# Friday, October 31, 2008

Intellicast Composite Radar Friday, October 31, 2008 - 9:30 a.m. PDT Click!
Intellicast Composite Radar
Friday, October 31, 2008 - 9:30 a.m. PDT

Downtown Los Angeles (USC) happened to be under the right cloud yesterday, and recorded 0.02 inch of rain. There's a continuing chance of showers in Southern California through the weekend. The area could use some rain. The last storm to produce more than a couple tenths of inch of rain at Downtown Los Angeles was back on February 24, 2008 -- more than eight months ago.

Last year, California's rain season might have been scripted by Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. Lowland rain totals and the Sierra snowpack were well above normal through the end of February, and then the spigot was turned off. The storm track shifted north, and California had its driest March to May on record. (The March 29, 2008 post in Ed Berry's Atmospheric Insights blog describes the events that may have led to and maintained this shift.)

Which rain season personality will emerge this Winter? Earlier this year the equatorial Pacific tried to transition to El Nino, but the atmosphere didn't cooperate. As measured by the Multivariate ENSO Index (MEI), the ENSO state has returned to the weak La Nina threshold. And as measured by the Global Wind Oscillation (GWO), an uncooperative atmosphere has continued to cycle through a La Nina base state.

This suggests a winter precipitation outlook with a La Nina flavor -- similar to last year. This precipitation map, generated by the ESRL-PSD Composite ENSO plots page, shows the mean November-March precipitation for the U.S. during 9 La Niña events from 1948 to the present. The average La Niña rainfall indicated for coastal Southern California is in the 7.0-10.5 inch range. Last season's November-March rainfall in Downtown Los Angeles was about 12 inches.

Here's the current Nov-Dec-Jan precipitation outlook issued October 16 by the Climate Prediction Center. The "EC" means an equal chance of below normal, near normal, or above normal precipitation. The IRI Multi Model Seasonal Forecast for Nov-Dec-Jan is similar. We'll see!

Update 11/4/08. Here are the NWS Public Information Statements with preliminary rainfall totals for the period from Friday evening to Sunday morning, and from overnight last night to 10:00 a.m. this morning. The current Climate Prediction Center 6-10 day and 8-14 Precipitation Outlooks project below normal rainfall for Southern California. In Atmospheric Insights, Ed Berry paints a scenario with an extended North Pacific Jet collapsing into a strong western U.S. trough in the week 2-3 timeframe. We'll see!

Update 11/1/08. Did a trail run this morning in the Pt. Mugu State Park Area. Over the course of 3+ hours watched 2-3 waves of convection march northeast from the Santa Barbara Channel across the Oxnard Plain. We were showered on a few times, but were very happy to be east of these training T-storms and heavy rain. Here is a NWS Public Information Statement with some rainfall totals as of 11:00 a.m.

More information concerning Southern California weather can be found using our WEATHER LINKS page.

Friday, October 31, 2008 4:34:21 PM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)  #    Disclaimer  |   | 
# Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Clouds over Oat Mountain - Monday, September 29, 2008 Click!
Clouds over Oat Mountain
Monday, September 29, 2008

Downtown Los Angeles recorded a trace of rain, and a few other stations in Southern California recorded meager, but measurable, precipitation Monday. Where it did rain, amounts of a few hundredths of an inch or less were the norm. A good cell must have developed over the southwestern San Gabriel Mountains -- a NWS technical discussion mentioned that 0.5 inch was recorded at Big Tujunga Dam.

Following our "welcome to Summer" heatwave back in June, summertime temperatures have generally been seasonable. Yesterday, Los Angeles Pierce College recorded a high of 102°F, and inland temperatures today appear to be running a little warmer.

This weekend temperatures are expected to drop dramatically as a Pacific storm system and it's unseasonably strong 165+ kt jet affect the west coast this Friday into Saturday. If this morning's 12z GFS verifies, as much as 3-4 inches of precipitation could occur in the mountains of Northern California, Oregon and Washington. At high elevation some of this precip could be in the form of snow.

The front associated with the trough is currently forecast to hold together south of Pt. Conception and could produce some showers in the Los Angeles area on Saturday, particularly in the mountains. A BUFKIT analysis of 12z GFS data generates about 0.3 inch of rain at Van Nuys, but given the time of year, and the ample time remaining between now and Saturday, we'll have to see!

