base to build!

    • Wait till after the next sprinkle comes through late this month or early January. You’ll be spiking your coffee to keep from freezing! LOL

    • Pfirman

      Yeah. I still have basil and fruit trees with leaves on.

      • CHeden

        My Cherry still has leaves. Just now starting to yellow. Mulberry still not finished dropping, either. Even many of the Oaks are holding leaves.

  • Shane Ritter

    Good news today! IN A forecast to go Negative and AO+ around the 20th. Looking like a pattern change. MJO weak, but progressive. Maybe it’ll enter phase 8-1-2 right around New years by the the look of where it is now. Hopefully force at least a moderate AR. Also my lil puppers. https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/3d934e4dab2718445efb94acfda4b2320989fa2921e45c45b39621f11787af88.jpg https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/8d72e650486a4feebd949c6f16f60d3279f8f27f496d62660c0195b7430eb514.jpg https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/6535a2d91f778b5af40a9c4fbf12a3a77cb77ccfd5930dd029f3f796c41be898.jpg https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/dc52197e6c973b4f14fda645d1b4f3abac28f6dd5868b38dc91616351f5ea5dc.png

  • rob b-Truckee/East Bay

    Overall looks like good news this morning out of San Diego County, the Lilac fire laid down overnight and winds are light this morning. The humidity is still really low though.

    Also, one benefit So Cal has over Nor Cal, nighttime flights by some helicopters. Ventura, Kern, LA, and San Diego all have access to helicopters that can drop water during the night. Currently in Nor Cal there are no helicopters approved for night water drops.

  • Miguel Almaguer from NBC was knee deep in water this January now he’s surrounded by firestorms in December.

    • SoCalWXwatcher

      Wouldn’t it be cool if next February he’s doing a report from Pasadena while standing knee-deep in snow?

  • Rainmaker (San Jose)

    how is it snowing near New Orleans, but can’t snow here. The Gulf of Mexico is far warmer then our Coastal waters that flow from Alaska. Sad!

    • Hollow Scene (The Desert)

      No mountains to block very cold continental airmass. The pacific is our heater in the winter also

    • SoCalWXwatcher

      They have an Arctic airmass approaching from the NW, it is not coming from the Gulf. Most of our storms come off the Pacific, with sea surface temps in the 50’s this time of year which warm the airmass of even the coldest GOA storms in the lower levels below about 1,500ft. We can get cold storms approaching from the NE, with very low snow levels, but these are usually moisture-starved. Even then, it’s very hard to get accumulating snow in our coastal areas (especially in SoCal) because of the ocean’s influence, because an approaching LP from the NE will pull in air off the ocean near the surface. Our geography really works against snowfall at the coast, moreso than in those Gulf States.

    • happ [Los Angeles]

      It’s snowing in Brownsville Texas!

    • gray whale

      I get that you’re bummed, but the blog post above *literally* explains how. JFYI.

  • SolarWinds56

    What remains of the Lilac Fire in North County San Diego. Took this pic a couple miles from my house. Looks like the winds calming down helped the firefighters big time. I saw a plane fly behind the smoke and do what looked like water drop, so it must still be burning. This fire burned over 4,000 acres yesterday. Wind gusts of up to 88 mph were reported in the mountain areas of SD yesterday according to an article I read. Until we get good soaking rains, I feel like we are not out danger from fires like this. https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/ad49d1b5d2f99c09ccdd08739d0a2eee06eb25336f12c0a6c890b06501235c33.jpg https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/8f3be567be5bb153a231cbe8434275ffbb70ba686d0e1bed4dc514d40b8fe887.jpg

  • SoCalWXwatcher

    This is one of those times that I’m thankful 384hr model guidance is in deepest “fantasyland”, because 12z GFS is suggesting a Santa Ana type pattern in SoCal for Christmas Eve.

    • MakeSoCalWetAgain (SMX)

      Can we give these Santa Anas a 4 month restraining order? We need rain badly here.

