HIGH WIND WATCH THURSDAY AFTERNOON AND NIGHT | THEN FAIR WEATHER TO RETURN FRIDAY - SUNDAY

Another windy but dry weather system will move through the deserts on Thursday and Thursday night, with a 12-18 hour window of time where the potential for very strong winds will once again exist across the Coachella Valley, the nearby mountains, as well as the high deserts to our north.

Wednesday afternoon satellite view (source: Meteostar). Another low pressure system is approaching the coast of Oregon, and will dive south into southern Nevada and Utah tomorrow.

Wednesday afternoon satellite view (source: Meteostar). Another low pressure system is approaching the coast of Oregon, and will dive south into southern Nevada and Utah tomorrow.

As the system comes shore in Oregon tonight, it will turn southeast and strengthen over the deserts of Southern Nevada and Utah. The surface low pressure is expected to deepen to around 994 mb by Thursday evening, which is expected to create howling winds from the southwest and west for Thursday afternoon and night.

There is disagreement among the computer models as to the strength of the upcoming wind event. Thus, the National Weather Service has issued a High Wind Watch. As we get closer to tomorrow, the computer models will hopefully come into better agreement, and may upgrade the Watch to a High Wind Warning, which indicates strong winds are imminent.

At this time, the potential exists for 40-60 mph+ gusts across portions of the Coachella Valley, the San Diego/Imperial County deserts to our south, as well as the Morongo Valley/Pioneertown/Lucerne Valley/Landers areas in the lee of the San Bernardino Mountains.

As we saw in Palm Springs several days ago, localized stronger gusts hit a small portion of Palm Springs from the Chino Canyon area, south into downtown. Gusts briefly appeared to reach or exceed 45-50 mph in a small area in West Palm Springs, with tree damage, power outages and brief blowing dust (see red area below). Other areas experienced gusts mostly under 35 mph, with much less damage. This was likely due to upper level winds being able to briefly descend down the backside of the San Jacinto Mountains around 4-6pm, due to "mountain wave" activity. Interaction with the higher terrain, inversion layers and upper level jet stream winds can sometimes occur in just the right combination to allow the higher elevation winds to slide down the back side of the mountains and briefly surface into the normally calmer areas of west or south Palm Springs.

This upcoming event has the potential to hit localized areas once again, and likely miss others. Be prepared for the possibility of blowing sand, dust, broken tree limbs and blowing debris. There still is a chance the winds will not materialize - but now is the time to secure backyard furniture. Hopefully we will be spared the worst of it.

Winds should shift to the north late Thursday night and Friday, and diminish to 35 mph or less. Winds should be mostly calm for Saturday and Sunday.

Temps will fluctuate a bit the next few days:

  • Thursday 90/58 - HIGH WINDS
  • Friday 82/56 - diminishing winds
  • Saturday 90/60 - stunning
  • Sunday 92/61 - stunning
  • Monday 88/58 - MORE WIND?

Longer range forecasts suggest the possibility of a larger storm for the end of next week coming ashore in California. However, it's too early to hold high confidence in that forecast at this time.

In the meantime, be prepared for another day or two of windy conditions before it calms down once again. This is a VERY NORMAL pattern for spring. Alternating periods of high winds, along with daily temperature fluctuations up and down as storm systems move by to our north.

Springtime in the desert!

SCATTERED SHOWERS, COOLER TEMPS...

A weak spring storm is moving onshore over California today. Areas of scattered showers and thunderstorms are being experienced in many areas of the Southwest today, as well as gusty winds in portions of the mountains and deserts. Higher elevations have experienced some snow.

For the Coachella Valley, as of 430p, currently a strengthening front is draped northeast to southwest across the valley, from near Las Vegas, curving south southwest across the deserts to near Indio, and southward to near Borrego Springs and south into Baja California.

The front is currently stalling, and strengthening, with large thunderstorms forming just ahead of it, moving through Imperial County and eastern Riverside County. An impressive shield of cirrus anvil cloud tops are visible to the east, as a result of this rapidly developing line of thunderstorms. The line is temporarily stalled, but will begin moving slowly east towards the Western Arizona deserts the next several hours. Anyone traveling I-8 to Tuscon or I-10 to Phoenix tonight may experience strong winds and isolated heavy downpours or even hail.

Here is a current radar image, showing the system to our east.

Behind the cold front, an unstable airmass is producing scattered locally heavy showers and thunderstorms across the rest of California. The nearest storm cell, as of 430p, is a stray storm located in the mountains west of Palm Springs, between Banning and Hemet, moving slowly northeast and weakening. If this cell holds together, it is possible a brief shower or thunderstorm could affect the Palm Springs or Desert Hot Springs area around 5-6pm. Other cells have formed in the high deserts near Lancaster, as well as heavy rain and hail in the mountains of Ventura and Los Angeles counties. The Central Valley from Bakersfield to Fresno is experiencing large areas of heavy rain as well. Here is a radar image from Intellicast around 440p to our north and west.

The rainfall to our north is expected to diminish after sunset, becoming much more scattered as the light of day diminishes the surface heating, which is fueling the pop up storms across much of the state today.

Partly cloudy weather will return Thursday, with sunnier skies Friday. By Saturday, another weak system could bring very scattered showers, as well as another system around Monday or Tuesday.

High temps will likely remain depressed into the 70's or low 80's for most of the next 4-5 days, with gusty winds at times. Enjoy the "cool down" while it lasts!

COOLER TEMPS, CLOUDS AND WIND THIS WEEKEND - THEN RAPID WARMUP NEXT WEEK

Another major storm is heading into Northern California. The tail end of the storm will move through on Sunday, further south than was earlier expected.

A few sprinkles may occur, but the biggest contribution to our weather will be cooler temperatures on Saturday and Sunday, and the possibility of very strong winds on Sunday.

  • Saturday: 74/52 increasing cloudiness
  • Sunday: 70/49 partly cloudy, very high winds possible (30-40, G50-70 possible!)
  • Monday: 68/47 clearing, winds decreasing
  • Tuesday: 77/52
  • Wednesday: 85/57
  • Thursday: 90/59
  • Friday: 88/59

Again, the potential for very strong winds exists for Sunday. Some computer models predicts gusts to 40-50 mph, others predict gusts over 70 mph. Be prepared for gusty winds either way, and possible blowing dust, especially along the I-10 corridor on Sunday.

After the storm systems moves east on Sunday, a strong high pressure is expected to build over the area the remainder of the week, with temperatures climbing to possibly 90 degrees by Thursday. Long term analysis is currently trending on the dry side.

Have a great weekend!!

PALM SPRINGS RECORD RAINFALL YESTERDAY

THE SPUNKY LITTLE STORM THAT COULD.....

The perfect combination of factors created an unusual storm system yesterday that stalled over the southernmost portion of the state, dumping significant amounts of rain across a relatively small portion of Southern California. Everything south and east of the red dotted line (below) experienced a long duration rainfall event, with periods of heavy rain later Monday afternoon and into the evening hours. Everything north and west of the red dotted line was much drier, with very little rainfall reported from LA to the west and north.

Several daily rainfall records were broken, including:

  • San Diego Airport: 2.34"
  • Escondido: 4.03"
  • Alpine: 2.43"
  • Palm Springs Airport: 1.17"

PALM SPRINGS ACTUAL SEASONAL TOTAL (From October 1, 2016 - present): 6.97" (3.13" above normal)

PALM SPRINGS AVERAGE (October 1 - present): 3.84"

PALM SPRINGS LAST YEAR (October 1 - present): 2.45"

Snowfall on the highest peaks above 7,000 feet occurred last night. A quick glance at the cams atop the PS Tram and Toro Peak (south of Palm Desert) reveal a fresh coat of snow.

Source: Long Valley Cam, atop the PS Tram, as of Tuesday afternoon.

Source: Long Valley Cam, atop the PS Tram, as of Tuesday afternoon.

Source: Toro Peak webcam, www.hpwren.UCSD.edu

Source: Toro Peak webcam, www.hpwren.UCSD.edu

The intense rainfall caused the San Diego River to flood late yesterday and into today, cresting around 14.15 feet at 3:00 am this morning. Several areas near Mission Valley flooded, including roads and parking structures. The Flood Warning continues this afternoon but the water is receding.

