Bit Of Cold In California

It is mid-May here in normally Sunny Silicon Valley. A time when it is often hot in the garden, folks are firing up the A/C, and BBQ is in the air. But not, I think, today…

Today it rained on my yard. Not much, but some. Enough that the dogs didn’t want to go out for “their business”. Not in a cold blustery wind. More is forecast over the next few days. This is very unusual. We typically plan on planting gardens (SUMMER gardens) about April 15th as last frost is past. Some years it is past in mid-March. Often we have no rain after March. Occasionally a “Miracle March” will bring enough rain to get us past a looming drought from April onward. Yet today it rained.

Not a warm rain either. I have the heater on in my office. It is afternoon.

A local paper has the story, oddly with a sidebar pushing the Global Warming narrative as a 84 F Arctic. Would but that it were 84 F here in California… The sidebar “headline” is “It was 84 degrees near the Arctic Ocean this weekend”. One wonders where “near” the Arctic Ocean might be, but is unwilling to take the click bait…

But back at the here and now and cold.

‘Winter storm warning’ issued for Sierra in mid-May
By Amy Graff, SFGATE Published 6:57 am PDT, Wednesday, May 15, 2019

With a moisture-rich atmospheric river taking aim at Northern California, the National Weather Service issued a winter storm warning for the northern Sierra Nevada. It is in effect from Wednesday night through Friday morning.

Motorists should prepare for travel delays, chain control and reduction in visibility, especially over mountain passes above 6,000 feet elevation, including Donner, Echo and Carson.

“We do get storms in May but the strength of this storm is anomalous,” said Brendon Rubin-Oster, a forecaster with the NWS’s Sacramento office. “We’re getting a winter caliber system in May.”

When the storm reaches its height in intensity Wednesday night, the bull’s eye will likely be centered over Yosemite and Tuolumne County, where 2 to 2.5 feet of snow could fall between Wednesday and Friday. Rubin-Oster warns Highway 120 through Yosemite National Park could see significant snow.

“Anomalous” – uh, yeah, ya think?! Normal May “storms” are a bit of rain that’s almost enough for you to discover it happened as drop marks on your windshield in the morning sun. MAYBE a warm “spring shower” in the exceptional year. But a full on winter storm with FEET of snow? Uh, yeah, it’s just “anomalous”… nothing to see here, move along move along, ignore that man shoveling snow and those folks putting chains on their cars…

Snow levels will start at 8,000 feet Wednesday night but, once the cold front moves, through they will drop as low as 5,700 feet on Thursday.

“On Thursday, it’ll be more showery snow but snow levels will be lower,” said Rubin-Oster.

Welcome to “sunny” California in Spring. Mind the snow ploughs…

Subscribe to feed


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...
This entry was posted in AGW and Weather News Events and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

24 Responses to Bit Of Cold In California

  1. Clay Marley says:

    If I lived downstream of the Oroville Dam, I’d be stocking a bug-out bag.

    Here in Phoenix we’ve had an unusually cool and wet year so far. No complaints here! Amazing what Global Warming can do.

  2. E.M.Smith says:

    I lived a few miles from the Feather River before there was a dam. We had regular floods then and my whole town had been rebuilt a few feet higher after some 1800s flood. The elevation there is about 30 to 40 feet for about 30 miles in all directions. There’s not much you can run too. Oh, and the closest hills? You cross the river to get to them…

    Were I still living there, I’d have the bug-out CAR loaded and ready to go and perhaps “visit friends a lot” for a while ;-)

  3. Graeme No.3 says:

    Here, to cheer you up. It’s in French but I’m sure you will grasp the drift (no pun intended).

    Looks like the cold weather is the new fashion. And the new President of Brazil has fired his “environmental” head and cancelled a IPCC conference that was to be held in sunny, warm Brazil. Where will they go? Back to Poland in late November?

  4. erl happ says:

    Report and speculation here:

    The simple answer appeals. Unusually strong surface pressure over the Arctic Ocean by comparison with same day in three previous years as can be seen here:,91.92,410/loc=-107.604,89.160

  5. philjourdan says:

    What a coincidence! It is mid May here as well. :-)

    Your dogs are spoiled! We are finally getting to normal after having temps in the 40s. NO records broken, but definitely below normal. Rain still far above normal, unfortunately since I am waiting for it to dry to poor the cement for the footing on my new deck!!!!!