Ed Berry first mentioned the possibility of an "anomalous extended North Pacific Ocean jet collapsing into a western USA trough" in a September 6, 2008 post on Atmospheric Insights, and refined the projection, including a timeframe, in subsequent posts.

Update 10/06/08. Saturday's trough and front behaved about as expected with scattered light rainfall around the area. Precipitation amounts generally ranged from a trace or less to about 0.1 inch or so in some foothill and mountain locations.

Update 10/03/08. Focus of the incoming storm system continues to be Northern California and the Pacific Northwest. A BUFKIT analysis of 12z NAM data shows the expected north to south gradient in projected precipitation. About 0.5 inch is projected at Monterey, 0.2 inch at San Luis Obisbo, 0.1 inch at Santa Barbara, and 0.06 inch at Van Nuys. The 09z SREF Ensembles suggest a high probability, low precipitation event in the Los Angeles area with about a 90% probability of more than 0.01 inch of rain, but less than a 10% probability of more than 0.1 inch. We'll see!

More information concerning Southern California weather can be found using our WEATHER LINKS page.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008 5:38:02 PM (Pacific Daylight Time, UTC-07:00)  #    Disclaimer  |   | 
# Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Click!
Development of Convective Cell North of Mt. Whitney
Saturday, July 12, 2008

Monsoonal flow that began last Thursday has resulted in numerous thunderstorms in the mountains and deserts of Southern California, with flash flooding and debris flows reported in several locations.

Areas in or near recently burned terrain are particularly susceptible, and flash floods and debris flows appear to have originated in the 2007 Oak Fire burn area in the eastern Sierra, and the still burning Piute Fire burn area near Lake Isabella.

This sequence of three GOES-WEST VIS/IR satellite images from NRL's NEXSAT web site shows the explosive development of a convective cell north of Mt. Whitney on Saturday afternoon. This appears to be the thunderstorm that produced the heavy rain in the area burned by the Oak Fire, and resulted in the Oak Creek debris flow near Independence. Here's an AVI loop, generated on the NEXSAT web site, for the period 3:00 p.m to 6:00 p.m. PDT on Saturday.

A particularly large thunderstorm cell/complex developed in the Sierra Nevada south of Mt. Whitney midday Saturday and drifted south down the Kern River drainage over the course of the afternoon. At about 2:45 p.m. the cell/complex was centered near the confluence of the Little Kern River and N.F. Kern River and measured about 44 miles in diameter. Here's a Google Earth image of the cell/complex with a 250m resolution True Color Aqua cloud layer imported from the MODIS Rapid Response System.

This GOES-East/West Precipitable Water composite from 9:00 this morning indicates precipitable water values as high as 1.6" in some areas of Southern California, and the possibility of more mountain and desert thunderstorms continues today.

Update July 25, 2008. The large cell/complex that developed south of Mt. Whitney on Saturday, July 12, and drifted south down the Kern River drainage appears to have produced the flash flooding and debris flows on Erskine Creek and other creeks in the Lake Isabella area late Saturday afternoon. This cell/complex can also be seen in sequence of three GOES-WEST VIS/IR satellite images and the AVI loop previously referenced.

More information concerning Southern California weather can be found using our WEATHER LINKS page.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008 5:24:39 PM (Pacific Daylight Time, UTC-07:00)  #    Disclaimer  |   | 
# Friday, June 20, 2008

BUFKIT GFS 2-meter (red) and Skin (blue) Temperatures for VNY 06/20/08 12z Click!
BUFKIT GFS 2-meter (red) and Skin (blue) Temperatures
VNY 06/20/08 12z

Temperatures today at Los Angeles Pierce College in Woodland Hills appear to be running about a degree hotter than yesterday, when a new record high for the date of 109°F was recorded at the campus weather station.

A BUFKIT analysis of 12z data for Van Nuys shows temps peaking today at about 107°F, followed by a slow cooling trend into next week, with high temps dropping down into the high eighties. In this graph of temperatures, the red line is the 2-meter temperature and the blue line is the surface "skin" temperature.

Equatorial Pacific SSTs continue the transition to neutral conditions. This TAO section plot of 5-day Depth Average Temperature clearly shows the change in state with a marked increase in sub-surface temperatures, particularly in the far eastern and western equatorial Pacific.