Source: NBC4 San Diego footage showing San Diego River Flooding. http://www.nbcsandiego.com/news/local/Helotourfllooding_San-Diego-414997863.html

Source: NBC4 San Diego footage showing San Diego River Flooding. http://www.nbcsandiego.com/news/local/Helotourfllooding_San-Diego-414997863.html

Many reservoirs in the San Diego area have been forced to release water, as they have completely filled up to bankful, including Otay Lakes, and Lake Poway. Here are a few articles describing the water situation in the San Diego area:

ABC10 news

NBC7 San Diego

San Diego Union Tribune - Lake Poway Nears Overflow

DROUGHT BUSTER!

This water year has beaten expectations thus far, and the rainy season isn't over yet. Take a look at the drought maps from now, as compared to the same period in February 2016, one year ago:

As you can see above, 2017 has removed all of California from extreme and exceptional drought designation. The areas marked in white are no longer even considered in drought conditions. The small sections of the state that still need more water in order to make up for the multi year deficits, marked in yellow or orange, have greatly improved from 2016. Now, only a few small sections of the state near Santa Barbara and in the Imperial Valley are considered "moderate or severe drought". The areas in yellow are considered "abnormally dry" - which means a bit more rain is needed in order to catch up to the deficits - have continued to shrink in California and most of the rest of the West. The exception to this appears to be the eastern plains of Colorado and New Mexico, where dry conditions have prevailed since October.

SUNNY WEATHER RETURNS TO THE DESERT

Despite the water woes, the sun returned to the desert today. The weather will become progressively warmer each day this week, warming into the 70's and likely above 80 by Friday. Some wind may occur over the weekend, as a weak system moves in to our north, and some clouds may blow through. The deserts are still expected to be dry over the weekend, despite some cloudiness and moist air returning to the coastal and mountain areas to our west around Sunday or so. Temperatures may rise to the lower 80's by early next week in the desert. Long range forecasts show the remote possibility of a system moving into our area after Wednesday or Thursday of next week. It's still too early to predict if the storm will bring rainfall to our area or not.

Recent sunset from the art installation - The Circle of Land and Sky - by Phillip K Smith III. This striking installation is one of several throughout the Coachella Valley, as part of theregional DesertX exhibition. For details on each of the talented artists and their installations, visit: www.desertx.org

Recent sunset from the art installation - The Circle of Land and Sky - by Phillip K Smith III. This striking installation is one of several throughout the Coachella Valley, as part of theregional DesertX exhibition. For details on each of the talented artists and their installations, visit: www.desertx.org

Blue skies and warm weather will help sprout more greenery on our hills and help produce what will undoubtedly be a fantastic wildflower season this year.

#ThePalmSpringsHaboob #allergies #wildflowers #desertweatherisbest

ENJOY THE RAIN... THEN COMES THE WARMTH!

Another storm is draped across Southern California late this afternoon, with rainfall focused across the southern portion of the state.

Areas to the north and west of the red dotted line are mostly dry today, with areas to the south and east quite wet. The wet areas include most of San Diego County, as well as most of Riverside and Imperial County. The Coachella Valley has been wet most of the day, with areas of rainfall continuing to move over the area from off the coast. The plume of moisture has been stationary most of the day, with individual cells within the plume moving onshore and then to the northeast.

As of about 2:00pm, about 0.20 inch has fallen at the Palm Springs Airport. It is possible that another 0.25 or more may fall the rest of this afternoon and evening before the storm finally moves to the east later tonight. Storm totals could be more than 0.50 in some desert areas, with lesser amounts further to the north. Snow is falling in the mountains above about 6,500 feet.

PS Tram cam before 2 pm Monday shows more snow falling.

PS Tram cam before 2 pm Monday shows more snow falling.

Much heavier rain is falling over the mountains and toward the coast, with 3 - 4.5 inches in some mountain areas and 1 - 2.5 inches near San Diego causing additional urban flooding. The San Diego River in Mission Valley is experiencing another flood warning. This has been quite a winter!

As of late Monday afternoon, a cold front is stalled over Southern California. Low pressures are anchored to the north, over Utah and near Seattle, and will move east, carrying the moisture with them by later tonight.

HERE COMES THE WARMTH!

Tuesday will bring clearing skies, and temperatures will begin their trend upwards! After highs only in the 50's on Monday, look at the direction the temps will take this week for the Coachella Valley!

  • Tuesday: 67/48
  • Wednesday: 75/49
  • Thursday: 81/51
  • Friday: 82/53
  • Saturday: 81/55
  • Sunday: 84/55

Temperatures should be about 10-15 degrees cooler than this for the Yucca Valley/Joshua Tree area this week.

It's been a long time since the temps have hit 80 degrees and stuck around for a spell, here in Palm Springs! It's going to be a pleasant and extended dry spell, compared to what we've experienced so far this winter. Long range forecast models don't show any storms in the area through at least early next week, and possibly longer, so we likely have much drier and warm weather ahead of us - time to hit the pool!

SIERRA SNOWPACK UPDATE

The high Sierras have continued to enjoy an incredible snowpack. In fact, it is the highest snowpack ever on record from Oct. 1 to date in many areas. There will be updated numbers in the next week or so, but here is where they stand now:

As you can see by the solid red line (source: DWP), we have exceeded the previously wettest winter in the Sierras (1982-1983), for season to date rainfall/snowfall since October 1. The weighted average of the rainfall (the rainfall equivalent of the snowpack) of all Sierra stations is 268% of normal, or equivalent to 50.4 inches of rainfall. In all our wildest dreams, it seemed unlikely to receive so much precipitation. In fact, some locations in the Sierras have exceeded over 335% of normal! It seems almost impossible to imagine such a scenario occurring after such a long drought, but the state has been blessed with water and snowfall. As you can see below, some areas of the Sierras have experienced the equivalent of almost 80 inches of rainfall this season (snowfall of over 600 inches on some peaks to date!). Updated information is expected around March 1, and these numbers will rise even higher.

It is unclear how much the local aquifers have risen, but I suspect it will be significant. Our rainfall here hasn't been as severe as areas a bit further north, but we are still running above normal from Oct. 1 to date. It takes awhile for the water running into the soil and down from nearby mountains to fill up the aquifers. Hopefully we will get some good news about those figures in the months to come!

Enjoy the last of the wet weather we will see for awhile - and get your bathing suits out for what looks to be a toasty weekend ahead! Springtime is around the corner here in the desert!

LATEST STORM EXITS THE AREA - RAIN | WIND LESS IMPRESSIVE THAN PREDICTED

The vigorous storm that blew into Southern California on Friday caused flooding, mudslides, power outages, wind damage and high surf to parts of Southern California, but the Coachella Valley was spared the worst this round. It was a disappointment for those of us hoping for another big desert storm.

The center of the storm pushed slightly further south, into Northern Baja. As a result, the rainfall was of shorter duration than anticipated. Additionally, the southerly flow ahead of the storm emphasized rainfall along the southern slopes of the east-west ranges, while leaving many areas of the Coachella Valley in the rain shadow of the Santa Rosa and San Jacinto Mountains.

Low pressure south of Yuma, AZ as of 8:00pm Saturday night. A cold front extends all the way south through Cabo San Lucas, Mexico.

Low pressure south of Yuma, AZ as of 8:00pm Saturday night. A cold front extends all the way south through Cabo San Lucas, Mexico.

Still, an acceptable period of rain fell throughout the Coachella Valley, mostly under 0.50 inch. Here are some of the specific National Weather Service totals in our local area:

Most of the rest of Southern California received between 1.50-2.50 inches, with some heavier 3-6 inch rainfall amounts in the San Gabriel and San Benardino Mountains. Some of the highest peaks received 3-7 inches, with Mt. Baldy ski area receiving over 20 inches of snow. Many areas of the Northern Deserts saw 0.50-1.00 inch, especially in the Hesperia and Victorville area, which experienced some flooding and swift water rescues. Coastal areas experienced very high winds ahead of the cold front, with gusts reaching 60 mph in a few locations like Laguna Beach. Some nuisance flooding occurred, with actual flash floods occurring in the foothills of the Santa Barbara area Friday afternoon.