  • happ [Los Angeles]

    NSW_LA has an animated graphic projection of the smoke from Ventura/ LA fires turning onshore this afternoon moving into the Basin/ Orange county. We’ve escaped the smoke so far due to offshore winds but a northern wind will turn the smoke toward metro Los Angeles. What a miserable situation. https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/a94618f520872534d71dd307444515ba9d372e110682a0454711935ec918bb01.jpg

  • rob b-Truckee/East Bay

    Not much from Howard but he did update today, still seems we’re looking around the end of the month for something to hopefully change.
    http://mammothweather.com/

    • Bob G (Gustine)

      He was positive this morning for late December in January. I hope he is right.

  • MakeSoCalWetAgain (SMX)

    Seeing snow in the Deep South/Texas while we’re baking in 80-degree heat for the next 3-5 days and seeing no rain for 10+ days makes me sick to my stomach.

    • happ [Los Angeles]

      The Weather Channel uselessly under-report for California. I’ve complained with no response from Atlanta

      • malnino

        i think they have a giant $take in Cali’s real estate/construction industry .. if they start reporting about how hot/dry/smokey/generally uninhabitable it really is, might stop some of these hordes of transplants from coming here!

      • MakeSoCalWetAgain (SMX)

        They’re probably cheering for California’s demise. TWC must be rigging the climate.

        “Fires in California, but look at us! Snow! Snow! Snow! More East of the Rockies bias!”

        • Bob G (Gustine)

          Yea, I’ve trolled Dan Leonard on Twitter. He will tweet about how wonderful everything is with east coast storms while we suffered through a prolonged drought. Michael Ventrice at least responded and acknowledged.

      • SoCalWXwatcher

        Fortunately we don’t need Cable weather channels for up to the minute info & analysis anymore. I do recall being extremely frustrated back in the 80’s and early 90’s when the only 24hr weather outlet was East-coast centric Weather Channel, and as I mentioned yesterday, the anchor would usually stand in front of California when explaining the weather map. ?

        • MakeSoCalWetAgain (SMX)

          Reminds me of the Witch in Ralphie’s thoughts from The Christmas Story. “C+! C+!”

        • Yanet Garcia (on a beach)

          No frustration when you see me do weather. You have happy after.

      • molbiol

        I tuned in briefly last night and they were showing a documentary about snakes…

        • SoCal Al (El Monte-SGV)

          Yup, their programming is all over the place.

      • Thor

        The Weather Channel is mostly useless…very little actual weather. Try Weather Nation…not quite as polished as WC but all weather all the time…

        • you need DirecTV for WN?

          • Thor

            Maybe- I have DTV so cant comment otherwise…But Weather Nation was started by Paul Douglas- a famous Mpls/St. Paul weather guy I used to watch as a kid-

    • Bob G (Gustine)

      I don’t watch those channels and rarely watch our local news weather reports . I get all the weather information I need from Tropical Tidbits, This Site, Brian A at Open Snow, and Howard at Mammoth.
      I don’t bother with Accuweather, weather channel, or anything else like that

      • Yanet Garcia (on a beach)

        Sad you did not see me do weather.

        • Bob G (Gustine)

          LOL, I’ve seen her before and I could care less whether she even talks about California weather 🙂

    • matt

      if you have smart phone or pc weather nation. i personally use this weather form and twitter. for weather updates,

    • molbiol

      I miss the weather channel of the 1980s and early 1990s and I especially miss January of 1993!!!!!

      Happy holidays:

      • Dude, I thought you going another direction. Then I saw just one ‘miss’

      • thebigweasel

        Ah, yes. The famous “snow showers” forecast.
        We got fourteen feet.

      • jstrahl

        Who’s that? I don’t remember her, or maybe don’t recognize her/

  • Bob G (Gustine)
    • Nathan

      interesting article about dams we rarely hear about…thanks for sharing

    • MakeSoCalWetAgain (SMX)

      It’s only a nightmare.

    • BP (Ventura)

      That’s classic! I personally here on this WW Blog, have been told numerous times, …”It’s only…” and to a large extent, the responder was correct, because the following month(s) it would indeed rain. But seeing that we here in Ventura are more than likely going to see a dry December, it will only be the FOURTH time since 1864 that Ventura has received 0.00″ of rain October 1st – Dec 31st.
      I’m still under Mandatory Evac Orders here in Ventura, visibility this morning was less then 1/8 of a mile due to heavy smoke. The wife has had it, no more hunkering down and living in closed off rooms, looks like we will be heading to Camarillo to stay at family’s house, in order to breath better air…

      • AlTahoe

        It’s crazy that there has been 3 other times where it did not rain from Oct-Dec in Ventura! This will be the least amount of snow ever recorded at lake level Tahoe for the Oct-Dec period if we don’t get at least 6-8″ by Jan 1st.

