Huge storm poised to pound California; snow falls in Florida

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 3. tammikuuta 2008 klo 19:59 (GMT)

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A large and very powerful Pacific storm is poised to hammer California this weekend, bringing blizzard conditions and sustained winds over hurricane force to the Sierra Mountains. The mighty storm, currently about 1000 miles west of the state of Washington, is intensifying rapidly today. As the system approaches the coast of Washington State on Friday afternoon, its pressure is expected to bottom out at 960 mb--a pressure similar to that of a Category 2 hurricane. High winds will buffet all of California Friday and Saturday, with sustained winds of hurricane force and gusts of 145 mph expected along the high ridge tops of the Sierra Mountains. Blizzard conditions will envelop much of the Sierras, with 2-5 feet of snow likely to fall by Saturday. Snowfall rates up to six inches per hour are expected. Travel will be difficult or impossible in the northern mountains of California Friday and Saturday.


Figure 1. A massive winter storm (left side of image) prepares to hammer the U.S. West Coast on Friday and Saturday. A second, weaker storm is affecting the coast today.
In Southern California, the concern is heavy rain and flooding. Rainfall rates of up to an inch per hour are expected in the mountains, with total rain amounts of up to 10 inches expected in the south facing mountains. Landslides and debris flows are likely on the hillsides burned by the recent fires. Strong, damaging winds are expected over much of Southern California, as well. High winds over the the ocean will bring swells of 6-10 feet to the coast and 20 foot seas offshore, and isolated thunderstorms could spawn waterspouts. The storm responsible for the wild weather will weaken and move ashore on Saturday over British Columbia, but will still be strong enough to bring additional heavy rains, high winds, and mountain snows to California through Sunday.

Florida snow
It's cold in Florida! Snow flurries were reported along the east central coast of the state this morning, near Daytona Beach and Cocoa. It was the first snow seen in the region since 2003.The cold air behind the cold front responsible for the freeze was pushed by an unusually strong high pressure system. Tallahassee, Florida reported a new atmospheric pressure record at 11 am today: 30.77 inches (1042 mb). The previous record was 30.74 inches (1041 mb) which occurred on January 4th 1979 and again on February 5th 1996. Record low temperature records were set in Fort Myers (32° F), Miami Beach (40° F) and Key West (45° F) this morning, and citrus growers worked hard to keep their orange crops from freezing.

Jeff Masters

Cold morning in SW Florida (Peacefulbon)
I put my sprinklers on this morning to protect things from the 31-degree cold snap. My oranges will now be sweeter, but ice here is certainly uncommon.
Cold morning in SW Florida

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149. NEwxguy
4. tammikuuta 2008 klo 21:09 (GMT)
Can only imagine how many mudslides will occur in the fire ravaged areas.
Member Since: 6.09.2007 Posts: 862 Comments: 15079
148. LakeShadow
4. tammikuuta 2008 klo 20:48 (GMT)
AP article on the storm:
Link
Member Since: 10.08.2007 Posts: 3 Comments: 2134
147. clydedog
4. tammikuuta 2008 klo 20:45 (GMT)
Using the link in post #112, Ward Mt. has reported a wind gust of 163mph.
146. Levi32
4. tammikuuta 2008 klo 20:43 (GMT)
~~~~~NEW BLOG UP~~~~~


~~~~~NEW BLOG UP~~~~~


~~~~~NEW BLOG UP~~~~~
Member Since: 24.11.2005 Posts: 628 Comments: 26455
145. tmangray
4. tammikuuta 2008 klo 20:41 (GMT)
Wind shifted to SW just now, less gusty, barometer turning---frontal passage here along the east shore of SF Bay.
144. tmangray
4. tammikuuta 2008 klo 20:30 (GMT)
Faux pas. I see the poster is in Marin County, not the Santa Cruz Mtns. The front looks to be passing through Marin County right now.
