Doesn’t look promising for much rain here in Catalina in March, however. No rain in sight through the next 10 days at least.
Let’s check our 7 inches with what’s happening upwind, say, in CALIFORNIA, and see if there’s been any drought relief there, through February, via the CNRFC:
As you are likely to know from many media stories last year, Cal was in a drought siege of five straight years, with but got a little relief last year in the northern part thanks to help from the giant Niño, one of the strongest ever.
Alas, it was one that failed to deliver as the big rain producer for the south half of Cal and the SW in general as was expected.
In case you’ve forgotten how bad things were in Cal, let us look back at what was being said, those horrific appearing drought maps, and also how hopeful were were at the time that the Big Niño would take a bit bite out of drought. This is a really good article:
Then, when the Big Niño faded away like maple syrup on a stack of buckwheat pancakes last spring and summer, we were surely doomed for more dry years. And, for a time, the dreaded cold tongue of water in the eastern equatorial region, the so-called, La Niña, started to develop, which would be no help at all for a good rain season like a Big Niño is, usually.
The Niña faded away, too, to nothing as the winter went on, so we really didn’t have much going on in the tropical Pacific to help us figure out what kind of winter rainfall regime we were going to have om 2016-17. Not having anything going on meant winter rainfall could go either way, a difficult to figure out situation for season forecasters.
In retrospect it is pretty astounding how big a signal must have been out there SOMEWHERE that this winter was going to be one for the history books on the West Coast in general, and in particular, for Californians. Californians saw their drought chewed up and spit out in a single winter, including snow packs so high the height of some mountain peaks have been revised. (I’m kidding.)
No one saw such an astounding winter coming.
This winter sure makes one think of the QBO (Quasi-biennenial Oscillation, one up there in the Stratosphere where there’s almost no air (haha, well, practically none)… Did the QBO have a role in this astounding winter; was there a delay in the effects of the Big Niño even without a bunch of convection in the eastern Pac tropics? Doesn’t seem that could be right…
But, William “Bill” Lau, U of Maryland scientist, reported some statistical evidence of such a lag way back in ’88 due to a QBO connection of some kind and ENSO, no physical cause could be discerned, however, not yet, anyway. Lau, 1988, is reprised below for readers who want to go deep:
Not much else to talk about, no rain of course; what is that?
But with so many colorful scenes yesterday, we can be partially sated by the lives we lead here sans rain here. October ended with a puny 0.01 inches in Sutherland Heights.
Now, because I grew up in California and remain a little Cal-centric, this brief diversion from AZ:
But droughty Cal got nailed though, from about San Luis Obispo, so we can be happy about that I guess. One station, Gasquet RS, near the Duck border, got just under 28 inches in October; stations in the Santa Cruz Mountains, way down by Monterrey, got between 14-17 inches! From the California-Nevada River Forecast Center, this nice map of October rainfall anomalies in that domain. Red is real dry, and that’s the color we would be in if it was the California-Nevada-Arizona River Forecast Center:
But let us not dwell any more of generous rains that others got, but celebrate the color and clouds of Arizona. Here are yesterday’s glorious scenes, beginning with a spectacular Altocumulus lenticularis under some Cirrus at dawn:
Now, just some nice lighting and color:
In a further celebration of dryness here, let us examine the rainfall cumulative rainfall predictions calculated by the University of Arizona’s Dept Hydro and Atmos Sci computer the period ending at Midnight on November 5th. Says the coming rain in the State misses us here in SE AZ while falling just about everywhere else, of course. Dang. Let’s hope it one of the worst model predictions ever!
If you don’t believe me, and slept through it during the power outages when it was COMPLETELY dark last night, here is a MEASUREMENT of the event from a private weather station, The arrow points to the event, 58 knots, which is about 67 mph. This is the greatest wind measured by the PWA in seven years, here and a few down there on Wilds. The measured (here, the max one-minute speed) wind is, of course, LESS than the actual greatest 1s or 2s puff, likely well over 67 mph. Unless you have a fancy ultrasonic anemometer, too much inertia in the cheaper ones to get those instantaneous puffs.
NEW: Got to 100 mph on Mt. Sara Lemmon before tower on which an ultrasonic anemometer was installed blew away.
