California Winter Weather In May!?

Just bizarre. We often get our last rain in March. Sometimes February. Rarely a bit in April. May is summer like and hot / dry. So yesterday it was cloudy and sprinkled a bit. Now at 4:30 AM it’s a decent rain, and has been for a while. Checking NOAA I find California having winter weather advisories in the mountains and flood warnings in the Central Valley. We are having a winter weather pattern in what ought to be late Spring verging on Summer weather pattern times. I.E. dead dry.

May Winter Storm

May Winter Storm

Advisories top May, 18 2020

Advisories top May, 18 2020

Advisories bottom May, 18 2020

Advisories bottom May, 18 2020

A couple of representative warnings. First, the flood warning:


Event: Flash Flood Watch
Alert:
…FLASH FLOOD WATCH REMAINS IN EFFECT FROM 10 AM PDT THIS
MORNING THROUGH THIS EVENING…

The Flash Flood Watch continues for

* A portion of northern California…including the following
areas…Central Sacramento Valley…Motherlode…Mountains
Southwestern Shasta County to Western Colusa County…
Northeast Foothills/Sacramento Valley…Northern Sacramento
Valley…Northern San Joaquin Valley…Shasta Lake Area /
Northern Shasta County…Southern Sacramento Valley…West
Slope Northern Sierra Nevada and Western Plumas County/Lassen
Park.

* From 10 AM PDT this morning through this evening

* Some of the thunderstorms today will have intense downpours that
will have a chance of producing flash flooding in the Watch
area. Thunderstorms that develop over the northern end of the
Sacramento Valley will also be very slow moving which will
increase the risk of flash flooding.

* The watch area also includes but is not limited to the recent
burn scars of the Camp and Carr wildfires.
Instructions: A Flash Flood Watch means that conditions may develop that lead to flash flooding. Flash flooding is a VERY DANGEROUS SITUATION. You should monitor later forecasts and be prepared to take action should Flash Flood Warnings be issued.
Target Area:
Central Sacramento Valley
Motherlode
Mountains Southwestern Shasta County to Western Colusa County
Northeast Foothills, Sacramento Valley
Northern Sacramento Valley
Northern San Joaquin Valley
Shasta Lake Area, Northern Shasta County
Southern Sacramento Valley
West Slope Northern Sierra Nevada
Western Plumas County, Lassen Park

Then one of several Winter Storm Warnings:


Event: Winter Storm Warning
Alert:
…Snow Showers and Strong Wind for Higher Mountain Elevations
into Tuesday…

.Late season Pacific storm will bring periods of moderate snow
and strong wind to the higher elevations of the Sierra Nevada and
mountains of Western Plumas County into Tuesday.
Travel into the mountains should be avoided during this time
period as slick roads, lowered visibility, travel delays and
chain controls are expected.

…WINTER STORM WARNING REMAINS IN EFFECT UNTIL MIDNIGHT PDT
TONIGHT ABOVE 6000 FEET…

* WHAT…Heavy snow occurring. Plan on difficult travel
conditions, including during the morning commute. Additional
snow accumulations of 3 to 6 inches, with localized amounts up
to 13 inches, are expected.

* WHERE…Western Plumas County/Lassen Park.

* WHEN…Until midnight.

* ADDITIONAL DETAILS…Be prepared for significant reductions in
visibility at times.
PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS…

A Winter Storm Warning for snow means there will be snow covered
roads and limited visibilities. Travel is not recommended while
the warning is in effect. If you must travel, keep an extra
flashlight, food and water in your vehicle in case of an
emergency.The latest road conditions for the state you are
calling from can be obtained by calling 5 1 1.
Instructions:
Target Area:
Western Plumas County, Lassen Park

This may have happened before, so warrents some digging, but I sure don’t remember it happening. It will be rare in any case.

IF this is happening more broadly, with late start to the growing season (as we had last year) and an early start to winter, fields too wet to plant or harvest; food supply issues could get worse. Though the USDA says planting has gone well so far:

https://www.nass.usda.gov/Charts_and_Maps/Crop_Progress_&_Condition/2020/US_2020.pdf

Hey! Australia! Got any spare barly or beef you can sell to the northern hemisphere? I think we’re maybe going to need it if this keeps up.