        Precip wise we are still doing ok because of the big Nov rains. We have definitely been drier from Oct-Dec before.

      • SoCal Al (El Monte-SGV)

        To those few WW NoCal folks who say we here in SoCal do nothing but “bitch” and complain about our lack of rain, should now understand it’s not for selfish reasons, but for the entire SoCal environment.

      • Best of luck to you. I hope all turns out OK for you guys. Many, many others have not been that fortunate.

    • SoCalWXwatcher

      Monsoon season starts in only 7 months!

    • Bob G (Gustine)

      January to March will be very wet. The opposite of 2013 🙂

  • MakeSoCalWetAgain (SMX)

    If we can get a storm much like December 11-12, 2014 ASAP, that would be nice.

  • molbiol

    Whoa, Corpus Christi not only got snow but thunder and lightning at the same time. I’ve only experienced thundersnow twice in my entire life…oh well

  • inclinejj

    Air smells like burnt toast today. Pacifica

  • SoCal Al (El Monte-SGV)

    Well, it’s official. Dallas Raines our local KABC 7 weather personality mentioned the probability of no rain for the remainder of the month last night because of the current blocking pattern and no change seen in the long term……..duh. Actually, he’s probably the best of our local tv weather guys/gals in the southland.

    • MakeSoCalWetAgain (SMX)

      If only he can crouch for one more time this year…

      • SoCal Al (El Monte-SGV)

        They call it the “Dallas Dip.”

    • molbiol

      If I’m not mistaken, he actually has an atmospheric science degree and is a certified meteorologist as opposed to just a journalist

      • malnino

        Yup, he’s a Seminole from a pretty decent program at FSU. Think the only two others with certified status on SoCal TV are David Biggars and Markina Brown … most of the rest are hardly “journalists”- more like skirts and suits with high-school-level reading skills who can pull lines from a cue card 😉 .. except Fritz. No meteorology background but we still love ya, buddy.

    • mosedart (SF)

      Obviously Dallas hasn’t seen the very last frame of Fanstasyland…

  • Thunderstorm

    NWS not picking up on the winds for southern California next Friday yet. Probably will by Monday or Tuesday at the latest.

  • Thunderstorm

    Must be a wind shift on the Thomas Fire as smoke column has gone volcano. Cannot tell which direction the fire is headed now but must be moving fast. If to the north not good!

    • molbiol

      Here in the Antelope valley we have been largely smoke free; however, a wind shift to the west/northwest would inundate us in smoke from the Thomas fire

    • rob b-Truckee/East Bay

      This pic was posted by Truckee Meadows Fire-they’re on the Creek fire but could see the Thomas fire header pretty good.

      https://twitter.com/TMFPD/status/939224552663433216

      • Nathan

        does that mean it’s burning more? or just that wind has died down to enable verticality in column…

        • rob b-Truckee/East Bay

          Could be a few different things, they might be doing a burning operation in an area with a lot of vegetation. Winds could have shifted so the smoke is moving in a different direction…..or the fire is burning hotter currently.

      • Admode (Susanville)

        Wow

  • Nathan

    https://twitter.com/ClevelandNF/status/939209897899470848

    8 acre brush fire in Cleveland NF off I-8…looks like they are trying to knock it down quick. Hope so. That is a bad place for a start.

  • Forgot to post sunset from my office balcony last evening. My dog was on a leash so gimme a break this time. LOL https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/cf2f616d4c8de70d4fde92d17edc76f380c4d209d003c8be2e3de52b8ad7e32d.jpg

    • happ [Los Angeles]

      stunning

  • SoCalWXwatcher

    Corpus Christi, TX called. They wanted to wish us all a Merry Christmas, asked how we were doing, said they heard the Weather Channel briefly mention something about a “Santa Ana” out here. They say it feels like Christmas time in TX, wanted to know if we were in the “Christmas Spirit” too…

    I told them I was busy and then hung up.

    https://twitter.com/arizonaweather/status/939227933134278662

    • December 2004 there was measurable snow. Not that rare.