Hope your trees are intact:
Only 0.17 inches tipped by the Davis Vantage Pro, but with wind blowing as it was, you KNOW that’s going to be substantially low. We really can’t measure rain that accurately in any thing but perfectly calm conditions. The more accurate measurements are made if your gauge is sheltered by vegetation that is about the height of the gauge top right near the gauge, but then increases like the inside of a bowl as you gradually move away from it in all directions. No trees, please, too close! Preferably your gauge is on the ground not up somewhere, too, which would exaggerate the losses from wind.
Now, I will go outside and measure the rain in two ground mounted gauges, one a NWS-style 8-inch gauge, and the little toy 4-inch gauge from CoCoRahs, that national group that wants your measurements! Sign up now. Here are the other totals:
NWS gauge, 0.22 inches
CoCoRahs gauge, blew over, no total! Dammitall! Wasn’t as protected in the weeds as I thought. That total “likely” was around 0.24 or 0.25 inches. CMP had privately predicted, 0.28 inches for this storm, whilst a major forecast professor from CSU who lives in Catalina predicted an INCH1!
Brutal out there, too. Temp only 43° F, still windy.
The weather way ahead
Sorry to say no rain for Catalinaland in our latest computer forecasts through the middle of February as the Big Niño hyped so much here and elsewhere is turning out to be big poop so far.
Cal rains only great in the far north of the State during January, and in the northern Sierras.
Sucked in by the Big Niño thoughts here, CMP was predicting quite the mayhem in Cal during the last 15-16 days of January, and 25-30 inches at some locations during that time here is a table for that period from CoCoRahs. Note Shelter Cove, near the King Range, has the most. Totals are sorted in descending order, Jan 13-31.
No doubt your curiosity was piqued and peaked by seeing how much rain could fall on you if you lived in Shelter Cove, on the Lost Coast of California. Well, here’s what its like there. Has an AP, too!
May try to get some more of that Cal precip since Jan 13, finding a modicum o direct verification of that huge amount of rain prediction.
No Mavericks surf competition yet, though larger waves have been battering the Cal coast over the past two-three weeks. Below, surf for today.
1Maybe the “Ivory Tower” has not only protected him from the hiccups of the “real world” due to tenure and that kind of thing, but also from discerning what real weather will be like. hahaha. Just kidding. Sort of. Recall CMP was NOT tenured, but just a “staff” meteorologist with a “light” at the end of the funding grant tunnel, year after year for about 30 years. So, I am pretty mad about “tenure”. Hahahaha, just kidding maybe.
“Tenure” was a recent subject of a Science Mag editorial (“Wither (wither) Tenure“), too; costs everybody, especially students, a LOT of money, it was said.
Too, often young bright researchers are blocked by senior professors having tenure and making large amounts of money that hang on well past their productive years.
Cloud Maven Person: Resigned from the U of WA Cloud and Aerosol Research Group due to feeling he wasn’t earning his high “Research Scientist III” pay anymore, brain dimming, though there was a pile of money that he could have continued on with. Title of resignation letter: “Time to Go”. This free-ed up monies for staff folks that remained in our group, too.
Com’on decrepit tenured faculty, give up! Resign now!
PS: My friend tenured fac is STILL active, gives talks/presentations around the world still, even though he’s quite a geezer now, as is CMP.
Our last cloud chapter was rudely interrupted by drought, with the last “rain”, an embarrassing one, of just 0.01 inches here in Sutherland Heights a week ago. Areas around us, of course, got more.
Well, its no fun telling folks what they already know, but will say it looks tentatively, relying on the U of AZ 11 PM AST run of last night, like a day similar to yesterday, except a cloudier morning, which I just saw was the case by looking outside right now at 5:49 AM. Cu develop, tops should get cold enough to produce ice-hence-rain and shafting. Hope its measurable today. Also, as you know, moisture levels increase over the next couple of days with substantial rains likely.
In a model curiosity, three consecutive runs of the US WRF-GFS model, beginning with the 5 AM AST, 11 AM AST, and 5 PM AST runs, all from yesterday, had the remains of tropical storm Norbert passing directly over San Diego with substantial rains there. What made it even more likely to happen was that the Canadian model run from yesterday’s 5 PM AST global data, ALSO had the remaining little center of Norbert passing over San Diego, Tuesday, September 9th! Amazing since Norbert is such a tiny feature in our models, at least by the time it gets near San Diego.