Checking “back east” with “My Radar” app, they have stormy weather too and red flood marked rivers.

Midwest radar May 18, 2020

Midwest radar May 18, 2020

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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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23 Responses to California Winter Weather In May!?

  1. Nancy & John Hultquist says:

    In the Great Left State of Washington, especially the central conservative hay growing part, crops are fine. A local grower told me he thought the season would be a week early. All of this week appears to be cool and damp. Great for the grasses. It rained too much in 2019 and dampened (pun) the harvest. Next week may be better, and they hope so.
    The fruit areas near Wenatchee and Quincy are about as busy with trees and vines as they can be – except there is some of the virus thing going around. Classed as “essential”, these folks have been working side-by-side and in the fields all along.
    I visited a vineyard on Saturday and the vines were in the early stage of inflorescence. Photos in the link below for those not having seen grape development.
    https://psuwineandgrapes.wordpress.com/tag/grape-inflorescence/

  2. Compu Gator says:

    E.M.Smith had written, in a now-closed posting back on 14 May 2015 [*]:
    Raining, AGAIN, in San Jose, in May, In A Drought

    I agree that rain is often welcome. We here in Central Florida are still significantly below our “normal” year-to-date amount, but light rain was falling here as I started to type. But I still vividly recall the rain that fell as I was moving out of Silicon Valley, back to Florida. That was in the mid 1990s, and in May, some days after Cinco de Mayo. I had packed all my books in cardboard boxes, to be a an easily packable lower layer of heavy stuff to support all the lighter stuff. ‘Twas practically a layer of ballast for the truck. I’d changed my packing of books from tape-reïnforced 12 × 12-in. boxes to bankers’ boxes, to speed up packing of computerish books that I expected to unpack soon after my arrival. So I would carry each down to the sidewalk, and add it to a stack, then use a hand-cart to move each stack. An eminently logical plan, thought I.

    Then rain began to fall. Not strongly at all; more like what native Floridans call a drizzle [#], but there was enough wind to blow that rain 1/2 way under a usually-rain-blocking balcony above. So many of my boxes got wet; because of my planned packing order, they were mostly the bankers’ boxes. At the time, they seemed to have remained rigid enough. Well! In the truck, the outside moisture soaked into the boxes. By the time I arrived in Central Florida, the stacks of weakened boxes were were sagging so badly that I had to repack some of them into new boxes. And lighter stuff had fallen off the now-tilted stacks, making the truck’s cargo into a jumble.

    I stowed most of my boxes in a brother’s garage, which was slightly above the property’s ground level. He assured me that no, his garage had never flooded. Any readers want to guess how that assurance worked out for me, over most of a year’s storage there, which included 1 Florida rainy season?

    ——-
    Note *: https://chiefio.wordpress.com/2015/05/14/raining-again-in-san-jose-in-may-in-a-drought/.

    Note #: Akin to the now-discredited linguistics factoid that “Eskimos” have 2 dozen (or so) names for snow, we in Florida and near-by regions in the Deep South have many names for rain. Among them I count “gully-washer” and perhaps best of all, “frog-choker”.

  3. E.M.Smith says:

    Don’t forget duck drowner and gator strangler….

    On the other end from mist, drizzle, sprinkle, shower,…
    In the middle there being things like “a drenching”, rain, down pour, and my favorite a “cloud burst”

    All up, I think I’ve lived in Florida about 10 years total scattered over abouf 20….

  4. Bulaman says:

    China is applying tarrifs to Aussie beef so there should be plenty available!

  5. E.M.Smith says:

    @Bulaman:

    I really need to do a posting on fungible commodities….

    IF Chna stops buying Australian beef and, say, buys Argentine beef instead: then there are customers of Argentina who can no longer get that product… so go shopping and find Australian beef.

    The only effect of a big commodity tariff or ban on one supplier by one buyer is longer shipping runs and a customer swap.