      • SoCalWXwatcher

        LOL, yeah, I’ll bet they got a shit-ton of the white stuff back during the Pleistocene, too.

      • Nathan

        …that was 13 years ago!

        • thebigweasel

          What, the Pleistocene? Nah, has to have been at least 25 years since it ended.

        • LOL San Jose had some flurries in 1988 ish and some snowfall in 1976? and a good one in 1962. CA is overdue for some sea-level snow and a big quake.

          • Nathan

            I hope ONE of those comes true!

          • One will. The other when hell freezes over. 😉

  • Thunderstorm

    Infrared satellite definitely showing major blow up of Thomas Fire with the wind shift more towards the north. Visible satellite showing the same. You can see the the fire blow up in the mountains on the web cams from the ventura county fire cams.

  • rob b-Truckee/East Bay

    If you’re not familiar with a fire base camp this tweet from Ventura Fire does a good job of showing some of what goes into it. Within 24hrs these camps have full communication services, fully prepped and ready trailer kitchens, semis for refer/frozen food, sleeping/showering accommodations, washers/dryers. It is amazing to see how quick everything comes together.
    https://twitter.com/VCFD_PIO/status/939224523764727808

    • RunningSprings6250

      And at 132k acres with 1% containment….439 structures gone…

    • Jim (Watsonville)

      I was a trainee on Calfire Team 1 in supply and ordering…was amazing how quickly a small “city” can be set up..

      • Pfirman

        Not for homeless people though.

  • RandomTreeInSB

    4th day in a row of ashy/smoky air is really making me sick. Sometimes I wonder how people manages to live in places like Beijing and New Delhi

    • Thunderstorm

      Let us know if the smoke all of a sudden gets much thicker as it certainly looks like the fire has blown up with a shift in the wind more towards the north. You can see the blow up on the fire cams.

      • RandomTreeInSB

        Indeed the smoke got much thicker during the past hour or so compared to this morning. And yup, from Twitter it looks like the fire is blowing up again.

    • thebigweasel

      Here at ground level at San Marcos Pass the air quality is still bad, but not as bad as yesterday. PM2.5 is 171, compared to 431 yesterday.
      However, the light quality is horrifying. We can’t see it, but there’s a LOT of smoke over our heads.

    • Yanet Garcia (on a beach)

      Ciudad de México very bad

    • matthew

      I have been to Mexico City when you could barely see the tops of the buildings less than a block away. My business host said it was a good day. He also said that the reason that a lot of people smoked is that they figured it was no worse than breathing the air.

      • alanstorm

        Same deal with Bangkok.
        In the early 2000’s, during Jan-Feb, you couldn’t see the skyscrapers across town & the tops of ones nearby were blurred with brown smog.
        You’de get a sore throat walking about.
        Things have improved since then even, (maybe that’s because I only now visit in early Dec) even though it’s growing past 10million now with clusters of new skyscrapers every time I visit.
        Many of the gazillion cars are brand new clean burning but the old smokey diesel busses are still chugging along

        • inclinejj

          You know China and India have no such EPA type agency and no pollution control laws. They are just about $ $ $,

          This was the case 5 years ago when we went to China.

          • matthew

            The deal with China now is that they have a growing middle class with education, money and political clout. The middle class is forcing the issue on pollution. The government is making massive investments in solar and cleaning up their coal plants but it is not out of concern for the environment. The people are forcing it. We can learn a lesson from them.

          • Pfirman

            Do they have many immigrants and a need for the equivalent of our ESL programs?

          • alanstorm

            Thailand’s co2 doubled between 1991-2002, so a mitigation program was implemented to reduce by 15% below current projections. GW is a big worry there with Bangkok being one of the big cities affected by sea level rise.
            After pretty much trashing their environment, they’ve become an a climate change conscious society (as the uncontrolled growth continues)
            Logging is banned & chainsaws are illegal to possess

      • inclinejj

        We went last year for the Raiders vs Houston game. The elevation was bad, the pollution wasn’t really that bad, It rained a couple days before. The warning from the Hotel desk about the banditos was even worse.