It looks like Downtown Los Angeles (USC) will end the July 1, 2007 to June 30, 2008 water year with 13.53 inches of rain recorded. This is 91% of the 1921-2006 average of 14.87 inches.

Update Monday, June 23, 2008. On Friday, Los Angeles Pierce College in Woodland Hills eventually reached a record-setting high of 111°F! Here is an archived copy of a NWS Los Angeles/Oxnard Record Event Report listing record highs from around the area for Friday, June 20.

More information concerning Southern California weather can be found using our WEATHER LINKS page.

Friday, June 20, 2008 5:18:24 PM (Pacific Daylight Time, UTC-07:00)  #    Disclaimer  |   | 
# Friday, May 23, 2008

UCAR Regional Radar - 05/22/08 5:00 p.m. Click!
UCAR Regional Radar - 05/22/08 5:00 p.m.

More Wet Weather Possible Today and Tomorrow.

The unseasonably energetic upper level low that replaced our unseasonably strong high has resulted in dramatic weather in Southern California, including heavy rain, hail, thunderstorms, lightning, and even a pair of tornadoes near March Air Force base. This UCAR regional radar image from yesterday at 5:00 p.m. shows the intense cell that likely spawned the tornadoes.

In Los Angeles County, very heavy rain was recorded in the San Gabriel Valley. According to a NWS Public Information Statement, as of 7:00 p.m. yesterday, 2.29" was recorded at Santa Fe Dam, 1.51" at Whitter Narrows, and 1.42" at the San Gabriel River at Valley. Yesterday, Downtown Los Angeles (USC) recorded 0.05 inch of rain, bringing the water year total to 13.47 inches.

Intellicast radar shows showers continuing in Southern California this morning. The upper level low is forecast to remain over Southern California into Sunday, and BUFKIT analysis of 12z NAM data for several Southern California stations (VNY, LAX, ONT) suggest on and off rain showers may occur through Sunday morning. As long as the cut-off upper low remains over the area there is also the possibility of an isolated heavy shower or thunderstorm developing. We'll see!

Update Sunday, May 26, 2008. Here is an archived copy of a NWS Public Information Statement with rainfall totals for this event through 6:00 p.m. Saturday.

More information concerning Southern California weather can be found using our WEATHER LINKS page.

Friday, May 23, 2008 4:59:03 PM (Pacific Daylight Time, UTC-07:00)  #    Disclaimer  |   | 
# Saturday, May 17, 2008

SFSU 300mb Jetstream Analysis - 5/16/08 12z Click!
SFSU 300mb Jetstream Analysis - 5/16/08 12z

Chance of a Shower Next Weekend?

An unseasonably strong and extended Pacific jetstream has resulted in a very high amplitude high pressure ridge over the West Coast with record and near record temperatures seen from Seattle to San Diego.

Yesterday, Woodland Hills set a new high temperature record for the date of 101°F. Record high temperatures were also recorded at Ojai, Sandberg, Santa Ana, El Cajon, Red Bluff, Redding, Sacramento, Stockton, Modesto, San Jose, Eureka and several other stations in California. Triple digit highs were recorded across much of the interior of the state.

It's hot again today, and will be hot again tomorrow, but the GFS, ECMWF and other guidance is suggesting that as the extended Pacific jet collapses, the west coast ridge will retrograde off the coast and be replaced by a trough by Memorial Day Weekend. This would result in cooler weather in California, and even the possibility of showers in some areas, such as the Sierra and our local mountains. We'll see!

More information concerning Southern California weather can be found using our WEATHER LINKS page.

Saturday, May 17, 2008 5:06:21 PM (Pacific Daylight Time, UTC-07:00)  #    Disclaimer  |   | 
# Thursday, May 01, 2008

TAO Five Day Depth Average Temperature 05/01/08 Click!
TAO Five Day Depth Average Temperature 05/01/08

In it's April 30 ENSO Wrap-Up, the Australian Bureau of Meteorology characterizes Pacific climate patterns as being generally neutral, "with the majority of indicators returning to near-normal levels." The April 28 ENSO Update from the CPC suggests that La Niña will continue through May-July 2008, but many of the factors discussed indicate general weakening of the cold ENSO episode.