    Btw, that will be hard for China to do with barley. Not that much on the market from other sellers AND Australia has had cattle feed shortages. All you need to do is ship your own barley from Sydney side to Perth side (or wherever your feed lots are). Or make more beer… Or whiskey…. My vote is for more Australian whisky… I KNOW you can sell a lot of that here!

  6. E.M.Smith says:

    @Compugator:

    So looks like I had a 5 year forgetter ;-)

    I note the prior event has the historical data of an average of 0.01 inch, or basically nothing.

    But that gives you an idea how unusual this kind of thing is.

  7. jim2 says:

    You can bet Joe Bastardi will know if this has happened before, and when.

  8. Bill In Oz says:

    E M The weather is cold in Southern Australia. It’s mid May – for us this should be a balmy Autumn with sunny days and the odd showery day. Instead it’s been cold really cold with 3 days of frosts last week… In fact Winter arrived early in late April..So St. Greta’s Global Warming goddess has pissed of completely !

    Re China : Malting barley is a major crop here in South Australia so there have been cries of woe . from farmers who rely on it. But that means less beer & spirits for Chinese ordinary folk . And less pork from their feed lots I suspect..
    But Australians are learning a hard lesson : China is NOT our friend.
    I wonder if we can levy a ‘reimbursement’ duty of all the coal, iron ore and natural gas we sell to China.
    PS : Argentina grows soy & wheat so not much beer or spirits from crops bought in Argentina…But currently Argentina is in the middle of one of it’s regular financial crises so any extra sales to their ‘friend’ China are welcome. Though Chinese squid ships fish in Argentina’s EEC are definitely not welcome. )

  9. philjourdan says:

    We in the east just had a very unusual “polar vortex” In these parts it was freeze warnings in mid May.

    The religious zealots are hitting back hard. I saw the article about the “mini ice age” not happening. They are running scared (the brain dead are just repeating their talking points), the article was from the “experts” – read high priests

    The extreme heat? normal temperatures for this time of year. But extreme in the sense that the rest of the country is below normal.

  10. cdquarles says:

    We had a few chilly nights here, too, last week. Mind you that isn’t unknown. We have had snow from evaporational cooling before in early May that didn’t accumulate. We’ve had overnight lows near freezing as late as the week before Memorial Day, as well. As June approaches, 50s at night go away and turn into 70s at night. Afternoon highs average 90 or more beginning next week and last until mid-September; the mid-August Autumnal blast notwithstanding.

  11. H.R. says:

    We had that freeze here a week ago and for the past few weeks, highs were in the 40s and 50s (F). A bit of rain here and there but pretty normal. That freeze was one of the latest on record.

    Then Sunday, that warm and wet system that is stretching across the country finally got to us here in the Eastern Midwest late in the evening. The temperature shot up from the low 50s to the mid 70s with some serious thunderstorms generated in the process along with some frog-strangler rain.

    Sunday during the day was nice and I was able to paint the sandpaper storage rack I made on Friday and Saturday a nice Forest Green (It’s what I found on the paint shelf).

    It was like this, except it has 12 pull-out 1/4″ thick Masonite shelves spaced 1-1/2″ apart. It does have a 5″ deep bin on top for my sanding blocks. It looks nice in Forest Green with the brown Masonite shelves.

    Anyhow, the forecast is for 8 days of rain – light showers, not monsoon rain – starting yesterday with highs in the 70s and hitting the 80s towards the weekend.

    Talk about weather whiplash! 40s to 70s with no stair-stepping in-between.

    Winter wheat is looking very good right now, and once the rain showers clear the area, it looks good to go for the corn crop this year. No-one is forecasting the flooded fields we got last year, but who knows? I don’t think Mother Nature reads the forecasts ;o)

  12. rhoda klapp says:

    Here in Oxfordshire and the rest of the southern UK it has been unprecedented good weather. All sun and blue sky since we were locked down with only a day or two of rain. It’s never like this.