143. lawntonlookers
4. tammikuuta 2008 klo 20:27 (GMT)
While surfing the web for storm reports in CA, I cam across Tazmanian. Located in Sulsbyville, ca. I thought it was interesting to see some of the pictures he has in the blog. Lot of wind damage and power outages all over CA. CNN has an article on some of the storm damage. Will have to see what the storm does over the next few days as far as going across the country. Looks like it may move to the north.
Member Since: 22.03.2006 Posts: 9 Comments: 1570
142. tmangray
4. tammikuuta 2008 klo 20:27 (GMT)
I'm surprised that the front has already passed thru the Santa Cruz Mtns. as it has yet to pass through the central bay section. Perhaps the front has a wave on it. The winds along the east shore of SF Bay and along the hills remain very strong and gusty at this moment, and the barometer has yet to start rising.
141. tmangray
4. tammikuuta 2008 klo 20:23 (GMT)
Truckee at 6000 feet in the Sierra has been reporting rain, not snow, all morning, reflecting the subtropical air being pulled in ahead of the cold front.
140. thunder01
4. tammikuuta 2008 klo 20:21 (GMT)
Whew. That was the biggest storm in a long time. Here in Marin County (San Rafael), I have received 5.50 inches of rain since midnight on top of 2.05 inches yesterday. Winds really got going in the early morning hours and reached 57 mph before my anemometer failed and the station was apparently dislodged from quarduple 4-inch bolts in the roof! I estimate that gusts here reached at least 80 mph--I saw a discarded Christmas tree fly up the street around sunrise--perhaps 90 mph. Numerous trees are down, most are without power, some roofs have been compromised, high-tension power lines are down on the roadways, and a substantial storm surge in San Francisco Bay crested about 2 feet above the seawall in San Rafael and flooded homes. The peak wind gust so far in the Bay Area was 107 mph in the Santa Cruz Mountains. Rain continues at a lesser intensity, but winds have died down behind the cold front. I do expect more significant rainfall with strong convective elements for the next 48 hours at least, and some strong thunderstorms with hail are likely. More at Weather West
Link
139. NEwxguy
4. tammikuuta 2008 klo 20:16 (GMT)
afternoon,was just scanning through all the blogging,nice job to everyone some great links were provided.When all is said and done,I think you will some records set in different categories.
Member Since: 6.09.2007 Posts: 862 Comments: 15079
138. Bonedog
4. tammikuuta 2008 klo 20:16 (GMT)
yea must be lowing like mad at 14K
Member Since: 14.07.2005 Posts: 14 Comments: 7418
135. Bonedog
4. tammikuuta 2008 klo 20:10 (GMT)
WOW Sts i dont remeber seeing it like that either
Member Since: 14.07.2005 Posts: 14 Comments: 7418
134. Bonedog
4. tammikuuta 2008 klo 20:09 (GMT)
Im watching the observations from the sierra crest. I made the link in post 112.

Member Since: 14.07.2005 Posts: 14 Comments: 7418
131. N3EG
4. tammikuuta 2008 klo 20:03 (GMT)
Barometer here in WA has been hanging around at about 980 mb all morning...Link
Member Since: 23.04.2005 Posts: 38 Comments: 224
130. tmangray
4. tammikuuta 2008 klo 19:59 (GMT)
The cold front associated with the monster low off the Pac NW coast is beginning to pass through the SF Bay Area. Winds are still strong and gusty from the south. Rainfall is moderate, heavy in spots. Winds on the other side of the front are shifting to SW, but still pretty strong. Numerous convective cells behind the front, so expecting thunder later. Winds along the crest of the Sierra gusting to 110 currently.
128. sp34n119w
4. tammikuuta 2008 klo 19:54 (GMT)
Here's an article on the early effects of the storm in Northern Cali, including...
Since the storm hit early this morning, 750,000 customers from Bakersfield to Eureka were blacked out,
It's raining in my part of So Cal and I'm waiting to see what happens next. It won't be as bad as that, though.
Member Since: 27.01.2007 Posts: 80 Comments: 4253
127. LakeShadow
4. tammikuuta 2008 klo 19:53 (GMT)
wow. thanks for all of the stats and maps and images everyone...this is great to watch this storm this way...
