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.
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.
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!