  13. p.g.sharrow says:

    Back in the early 1980s, the Warner Mountains of north -east California were Bare of snow for the Memorial Day weekend and were full of city people out on a long dreamed camping Adventure into the Wilderness. Friday evening it began to snow heavily, So heavily that they began to have visions of the Donner Party in the 1 and a half to 2 feet of new powder that they awoke to Saturday morning !

    All day Saturday they paid Locals large sums of money to break trail and drag their rigs down to the open roads below. And by Sunday they were all gone from their great camping adventure, as was the snow that had so vexed them.

    Spring Snow in the High Desert evaporates quickly in the Spring Sun. …pg

  14. Tom says:

    Camping at May Lake in Yosemite for Memorial Weekend 1988 was especially memorable for the overnight snow revealed at dawn’s first light.

  15. Compu Gator says:

    Hah! On July 4th weekend in 1983 (a substantial El Niño year), there was still snow in the back-country, including a tempting snaow-bridge maybe 2 ft. thick over a running stream. Discretion being the better part of valor, and snow being an alien environment to me, and even the lightest member of our backpacking group bearing 30 or lbs. of backpack & contents, total maybe 130 lbs., I decided that an attempt at photo of her on that snow-bridge might end quite badly, e.g., broken bones and diversion of 2–3 guys to carry her back to civilization for medical care. It was Kibbie Lake, accessed, i.I.r.c., via the Tamarack Trail, featuring a troublesome rock-strewn (1/2 ft.–1 ft.?) rise to the back of El Capitan, then off-trail via compass & topo map to the lake.

    There was also plenty of snow on the otherwise bare rock at our chosen site along the lake’s shore, allowing us to make Tangeroos, i.e., a snow-cone made from real snow, flavored with a mix of Tang and distilled spirits (151-proof rum being preferred, because of its ration alcohol/weight. With our camp at an altitude of approx. 10,000 ft., it mellowed people quickly after what was, .I.r.c., 10 10-mi. hike in, with maybe 5,000 ft. elev. gain.

    Meanwhile, as we didn’t know until we exited the park and stopped at an inexpensive restaurant, many people had been downhill skiing at the park (Badger Pass?), as broadcast on the Sunday-night t.v.-network news, probably then one of the 3 majors.

  16. Compu Gator says:

    Compu Gator replied 21 May 2020 at 2:00 pm GMT:
    […] there was still snow in the back-country [….]

    […] what was, .I.r.c.,  10  10-mi. hike in, with maybe 5,000 ft. elev. gain.

    […] many people had been downhill skiing at the park (Badger Pass?).

    Should’ve or could’ve read thus:
    […] there was still snow in the Yosemite back-country [….]

    […] what was, i.I.r.c., a 10-mi. hike in, with maybe 5,000 ft. elev. gain. And maybe on the same day as our 4-hr. drives in carpools from SIlicon Valley.

    […] many people had been downhill skiing at the park ( Badger Pass?  I’m not sure where; Yosemite’s downhill slopes [@] look pretty much alike to me when covered with snow). [….]

    ——-
    Note @: If it had really been Badger Pass, I doubt that it woul qualify as “back-country”, but there was plenty of snow there, at least for “rocks skis”.

  17. E.M.Smith says:

    We often get old snow persisting into summer. “Spring Skiing” is a common and very pleasant thing. But new snow in late spring in a winter storm warning event is not common. Yes, it does happen, but not in a supposedly warming world.

    Spring skiing depends mostly on deep snow cover from winter then NOT getting rain in spring. 30 feet of snow then drought. Either low winter snow or heavy spring rains melting snow will end skiing quick.

  18. Compu Gator says:

    Today at 15:53 & 16:53 EDT, KORL, which is the (U.S.) National Weather Service observation station nearest downtown Orlando [@], has recorded 95 [expletive(s) deleted] °F (f’cast ↑95↓71°F) humidity 36% [#]. Comparable forecast for tomorrow. I didn’t believe their forecast of 50% chance of scattered thunderstorms or showers thro’ 11 pm (EDT), what with midday humidity being measured as 36%. But mirabile dictu!  We’re already under an overcast sky, and WSR-88D radar at our “local forecast office” [@@] shows a patch of approachiing from the west, and the sea-breeze front approaching from the east. Woo hoo!