Member Since: 10.08.2007 Posts: 3 Comments: 2134
126. Bonedog
4. tammikuuta 2008 klo 19:49 (GMT)
(CNN) -- Fierce winds toppled trucks on a major Bay Area bridge and knocked out power to more than 100,000 people in Sacramento as wicked winter weather moved into California on Friday.

California transportation officials shut down the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge in the San Francisco area during Friday morning's commute when gusty winds blew over big rigs on both the upper and lower decks of the bridge, CNN affiliate KTVU reported.

Winds in the nearby Lucas Valley registered 83 mph, KTVU reported. The station also said the high winds forced 35 flights to be canceled at San Francisco International Airport, where wind was gusting at more than 60 mph.


Member Since: 14.07.2005 Posts: 14 Comments: 7418
125. ShenValleyFlyFish
4. tammikuuta 2008 klo 19:50 (GMT)
121. StSimonsIslandGAGuy 2:35 PM EST on January 04, 2008
Sully, they could just borrow it--leveraged buyout ya know :P


Why in the world would they want it? They are a bunch of weather nuts (well most, someone must have a head for business and run round the parking lot figuring out what to do with the cars with doors locked and motors still running). The headaches involved in trying to salvage that shipwreck would make "Storm Stories" look like a walk in the park on a clear spring day.
Member Since: 9.09.2007 Posts: 36 Comments: 4687
124. vortfix
4. tammikuuta 2008 klo 19:46 (GMT)
COASTAL HAZARD MESSAGE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE EUREKA CA 506 AM PST FRI JAN 4 2008 ...VERY LARGE SWELL EXPECTED TO POUND THE NORTHWEST CALIFORNIA COAST TONIGHT THROUGH SATURDAY... .A POWERFUL NORTHEASTERN PACIFIC STORM WILL GENERATE HIGH SEAS THROUGH TODAY. THE SWELL FROM THESE STORMS WILL MOVE INTO THE NORTHERN CALIFORNIA WATERS TONIGHT THROUGH SATURDAY. CAZ001-002-050130- /O.CON.KEKA.SU.W.0001.080105T0600Z-080106T0000Z/ REDWOOD COAST-MENDOCINO COAST- 506 AM PST FRI JAN 4 2008 ...HIGH SURF WARNING REMAINS IN EFFECT FROM 10 PM THIS EVENING TO 4 PM PST SATURDAY... A HIGH SURF WARNING REMAINS IN EFFECT FROM 10 PM THIS EVENING TO 4 PM PST SATURDAY FOR COASTAL AREAS OF HUMBOLDT...DEL NORTE AND MENDOCINO COUNTIES. VERY LARGE WESTERLY SWELL WILL BUILD TONIGHT...AND REACH 28 TO 30 FT BY EARLY SATURDAY MORNING. THE SWELL WILL LIKELY CONTINUE VERY HIGH...NEAR 25 FEET...THROUGH SATURDAY AFTERNOON. SWELL OF THIS MAGNITUDE WILL CREATE VERY HIGH AND DANGEROUS SURF. IN ADDITION...A HIGH TIDE OF 6 TO 7 FEET IS FORECAST TO OCCUR BETWEEN 8 AM TO 9 AM ON SATURDAY. THE HIGH TIDE MAY COMBINE FORCES WITH THE VERY LARGE WESTERLY SWELL TO PRODUCE MINOR COASTAL FLOODING OF NORMALLY DRY AREAS.
122. weatherdogg
4. tammikuuta 2008 klo 19:40 (GMT)
What do y'all think about the Weather Channel being up for sale (estimated $5 billion).

My thought is that it will be nice to see some ESS scientists make some money for once.
Member Since: 5.09.2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 85
120. vortfix
4. tammikuuta 2008 klo 19:37 (GMT)
Photobucket
119. sullivanweather
4. tammikuuta 2008 klo 19:37 (GMT)
Does Wunderground have 5 billion dollars?
Member Since: 8.03.2007 Posts: 273 Comments: 12612
118. Eegah
4. tammikuuta 2008 klo 19:34 (GMT)
Geesh eagah - look at all those events! Where do you live? I have relatives in Citrus Heights, Auburn and Herald.
