This Is Your Storm 43 Headquarters!

UPDATE 4 – April 27, 2010, 8:30 a.m.

UPDATE 3 – April 26, 2010, 1:30 p.m.
This is an awesome loop. Just now, about 2:15 p.m., the southerly ground winds (Storm winds) here in the valley started up. [CORRECTION. I thought they did, bit they didn’t.]

UPDATE 2 – April 25, 2010, 3:30 p.m

Storm 43 is pushing in as the bubble of very actively cloud-killing and ground-heating high pressure over us begins to visibly decay. Steady streams of subtropical moisture feed the hefty cloud band of the storm. The storm cell powering Storm 43 is dropping south.

UPDATE 1 – April 25, 2010, 10:30 a.m.

Check out the strength of the high pressure cell over us. As the outer clouds of Storm 43 approach the glass-clear stable air over California, its clouds disappear, literally erased from the sky, their moisture evaporated as the air gets pushed down in altitude by the high pressure system, gaining 1 degree Celsius for every 100 meters (330 feet) of descent at the dry adaibatic lapse rate. The air is being pushed down by force, because it is natural for warm air to rise like a balloon, not fall. This is indicative of very strong forces at work in the upper atmosphere.
Since warm air cannot be itself and play in the sky, causing rain, hail and tornadoes, the air is called “stable” by meteorologists. And do we ever have a lot of stable air over us today. There will be no clouds around. (Correction 3 p.m. — there’s lots of moisture in the air today as well as a warm day on the ground, so some flat afternoon alto-cumulus has formed over the valley this afternoon).
Look at the picture and note the snow cover in the Sierra. Impressive, no? Due to the drought of the last three years, a lot of this year’s runoff is not expected to make it out of the mountains, believe it or not, absorbed by the thirsty trees and bone-dry terrain. Nevertheless, make a pilgrimage to Yosemite Valley’s springtime waterfalls this year, because the snow pack is about 135% better than the mean up there this year.
Also in the picture is a Southern California coast phenomenon, the fog bank. When high pressure exists over Northern California, the upper air wind pushes offshore, but not strongly enough to cause offshore ground winds known as Santa Ana (originally called Santana, believe it or not) Winds. In the absence of offshore ground winds, a “marine layer” of cool sea air flows back to shore and socks Southern and Baja California with a stubborn fog. As Storm 43 pushes into the Great basin, the Santa Ana winds will erupt probably, because the Great Basin will need to drain itself of excess air. The Southern California fog is often a precursor to Santa Ana winds, since they form under conditions that exist ahead of a storm front entering the great basin.

This is Storm 43, currently a gigantic Pacific Storm heading east, right for us, solid and organized, expected to arrive in Fresno by Tuesday.


April is not normally a month big storms come to play on the California Coast. And When storms come through at this time of year, they are big trouble tornadically for the Southern United States after they they cross the Great Basin and emerge onto the Great Plains. So, it’s not good news for Alabama when California gets a big storm in April.
Bookmark this blog, add comments and corrections to my amatuer interpretation of the Satellite images. Now correct me if I’m wrong, but I don’t see this coming storm weakening all that much from what must be peak condition right now. It should have plenty of gas to be a major storm by the time it gets here. And I understand, a new one is expected to form right behind it, and could be on a trajectory that will have it peaking closer to the coast, making it more powerful for us. That will coincide with the weekend, so next weekend, maybe some storm chasing, California Style! We don’t have a great plains here, but we do have wine and cheese. We can go go watch it gale on the coast or watch flurries dust the coastal hills.
Normally, this is the time California dries up and puts away its rain gear and settles in for its fair weather summer. Hot and dry inland, with cool fog on the coast, weather as predictable as sunset and sunrise. The month of July is unique as no part of California has any rain at all normally, regardless of whether it is forest or desert. Even afternoon thunderstorms along the mountain crests are rare. Then in August, a rainy season of sorts begins that affects the highest mountains, the Desert Southwest monsoons.
Generally, for most of California, the Pacific winter storm is the sole source of water. And these storms come to California strictly during the most wintry months, November through March. An active, full-blown winter storm pattern in late April is rare. And I’ve never seen storms this powerful this late before this far south. Which is why I declare April 20 the unofficial end of rainy season. Actually, there is no such thing as an “official” start or end to rainy season.

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