    E.M.Smith replied 21 May 2020 at 3:04 pm GMT:
    We often get old snow persisting into summer.

    But as I wrote, 1983 was “a substantial El Niño year”, so snowfall in Yosemite thro’ late spring ought not surprise us.

    So if I had E.M.’s phone number, he might receive an urgent ‘text’:
    “PLEASE SEND SNOW ASAP!–BUT NOTHING YELLOW!”.
    Remember, Florida is infested with native Yankees who know better.

    ——-
    Note @: KORL is the official aviation-oriented weather-observation station at Orlando Executive Airport, which is closest to downtown. OEA was the site of Orlando’s only commercial air-passenger service until Dept. of Defense handed over its McCoy Air Force base to some combination of Orange Co. and City of Orlando in a head-turning sweetheart deal. The latter is now known as Orlando International Airport, which is now in U.S. Top-10 in passenger air-traffic, but has kept its legacy airport code MCO, thus its weather station KMCO.

    Note #: Forecast for KORL spanning 4½ days: https://forecast.weather.gov/MapClick.php?CityName=Orlando&state=FL. Hourly weather observations at KORL for prev. 72 hrs.: https://w1.weather.gov/data/obhistory/KORL.html.

    Note @@: KMLB is one of several (U.S.) National Weather Service “local forecast offices” in Florida; it’s in Melbourne (coastal Brevard Co.).

  19. Power Grab says:

    Wait, what? Orlando humidity can get down to 36%?!? In what dimension does that ever happen/

  20. Compu Gator says:

    em>Power Grab replied 21 May 2020 at 11:23 pm GMT:
    Wait, what? Orlando humidity can get down to 36%?!? In what dimension does that ever happen [?]

    Ummm, rat chere in Central Florida, but safely outside the dimensional warp that’s caused by the electromagnetic radiation that’s suspected of being emitted by Disney World. Anecdotal evidence suggests that the overall effect of that radiation is to alter financial and other reality, thus turning doting parents and grandparents into mind-numbed money-dispensing robots, some of whom have even been known to take out bank loans to enable them to treat their little darlings to anything they want down at Disney. They might emerge from their trances during hotel check-out, or they may last until they return home and update their family’s financial accounts. Either way, it reportedly causes the onset of a pounding headache and feeling of nausea like the worst hangover they would prefer not to remember. But I digress.

    Anyhow, have I  got some surprising data for you! All data is from previously-described KORL [⌖], and all from 2020:

    05-11(M) 17:53: 85°F (f’cast ↓62°F) 29% NE12 “fair”; clear blue outside.
    05-11(M) 15:53: 88°F 26% N12 “fair”.
    05-08(F) 16:53: 86°F (f’cast ↓65°F) 25% W14 “fair”; few cloud(s) in blue outside.
    05-08(F) 15:53: 85°F (f’cast ↑85↓65°F) 27% W07 “fair”; clear blue outside.
    05-08(F) 12:53: 81°F (f’cast ↑85↓65°F) 30% SW12 “fair”; clear blue outside.
    05-07(Þ) 14:53: 77°F (f’cast ↑78↓54°F) 26% V06 “fair”; few very faint cloud(s) outside.
    05-03(☉) 18:53: 87°F (f’cast ↓66°F) 25% S06 “fair”; clear blue outside.
    05-01(F) 16:53: 81°F (f’cast ↓59°F) 24% NW13G21 “fair”; clear blue outside.
    04-27(M) 12:53: 74°F (f’cast ↑80↓58°F) 26% NW07 “fair”; clear blue outside.
    04-22(W) 14:53: 85°F (f’cast ↑85↓67°F) 25% V05 “fair”; haze-like wispy cloud(s) outside.
    04-21(T) 18:53: 85°F (f’cast ↓64°F) 29% W13G20 “fair”; _?_ outside.
    04-04(S) 16:53: 87°F (f’cast ↓66°F) 28% SW08 “few cloud(s)”: several–many cloud(s) outside.
    04-02(Þ) 15:53: 78°F (f’cast ↑79↓58°F) 27% E05 “fair”: very few low-elev. clouds outside.
    04-01(W) 15:53: 76°F (f’cast ↑76↓55°F) 27% V06 “fair”: clear blue outside.
    03-01(☉) 12:53: 70°F (f’cast ↑73°F) 25% E09 “fair”; clear blue outside.
    02-29(S) 16:53: 67°F (f’cast ↑66°F) 17% NW13G24 “fair”; clear blue outside.
    02-29(S) 11:53: 63°F (f’cast ↑66°F) 24% NW13 “fair”; clear blue outside.
    01-25(S) 15:53: 69°F(f’cast ↑70°F) 27% W14 “fair”; pale blue outside.
    01-06(M) 14:53: 68°F(f’cast ↑68°F) 22% C00 “fair”; clear blue outside.
    01-05(☉) 15:53: 64°F(f’cast ↑58°F) 27% N06 “fair”; clear blue outside.
    12-05(Þ) 12:53: 69°F(f’cast 69°F) 24%[!] V06 “fair”.