UPCOMING WEEK OUTLOOK

The deserts will be on the very southern end of the next few systems expected to come ashore between now and next Wednesday. There will be a few periods where a slight chance of rain exists for the desert. One such period is Monday, with a better chance around Wednesday. However, this is a low confidence forecast. A shift of the weather pattern to the north of only 100 miles could mean no rain... or a shift south 100 miles could bring more significant precipitation. For now, a blend of the computer models suggests partly - mostly cloudy skies through Wednesday, with a few periods of cloudy skies and showers possible. Winds may increase around Wednesday as well. Temperatures will climb slightly, likely reaching the mid 60's to low 70's during the day and back down into the 40's or 50s at night.

5 Day precipitation totals show large areas of 5-10 inches of over Central and Northern California. Palm Springs will likely remain just south of the heavy totals this week.

5 Day precipitation totals show large areas of 5-10 inches of over Central and Northern California. Palm Springs will likely remain just south of the heavy totals this week.

Thursday and Friday are appearing to be sunny and dry, and temps may climb back up into the 70's once again, and near 50 at night. However, long range forecasts are suggesting the possibility for another system dropping into the deserts next weekend. At this point, it appears this system will drop from the north, which typically brings cold weather and the possibility for high wind. It will be interesting to see if the computer models in the next few days still hold onto this pattern change or not.

RESERVOIRS LEVEL UPDATE

California reservoirs continue to be very full, with most being well above the average levels seen at this time of year. Many of the reservoirs are above 90% of their total capacity. Oroville made news last week by overflowing, creating damage to the emergency spillways. As a result of heavy releases, the water level has successfully dropped from 100% capacity down to 82% of total capacity. This will allow the reservoir to accept the enormous flows expected this week from another round of heavy storms. Many will be watching Don Pedro Reservoir as well, which is expected to reach 100% capacity by Tuesday. They are hurriedly attempting to release water faster than it is feeding the lake. The official word is the emergency spillways look good for this lake at this time. The latest graphs are below (Source: California Department of Water Resources):

HIGH MOUNTAIN SNOWS

The snow just keeps piling up in the Sierras! A quick look at a few ski areas reveals the following season snowfall totals to date:

  • Mammoth Mt. - 472 inches (over 39 feet!)
  • Alpine Meadows - 500 inches (over 41 feet!)

More updates soon!

 

Enjoy the rest of the week, fellow desert dwellers!

VERY STRONG STORM STILL ON TRACK FOR FRIDAY-EARLY SATURDAY

A few updates on the high-impact storm expected to hit Friday-Saturday....

LATEST WARNINGS:

High Wind Warning - the National Weather Service predicts a high probability of high winds Friday - early Saturday. The highest winds are expected between 2pm Friday and about midnight Friday. There is a high probability that winds will gust to 60 mph or more, especially late Friday afternoon and Friday night. Now is the time to secure patio furniture or other loose items that could become airborne during strong winds. * I should note - high winds from the south are often blocked by the nearby mountains. There is always the possibility the winds will not descend to the valley floors. However, with such incredible energy associated with this rapidly developing storm, the possibility exists for strong and even damaging winds across the Coachella Valley, as well as the nearby mountains, high deserts, and even across the Inland Empire.

Flash Flood Watch - the National Weather Service has issued a flash flood watch for the possibility of intense rainfall and rapid rises of washes. Rainfall could become heavy Friday through early Saturday morning, with scattered showers or thunderstorms lingering into late Saturday. There is a high likelihood that many roads could be temporarily closed, such as Indian Canyon, Gene Autry, Vista Chino, Cathedral Canyon, among others.

Winter Storm Warning - the National Weather Service expects 1-2 feet of snow above 7,000 feet by Saturday evening. Lesser amounts will fall above 5,500 feet. Anyone traveling to Idyllwild, Big Bear, Lake Arrowhead or other communities should be prepared for white out conditions, zero visibility and wind gusts that may exceed 80 mph at the height of the storm. Travel will be hazardous and some roads may close.

POTENTIALLY DANGEROUS STORM

The low pressure system is expected to rapidly deepen as it approaches Southern California on Friday. Computer models are almost off the charts with the rapid intensification of the storm that is predicted - a process called cyclogenesis. It has the potential of being one of the windiest storms to hit Southern California in a very long time. Some areas of the Coachella Valley could possibly be shielded by the nearby mountains, but other areas may experience dangerous gusts, making travel dangerous. Areas of blowing dust could occur before the rain begins. The heaviest rainfall is expected between about 4 pm - midnight tomorrow.

Use caution traveling Friday and Friday night. Rainfall is expected to be more scattered and less widespread by Saturday.

Dry weather is expected Sunday, with a moderate chance of lighter rain perhaps next Monday and next Wednesday.

ANOTHER STRONG STORM CYCLE POISED TO HIT CALIFORNIA LATER THIS WEEK

We've enjoyed a welcome break from the wet and wild weather that has plagued most of California much of this winter. However, the break is rapidly coming to an end. For those of you enjoying the postcard perfect skies and warm temps, I suggest you get out and make the best of it. The jet stream is heading back into our area later this week, and may hurl storm after storm across the state once again. I'll get into the forecast in a moment, but let's take a look at where we are currently.

STATISTICS SO FAR THIS WINTER

Nearly all weather stations throughout the state of California are reporting above normal rainfall since October 1, 2016... which is the official start of the winter rainy season. The southern portion of the state is above normal, and as one travels north, rainfall becomes even more extreme. In many locations in the Sierra Nevada Mountains of Central and Northern California, rainfall (and rainfall equivalent of the snowfall) are currently on par with the wettest season to date ever recorded for those areas (back in 1982 for much of the Central Sierras, and 1969 for much of the Southern Sierra). Here are some official statistics:

Palm Springs

  • Actual Rainfall (Oct. 1 - present): 5.32 inches
  • Normal Rainfall (Oct. 1 - present): 3.22 inches
  • Surplus: +2.10 inches (or 165% of normal to date from October 1)

Other Cities across the street have impressive totals as well (Oct. 1 - present):

Ontario

  • Actual Rainfall: 12.94
  • Normal Rainfall: 8.66
  • Surplus: +4.08 (149% of normal to date)

Santa Barbara

  • Actual Rainfall: 17.26
  • Normal Rainfall: 10.55
  • Surplus: +6.71 (164% of normal to date)

Sacramento

  • Actual Rainfall: 24.49
  • Normal Rainfall: 11.55
  • Surplus: +12.94 (212% of normal to date)

Redding

  • Actual Rainfall: 34.34
  • Normal Rainfall: 21.40
  • Surplus: +22.63 (154% of normal to date)

These rainfall readings are very impressive. Many areas in the central and northern areas of the state have seen rainfall totals that are more than double the averages. This has led to many reservoirs filling very close to or even exceeding capacity (as was the case with Lake Oroville several days ago, which crested over it's emergency spillways for the first time in history). Even those reservoirs that aren't filled stand a good chance of being filled in the weeks to come, as another strong jet stream is set to hit California. Here are the latest reservoir readings throughout California.

Source: California Department of Water Resources

Source: California Department of Water Resources

Six reservoirs are already above 90% capacity, and the spring snow runoff season hasn't even begun yet. It is likely that many reservoirs will soon need to utilize emergency overflow, as they will be at capacity. This will certainly spell trouble for Lake Oroville, which has been damaged due to the extreme runoff.

The official drought map as of February 7, 2017 shows that 41.6% of the state is no longer in a drought. Extreme rain and snowfall has made up the deficits that took several years to accumulate. That leaves 58.54% of the state in some level of drought. However, the severity has been greatly diminished, with no areas of the state considered "Exceptional Drought", and less than 1% considered "Extreme Drought". This map will likely improve greatly with several more weeks of rainfall and mountain snow ahead of us.

Source: David Simeral, Western Regional Climate Center

Source: David Simeral, Western Regional Climate Center

WEATHER TO BECOME WET AGAIN

The jet stream is strengthening across the Pacific, and is headed for Southern California by the end of the week. A series of storms are lined up for Thursday night - Saturday, and it appears this particular cycle may be a direct hit for Southern and Central California.

