Category Archives: Shelter Cove

Hurricane force winds strike the Sutherland Heights!

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:

WInd measurement from Davis Vantage Pro Personal Weather Station located right here somewhere in Sutherland Heights.
WInd measurement over the past 24 h from a Davis Vantage Pro Personal Weather Station located somewhere in Sutherland Heights.  (Remember in Israel, that popular top 40 radio station that said, “Braodcasting from SOMEWHERE in the Medeterranean” and every one knew it was that ship located a half mile or so offshore of Tel Aviv.  Played Springstein, that kind of thing for all to hear.


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.

CoCo Jan 13-Jan 31 Cal rain

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!

A view of Shelter Cove, showing airport and control tower. Yep, you can fly right in!
Another view of Shelter Cove. King Range is in the distance. NO DOUBT, rainfall up there WAS more than 25 inches if about 22 fell at Shelter Cove!

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.

Cal big surf Jan 31

4:04 PM. Nice lenticular, devolving into flocculated Altocumulus downwind. The cells the form downwind from the smooth upwind edge are likely due to the latent heat released when condensation occurs, causing weak up and downdrafts to develop father downwind.
5:58 PM. Dusty sunset, and once again I point out that this would be a great name for a western singer. No worrisome dark spotting on sun.
5:58 PM. Dusty sunset. No worrisome dark spotting on sun.

The End


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.


A little “troughy” here on Saturday and Sunday

Best chance for rain here, and its not that great, is later Saturday and Sunday AM as an upper level trough comes by, one that includes that bit of poor Paul, who died at sea.  Here’s what that trough looks like when its about over Catalina at 8 AM Sunday morning, this map due to the U of WA Huskies Weather Department:

Now, I will be truly surprised if I don’t see some rain hitting the ground somewhere in viewing distance around Catalina between Saturday afternoon and Sunday morning as this little trough goes by with Paul’s ashes.  But mods don’t show anything, however, at least as of now (at 5:24 AM).  Certainly, we should see some nice cirriform clouds, and middle clouds like Altocumulus, Saturday and Sunday AM.

Elsewhere in the West

Since we’re all bored with our “pleasant weather” now days, I thought I would look around and see what else is going on that might get you excited…

Unusually heavy Nor Cal rains: begin on Sunday; last for about a week associated with purple monster (trough) in map above–it sags southward along the coast.  Many inches should fall in the coastal range north of SFO (aka, “Frisco”).  Maybe we should get a field trip going, some kind of “Rain Safari” to refresh ourselves on pounding rains.  I wouldn’t charge that much.  Also, during the trip, I would pack in a LOT of information, like that in the paragraph below, which provides some trip details.

We would go to Shelter Cove, CA,  and the King Range north of there to get that rain fix.  Now, I have linked to some nice photos of this area but you would not be able to see any of those because the clouds would be based at only 300-500 feet above the ground at the coast, and everywhere else would be mostly IN the clouds.  The King Range, 150 miles or so north of Frisco,  juts up from the ocean suddenly to about 4,000 feet, which causes a lot of water to be condensed in the clouds during onshore flow.  The drops get bigger in those clouds over and upwind of the King Range, bigger than 30-40 microns in diameter at which point they can collide and stick together forming a much larger drop that falls faster and collects more drops on the way down and,  before you know it, those drops have reached millimeter-sizes (real raindrop sizes) in a hurry.   This rain-forming process called the “collisions-with-coalescence” rain mechanism or “warm rain” mechanism because there is no ice involved and it is seen on radar as a situation where there is no “bright band” where level where snowflakes are melting into raindrops as is usually seen when its raining steadily.  This situation is also called, “non-bright band” rain, something that is quite common along the West Coast but you knew all this already.  That kind of rain formation rarely happens here in AZ because it takes extremely clean air in which few cloud droplets can form in the clouds and being fewer, are larger, and here we have too many sources of aerosols and “cloud condensation nuclei” to have really pristine clouds in which this can happen.  The result here is more  and smaller drops in our clouds, ones too small to bump into each other and stick together.  I will point out those days here when the warm rain process is active–our rare wintertime drizzle (tiny, close together drops that almost float in the air) occasions are due to that process.  Some periods of that heavy Cal coastal rain will certainly have a LOT of ice mixed with liquid droplets, and those liquid droplets are either collected on snowflakes as they fall, or evaporate in the presence of ice and that water vapor that evaporated from them then deposits on the ice crystal causing it to grow (the Wegner-Bergeron-Findeisen mechanism of precipitation formation), too, so it would be quite interesting for you to go there for that, too.  You would experience two of the three kinds of rain-forming mechanisms.  (The other one, often seen at higher elevations,  like in Colorado, is where precipitation, usually very light, is formed soley via ice crystals without any liquid droplet cloud being involved.  Many textbooks overlook this third one.  Its great being on the internet and having a blog where you don’t have to worry about packing in too much information and worry about where sentences/paragraphs should end and begin; just get it out there and you’re knowledge-hungry audience will dissect it eventually.

