California Weather Now

UPDATED 22 Dec 2010

See New Live Charts and added text

OK, I’ve been looking at where these storms are coming from, so I thought I might as well put some of those links and pictures here.

Global View of the Pacific 21 Dec 2010

Global View of the Pacific 21 Dec 2010 is the above image directly.

You can see both the band of clouds from just north of Hawaii that runs into the top of Baja California and the blob of clouds that pulls down from the Gulf of Alaska into the Northern California coast. I’m under the blob… gives the full page including controls for what area to view.

Global View of the Pacific live

Global View of the Pacific live gives you the Accuweather weather forecast map. It is much more readable and with better visuals than the next map, though with a lot less data on it, and I’ve not figured out how to capture just the map image from the page (didn’t see much reason to…)

North America Weather Map 21 Dec 2010

North America Weather Map 21 Dec 2010 gives a North American Weather Map, as above, but live data.

Notice the sting of L for LOW pressure areas that runs right up the coast. That’s the typical string of storms configuration we get here. One at a time they tend to run down and over me. IFF I’m very lucky, that jet stream loop digging up from Hawaii and into Baja will shift a bit and send me some warmer air. As it is now, it’s just a venturi sucking cold down onto me. And wet. Did I mention the wet? ;-)

North America Weather Map live

North America Weather Map live

I just love the way (at least for now… later this live chart will have changed) you can see the way that L off the coast of N. California made a cold front that has run down toward Los Angeles and is helping to break up the stationary front.

Waves and Sea Temps

Sea Surface Anomalies 21 December 2010

Sea Surface Anomalies 21 December 2010 Click the link to get the present SST map.

Those residual warm spots are fading fast. We’re oh so slowly turning icy blue and purple over the whole ocean. This is not going to be a pleasant winter.

Sea Surface Anomalies live

Sea Surface Anomalies live

Waves 21 Dec 2010

Waves 21 Dec 2010 waves out in the Pacific. where you can click on a box on the map and get any other part of the ocean you like.

The waves are all running down toward me too ;-) Out to sea they are 7 meters or about 22 feet tall. Glad they soften by the time they hit the shore. “Only” 10 feet or 3 meters.

Waves live

Waves live

Surfers Like This Stuff Too has a neat wind animation, but you need to click on the “wind” tab to see it. I’ve not figure out how to do an embed of it yet.

They also have a GEOS satellite image at this link:

Or straight to the image via:

GEOS IR view of the Pacific 21 December 2010

GEOS IR view of the Pacific 21 December 2010

Isn’t infra red vision fun? At least you can see where the IR is.

GEOS IR view of the Pacific live

GEOS IR view of the Pacific live

Some Classical Wind Charts

For these two winds charts, you really have to click on them to get the giant version where you can read the little “wind barbs”. The wind is blowing from the “feather” end toward the round dots. The more feathers, the faster the wind. How to read the wind barbs, if you would like some help.


Winds in the Pacific, just off shore from California / PNW.

Pacific Ocean near California and the Pacific North West - Winds 21 Dec 2010

Pacific Ocean near California and the Pacific North West - Winds 21 Dec 2010

And the live version now:

Pacific Ocean near California and the Pacific North West - Winds live

Pacific Ocean near California and the Pacific North West - Winds live

From: winds hitting the Western USA coast.

Winds as they hit the California Coast. Notice the stationary front that hits about the Mexican Border.

USA West Coast Winds - 21 December 2010

USA West Coast Winds - 21 December 2010

And the live view now:

USA West Coast Winds - live

USA West Coast Winds - live

OK, that’s’ what I’ve got for right now. I know, not much of a posting. It’s mostly just so I can find what the weather was like today (the saved images) and where to get them again (the links). Eventually I’ll make a ‘live version’ so I can just check my weather report… but for now it’s just an archive of some interesting resources.

Oh, notice that there is a string of lows out to sea and north into the Gulf of Alaska. Those are storms headed at me. There is also a “Pineapple Express” type chain of clouds from Hawaii that runs into Mexico at that Stationary Front on the US Border. There’s a bit of mixing on both sides of that front, but for now that is not getting off the border much. I’m getting the stuff from further north. Lucky me.

UPDATE 22 December 2010

I’ve added some live charts into the display. You can now see, for example, on that last wind chart, how that stationary front near the Mexico border has broken up and is now a cold front. (Cold fronts are blue triangles, warm are red half circles, stationary alternates red and blue, round and pointy). The cold swoops down from the Gulf of Alaska and then gets sucked inland. The stationary front got a bit broken up in the process.

