# 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 1, 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 1, 2008 5:38:02 PM (Pacific Daylight Time, UTC-07:00)  #    Disclaimer  |   |