I live in Antelope around the northeast corner of that map, but commute to downtown, half by car and the rest by light rail.

This morning, the car portion of the commute was actually just fine, actually better than usual for the morning rush hour. The train was another story, as its power went out continually making for frequent coasts and stops.

As luck would have it, the train couldn't get through about four stations from where I get off. Instead of the driver, you know, telling us we couldn't get through, she just started backing the train on the reverse route to go back home. No warning or anything.

So, I got a nice fish's-eye view of the storm, braving the worst of the winds on foot for the last mile or so to the office. Good times.

I don't think we hit actual hurricane-force winds here or anything, but it was plenty bad anyway, and since this happens so rarely here there are lots of fragile-rooted trees to fall over. Right now the winds have died down and we're just left with the downpour, which to be honest we really needed anyway.
116. Cavin Rawlins
4. tammikuuta 2008 klo 19:24 (GMT)
thanks
Member Since: 24.07.2005 Posts: 407 Comments: 19076
115. Bonedog
4. tammikuuta 2008 klo 19:20 (GMT)
MN DY Hour Temp Dir Wind Speed Gust

1 4 1100 27 328 62 109
1 4 1000 26 325 61 105
Member Since: 14.07.2005 Posts: 14 Comments: 7418
114. Tazmanian
4. tammikuuta 2008 klo 19:18 (GMT)
456 the link is in your blog
Member Since: 21.05.2006 Posts: 5089 Comments: 114051
113. Bonedog
4. tammikuuta 2008 klo 19:15 (GMT)
web cam from Reno
Member Since: 14.07.2005 Posts: 14 Comments: 7418
112. Bonedog
4. tammikuuta 2008 klo 19:12 (GMT)
got a remote site on the sierra crest!!

Link

updates hourly.

I see alot of 100 mph gusts
Member Since: 14.07.2005 Posts: 14 Comments: 7418
111. Bonedog
4. tammikuuta 2008 klo 19:10 (GMT)
heard reports of 120mph gusts in the Mountains already!!!


000
FXUS65 KREV 041732
AFDREV

AREA FORECAST DISCUSSION
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE RENO NV
930 AM PST FRI JAN 4 2008



STRONG WINDS WILL CONTINUE INTO THE AFTERNOON HOURS TODAY AS
WELL. WIND GUSTS OVER THE SIERRA CREST ARE CURRENTLY ANYWHERE FROM
100 TO 120 MPH AND EXPECTED TO STAY VERY STRONG..
.DROPPING OFF THIS
EVENING AND OVERNIGHT TONIGHT.
Member Since: 14.07.2005 Posts: 14 Comments: 7418
110. Cavin Rawlins
4. tammikuuta 2008 klo 19:06 (GMT)
taz can i get a link to that data with the wind gust?
Member Since: 24.07.2005 Posts: 407 Comments: 19076
109. Tazmanian
4. tammikuuta 2008 klo 18:52 (GMT)
Wind gusts reported over interior northern California through 10
am...

