Storm summary; benign weather to come

Well, the day-after-Christmas storm was not particularly impressive in California. The intense rainfall that was expected to develop never really got going, and the whole system moved through much more quickly than had been anticipated. Here in San Rafael, we did receive a respectable 2.56 inches for the storm total, and the peak wind gust here was 50 mph. Still, however, this was far less than the 4-6 inches that had been expected. Possibly more impressive than the storm itself were the post-frontal cold advection winds in CA–they downed trees and powerlines in the Bay Area (78 mph at Big Rock RAWS in Marin County) and also across much of CentCal and parts of SoCal (several 90-100 mph gusts on isolated mountain peaks). That storm will now…slowly…go on to produce another major eastern Rockies and High Plains snowstorm similar to the one that paralyzed Denver only a few days ago.

As for our upcoming weather? It can be summed up in one word: benign. Some may even go so far to call it…boring. A minor rain event is likely on New Year’s Eve in NorCal, possibly interfering with fireworks shows. Another minor to locally moderate (mostly far NorCal) rain event will occur towards the middle of next week. The GFS is quite dry in NorCal after that, and is essentially free of precipitation in SoCal for its entire 16 day run. Still find this a bit hard to believe, but then again, what had a couple of weeks ago looked like a surface reflection of anomalously warm sea surface temperatures in the equitorial E. Pac., ie. increased deep convection (as a result of El Nino), seems to have disappeared for the time being. And so…2006 will come to a close very quietly weather-wise in California.

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