While waiting for the rain, this wind report from southern Cal

The report below was supplied by stalwart metman, Mark Albright, U of WA, who snooped around to see if a forecast of 50-100 mph in southern Cal made from this blog on JANUARY 18th had any credibility at all for a 50-100 mph wind event in southern California:

“Looks like your forecast of 2 days ago1 has already verified.  Sill Hill, 20 miles NE of San Diego at 3556 ft, reported a gust to 86 mph (75 knots) at 13:50 UTC this morning.

“0430 AM     NON-TSTM WND GST 9 SSW JULIAN            32.95N 116.64W
01/24/2015  M75 MPH          SAN DIEGO          CA   MESONET


24 SILSD sd 1300                           55   8  89 37 60  (last number is max wind gust, in knots)                                     RH=15
24 SILSD sd 1310                           55  10  88 43 63                                       RH=16
24 SILSD sd 1320                           54   9  91 43 59                                       RH=16
24 SILSD sd 1330                           54   9  87 41 57                                       RH=16
24 SILSD sd 1340                           54   9  87 40 66                                       RH=16
24 SILSD sd 1350                           54   9  85 38 75 knots (!)                                     RH=16
24 SILSD sd 1400                           54   9  94 40 61                                       RH=16 ”


Its rare when forecasts go the way they should, and I thought I would put on a display of exceptional exultation today.

Now comes the time that the upper air disturbance that produced that 50-100 mph wind sits off the Baja coast, scoops up some moisture from the deep tropics and sends its back over southern Cal and the Great Southwest.  Still looking for a thunderstorm or two in that cloud mass somewhere, most likely west of us,  as it rolls northward tomorrow.

Here is a satellite loop from the University of Washington Huskies Weather Department.   In this loop, entitled,  “Scoop,  there it is!” paraphrasing a skit from “In Living Color“, you will see how that tropical moisture is beginning to wrap around the low off Baja, prepping it into a rain-bearing system that will be pulled northward by a disturbance approaching the West Coast.

The bottom line in this loop is the Equator, and that cloud band just north of there is the Intertropical Convergence Zone, where the trade winds meet.   The water is a little warmer than normal down there, not enough to qualify as more than a minimal “New Niño (the “Classic Niño, the one next to Peru,  is completely gone).   But modestly warmer than normal water temperatures still helps a little to send up Cumulonimbus clouds which eject moisture from the Tropics into middle latitude and sub-tropical latitude disturbances and that’s what’s happening in that sat loop;  an ejection of clouds and water vapor into that formerly dry, 50-100 mph Santa Ana wind forecast-verifying-producing upper low, a forecast that was made 6- days before it happened!  Really incredible.

A view of sea surface temperature ANOMALIES, with important annotations:

As of January 24th, 2015.
As of January 24th, 2015.

We’re sticking with the range of amounts previoulsy foretold here that could occur in Catalina, that range being pretty high due to model vagaries.  From this keyboard, the least that could fall is a puny 0.05 inches, and the most remains at 0.50 inches, which would be very nice.  Averaging those two gives 0.275 inches, also quite nice, and the most likely amount if averaging like that has any credibility at all.  This is the fun part of weather forecasting.

It has to be mentioned that the WRF-GFS nested model from the U of AZ indicates that the larger total is going to occur, this from the 11 PM AST run from last night.  That would be so GREAT!  Take a look at these great totals as they pile up, ones accumulated over the 24 h from mid-day tomorrow to mid-day on Tuesday.  So fine.

And, to make the news even better, more rain is increasingly likely two or three days after this episode!

Yesterday’s sunset:

5:55 PM.  Curling Cirrus
5:55 PM. Curling Cirrus

Today;  mostly high ice cloud (Cirrus, Cirrostratus, Altostratus) broken to overcast skies with thin spots from time to time.  Nice sunrise, hope you caught it.

The End


1It was on January 18th, not “two days ago”, that that astounding forecast was made, so long  before it happened I might get an award of some kind, maybe the Amer. Meteor. Soc. Rossby Medal…  That would really be great!