You can also see how, on the third map above, the Live Pacific winds map: The lows have turned into a succession of cold fronts headed my way. That’s how it works out here…

In the mean time, the “Pineapple Express” part is doing what it typically does, which is drench the very southern edge of things. Arizona in particular is getting a load. Flooding in some places. “Dry Washes” are now rivers. Even if it’s been a “dry wash” for 30 years, you still treat it like a raging river. At least, that’s what my Dad taught me…

You can keep tabs on the flooding and stream levels in the links on this posting:

Though I probably ought to make a ‘live charts’ version of that one too. Maybe after I clean the “debris” of the local trees out of my yard… (We’ve had a ‘bit of wind’ with our rain…)

Finally, look very carefully at that SST map, then at the live one. You can actually see the progressive cooling of the Pacific. It’s subtile. A little more purple in the dagger. A little less green in the warm spots. A bit wider range to the deep blues. Look at the tip of Kamchatka, or that ‘warm bit’ of the coast of Sydney and near Alaska the shrinkage of the light blue/green bits. I think I really need to put the time into downloading and learning one of those blink comparator thingys…

I just think it’s “Way Cool” how you can SEE the ocean cooling, the heat transport into the storm clouds, then the deposition of the ‘working fluid’ after it’s dumped it’s heat to space. Finally, the air goes on to mix with that “cold end” of the heat engine: The Deep Freeze “Canada Express” that’s offering up a potential White Christmas as far south as the Carolinas…

I really envy weathermen, they get to do this stuff all day ;-)


About E.M.Smith

A technical managerial sort interested in things from Stonehenge to computer science. My present "hot buttons' are the mythology of Climate Change and ancient metrology; but things change...
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10 Responses to California Weather Now

  1. George says:

    At this moment it looks like the entire coast of California is getting rain. It has been a long time since I have seen that.

  2. Doug Jones says:

    It’s mighty soggy here in Mojave. My friend and coworker Mike Massee says “Wow. My solar powered Welcome to Mojave sign on 14 south of town is dead…it can go a few days without sun, but this is something else. Pretty rare.”

    For a solar powered sign to go dead in *Mojave* is indeed rare.

  3. pyromancer76 says:

    This is truly remarkable, the Pacific Ocean dumping all its heat and moisture on us (No and So CA) as it gets colder and colder. From WUWT, commenters provided these two links: 1) During 1861-62, 45 straight days of rain bankrupted the state such as it was at that time —; 2) The “condition” has researchers names, I think, Madden-Julian Oscillation — Does any of this information add to your research? Do the changes in the Sun have any causative effects?

    Just drove mother from Bishop to her brother’s house in La Crescenta in Sunday’s rain. Rain all day. The entire trip included a number of storm warnings along with flash floods, especially in La Crescenta which is in the path of debris flow from the Station burn. I hope the dryer-days prediction of Christmas Eve and Christmas turn out to be true. Mammoth Mountain folks must be celebrating — 15 ft of new snow.

    Hope this year does not turn out like 1880 (I think that is the date — 64 feet of snow at Mammoth Mountain summit). “Donner Summit, California

    U.S. snowiest April: 298 inches (24.8 ft.) April 1880 (Measured by Southern Pacific Railroad at Summit Station elevation 7,017 ft.)

    April 1880: On April 1, a vigorous storm slammed into the region which smothered the Sierra Nevada west slope at Cisco Grove under four feet of snow within 24 hours. A massive snowslide near Emigrant Gap, buried Central Pacific Railroad’s tracks under 75 feet of snow, ice and rock.

    The powerful storm was only the first of several major low-pressure systems barreling in from the Pacific Ocean. For three weeks blizzard conditions raged in the Sierra where the storms dumped a record 298 inches of snow on Donner Summit. Deadly avalanches caused by the continuous heavy snowfall destroyed miles of snowshed and blockaded the vital trans-Sierra train route for days. Shattered timbers and large boulders incapacitated train plows and created the need for hundreds of hired laborers to shovel the tracks by hand.

    A particularly intense storm blasted the Summit region on April 20 and 21. It was described as “the heaviest and most protracted one ever encountered on the line of the Central Pacific.”

    For three days during the middle of the month, two feet of snow fell every 24 hours, completely inundating Truckee, California. By the third week of April, with the town buried under 16 feet of snow and the ice measuring 10 feet thick on Donner Lake, the TruckeeRepublican newspaper proclaimed the storm to be unequaled in living memory.