    And the dogs are galloping around the neighborhood (on a leash). Happy as clams. Rain, snow or hail yes!

  6. Steve Inhof says:

    How long before the true believers start screaming ‘Global Cooling!’ and it’s all cuz of CO2?”

  7. H.R. says:

    Cold and wet here. I planted my garden early as I wasn’t seeing a risk of a frost. The pattern has been lows in the mid-40s (F) and highs around 60 (F) +/- a few degrees, with light scattered rain for 2-3 days and then a day off of mostly cloudy before the rain returns. That has been our whole Spring to this point.

    The only plant thriving is the Rhubarb. Best evah! It loves that wet & soggy weather and cold doesn’t seem to be much of a factor. All the other plants are in hunker down mode. The weather won’t kill them but there is no sun and warm temps to get them to take off.

  8. Larry Ledwick says:

    Notice that with only a few minor exceptions all snow water content reports are over 100% of normal. ALL basins are over 100% of normal for this date, and 3 of them are at or just short of 200% of normal.

    Colorado SNOTEL Snow/Precipitation Update Report
    Data based on the first reading of the day (typically 00:00) for Wednesday, May 15, 2019

  9. Bill in Oz says:

    @erl, is there a image like that for the southern hemisphere ?

  10. erl happ says:

    Hi Bill, Just rotate the globe to wherever you want to go by locating the mouse on it and holding down the left button, then moving the mouse. Enlarge, or make the image smaller with mouse roller. Engage the full range of choices by clicking on the word ‘EARTH’. Its just what you need to begin to understand the workings of the atmosphere.

  11. E.M.Smith says:

    @Graeme No. 3:

    Liked that “Snow of springtime” I had no trouble following most of it.

    Wonder just how much snow how long how low it will take before people start calling BS on the whole Global Warming thing?

    IMHO, the Worm has Definitely Turned and it’s all wet and cold all over the place.

    Must be some truely frantic data “adjusting” going on these days… Just wait for GHCN v5 ‘coming soon” …. They just have to figure out how to make Miami -5 and snowing in 1890…


    I love Earth Nullschool. I’ve spent countless days playing with it over the years.

    Wandering up and down the air layers has convinced me that we really need vertical air flow data and don’t have much of it.

  12. Graeme No.3 says:

    I love the comment a few years ago by an Icelandic Meteorologist who said “I hope NASA won’t adjust 1904 (in Iceland) any colder or my grandparents won’t meet each other (and get married).

  13. u.k.(us) says:

    My local suburban Chicago paper carried the story “It was 84 degrees near the Arctic Ocean this weekend”, albeit on page 6 on Wednesday.
    Todays front page is “cold, wet weather delays planting” with a picture of water standing in a farm field, and adds “farmers weeks behind schedule”.

  14. cdquarles says:

    We have had a couple of cool nights here, too. Last storm dropped some rain then overnight lows in the low 50s. NB that it has been cooler in the past and may yet be; given that in 1974, just about now and a week before Memorial Day, we had it get blustery with an overnight low of 33. That was cold, even with the strong May sun. Afternoon high was about 40 degrees (F) above the overnight low. By Memorial Day, we were back to 70 at night, 90 in the afternoon.

  15. cdquarles says:

    About vertical winds, we do have some of that. The dropsondes/balloons give us that. That these items are not included with “climate” data is, indeed, an issue; along with dew point temperatures and the diurnal variation of them.

  16. Larry Ledwick says:

    Every time you go on nullschool or windy and see wind fields that are blowing toward each other forming a line on the map where the wind fields meet you have a convergence zone. When those wind fields meet the surface winds turn upward.

    A prime ingredient that storm chasers look for as a trigger point for thunder storms.
    It can be the lifting energy needed to break the convective cap and “trigger” a thunder storm.

  17. E.M.Smith says:

    That implies there’s a divergence line where downdrafts are happening…. Hmmm….

    (Downdrafts or microbursts can exceed 2000 feet/minute an few commercial or private aircraft can put on that much climb – and certainly not in the seconds of time available if you hit a down draft on final approach to land…)

    On large scale, such down welling air flows give us the desert bands. Dry air aloft compression heating so arrives hot and dry…

  18. Larry Ledwick says:

    Yes and large thunder storms can fairly routinely produce core updrafts of 300+ ft per second, fast enough that when spotting you can easily watch the cloud top move upward so quickly you have to gradually tilt your head back to follow the motion if you are near the storm.