Site wind gust time
Sugarloaf RAWS... ... ... ... ... ... 78 mph... ... ... ... ..651 am
Pike County lookout RAWS... ... ..67 mph... ... ... ... ..710 am
Sacramento int'l Airport... ... ..66 mph... ... ... ... ..753 am
Marysville... ... ... ... ... ... ... .61 mph... ... ... ... ..802 am
Sacramento exec Airport... ... ... 69 mph... ... ... ... ..825 am
Blue Canyon... ... ... ... ... ... ... 65 mph... ... ... ... ..828 am
Beale AFB... ... ... ... ... ... ... ..69 mph... ... ... ... ..828 am
Elk Grove... ... ... ... ... ... ... ..71 mph... ... ... ... ..838 am
Suisun City... ... ... ... ... ... ... 60 mph... ... ... ... ..838 am
Stockton... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... 60 mph... ... ... ... ..838 am
Redding... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... .82 mph... ... ... ... ..849 am
Chico... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... 66 mph... ... ... ... ..855 am
Eagle Peak RAWS... ... ... ... ... ..65 mph... ... ... ... ..915 am
Lyons Valley RAWS... ... ... ... ... 73 mph... ... ... ... ..917 am
Member Since: 21.05.2006 Posts: 5089 Comments: 114051
108. vortfix
4. tammikuuta 2008 klo 18:44 (GMT)
PROBABILISTIC HEAVY SNOW AND ICING DISCUSSION
NWS HYDROMETEOROLOGICAL PREDICTION CENTER CAMP SPRINGS MD


A POWERFUL NORTHEAST PACIFIC STORM DRIVES A STRONG UPPER JET
ONSHORE INTO CA WITH THE ECMWF FORECASTING A PERSISTENT 110-130 KT
300 MB WIND MAXIMA ACRS CENTRAL CA. DIVERGENCE MAXIMA ALOFT IN
THE VICINITY OF THE JET WILL COMBINE WITH LOW LEVEL MOISTURE FLUX
ANOMALIES OF 4-5 STD DEVIATIONS ABV NORMAL TO AID ASCENT AS STRONG
DEEP LAYER SOUTHWEST FLOW PROVIDES UPSLOPE FLOW ON TERRAIN FACING
TOWARDS THE FLOW. THE MODELS AGREE ON FORECASTING SEVERAL INCHES
OF LIQUID EQUIVALENT QPF AND ROEBBER NEURAL NET SNOW TO LIQUID
RATIOS ESTIMATE ROUGHLY 8:1 RATIOS...REMINDING US WHY THIS SNOW IS
SOMETIMES CALLED SIERRA CEMENT (WET AND HEAVY).
SEVERAL FEET OF
SNOWFALL ARE EXPECTED IN THE CA SIERRA ON DAY ONE AND TWO. THE
NEGATIVE TILT OF THE TROUGH AXIS CREATES A HIGHLY DIFLUENT FLOW
PATTERN ALOFT ACRS THE CASCADES AND THEN NORTHERN
ROCKIES....SUPPORTING ADDITIONAL AREAS OF HEAVY SNOW IN FAVORED
TERRAIN.

SNOW AND STRONG WINDS WILL BE SPREADING FROM THE SAWTOOTH MTNS AND
TETONS AND ACROSS THE INTERMOUNTAIN REGION ON DAY TWO...REACHING
THE UINTAS AND WASATCH AND RANGES OF WESTERN CO AS THE STRONGER
LOW LEVEL MOISTURE FLUXES SHIFT SOUTH ACRS UT/CO. THE HEAVIEST
SNOWS SHOULD AGAIN OCCUR IN THE MOUNTAINS WHERE THE TERRAIN HELPS
FOCUS LIFT...WITH THE STRONGEST JET FROM CA TO CO FOCUSING HIGHEST
AMOUNTS PLUS LOCALLY HEAVY SNOWS IN THE CASCADES TO THE NORTHERN
ROCKIES WHERE HIGHER SNOW TO LIQUID RATIOS COMPENSATE FOR THE
SLIGHTLY LOWER QPF FORECASTS.

ON DAY THREE...THE UPPER TROUGH AXIS MOVES INTO THE CO
ROCKIES...WITH MORE SNOW FROM THE UT WASATCH/UINTAS EAST INTO THE
ROCKIES AND MORE UPPER DIVERGENCE MAXIMA CROSS THE REGION.
FRONTAL LAPSE RATES STEEPEN ON DAY TWO IN UT AND DAY THREE IN CO
TO NEAR 7-8 DEG C/KM FROM 700-500 MB...FURTHER SUPPORTING ASCENT
AS MOIST SOUTHWEST FLOW PERSISTS UNTIL THE FRONTAL PASSAGE. THERE
ARE TIMING DIFFERENCES ON DAY THREE WITH THE 700 MB SHORTWAVE
CROSSING CO WHICH WILL HAVE TO BE RESOLVED.