    As the storms churned on without a break, the snow reached incredible depths. More than 20 feet of it covered the ground at the McKinney estate on the West Shore of Lake Tahoe.

    As May approached, the weather finally cleared, leaving a snowpack nearly 31 feet deep. Donner Summit received almost 67 feet of snow that winter, and more than one-third of it fell in April.”

    This unusual precipitation (unusual, or an anomaly, to we humans who have at most three generational memories… if we will learn from our elders) is another historical truth that suggests emergency preparations. You might want to present your helpful ideas again.

  4. E.M.Smith says:

    Ah, yes…. ’61-62 …. My home town had double height curbs. The lots were raised about 2 feet (and downtown about 3 feet) over the edge height of the gutters. For several years folks complained about it and wanted them replaced with more “car door friendly” curbs. But the historical folks (and the old folks in town) wanted to keep them. The first due to the embedded horse rings (they were made in some parts back when you tied your horse to the metal ring while you went into the store…

    The old folks just pointed out that when the river, abut 4 miles away, flooded, the water got 1 -2 food deep and this kept it out of the buildings….

    So the river flooded that year. Took out the main bridge (only 1/2 of it…). We all went out to the river to see if it was going to top the levy. It was just a couple of feet below the top. But that put it several feet above ground level….

    The levy held. But the streets did get about 1 to 2 foot of water in them (not a lot of places to drain to…) I went out to play in the flooded streets (Mom supplied “rain slicker” and all) and proceeded to play in the water ;-) Hey, what’s a little kid going to do with water? Yeah, play in it.

    That’s what it’s like when you turn from the hot half cycle (30s-50s) to the cold have cycle (60-90s).

    Well, “It’s BAAaaack!”

    FWIW, it’s fun to visit some of the older “cabins” up at Tahoe and Donner. You will find long exterior staircases up to second and third floor doorways. I remember as a kid asking one old guy why they had that. He noted that when the snow got bad in winter you had to come in the top of the house. And was it really bad, like back in (some date I don’t remember – seing as I was a kid) they had needed to dig DOWN to that upper door…

    Yeah, the snow there can become very deep. And will again.

  5. E.M.Smith says:

    Doug Jones

    It’s mighty soggy here in Mojave. My friend and coworker Mike Massee says “Wow. My solar powered Welcome to Mojave sign on 14 south of town is dead…it can go a few days without sun, but this is something else. Pretty rare.”

    For a solar powered sign to go dead in *Mojave* is indeed rare.

    If you can document that, it would make one heck of an interesting posting.

    So know we know what happens to solar power, even in Mojave, when the really cold and wet stuff hits…

    I’m adding some live linked images to the posting above so folks can see what’s happening now. In particular, on that first global image, you can see how the offshore blob east of San Francisco has come ashore, and now a new ‘blobl’ is shaping up in the Gulf of Alaska. So I’m going to get a BRIEF respite, then that one arrives…

  6. Jeff Alberts says:

    Back in August 1983, I was in the Army, and we went to Ft Irwin in the Mojave for 30 days of desert training.

    The first couple weeks it rained. A LOT!. We were told it rained more in 7 days there than the previous 10 years combined. Training had to be suspended for a few days due to flash floods.

  7. Jeff Alberts says:

    “So know we know what happens to solar power, even in Mojave, when the really cold and wet stuff hits…”

    And the solar power company ads keep telling us that solar “works” in the Pacific Northwest. Sure it works, but how well when you have overcast 6 months out of the year?

  8. Doug Jones says:

    Ed, here’s some more about the Mojave billboards- I edited a few pronouns and personal references for clarity. I’ll ask Mike what the panel + battery setup is.

    “[The sign is] on 14 coming north from Palmdale. You wouldn’t see it coming from [Reno]. There used to be a sign on Highway 14 approaching Mojave from the North, but it went away as a result of freeway widening. There are now three left: …One just before Arroyo as you approach Mojave from business 58 north, the one on highway 14 approaching from the south just before Camelot Boulevard, and the one at the main airport entrance. Currently all three signs have my designs on them. The one on 14 south of Mojave gets the most visibility, and it is also the largest sign, being slightly wider than the others. It also has my most recent design on it, a girl in a space suit and a silhouette of the old tower. The reinforced rock and concrete signs were built by Al Hansen and Kirk Skelton in the 1970s, and feature a changeable billboard face.

    We (the chamber of commerce) are currently working on putting a fourth sign at Cache Creek on the main highway 58 itself. We have the property but need about $10k to do the sign and the lighting. We’re attempting to secure Kern Tourism Board grant money as we have in the past for signage.”

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