    That sort of air column motion can move a huge amount of energy very quickly.

    I have seen many times when we were sitting in a car sweltering at high 80 deg temps and 50% humidity and just 20-30 minutes later had to put on a jacket because temps were in the 60s (deg F) or lower and ground fog due to cold rain or hail. This over an area measured in many square miles.

    That is the first thing that clicked in my head as I realized a thunderstorm was really a huge heat pipe pumping enormous amounts of energy to high altitudes where it can radiate away to the clear cold upper atmosphere and space.

  19. E.M.Smith says:

    BINGO! And hurricanes are just thunderstorms on steroids that got all giant like ;-)

    The amount of heat moved by a hurricane to altitude is more than a few atom bombs worth.

    As soon as there is warm water or damp land, evaporation and convection kick in to move the heat. That puts a hard lid on temperatures. What is missing in strongly built up urban areas? Water and damp land / trees doing transpiration. Where are the thermometers? Where people live, largely in cities or at paved airports with good drainage.

    Trees control their evaporation to keep the canopy under about 85 F if possible. Cut down the trees, a place gets a lot hotter and dryer. What have we done globally, and especially where farms and cities are made? Cut down the trees.

    Is that allowed for in the “CO2 Thesis”? Nope.

  20. erl happ says:

    Urbanization intensifies over time as blocks get smaller and houses larger. Standard pattern in Australian subdivisions of late is that walls are within a few inches of the boundary of the block and the free space out the front of the double garage is either pavement or plastic grass. No room for a tree any more. Not even a street tree.

    I couldn’t live in a place like that. I like to see trees and grass. My wife is a gardener. No scope for her in that sort of environment.

  21. Steven Fraser says:

    @EM: You mentioned the energy of hurricanes, and referenced atom blasts. I’ve got a spreadsheet I use to trace Arctic Sea Ice formation and melt, by volume. One of the columns is latent heat energy released as the ice formed.. units are ‘Hiroshimas’. Each is 63 TeraJoules.

  22. Steven Fraser says:

    @EM: on the topic of microbursts. Here in DFW, we remember the day that a Widebody airliner ‘landed short’, at the airport, flattening the cars on the highway.

  23. Steven Fraser says:

    @ALL: on the topic of convection patterns, one of the most interesting to me is the Madden-Julian Oscillation, which is a pattern of rising air that circles the tropical globe every 30-45 days. When it gets to where you are, the liklihood of atmospheric instability and storms increase, Joe Bastardi reports on the topic quite regularly at Weatherbell.

  24. mddwave says:

    Sorry, but I took the click bait on 84 degree F Arctic temperature.

    I found a link on Washington Post that mentioned the Russian city, Arkhangelsk. Of course, the Post article first started with CO2 readings by year curve. The Post article didn’t really have a actual temperature reading, but a Twitter link to a NASA chart. Then the article did the typical global warning rant.

    When I tried to find the temperature in Arkhangelsk, I found two links. The 10day weather channel for Arkhangelsk. Unsurprisingly, the temperatures look normal if not slightly below normal. Perhaps, the 84 degree F is weather, not climate.

    The second link is an estimate of Arkhangelsk climate. This climate estimates the climate fairly well with weather channel temperatures. It has an interesting caveat. There is limited recent data after 1979 to a proxy site where there are corrections are made.
    “Data Sources
    This report illustrates the typical weather in Arkhangel’sk, based on a statistical analysis of historical hourly weather reports and model reconstructions from January 1, 1980 to December 31, 2016.

    Temperature and Dew Point

    There is only a single weather station, Arkhangelsk Talagi Airport, in our network suitable to be used as a proxy for the historical temperature and dew point records of Arkhangel’sk.

    At a distance of 11 kilometers from Arkhangel’sk, closer than our threshold of 150 kilometers, this station is deemed sufficiently nearby to be relied upon as our primary source for temperature and dew point records.

    The station records are corrected for the elevation difference between the station and Arkhangel’sk according to the International Standard Atmosphere , and by the relative change present in the MERRA-2 satellite-era reanalysis between the two locations.

    Please note that the station records themselves may additionally have been back-filled using other nearby stations or the MERRA-2 reanalysis.”’sk-Russia-Year-Round

Comments are closed.