MANUAL PROGS FOLLOWED A SREFMEAN/NAM/ECMWF/GFS BLEND ALL THREE
DAYS.

THE PROBABILITY OF SIGNIFICANT ICING IS LESS THAN 10 PERCENT.
107. hurricane23
4. tammikuuta 2008 klo 18:41 (GMT)
Member Since: 14.05.2006 Posts: 8 Comments: 13597
106. Bonedog
4. tammikuuta 2008 klo 18:37 (GMT)
looking at the models Lake it appears the system moves into Canada after impacting the West Coast then degenerates rapidly. A day or two later it appears that its energy spins up a low around the panhandle then it tracks across the Great Lakes back into Canada
Member Since: 14.07.2005 Posts: 14 Comments: 7418
105. vortfix
4. tammikuuta 2008 klo 18:34 (GMT)
DAY 1 CONVECTIVE OUTLOOK
NWS STORM PREDICTION CENTER NORMAN OK
1021 AM CST FRI JAN 04 2008

VALID 041630Z - 051200Z

...NO SVR TSTM AREAS FORECAST...

POWERHOUSE PACIFIC STORM WILL BE AFFECTING PAC COAST TODAY
ACCOMPANIED BY INTENSE WIND FIELD. THE SURFACE FRONT MOVED ONSHORE
NRN CA COAST AROUND 14Z AND BY 00Z WILL EXTEND FROM ERN OR SWWD TO
SCENTRAL CA COAST.

WITH REGARDS TO CONVECTIVE POTENTIAL WITH THIS SYSTEM...THE OBSERVED
LIGHTNING OFFSHORE RAPIDLY DIMINISHED AS THE FRONTAL SYSTEM MOVED
ACROSS THE COLDER COASTAL WATERS. WITH THE MID LEVEL COOLING
ACCOMPANYING THE UPPER TROUGH THAT MOVES INLAND THIS
AFTERNOON...POST-FRONTAL AIR MASS EXPECTED TO DESTABILIZE AS MID
LEVEL LAPSE RATES INCREASE TO IN EXCESS OF 7C/KM.

CONVECTION INCLUDING LOW TOPPED THUNDERSTORMS WILL DEVELOP INLAND IN
WAKE OF FRONTAL ZONE THIS AFTERNOON W OF CASCADES AND NRN SIERRAS.
GIVEN THE INTENSE LARGE SCALE WIND FIELDS...ANY THUNDERSTORM COULD
BE ACCOMPANIED BY NEAR SEVERE SURFACE WIND GUSTS COASTAL AREAS OF
OR/NRN CA. HAIL WILL ALSO BE POSSIBLE ASSOCIATED WITH STRONGEST
UPDRAFTS.

..HALES.. 01/04/2008

Photobucket

Link
104. hurricane23
4. tammikuuta 2008 klo 18:35 (GMT)
Here's one more...

Member Since: 14.05.2006 Posts: 8 Comments: 13597
103. LakeShadow
4. tammikuuta 2008 klo 18:32 (GMT)
So this system will surely affect the entire country in some way, I would imagine... Its huge!
anyone have ideas about that?
Member Since: 10.08.2007 Posts: 3 Comments: 2134
102. hurricane23
4. tammikuuta 2008 klo 18:27 (GMT)
Here's a great IR loop from my software of the storm.Could get closer.



Large Loop Here
Member Since: 14.05.2006 Posts: 8 Comments: 13597
101. LakeShadow
4. tammikuuta 2008 klo 18:27 (GMT)
Member Since: 10.08.2007 Posts: 3 Comments: 2134
100. Bonedog
4. tammikuuta 2008 klo 18:26 (GMT)
Hey Lake
Member Since: 14.07.2005 Posts: 14 Comments: 7418
99. LakeShadow
4. tammikuuta 2008 klo 18:25 (GMT)
hola bonedog!
Member Since: 10.08.2007 Posts: 3 Comments: 2134

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About JeffMasters

Jeff co-founded the Weather Underground in 1995 while working on his Ph.D. He flew with the NOAA Hurricane Hunters from 1986-1990.

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