I suppose if we drove in a marathon drive, some people would want to jump out due to info overload now that I think of it.  Of course, I would not be providing “empty” info calories, but full ones.

 Yesterday’s Clouds?

Ci uncinus with moon shot; can you find them?  BTW, Ci uncinus and other forms of Cirrus clouds are good examples of the all ice precipitation mechanism.

5:43 PM.

Rain “puddles” still on model highway the continuing puddles of water we see on a hot day in the distance on the road.  So, in the model outputs of late, there have been a couple of rainy “puddles” for southern Arizona on the horizon, 10 days out and more.   Still too far out to be reliable; they might “dry up”, as our highway puddles appear to do.

But, I would have slept in if I hadn’t been “provoked” into a blogulent life this morning by CONTINUING RAIN in the model forecasts for southern AZ. Here are the key elements from last evening’s new results:  It still rains on February 12th, though the amounts have been scaled back; not the deluge suggested yesterday.  However, a soaking rain is now indicated for February 6th, a week earlier from an entirely different system (!), previously shown as a near miss or a mere wisp of rain.

Its all good, because a pattern change is taking place, and while the details and timing of rain will be erratic for awhile, its likely that the pattern change to one that provides rain here is more likely, not “in the bag”, of course, by any means.

What would be great about a February wet spell is not only the effect it will have on our spring growth and sustaining the road to a good wildflower bloom, but also just to see decent rain in the heart of the La Nina rain deflector period.   As you likely know, the power of a La Nina to deflect storms from the Southwest is greatest in late winter and spring.   Rooting for rain now into spring is definitely like rooting for a 20 point underdog in fubball.

Here are some images from last night’s model output, rendered by IPS Meteostar, my favorite for these.  The first for Monday, February 6th, “bulls eye”, and the second for the February 12th storm.  Contrast the flow shown on the jet stream maps (panels 3 and 4) with what we have today (last panel) to see why we weather folk call it a pattern change.  Look where the jet stream crosses the coast these days and where it is on the rainy forecast days ahead.

As you can see, by the 12th, Cal will also feel the impact of another round of furious weather after the January lashings that brought 10-20 inches of rain to extreme northern portions of the State and in southern Oregon.  The largest total I have found from the later January deluges was….33.56 inches in just NINE days at Red M0und, Oregon, just north of Brookings!  Time to start thinking about another trip to Shelter Cove, CA, and the King Range.  Hmmm.  Just kidding!  I would not willingly miss a drop of rain that falls here, just too beautiful a site to see rain fall in the desert.  We love rain here!

The End.

Factoid:  If you are a snow birder from Prospect Creek, Alaska, about 180 miles north of Fairbanks, I am quite sure you are happy to be here and not there; the temperature yesterday morning at Prospect Creek was -77 F!  The US record low temperature is -80 F set at Prospect Creek in 1971.  Must be like living in liquid nitrogen there in the winter.

Pretty and eerie skies yesterday; let the rain begin today

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.

The End.