        • matthew

          Yeah, got the same warning from our hotel too. “Do not go outside after dark”.

          Funny story. I was down there helping our local sales office win a large deal with the Mexican IRS. The lead salesman and his family were getting death threats traced back to our competitor (you’d recognize the competitors name). He shrugged it off as business-as-usual.

          • celo

            Mexico city has gotten a lot better since I was a kid. It is amazing how much less smog Los Angeles and some major cities are seeing now vs the 70s

    • SlashTurn (Santa Barbara)

      Freeway and streets are void of tourists…wish it would stay this way (without the smoke)

  • janky
  • AntiochWx

    Thinking pattern change at the end of the month. Beginning to see signs of the ridge wanting to break down and relocate more towards the GOA, which should at least allow for some inland sliders, or at the very least a short return to what it was earlier in November. Still not feeling it yet for SoCal.

    • VK (Sacramento)

      You correctly predicted the long term ridge. Here’s to hoping the ridge breakdown is correct too

      • AntiochWx

        Thanks for the kind words, I’m far from perfect but I try my best to be a good forecaster. I’m really liking the prospects of January, if the ridge does what I think it will do, California could be in for a wet January.

        • Dan the Weatherman

          We really could use a January like January 2008 in which nearly 8″ fell in downtown Los Angeles. That was a moderate La Nina season by the way.

    • Dan the Weatherman

      We’ve got to get some decent rain at some point in Socal. A pattern change going into January would seem like a logical step after all these Santa Ana winds as of late. Even though long dry spells are normal for Socal, it is NOT normal to remain as dry as the Atacama Desert ad-nauseum!

  • Microbursts

    You heard it here first!! Everyone state wide is in for a Christmas treat! I’m calling for rain either the day before, the day of, or the day after Christmas state wide!! I’m basing this off of recent model trends which I can’t post right now but others are starting show in the pay few comments. Also being alluded to by some east coast mets off of Ventrice’s twitter account .

  • jstrahl

    I mentioned December 2002 earlier. so i decided to pull out the record. In Central Berkeley, we got 0.00 in October vs 1.14 normal, 2.25 in November (2.15 of that in just 2 days) vs 2.66 normal. First 12 days of December we got .66 inches, 0 in the first 8 days. December normal is 3.84, so estimating normal for 12 days is 1.54 inches. So, we were at 2.91 inches vs 5.34 inches. And then we got over 4.5 inches on Friday the 13th.

    December ’95, we were at .08 inches for October, T for November, .29 inches the first 10 days of December. And on the 11th we got the monster storm.

    • 82/83 El Nino baby (San Jose)

      Sounds like you are guaranteeing a monster storm in December based on analogs? 🙂

      • jstrahl

        Guaranteeing something connected with weather? Never! Too wary of possibly angry event organizers. And not even doing any analog-based predictions. I think analogs are becoming quite limited in usefulness, even if not fully useless.

    • rob b-Truckee/East Bay

      I won’t soon forget that 95 storm…it was pretty epic throughout the great Bay Area.

      • jstrahl

        Scary though much of it, seeing large tree limbs flying around in the middle of the urban area is a bit disconnecting.

  • Fairweathercactus

    Hey the new weather man on channel 4 for So Cal NBC might be a lurking around on here. He had one of the most detailed forecast I have seen in years for the lamestream media. He had all the La Nina years posted for rainfall, talked about the Baja Ridge, and went into deep detail about the weather. It was on after the football game. I was in shock.

    • alanstorm

      There you go Cactus, some GOOD NEWS!!!
      ….there ARE miracles after all

      • SoCalWXwatcher

        Are you saying the Cactus index has flipped positive?

    • inclinejj

      I know one of the Bay Area weather men lurk around on here. Doesn’t post but looks around.

      • Bob G (Gustine)

        Steve Paulsen

  • Andrew (Berkeley)

    One point in favor the ridge’s demise is that the GFS seems somewhat consistent in precip making it through to WA/OR in the near term (18z today forecasts this just over 7 days out).

    Even if precip coming back to CA is still in fantasyland, it’s encouraging to see the ridge breaking down up north.