As reported here, a month or so ago, the newly discovered oscillation in ocean temperatures, called the “California Niño”, is helping to keep Norbert going longer as it trudges to the NNW just off the Baja coast. Water temperatures off Cal are warmer than usual this summer due to weak onshore flow for the past few months. When the flow is normal, it not only sculpts plants and trees along the Cal coast, but also causes upwelling of COLD water, horrible for beach goers.
Below, examples of wind sculpting1:
———————————— 1When a realtor shows you property with scenes like these around it, you don’t want to buy there, even if its not windy that day. If you’re a realtor, you’d want to have bushes and trees like this trimmed up real good. hahaha.
Here are some examples from yesterday’s pretty, then toward evening, eerie skies with sprinkles, the latter due to backlit Altostratus opacus mammatus, to go the whole nine yards, an icy cloud with downward hanging protuberances that resemble something. I’ve reduced the size of that image accordingly. Below, in sequence, 1) Cirrus, 2) Altocumulus, 3) the incoming bank of Altocumulus with Altostratus clouds on the horizon late yesterday afternoon, ones with virga and mammatus; 4) the mix of Altostratus with virga and mammatus with Altocumulus after it got here, and finally, 5) that eerie scene last evening of what I would surmise was a sunset colored layer of Cirrus above the Altostratus clouds with mammatus that gave the Altostratus an orangish tint. I seem to be thinking a lot about mammatus formations today. Hmmmmm. Oh, well the CLOUDS were nice, and I guess you might say, our official cloud names a little suggestive. For the full fascinating day, go here to our great U of A time lapse movie for yesterday.
All of these clouds are emanating out of and around a low that a week ago, in the models, was supposed to have already gone by. Well, what’s left of it finally goes over us today, kicked out of place by a quite rudely interjecting jet around a cold trough in the NE Pacific and over the Pacific Northwest.
Here is a satellite loop from the University of Washington showing those clouds that went across yesterday and those similar versions that will be crossing our Catalina skies today, ones that are coming deep out of the tropics. You’ll want to crank up the speed button to really see what’s going, at the upper left of this loop. The mods have been seeing a bit more moisture with this upper level low (doesn’t show up on the surface maps at all) as time has passed and so maybe we can wring as much as a quarter inch out of it. Here’s what the U of A Beowulf Cluster has to say about the incoming rain amounts. These amounts, up to an inch in the mountains, would be fantastic and very satisfying considering the long dry spell. The best chance of rain is overnight, so we’ll have lots of pretty clouds, probably a lot like yesterday, during the day before the really thick stuff moves in.
The ominous aspect, though VERY exciting to us stormophiles, is, when you review that satellite loop from the Washington Huskies Weather Department, is the accumulation of clouds and storms in a long belt just north of the Hawaiian Islands. Take a look! In just a couple of days, those clouds and storms will begin streaming toward the West Coast like a dam breaking, impacting most heavily, northern California and Oregon with tremendous rains. You will certainly read about those rains! From experience, I can tell you that the most favorable mountain sites for rain will likely receive 20-30 inches of rain in just a few days as this pattern develops and matures with one strong low center after another racing across the lower latitudes of the Pacific under the soft underbelly of a blocking high in the Bering Sea.
Man, I want to be in the King Range/Shelter Cove area so bad! Let’s see, fly to SFO now, rent four wheel drive vehicle for forest back roads in the King Range, bring rain gauge, sleeping bag, tent for camping out and listening to 1 inch per hour rain intensity on tent roof. Hmmm….. Its doable. Maybe all of us should go there today, get set up, and then wait for those pounding rains with 50 mph plus winds. That would be great!
And the ocean waves will be something to see, too, along the Oregon and northern California coasts, thundering surf really. Been there, seen it. And believe or not, there are surfers who come to the West Coast for just these situations, the long tropical fetch that generates huge waves. And there is even a small cadre of folks who race to the coast just to see that thunderous surf. All very exciting. Well, kind of getting distracted here, and a little nostalgic. Those big rollers would look something like this.
Also, since I have doubtlessly piqued your curiosity about Shelter Cove and the King Range, below a shot of the King Range from Shelter Cove, a shot in the King Range, looking toward the highest peaks, and finally, an example of the people of Shelter Cove.
Now, where was I concerning Catalina? Oh, yeah, mods have more rain ahead, though we’re only sideswiped by the powerful storms affecting Shelter Cove. Best chance for the next rain is on the 21-22nd.
In sum, today’s focus, or more accurately, preoccupations? Mammatus and Shelter Cove, CA.