Satellite source: MeteoStar

Satellite source: MeteoStar

FRIDAY-SATURDAY STORM

This storm is expected to stall slightly as a rapidly deepening surface low pressure system develops just off the coast late Friday or Friday night. This is expected to bring very strong southerly winds along the coast and mountains, and is expected to allow moisture to easily flow up and over the mountains into the deserts. This particular setup is not particularly conducive for high winds in the Coachella Valley (although they are still possible at times), but it is conducive for heavy rainfall and a diminished rain shadow effect, especially since there will be a subtropical moisture tap feeding into the system. Current estimates are that some areas of the Coachella Valley could receive up to 1 inch of rain Friday through early Saturday. This would easily be enough to cause the flooding of roads and intersections during periods of higher rainfall. Higher 2 day rainfall figures are expected in the nearby mountains, with 2-4 inches in the San Jacinto Mountains and 2-7 inches in the San Bernardino Mountains. Snow level is expected to remain near 7,000 feet for most of this system, with 1 foot or more of snow above that level.

Rainfall amounts of this magnitude will easily fill the Whitewater River, as well as the Tahquitz Creek and Araby Wash with additional flows. Local roads may be susceptible to temporary closures, such as Indian Canyon and Gene Autry Trail south of I-10, Vista Chino east of Gene Autry, and Cathedral Canyon Road, among others. Water is currently flowing across Cathedral Canyon Dr. in Cathedral City, and the latest storms haven't begun yet.

Skies will likely become partly cloudy by Saturday afternoon with only scattered showers expected, and much cooler temperatures.

Cathedral Canyon Road has been wet lately with runoff.

Cathedral Canyon Road has been wet lately with runoff.

Computer models suggest large amounts of rain for much of the west coast the next 5 days. Here's the latest imagery from NOAA:

SUNDAY - WEDNESDAY

Sunday is expected to be mostly dry, perhaps a bit breezy, and rather cool. Temps will likely stay in the 60's or low 70's at most. For Monday-Wednesday, the computer models are all over the place. Some show a few weaker systems moving through, with a focus on Central and Northern California. Others show dry weather for a few days. The potential exists for additional showery weather for the desert areas at times, with dry intervals in between. Those traveling to Central or Northern California should be prepared for additional storms, flooding rains and high winds. For us here the possibility exists for more wet weather as well, although it likely won't be severe.

BEYOND NEXT THURSDAY...

Long range computer models are forecasting another stormy pattern during this time period. The details are too far away to settle on with much confidence, but the potential exists for more strong storms, heavy rainfall, and heavy mountain snows later next week. This could spell trouble for Lake Oroville.

Interestingly, the models are showing a strong high pressure system building over the Gulf of Alaska again, which tends to cause "atmospheric rivers" to be directed toward California. The forecasts will need to be monitored, as California can only handle so much more water!

The forecasts also predicting a nearly record breaking "MJO", which causes a reversal of the normal trade winds along the equatorial West Pacific. Westerly winds blowing along and north of the Equator can cause the ocean temperatures to warm higher than normal, and move east toward North and South America. In the past, if several of these weather "MJO" reversals occur during the winter months, they often display the precursor to a future El Nino condition.

After a few boring weather years, one can hardly describe this winter in California as boring! Be careful out there and pay attention to media reports as the system approaches.

POWERFUL STORM STILL ON TRACK FROM SUNDAY-MONDAY...

The next powerful storm in the series is headed for the deserts tonight... with rain expected by morning. This storm has the potential to be the strongest of the bunch, with a variety of weather expected throughout S. Cal.

The latest satellite shows the system cranking up off the coast.

SUNDAY

The first portion of the storm will hit Sunday, with higher snow levels near 7,000 feet. This will allow heavy rain to fall on top of recently fallen snow for elevations under about 7,000 feet, contributing to snowmelt and an elevated possibility of flash flooding. High winds are a possibility. This last storm sequence resulted in the Coachella Valley being shadowed by the strong winds that hit most other areas. However, it is possible that we will not be so lucky with this next system. Winds have the ability to gust over 60mph at times, with erratic direction and speeds likely.

MONDAY

Periods of moderate to heavy rain are likely Monday, with snow levels falling late Monday to as low as 2,500 - 3,000 feet. This will be accompanied by strong winds over 70mph in SOME AREAS. Not all areas are likely to experience these gusts, but they could be localized throughout the desert areas. With saturated ground, washes are likely to flow, continuing or extending road closures over nearby washes, and possibly additional roads in the area. High deserts have the opportunity to receives several inches of snow late Monday.

OVERALL TAKEAWAY

The National Weather Service has issued a Flash Flood Watch for Sunday and Monday, due to the possibility of localized flooding.

High winds warnings are also in effect for many nearby mountain and desert areas.

The take away is to just use caution traveling the next few days.  The deserts will likely receive an additional 0.75 - 2 inches of rain, on top of the 0.75 - 2 inches received the past several days. Nearby mountain communities may see another 1-3 feet of snow, on top of the 1-2 feet that has already fallen the past several days.

National Weather Service rainfall already fallen between Wednesday - Saturday thus far....

National Weather Service rainfall already fallen between Wednesday - Saturday thus far....

Travel to the High Sierras continues to be discouraged Sunday and Monday, with the possibility of 4-6 feet of new snow dumping Mammoth, Tahoe and other 395 communities, crippling roads and communities under 4 day storm totals exceeding 8 feet in some areas.

We need the precipitation - but a welcome break is expected next Wednesday-Saturday, with long range forecasts showing dry weather possibly lasting through early February.

Use caution out there!

 

 

MORE STORMS POSSIBLE LATE THIS WEEK

The previous 2 weeks have blessed California with much needed rainfall. For us here in the deserts, rainfall so far this month has been close to or slightly above normal. For areas from Los Angeles and to the north, rainfall has been above normal... and in some circumstances, portions of Central California are seeing nearly record amounts of rainfall and snowfall. Here are some local figures:

PALM SPRINGS

  • JANUARY 2017 RAINFALL TO DATE: 0.67
  • NORMAL JANUARY TO DATE: 0.62
  • RAINFALL SINCE OCTOBER 1, 2016 TO DATE: 2.46 (0.01 below normal)
  • NORMAL RAINFALL FROM OCT. 1 TO DATE: 2.47

THERMAL

  • JANUARY 2017 RAINFALL TO DATE: 0.63
  • NORMAL JANUARY TO DATE: 0.32
  • RAINFALL SINCE OCTOBER 1, 2016 TO DATE: 2.31 (1.18 above normal)
  • NORMAL RAINFALL FROM OCT. 1 TO DATE: 1.13

Compare those numbers to some of the impressive figures further north:

REDDING, CA: Rainfall since October 1, 2016 to Present: 25.81 (10.16 inches ABOVE normal)

SACRAMENTO, CA: Rainfall since October 1, 2016 to Present: 16.66 (8.73 inches ABOVE normal)

MAMMOTH MOUNTAIN, CA: Current snow depth at top of peak: 22.5 feet! If Mammoth receives another 20 inches of snow before the end of the month (which they will likely do, as they are expecting 3-4 more feet later this week and this weekend), January will go down as the snowiest ever on record for the mountain. GREAT NEWS for California reservoirs!

NEW WET PATTERN TO EMERGE LATER THIS WEEK

California will get a chance to dry out, with sunshine re appearing through about Wednesday. However, several new storms appear ready to hit the state again later this week.

For the deserts, it appears we have a chance for showers around next Thursday, with potentially a small break before another stronger storm hits later Friday and Saturday. Another break appears likely Sunday, with yet another, potentially even stronger system, possible for the following Monday.

It is unclear how much rain or mountain snow Southern California will get from each of these storms. However, there is a relatively high possibility for more rain, high winds and mountain snow. Anyone traveling to the mountains in the state should be prepared for another round of crippling weather conditions if the storms materialize as expected.

Web cam at the top of Mammoth Mountain in nearly buried in 22.5 feet of snow!

Web cam at the top of Mammoth Mountain in nearly buried in 22.5 feet of snow!

Active conditions and numerous storm systems continue out across the Pacific.

Active conditions and numerous storm systems continue out across the Pacific.

WHY ALL THIS PRECIPITATION? ISN'T EL NINO OVER??