    My syntax as excerpted above is intended to squeeze each current conditions entry onto a single easily scannable line, in which (U.S.) NWS-measured quantities are encoded into blank-separated tokens that themselves contain no blanks, but are trivial to interpret. Winds begin with ‘N’|‘E’|‘S’|‘W’, followed by a velocity in mi./hr.; an appended ‘G’ introduces max.-gust speed, also mi./hr. I do not record ‘heat index’, ‘wind-chill’, nor the juvenile “feels like temperature” [×].

    ——-
    Note ⌖ (or coded ⌖): KORL per note @ farther above by me on 21 May 2020 at 10:00 pm [GMT]. By the way, the browsers of Chiefio readers reasonably rendered the Unicode ‘position indicator’ (&#8982 U+2316) reference mark on the left side of this line, hmmm? The symbol dates back to the ‘miscellaneous technical’ set of characters in UCS 1.0.0, thus Oct. 1991, so it should be possible for standards-conforming browsers stuck in far-back versions for compatibility with Windows-98 (maybe even -95) PCs to render it.

    Note ×: My impression is that ‘heat index’, ‘wind-chill’, and the juvenile “feels like temperature” are typically not measurements per se, but instead are simple calculations that combine temperature or wind-speed or humidity. When spoken, the calculation results do not necessarily minimize broadcast time: e.g., “Feels like ___ de-grees” needs 4 syllables + 1–7 syllable(s) of number, whereas “hu-mid-i-ty __ per-cent” needs 6 syllables + 1–4 syllable(s) of number for the real adults in the audience. If I’ve misunderstood, then I’d certainlywelcome E.M., and others here who’ve studied the distribution of weather stations chosen by climate-alarmist “scientists”, to point out my errors.

  21. Power Grab says:

    @ Compu Gator:

    Well, alrighty then! I thought it would be like Houston.

    I’ve never been to Florida. My grandmother used to go there. She said it always rained when she went there.

  22. Jason Calley says:

    Compu Gator says: “we in Florida and near-by regions in the Deep South have many names for rain. Among them I count “gully-washer” and perhaps best of all, “frog-choker”.”

    My favorite? “trash mover” — when the rain backs up so deep various things in the neighborhood start floating around.

  23. cdquarles says:

    @Jason,
    LOL. 13 inches of rain in less than 24 hours plus clogged storm drains will do that.

    @ Power Grab,
    I’ve been to Florida, fairly often. I do, after all, live fairly close and was quite close when I lived in Mobile. I remember going to Orlando some 25 now going on 30 years ago, in July, for a conference held at Disney World. It got to 100F, before the sea-breeze thundershowers rolled in. Said sea-breezes were off the Atlantic and the Gulf. Orlando is about halfway between both.

    Where I am, if the semi-permanent “Bermuda” High sits over us, it can get quite hot and dry in the afternoon, even with overnight dewpoints in the mid to upper 70s.

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