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 Weather Alert!!!

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AuthorMessage
twohawks
Admin


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Number of posts : 236
Age : 57
Location : Homeless
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Registration date : 2007-08-25

PostSubject: Weather Alert!!!   Thu Jan 21, 2010 1:29 am





Batten Down the
Hatches, California!













Here
is a copy of the storm alert that was distributed by US
Geological Survey/Pacific Science Center
yesterday:




Currently,
the strong El Nino is reaching its peak in the Eastern
Pacific, and now finally appears to be exerting an influence
on our weather. The strong jet has been apparent for
quite some time out over the open water, but the persistent
block had prevented it from reaching the coast. Now
that the block has dissolved completely, a 200+ kt jet is
barreling towards us. Multiple large and powerful
storm systems are expected to slam into CA from the west and
northwest over the coming two weeks, all riding this
extremely powerful jet stream directly into the state.
The jet will itself provide tremendous dynamic lift, in
addition to directing numerous disturbances right at the
state and supplying them with an ample oceanic moisture
source. The jet will be at quite a low latitude over
much of the Pacific, so these storms will be quite cold, at
least initially.



Very
heavy rainfall and strong to potentially very strong winds
will impact the lower elevations beginning late Sunday and
continuing through at least the following Sunday. This
will be the case for the entire state, from (and south of)
the Mexican border all the way up to Oregon . Above
3000-4000 feet, precipitation will be all snow, and since
temperatures will be unusually cold for a precipitation
event of this magnitude, a truly prodigious amount of
snowfall is likely to occur in the mountains, possibly
measured in the tens of feet in the Sierra after it's all
said and done. But there's a big and rather
threatening caveat to that (discussed below).
Individual storm events are going to be hard to time for at
least few more days, since this jet is just about as
powerful as they come (on this planet, anyway).
Between this Sunday and the following Sunday, I expect
categorical statewide rainfall totals in excess of 3-4
inches. That is likely to be a huge underestimate for
most areas. Much of NorCal is likely to see 5-10
inches in the lowlands, with 10-20 inches in
orographically-favored areas. Most of SoCal will see
3-6 inches at lower elevations, with perhaps triple that
amount in favored areas.


This
is where things get even more interesting, though. The
models are virtually unanimous in "reloading" the powerful
jet stream and forming an additional persistent kink
2000-3000 miles to our southwest after next Sunday.
This is a truly ominous pattern, because it implies the
potential for a strong Pineapple-type connection to
develop. Indeed, the 12z GFS now shows copious warm
rains falling between days 12 and 16 across the entire
state. Normally, such as scenario out beyond day seven
would be dubious at best. Since the models are in such truly
remarkable agreement, however, and because of the extremely
high potential impact of such an event, it's worth
mentioning now. Since there will be a massive volume
of freshly-fallen snow (even at relatively low elevations
between 3000-5000 feet), even a moderately warm storm event
would cause very serious flooding. This situation will
have to be monitored closely. Even if the tropical
connection does not develop, expected rains in the coming
7-10 days will likely be sufficient to cause flooding in and
of themselves (even in spite of dry antecedent conditions).


In
addition to very heavy precipitation, powerful winds may
result from very steep pressure gradients associated with
the large and deep low pressure centers expect ed to begin
approaching the coast by early next week. Though it's
not clear at the moment just how powerful these winds may
be, there is certainly the potential for a widespread
damaging wind event at some point, and the high Sierra peaks
are likely to see gusts in the 100-200 mph range (since the
200kt jet at 200-300 mb will essentially run directly into
the mountains at some point). The details of this will
have to be hashed out as the event(s) draw closer.


In
short, the next 2-3 weeks (at least) are likely to be more
active across California than any other 2-3 week period in
recent memory. The potential exists for a dangerous
flood scenario to arise at some point during this interval,
especially with the possibility of a heavy rain-on-snow
event during late week 2. In some parts of Southern
California , a whole season's worth of rain could fall over
the course of 5-10 days. This is likely to be a rather
memorable event. Stay tuned…




Samuel
Y. Johnson


Western
Coastal and Marine Geology



U.S.
Geological Survey



Pacific
Science Center



400
Natural Bridges Drive



Santa
Cruz, CA 95060


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