Well, we are in a weak "La Nina" condition, which is when the temperatures along the Pacific Equatorial waters are slightly cooler than normal, as is currently the case. Weak La Nina's ALSO have a long history of creating above average rain and snowfall for California. So, while El Nino was a bust last year, the very weak La Nina is living up to its historical averages this year.

More weather news later this week! Enjoy the dry spell, PS! Temps approaching the high 60's or 70 will feel great!

 

STORMS TO JUST MISS THE DESERTS - AND SLAM THE REST OF CALIFORNIA THE NEXT 7 DAYS

Storms continue to slam into California, dropping impressive amounts of rain and snow throughout most of the state, except for us in the southeast corner of the state. The stream of moisture off the Pacific has largely been centered from just north of Santa Barbara up to the Bay Area. The deserts have remained partly cloudy, with rainfall staying to our west, over the coastal slopes of the nearby mountains and out to sea.

The next 7 days will see several potentially major weather events for Central California, but it is now expected that Southern California will miss out on most of these systems through Sunday. Here's how the Pacific looks as of Thursday evening.

The same general setup is present over the Pacific tonight, with a westerly jet stream flow heading into Central California. A new low pressure east of Hawaii is getting itself organized, and will be lifted into California over the weekend as the stationary low pressure over the middle Pacific picks up this latest "atmospheric river" and directs it toward the Sierra Nevada Mountains.

DESERT WEATHER

The deserts will experience some wind and cloudiness tonight, as the latest system moves to our east. A light shower is possible but not likely early this evening.

Friday and Saturday should be nice for us in the deserts, with increasing cloudiness on Sunday. Temperatures will slowly warm to near 70 degrees each afternoon. By Monday, the tail end of the systems to our north is expected to pull through, with cloudy skies and a slight chance of rain for the deserts, and cooler temperatures and some wind expected. Close to 0.50 inch is expected in the nearby mountains and coastal areas. Dry weather is expected again Tuesday and Wednesday.

MAJOR ISSUES JUST TO OUR NORTH

Unfortunately, the storms just to our north are expected to cause major flooding issues for Central and Northern California, especially in the Sierra Nevada Mountains. 10-20 inches of rain may fall in some areas, and higher snow levels are expected to melt the new snow pack between the 3,000-8,000 foot elevations. Portions of the Yosemite Valley will be closed off shortly, as MAJOR flooding is possible along the Merced River. Highest elevations above 9,000-10,000 feet will see major accumulations of snow, possible over 10 feet! check out these proposed 5 day precipitation totals.

The recent storm already dumped 3.5-7 feet of new snow on much of the Sierras, including the Mammoth Mountain area. With another 5-10 feet possible the next 5 days, many areas of the mountains to our north will see totals not seen for a long time.

Anyone traveling to the Sierras, including Reno, Tahoe and Mammoth, as well as those traveling to SF and the Central Valley should be prepared for the possibility of road closures, major flooding and travel difficulties from Saturday - Monday.

LONG TERM

It appears more storms are on the horizon, to our north. Long range forecasts show a major storm hitting the Southern California area around Sunday, January 15th... but it is too early to know that with certainty.

Enjoy our relatively quiet weather as our nearby areas will make news headlines over the weekend!

 

 

 

 

 

POSSIBLY HISTORIC SET OF STORMS HEADED FOR CALIFORNIA, BUT WILL SoCAL GET HIT?

5:00pm Monday Update:

An impressive set of storms appears poised to strike California the next 7-10 days, but the computer models keep flip-flopping on whether or not Southern California will get in on the action. As of Monday afternoon, here are some of the highlights:

  • The arctic blast that appeared headed for Southern California later this week is no longer likely.
  • The arctic blast will be replaced by a juicy set of storms barrelling across the Pacific into California, potentially bringing EPIC amounts of rain and snow to Central and Northern California the next 10 days
  • Southern California is on the extreme southern boundary of many of these storm systems so confidence is LOW in whether we will see periods of rain and mountain snow, or just periods of cloudiness and wind the next 10 days.

Here's how thing are set up this afternoon:

  1. A modified arctic airmass has drifted south into Northern California, as a huge high pressure system is sitting just south of Alaska, funneling northeast winds off the cold Northwest Territories of Canada far south into an area of low pressure near Oregon.
  2. The high pressure over Alaska has pushed the jet stream and storm track far to the south, with several low pressure systems lined up off the coast of California.
  3. A large area of warm, humid air is being pulled up from the tropics between Hawaii and the southern tip of Baja, adding extra moisture to incoming storm systems.

POTENTIALLY HISTORIC PRECIPITATION AMOUNTS FOR CENTRAL AND NORTHERN CALIFORNIA

There is still a lot of uncertainty in this storm cycle, but Central California is going to be hit hard. Some models are showing 10-15+ inches of rainfall in the Sierras the next 7 days, with much of that falling as snow in the higher elevations. Rainfall of this nature may fill up many of the reservoirs that have been so low the past 5 years. Snowfall of 4-6 feet may be common for the higher altitude communities such as Tahoe and Mammoth, with 10+ foot snowfall totals in the higher peaks a possibility. Take a look at these incredible estimates at this time:

WHAT ABOUT SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA?

For us in the south, it is unclear if we will get in on this gravy train the next 7 days. We are on the very southern end of this atmospheric river. The forecast keeps alternating wet and dry for the south. At this time, it is probably best for us to prepare for the possibility of precipitation Wednesday night and Thursday, and then again around Saturday night - Tuesday. However, I cannot stress enough that there is a high amount of uncertainty surrounding our forecast here in the desert! The details will likely continue to change. Just keep that in mind! This is a highly unusual pattern that is filled with weather patterns from the north (arctic), weather patterns from the West Pacific, and weather patterns from the southwest Subtropical Pacific. How each of these variables will eventually play out could mean the difference between a wet week, and a historic week that will soak and flood the state to our north.

We may be spared the worst of this weather this week here in the deserts, but anyone traveling north should be prepared for the possibility of MAJOR travel problems during the stormy periods. Heavy rains, strong wind and heavy snows will all play into travel plans from about Bakersfield and Santa Maria all the way north into Oregon at times the next week and possibly beyond.

I don't give much credence to the details of 14 day outlooks, but many of those are showing the equivalent of a massive 30 inches of rain (or snowfall equivalent) throughout the Sierras the next 2 weeks. Again, I always exercise MAJOR RESTRAINT when examining long term computer forecasting, but it's worth mentioning that the trend for an extended period of stormy weather, regardless of the specific details, is a complete turnaround from the dry weather we have experienced for 5 years. Rainfall and snowfall of this proportion is something the state has not experienced for a very long time. We may very well see headlines of mudslides, floods and avalanches hitting the media the next few weeks if this storm cycle comes to fruition.

For us here in the deserts - I look forward to sharing further updates this week!

Happy New Year's!!

NEW STORM TO ARRIVE SATURDAY NIGHT - COLDER TEMPS NEXT WEEK?

A new storm is developing off the coast of N. Cal tonight, and will quickly move south into So Cal Saturday night. This will help the low pressure currently over our area to move to the east tonight.

Low pressure over S. Cal will move east Friday night.

Low pressure over S. Cal will move east Friday night.

The new system will move in Saturday night, with more rain and mountain snow.

Saturday nights system doesn't look like much on satellite images as of Friday night, but the storm is expected to intensify tonight as it heads south. the system will curve east over our area and move out early Sunday morning, dumping more snows in the mountains and rains in the lower elevations.

Saturday nights system doesn't look like much on satellite images as of Friday night, but the storm is expected to intensify tonight as it heads south. the system will curve east over our area and move out early Sunday morning, dumping more snows in the mountains and rains in the lower elevations.

Rainfall of 0.25-0.50 is expected in the deserts, with over 1 inch possible in the nearby mountains. Up to 1 foot of snow may fall by early Sunday morning above 6,000 feet, with 1-6 inches at the 4,000-5,000 foot level.

ARCTIC BLAST NEXT WEEK?

The forecast models are all over the place next week, but there is a possibility that an arctic front may move south across the west and into our area around Thursday night. If this occurs, another cold blast will send high temps back into the low 50's by the end of the week, with nighttime temps in the high 20's or low 30's. This is not a certainty though, so stay tuned! It could be a significant freeze!