We've had only a smattering of rain at Downtown Los Angeles since 0.46 inch was recorded back on February 24. A miniscule 0.01 inch was recorded on March 15, and 0.04 inch on April 2. These NOAA/NWS AHPS Precipitation Analyses map the 60 day Departure from Normal Precipitation and 60 day Percent of Normal Precipitation for the southwestern U.S., as of April 30, 2008.

As of May 1, the water year rainfall total for Downtown Los Angeles (USC) stands at 13.42 inches. This is 90% of the 1921-2006 average of 14.87 inches. According to the 1921-2006 dataset, the average amount of precipitation in May and June has been 0.3 inch and 0.1 inch, respectively. Today's NWS 6-10 Day and 8-14 Day Precipitation Outlooks for Southern California continues to indicate Normal precipitation. We'll see!

More information concerning Southern California weather can be found using our WEATHER LINKS page.

Thursday, May 01, 2008 5:11:58 PM (Pacific Daylight Time, UTC-07:00)  #    Disclaimer  |   | 
# Tuesday, April 01, 2008

GOES-11 Water Vapor 4/01/08 10:00 am PDT Click!
GOES-11 Water Vapor 4/01/08 10:00 am PDT.

A blustery Spring storm is expected to produce measurable rain over much of Southern California tomorrow. As has often been the case this year, the 12z NAM and 12z GFS are at odds, with the NAM generating less than 0.25 inch at Los Angeles, and the GFS more than 0.5 inch.

Today's NWS Precipitation Outlooks for Southern California indicate normal precipitation in the 6-10 day period and below normal for the 8-14 day period. We'll see!

More information concerning Southern California weather can be found using our WEATHER LINKS page.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008 3:50:14 PM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)  #    Disclaimer  |   | 
# Sunday, March 30, 2008

LAX Precipitation Last 90 Days Click!
LAX Precipitation Last 90 Days

A weak cold front held together a little better than expected, producing a few showers in the Los Angeles area early Sunday morning. Here is an archived PDF of a NWS Public Information Statement with some preliminary rainfall totals as of 5:00 p.m. No measurable rain was recorded at Downtown Los Angeles (USC- KCQT).

Only 0.01 inch of rain was recorded at Downtown Los Angeles (USC- KCQT) the entire month of March, pulling the water year rainfall total more than a 0.5 inch below normal for the first time this rain season. It looks like there's a pretty good chance of some rain Wednesday. We'll see!

More information concerning Southern California weather can be found using our WEATHER LINKS page.

Sunday, March 30, 2008 3:46:00 PM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)  #    Disclaimer  |   | 
# Monday, February 25, 2008

AHPS 7 Day Precipitation Analysis - Ending February 25, 2008 4:00 a.m. PST Click!
AHPS 7 Day Precipitation Analysis
Ending February 25, 2008 4:00 a.m. PST

Weather conditions were tough for the Amgen Tour of California cyclists cranking over Mill Creek Summit yesterday. The Mill Creek RAWS recorded an average temperature of 35°F, with winds of 25 mph, gusting to 40 mph, at about the time the peloton cleared the summit. The Clear Creek RAWS, where riders turned right onto Angeles Crest Highway, recorded about 0.20 inch of rain during the afternoon, with the temperature hovering at around 40°F.

As bad as it was for the tour cyclists, the system was generally not as wet as expected -- particularly in the Los Angeles County mountains, where precipitation amounts ranged from about 0.25 inch to about 1.0 inch. Similar rainfall amounts were recorded in the Los Angeles basin and valleys.

Downtown Los Angeles (USC- KCQT) recorded 0.07 inches of rain Saturday, and 0.46 inches Sunday, bringing the water year total (since July 1) to 13.37 inches, which is about 3.1 inches above normal for the water year to date.

Since mid-week last week some Sierra snow sensors have recorded as much as 8 or 9 inches snow water equivalent of precipitation -- the rough equivalent of 6 or 7 feet of snow. Today's Statewide Summary of Snow Water Equivalents, provided by the California Cooperative Snow Surveys, reports the Sierra snowpack at 119% of normal for the date and 101% of the average April 1 seasonal total.

