Cold system; boring weather to follow

The big storm in the PacNW caused a great deal of damage last night, with maximum wind gusts in the 90-100 mph range, and maximum rainfall amounts of nearly 8 inches in W. WA. A secondary disturbance…the leading edge of which is well-defined on infrared satellite as a comma cloud with fairly cold cloud tops…is currently approaching the coast from CA up through OR. There have been some lightning strikes embedded in the convective band at times, and additional clusters of rather impressive looking showers and possible thunderstorms are visible behind the main band. Unfortunately, much of the energy of this front will likely be lost as the system continues to split as it approaches the CA coast. None of the models bring very much rain inland with this system, although a few local downpours could occur in isolated thunderstorms, mainly near the coast and possibly inland, esp. near Santa Barbara. Some areas may not record any rain at all, and should certainly be less than 0.5 inches at all locations. Snow could fall to 1500-2000 feet in the north, and 2500-3500 feet in the south, and daytime highs in NorCal may not make it out of the 40s. Cold overnight lows…in the 20s and 30s in the colder valleys…will occur for the first half of next week as skies clear and the long nights allow for effective radiational cooling. After that…the GFS indicates a painfully boring weather pattern over the West Coast for the rest of its 16 day run. This is a little suspect, given the weakly to moderately positive PNA. However, the tendency this year so far has been for the major storms to impact areas from about Eureka northwards, with areas to the south receiving some rain, but generally of a gentle variety. Downtown San Francisco’s 2.5 inch downpour several nights ago that produced widespread urban flooding was something of a fluke…that rainfall was rather isolated in nature and the rest of the Bay Area did not see the benefits of it. If the rest of December is dry, or nearly so, as current runs of the GFS indicates, we could be using the “little “d” word” before the year is up–not a drought year, but a dry one. SoCal has already reached this latter catergory already, and parts of NorCal have received less than 70% of average for this point in the rain year. Rain would be a welcome thing right about now in just about any place except for WA/OR, which have recieved so much this year…

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