In the meantime, be prepared for a possibly wet New Years Eve! Sunday through Wednesday should be partly cloudy, with only isolated showers possible at times, but mostly dry condition are expected at this time. Temps will stay cool, likely in the low 60s much of the week ,

HAPPY NEW YEARS!!!

NEXT STORM NOW MOVING INTO SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA

The next storm is intensifying off the coast this evening and headed southeast toward California. Another period of rain is headed our way tonight, with the possibility of strong winds at times. A strong cold front will pass through late tonight, with winds shifting to the west, and colder temps arriving thereafter. High temps may not leave the upper 50's the next several days, with low temps in the 30's and low 40's. More details below:

TONIGHT AND SATURDAY

A strong cold front will move east tonight. Steadier rainfall appears likely to start somewhere around 12 midnight - 2 am here in the deserts, likely lasting until around sunrise Saturday. For the rest of Saturday, scattered showers are likely, especially closer to the mountainous areas on the west side and north side of the Coachella Valley, as well as into the Yucca Valley area. Winds will likely begin to increase later tonight as well, possibly concentrated in some of the southern foothills, as well as along the I-10 corridor.

Unlike the storm that hit yesterday, this storm will not linger over our area, and rainfall for the deserts is now expected to be less than what was experienced yesterday. We expect 0.25 - 0.60 inches throughout most of the valley. Locally higher amounts are possible.

The mountains however, will likely experience 1-3 inches of heavy rain with this system. Snow levels will start around 7,000 feet early tonight, drop to around 4,000 feet by morning, then 3,000 feet by Saturday night. Snow amounts are tough to predict, but many areas at or above 7,000 feet will see 1 foot+ of snow, 6-12 inches for elevations between 5,000-7,000 feet (including Idyllwild), and perhaps 1-4 inches from 4,000-5,000 feet. A scattered dusting of snow is possible from 3,000-4,000 feet.

This means there is a possibility snow will affect many of the higher mountain passes in and out of the LA area, including:

  • I-5 over the Grapevine
  • I-15 over the Cajon Pass, and near Mountain Pass, south of Las Vegas
  • Highways 18. 330, 38, 247 and 74 in the San Bernardino and Riverside County Mountains

Some areas of the high desert near Yucca Valley, as well as Apple Valley/Hesperia could see a dusting.

High winds are possible late tonight through Saturday night. Some computer models show winds of 30-40 mph, and others display the possibility of gusts over 60 mph once again. Due to the uncertainty, it's best to batten down the hatches and be sure patio furniture is secure and umbrellas are not open the next 36 hours. Extreme winds are POSSIBLE, but not 100% certain.

With excessive mountain rainfall, it is likely many area washes will continue to flow. Stay tuned to reports regarding possible road closures due to water along some roads, possibly including:

  • Indian Canyon at the wash between I-10 and San Rafael
  • Gene Autry Trail between I-10 and Vista Chino
  • Vista Chino just east of Gene Autry Trail
  • Cathedral Canyon Road north of Perez Road

Next week appears to be cool, with gradual warming by mid week. A possible storm will locate off the coast, but at this time looks to stay dry for us until possibly Thursday or Friday. This is a LOW CONFIDENCE long range forecast though, as even a shift in the system 100 miles could bring more rain toward the middle of next week.

Be safe out there tonight! For information on road condition, check out the Cal Trans website: http://www.dot.ca.gov/hq/roadinfo/statemap.htm

MORE STORMS HEADED FOR CALIFORNIA

Wednesday, 12/21: Winter has officially arrived, and our weather will reflect it. Unsettled conditions are expected at times for the upcoming 7 days, with a weak system affecting our weather from now through Thursday. A strong system is expected for late Friday and Saturday. This system has the possibility of producing significant mountain snows, widespread rain, strong winds, and even a possibility of high desert snow. Could be a White Christmas for the mountains and some high desert communities!

WEDNESDAY NIGHT - THURSDAY

*Update 9:00p Wednesday* - the storm off the coast has intensified this evening, and a band of precipitation blossomed to our south, providing lift for a good soaking this evening. Moderate to heavy rains are covering nearly all of Southern California, including all deserts and mountain areas. southeast flow ahead of the storm is allowing the deserts to see more rainfall than many coastal areas. My original notes earlier called for some areas to see up to 0.50 inch, and others with just sprinkles... but it appears now that almost all locations will see at least 0.10 - 0.30 inch, with the possibility of higher amounts over 0.5 inch if the storm continues to churn off the coast tonight and tomorrow. This could be the "surprise soaker" of the season. Be careful on area roads as they are experiencing some flooding. Some washes may begin to flow as well.

Impressive desert radar around 8:30p Wednesday shows a nearly continuous area of rain over the deserts from Yucca Valley south well into Baja, and east into Arizona.

Impressive desert radar around 8:30p Wednesday shows a nearly continuous area of rain over the deserts from Yucca Valley south well into Baja, and east into Arizona.

(Original discussion): For today, a weak system to the west of Baja California is bringing up loads of moisture and some diffluence, allowing for mostly cloudy skies and scattered showers. This is expected to continue tonight and into Thursday, before skies begin clearing sometime Thursday afternoon or evening. A thunderstorm or two is also possible tonight or Thursday. Amounts are expected to be highly variable, with some areas only reporting sprinkles, and others possibly seeing heavier showers and possibly over 0.25-0.50 inch. Southeast winds aloft will allow for the possibility that clouds will bank up along the east slopes for a time, with rainfall chances perhaps a bit higher along the foothills and a bit lower further from the nearby mountains. This storm is of warm origins, so snow is only expected far up on the highest nearby peaks, likely over 9,000 feet. Wednesday night low: near 50. Thursday high: 60-65.

National Weather Service satellite image as of 4:00p Wednesday shows the system to our southwest, pulling in clouds and moisture from the tropical waters south of Baja.

National Weather Service satellite image as of 4:00p Wednesday shows the system to our southwest, pulling in clouds and moisture from the tropical waters south of Baja.

THURSDAY NIGHT - FRIDAY

Skies will be clear to partly cloudy, with cool temps and light winds Thursday night. By Friday, the strengthening storm will begin diving southeast toward California. Clouds will begin to increase later Friday, as well as the possibility of increasing southwest winds once again late in the afternoon. Lows Thursday night: mid 40's. Highs Friday: mid 60's.

FRIDAY NIGHT - SATURDAY NIGHT

A strong storm is expected to move across California during this time frame.

Ahead of the cold front, strong southwest winds are expected to blow, with gusts potentially surpassing 60mph. It is possible the southern areas and foothills will once again experience some of the strongest gusts, with blowing sand and debris a possibility. As the storm moves closer, the chance of rain will increase Friday night and into Saturday evening. The cold front is expected to pass through sometime Saturday morning or early afternoon, with the highest possibility of desert rain during that time frame. Winds may shift to the west or northwest behind the cold front, and may become better focused along the I-10 corridor and the highway 62 corridor up into the 29 Palms area.

As the cold front passes, temperatures will drop, and the snow levels are expected to fall to near 3,000 feet by Saturday night. This could have SIGNIFICANT travel implications. Some highways that could be affected by snow at the 3,000 level include:

  • I-15 Cajon Pass, and over Mountain Pass, south of Las Vegas.
  • Highway 62 summit near Yucca Valley
  • Highway 74 in the mountains south of Palm Desert
  • Highway 243 in the mountains south of Banning, into the Idyllwild area
  • Highways 18, 330 and 38 into the San Bernardino Mountains
  • I-5 over the Grapevine, north of LA

If the snow level were to lower more than expected, it is possible I-10 in the Beaumont and Yucaipa areas could get a few flakes, as well as Joshua Tree and Morongo Valley.

Rainfall and snowfall amounts are still tough to predict, as the storm is coming together. However, it is likely the urban areas to our west will receive 1-2 inches of rain, the lower mountain slopes may receive 2-4 inches of rain, with 6-16 inches of snow expected in the higher elevations. The deserts could see anywhere from a trace to 0.50 inches of rain.

Saturday high temps for PS are expected in the 58-65 range. Low temps Saturday night should be in the upper 30's - mid 40's.

SUNDAY - MONDAY

Looks like Christmas and Monday will be clear and cold, with high temps in the upper 50's to low 60's. Low temps could fall into the 30's Sunday night.