It looks like most of the west coast weather action will be shifting to the Pacific Northwest for the next week or so. Today's NWS 6-10 Day and 8-14 Day Precipitation Outlooks for Southern California continues to indicate Below Normal precipitation. We'll see!

More information concerning Southern California weather can be found using our WEATHER LINKS page.

Monday, February 25, 2008 9:11:50 PM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)  #    Disclaimer  |   | 
# Friday, February 22, 2008

UW GOES-11 Water Vapor February 22, 2008 1:00 pm PST Click!
UW GOES-11 Water Vapor
February 22, 2008 1:00 pm PST.

Rapidly intensifying Pacific low pressure system approaching the west coast looks very impressive on satellite images this afternoon, with strong upper and low level jet dynamics, a good moisture feed, and a classic baroclinic leaf.

The system is forecast to be filling as it moves onshore, but a very strong jet max moving through the base of the trough should keep the dynamics interesting. In any case, significant rain is expected throughout much of California over the weekend, with heavy snow in the Sierra.

Southern California is forecast to be on the southern margin of the action, however in keeping with the wet trend this rain season, the 18z GFS is forecasting about 1.5 inches of rain at Los Angeles from midday Saturday through Sunday afternoon, and the 18z NAM about 1.0 inch. A moderately strong mid-level southerly to southwesterly inflow should increase precipitation amounts in favored foothills and mountain locations.

Precipitation totals resulting from the passage of the second trough yesterday afternoon into this morning have ranged from about 0.25 to 0.75 inch in the Los Angeles area, with up to about 1.0 inch recorded at some locations. Here is an archived PDF of a NWS Public Information Statement with some preliminary rainfall totals as of 4:00 p.m. Isolated showers have continued to pop up around the Los Angeles area much of the day, but are forecast to be ending in most areas this evening.

Downtown Los Angeles (USC- KCQT) recorded 0.19 inches of rain Thursday, bringing the water year total (since July 1) to 12.84 inches. We're still at a deficit for the month of February, but remain above normal for the water year to date. Much of the February deficit may be erased by Monday. We'll see!

Following this series of systems, a ridge is forecast to build in, resulting in generally fair, Spring-like weather for at least several days. Today's NWS 6-10 Day and 8-14 Day Precipitation Outlooks for Southern California continues to indicate Below Normal precipitation.

More information concerning Southern California weather can be found using our WEATHER LINKS page.

Friday, February 22, 2008 9:15:18 PM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)  #    Disclaimer  |   | 
# Thursday, February 21, 2008

UW GOES-11 Water Vapor February 21, 2008 11:00 am PST Click!
UW GOES-11 Water Vapor
February 21, 2008 11:00 am PST.

Precipitation totals from the first of a series of shortwaves associated with a extended Pacific jetstream produced rainfall amounts ranging from about 0.1 to 0.25 inch in the Los Angeles area yesterday, with up to about 0.5 inch recorded in some mountain locations.

Downtown Los Angeles (USC- KCQT) recorded 0.14 inches of rain Wednesday, bringing the water year total (since July 1) to 12.27 inches -- still about 2.5 inches above normal for the date. Here is an archived PDF of a NWS Public Information Statement with some preliminary rainfall totals as of 4:00 p.m. yesterday afternoon.

There were a few sprinkles this morning, and Intellicast composite radar shows some shower activity around the area at 12:30 p.m. this afternoon. More general rain is expected to develop this afternoon or evening. Today's 12z NAM projects about 0.6 inch at Los Angeles between now and mid-morning Friday. Over that same period, a BUFKIT analysis of 12z NAM data for Van Nuys projects about 0.75 inch, but an analysis of 12z GFS data generates only about 0.25 inch.

A third system is forecast for the Saturday afternoon into Sunday timeframe and is expected to produce similar amounts of precipitation. However, the upper level flow will be transitioning to a more amplified pattern, so the computer models may have some difficulty with the forecast. We'll see!

Following this series of systems, a ridge is forecast to build in, resulting in generally fair, Spring-like weather for at least several days. Today's NWS 6-10 Day and 8-14 Day Precipitation Outlooks for Southern California are indicating Below Normal precipitation.

More information concerning Southern California weather can be found using our WEATHER LINKS page.

Thursday, February 21, 2008 9:21:09 PM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)  #    Disclaimer  |   |