NEXT WEEK

Some computer models show another weak southern system, like the one we are experiencing today, to swing by on Tuesday. Other models show no effects on our weather. Therefore, confidence is low in next week's forecast. Best trends suggest a small chance of precipitation near Tuesday, with fair weather Wednesday and Thursday next week.

WATER SUPPLY

This next set of storms will dump another 1-4 feet of snow in the Sierras, for another much needed boost in the mountain snow pack. Dare I say it - but this is beginning to look like a good winter for the state, especially in the Central and Northern areas. Really hopeful this pattern will continue!

Happy Holidays to everyone - stay safe and watch media reports for updated travel advisories on Saturday!

LARGE STORM SYSTEM TO MOVE THROUGH TONIGHT AND FRIDAY

Palm Springs area weather will transition from tranquil to unsettled rather quickly the next 24-36 hours, as a complex set of low pressure systems move through California.

For the Coachella Valley, the highest impact is likely to be strong or even damaging winds. Some rain is also likely, along with much cooler temperatures the next several days.

As of Thursday afternoon, lenticular clouds are beginning to appear, indicative of strong winds aloft beginning to move up and over the local mountain ranges.

As of Thursday afternoon, lenticular clouds are beginning to appear, indicative of strong winds aloft beginning to move up and over the local mountain ranges.

As of Thursday afternoon, the satellite images show a lot of cloudiness off the West Coast of the U.S. and Mexico.

STAGE ONE - THURSDAY AFTERNOON

The first low pressure area to move inland over our area is the warmest of the three, seen above as off the coast of Baja. This airmass originated from the deep tropics as a "Kona Low" the past several weeks, which caused periods of heavy rain for the Hawaiian Islands. The two low pressure systems to the north, which are tapping into frigid polar air over Alaska and Northern Canada, are moving south and absorbing the sub tropical system into their circulation. This conveyor belt of moisture from the southwest is responsible for the cloudiness today.

STAGE TWO - THURSDAY NIGHT

As the two low pressure systems combine and move closer to our area later today and tonight, winds will increase, and scattered mostly light showers are possible. Upper level southwest winds will begin to surface, and will likely begin to blow through the San Gorgonio Pass near Whitewater and the terrain will curve the winds to blow southeast into the rest of the Coachella Valley along the I-10 corridor. This weather scenario is also likely to cause south to southwest winds to also surface along the foothills, as the upper air winds are forced around San Jacinto Mountain. Winds may become severe, with gusts over 50 mph in some areas. As is typical with most wind forecasts here, some areas are likely to experience the winds, and other areas may be sheltered by the local terrain.

STAGE THREE - FRIDAY

By Friday, the strongest elements of the storm are expected to move into Southern California. The upper level winds (jet stream) will be directed over our area. Additionally, the local weather models are predicting that there is a decent chance that damaging winds may surface at times (known as "mountain waves"), especially along the foothills from Palm Springs to Palm Desert, from sometime early Friday morning into the afternoon hours. If this occurs, gusts approaching 65 mph could surface at times and cause localized damage. Blowing dust is a possibility as well. The southwest gusts will likely hit the foothill areas, whereas the northwest gusts blowing through the San Gorgonio pass will buffet the areas further north, closer to the I-10 corridor and up along Highway 62 into Joshua Tree. This could possibly be a damaging wind event, so take precautions now to secure loose outdoor items.

Expected wind flow by Friday morning, with winds swirling around San Jacinto peak causing a complex pattern of wind flow. Foothill areas may see wind from the southwest, whereas areas along I-10 will likely see wind from the northwest coming through the pass. In between, it is likely winds may vary from calm, to strong, with wind direction erratic due to wind eddies known as "rotors". PSP airport will be susceptible to wind shifts from the southwest, northwest and east under this type of weather regime.

Expected wind flow by Friday morning, with winds swirling around San Jacinto peak causing a complex pattern of wind flow. Foothill areas may see wind from the southwest, whereas areas along I-10 will likely see wind from the northwest coming through the pass. In between, it is likely winds may vary from calm, to strong, with wind direction erratic due to wind eddies known as "rotors". PSP airport will be susceptible to wind shifts from the southwest, northwest and east under this type of weather regime.

Some rainfall is likely at times for the Coachella Valley as well, but total rainfall amounts are expected to be only around 0.30 inch or less. Some areas may not see much rainfall at all, as the mountains under this type of system will likely act as a rain shadow for much of the valley. Much heavier rain is expected in the nearby mountains and coastal areas, with 2-4 inches in the mountains, and just under 1 inch of rain for most urban areas. A Flash Flood Watch is in effect for the San Bernardino Mountains and to the north and west, into much of the rest of Central and Southern California. Most snow will be above 8,000 feet due to the warm sector at the beginning of the storm. Temperatures will plummet Friday night, and the snow level could drop to 3,500 feet, but most of the precipitation will likely be gone by then. It is possible I-5 along the Grapevine north of LA could get snowfall Friday night, in case anyone is headed that direction.

National Weather Service forecast storm totals show most rainfall to the west of the deserts.

National Weather Service forecast storm totals show most rainfall to the west of the deserts.

TEMPS TO DROP FRIDAY NIGHT

Thursday: 73/50 - increasing clouds, breezy late, nighttime showers possible.

Friday: 74/41 - strong, possibly damaging winds, some showers.

Saturday: 61/39 - fair with some breezes.

Sunday: 63/40 - fair with some breezes.

Monday: 65/44 - fair and breezes possible.

GOOD NEWS FOR CALIFORNIA WATER SUPPLY

The Sierras will get dumped on by this system, with over 4 feet of new snow possible above about 9,000 feet.

LONG RANGE FORECAST

Next week looks a bit unpredictable. A weak to moderate Santa Ana wind is possible Sunday and Monday, but the confidence in the forecast falls into the low category by Tuesday. A system appears to stall to our south, and a few appear to be headed for the northwest U.S. However, it is unclear which of these systems will affect us, or if the weather will just remain cool and sensible.

In the meantime, enjoy the weather change, and watch for the possibility of extreme wind the next 24 hours or so, with highest likelihood Friday morning or afternoon.

COOLER, WINDY WEATHER TO RETURN - SOME SHOWERS POSSIBLE

Saturday, Nov. 26, 2016 2:30pm:

Two low pressure systems will influence desert weather the next two days.

SYSTEM 1

The first system is off the Southern California coast as of Saturday afternoon, and will swing inland during the late afternoon and evening hours. Desert weather will become cloudier, with winds beginning to increase in many areas by about 3-4pm. Winds may initially pick up from the south southwest, and may hit the southern neighborhoods such as Indian Canyons, Cathedral City Cove, and South Palm Desert. Winds from the WNW will also begin blowing through the San Gorgonio Pass, along the I-10 corridor from Whitewater into Indio. Winds will eventually shift to the WNW for most areas early tonight. Winds will mostly be 20-30 mph, with a slight possibility of gusts reaching over 50 mph in some areas. As is typical with wind here in the desert; some areas may only see light winds, with highest chances of only light winds in Central Palm Springs between about Amado and Mesquite.

A slight chance of rain may accompany this first system, with only light amounts likely, and some areas remaining dry. Highest amounts should be 0.10 or under. There is a slight chance of a brief thunderstorm. Temperatures will drop into the 40's again tonight.

The nearby mountain peaks may see 1-4 inches of snow above the 5,500 - 6,000 foot elevation, with a dusting possible a bit lower than that.

SYSTEM 2

The second system will quickly drop into Southern California Sunday afternoon and evening. This system is expected to have slightly less moisture but higher chances for stronger winds.

After a lull in clouds and winds on Sunday morning, winds are expected to increase once again during the afternoon and evening hours. Sustained winds have the potential of reaching 30-40 mph, especially along the normally windy I-10 corridor and some of the southern areas. There is a slight to moderate chance that even stronger gusts to 60-70 mph may materialize, which would create areas of blowing sand and dust. The stronger winds are dependent upon whether a "mountain wave" condition develops, which occurs when a temperature inversion occurs near the same elevation of the ridge tops, and helps the higher winds aloft to be forced down the back slopes of the mountains and into our local area. It is not 100% certain that such a scenario will play out, but some weather models are showing this is a moderate possibility tomorrow.

Scattered mostly light showers are possible in the desert, with mostly less than 0.05 inch possible. Most areas are likely to remain dry. The nearby mountains will have the opportunity to experience an additional 1-3 inches of snow above 6,000 feet.

OUTLOOK NEXT WEEK

Fair to partly cloudy weather is likely Monday through Wednesday, with slowly warming temps and mostly calm winds returning. High temps will return to near 70 degrees, with night time temps flirting with the high 30's to high 40's.

Late next week, the forecast becomes one of low confidence. Some models show a strong Santa Ana Wind condition, whereas others place another cool weather system directly over our area. Currently, the drier and windy condition is favored for late Thursday - Saturday. Stay tuned.

In the meantime, keep those patio umbrellas closed the next several days, and be sure loose yard items are secured in case the wind really picks up, as is quite possible the next 36 hours or so.

Happy late Thanksgiving wishes!

 

DRY COLD FRONT CURRENTLY PUSHING THRU SO CAL

Quick Wednesday Evening Update:

A dry cold front is draped across Southern California. As of 3:30pm, the front was located along a line from near Las Vegas and to the southwest through northern Orange County andand continuing off the coast. High cirrus clouds are found along and to the east of the front, with mostly clear skies behind the front, except for some low clouds banking up along the Southern San Joaquin Valley near Bakersfield.

The cold front is dry, but is accompanied by a wind shift and a cooler airmass will filter into our area tonight, and remain here for several days.

As of 3:30pm, gusty WNW winds were still isolated to along I-10 from Whitewater and east into the Sky Valley area, with gusts from 30-45 mph. The winds have not yet spread further south and east into Palm Springs, Cathedral City, Rancho Mirage, Palm Desert or Indio. This should change over the next several hours, with winds becoming more widespread and possibly being accompanied by blowing dust. Some lesser gusts to near 30 mph have also spread into the Yucca Valley and Joshua Tree areas.

WNW winds will likely remain strong in the normally windy locations closer to I-10, with occasional gusts possible in the more populated areas through at least midnight.

Winds will likely shift to the north later tonight, with some areas remaining calm, and others experiencing even stronger gusts, possibly hitting 55 mph in some localized areas at times.

Thursday will likely continue to display occasional strong winds from the north or northeast, and high temperatures will likely only reach the low-mid 70's.

Winds should drop Thursday night, and temperatures will drop into the 40's. The high deserts will likely see the coldest night of the autumn season, with many areas below freezing near Yucca Valley Thursday night.

Gradual warming Friday and Saturday for stunning fall weather, before another weak system approaches late Sunday or Monday. A slight chance of rain may even accompany this system, with clearing weather expected again Tuesday and Wednesday.

COOLER AND WINDY WEATHER TO RETURN

Our long stretch of perfect, warm weather will change Wednesday as a dry cold front moves through Wednesday night.

The main effects for us will be increasing winds late Wednesday, continuing into Thursday, as well as much cooler temps.

Wednesday highs will likely reach the mid 80s, but high temps will cool into the low-mid 70s on Thursday and Friday. Overnight lows will also fall from near 60 tonight, to near 50 Wednesday, Thursday and Friday nights.

As mentioned, high winds are likely in some areas the next few days.

Late Wednesday and Wednesday night, strong southwest to west winds will blow through the I-10 corridor and may also hit some of the southern canyon areas at times as well... possibly gusting to 50 mph.

By Thursday, north winds behind the cold front will hit different areas of the valley, especially along the highway 62 corridor and along Dillon Road near sky Valley.

Temps will warm back up to near 80 degrees for Saturday, but another storm is possible late Sunday or Monday with the possibility of clouds, wind, showers and cooler temps again. It's too early to have certainty on the details... so stay tuned.

Clouds, Humidity, Dust, Wind, Rain or Thunderstorms Possible the Next Several Days

A weak low pressure system has formed off the Southern Californian coast as advertised a few days ago, and is beginning to pull in copious amounts of cloudiness and increasing moisture from the tropics off the Mexican coast. In addition, Hurricane Paine has developed west of Cabo San Lucas, and is further contributing to the gradual saturation in the local atmosphere. This hurricane was not forecast to develop into as intense of a storm as it has become, with wind gusts over 100mph today. This may help provide additional dynamics as the hurricane turns to the north toward northern Baja. This storm is expected to weaken dramatically the next few days, so extreme winds are not indicated for our area. However, the remnant circulation will head into Southern California, Arizona and New Mexico the next several days, contributing to the possibility of rainfall and breezy conditions at times. More on that in a moment.

Satellite imagery around 3:30p Monday shows a low pressure southwest of San Diego beginning to pull the moisture from Hurricane Paine up into Southern California.

Satellite imagery around 3:30p Monday shows a low pressure southwest of San Diego beginning to pull the moisture from Hurricane Paine up into Southern California.

As of 3:30pm Monday, most areas have not yet experienced much of any rainfall, with a few exceptions near the LA area, as well as along the Mexican border near Mexicali and Brawley.

DETAILS FOR MONDAY NIGHT

A large area of light rain is moving north late this afternoon, just passing over the Mexican border and into the southern Imperial Valley around 4pm (Monday). Southerly winds are advancing ahead of the rainfall, with gusts near 30mph contributing to blowing dust and increased humidity levels south of the Salton Sea. Visibility is currently between 2-5 miles in these areas. This area of dust and haze may possibly move north into the Coachella Valley late this afternoon or evening, possibly reaching Indio or Palm Springs around sunset or later. This will be dependent upon whether the southerly winds continue, so it isn't a sure bet at this point.

NWS radar around 3:30p Monday shows light rain moving north into the Imperial Valley.

NWS radar around 3:30p Monday shows light rain moving north into the Imperial Valley.

Behind the dust and breezy conditions, periods of mostly light rain may fall at times tonight. Rainfall amounts are not expected to be large, but this storm is a bit more dynamic than earlier predictions. At this point, amounts are still expected to be 0.15 inch or less tonight, with locally higher amounts a slight possibility.

DETAILS FOR TUESDAY AND TUESDAY NIGHT

Hurricane Paine will continue moving north Tuesday, producing a more humid airmass and a good chance of showers or thunderstorms across the area, especially during the morning hours. Southeast winds may blow at times, occasionally gusty. Temps may not escape the 80's on Tuesday if the cloud cover remains thick. Rainfall amounts are difficult to predict at this time, possibly from only a trace up to 0.50 if any heavier storms manage to develop. It will likely be muggy, with dewpoint temperatures in the 60's or 70's a good possibility.

Projected path of Hurricane Paine, as projected by the NWS Hurricane Center Monday afternoon.

Projected path of Hurricane Paine, as projected by the NWS Hurricane Center Monday afternoon.

DETAILS FOR WEDNESDAY - THURSDAY

The remnants of Hurricane Paine will move northeast into Arizona, and the moisture will combine with a new low pressure system moving in from the northwest. This low pressure is the first somewhat significant system of the fall season, with snowfall possible in the High Sierras to our north. Locally, it is still possible that the lingering moisture may combine with the cold front and trough moving through to create a few more scattered showers on Wednesday or Wednesday night. However, the wind and cooling temperatures are the most likely effects, with strong west winds expected to howl through the I-10 corridor, with areas of blowing sand and dust likely to accompany the fresh weather change Wednesday night or Thursday. Some of these gusts may blow south into the central and northern areas of Palm Springs, North Cathedral City, as well as northern areas of Palm Desert, Rancho Mirage and Indio. It is also possible that southerly winds may blow through some of the southern canyons for a period of time ahead of the cold front.

THURSDAY NIGHT AND BEYOND

The cold front will move to the east, bringing clear skies and a possible light-moderate Santa Ana Wind condition later this weekend. This means humidity will be bone dry, skies should be crystal clear, and temps will likely jump back up to near or above 100 degrees by Sunday.

All in all, this is a tough forecast the next several days, as systems combining from the northwest and the south are notoriously difficult to predict. Cloudiness is definitely going to continue, but rainfall will be tough to predict with certainty. It may be that we only see sprinkles or light rain the next few days. However, the possibility is certainly there for heavier rainfall at times. I'm curious to see how it all plays out.