Storms 16-26 of December 2010

Wednesday morning, Fresno, so I understand, just beat the record for wettest December ever (since measuring began). Bookending the storm activity for the month were “blasts” of cold North Pacific air giving Fresno sub-freezing temperatures at night, with very dry conditions. What happened in between was a spectacular rain event caused by four things happening concurrently: A strong Mexican high bulged northward, a fierce Aleutian low deepened and pushed south, huge subtropical Pacific storms formed, and finally in between the Mexican High and Aleutian Low, a wide, strong Jet Stream pulled all that subtropical storm moisture north and east, from just west of Hawai’i and sending it right into California.
Let’s pick it up at Storm 16. Storm 16 of December 11, 2010 is when the subtropical moisture first began to arrive.
Storm 16
About a day later came news that every storm out at sea going out halfway to Taiwan would be coming ashore, bringing mild and heavy rains.
Storm 17
Almost immediately, the next day, storm 17 hit the West Coast. In it we saw a mighty Jet stream flow establish into a wide river of moisture from out near Hawaii. It is a weather event known as a “Pineapple Express.” In Storm 17, the Express chugged until the storm’s low pressure center pushed east to cause a barely descernable break in it.
Storm 18
Storm 18 of December 15 saw that jet loaded with Hawaiian moisture make another run directly at California. The stronger Alaskan low was bringing everything south. But the REAL Pineapple Express hadn’t arrived. As the Aleutian low strengthened, storm activity west of Hawaii flared up, and all that storm moisture was just beginning its eastward journey. Meanwhile, in California, the storm activity lulled, a calm before the storm, as it were.
Storm 19
Storm 19 came out of the Pacific on December 16, on the Pineapple Express.
Storm 20
Open the floodgates. The Pineapple Express widens on December 17.
Un-numbered storm!
I failed to number this storm, so it is Storm ?? (Actually Storm 21)
Storm 21 (Actually Storm 22) (Part 2) (Actually Part 1)
Storm 21 actually Storm 22 (Part 3) (Actually Part 2)
Storm 21 (Actually Storm 22) (Part 4) (Actually Part 3)
Storm 22 (Actually Storm 23) (The Mohave Solstice Storm)
With solstice happening, with a VERY rare lunar eclipse on solstice, Storm 22 (Actually Storm 23) slammed San Diego, the Mohave Desert, including Las vegas, Barstow and even reached Death Valley.
Storm 23 (Actually Storm 24) – The Mammoth Mountain Monster
Storm 23 (Actually Storm 24) was an upper level low that dropped down from the north following the Pineapple Express and Solstice storms, on December 22. It added to heavy snowfall on the East Sierra and gave the Central Valley light rain. Mammoth Mountain ski resort got, like, 5 feet from it!
Storm 24 (Actually Storm 25) – The Christmas Day Storm
The storm on Christmas Day came in after a 3 day break in storm activity, showing up quickly, announcing itself with strong southerly winds. The storm brought in a long rain band with pockets of heavy rain that passed over in a few hours, giving way to a beautiful clear Sunday morning.
Storm 25 (Actually Storm 26) – Out With A Bang!
The storm 25 (actually 26) was all-solid heavy rain and heavy mountain snow, and even on the San Joaquin Valley floor, the rain gauges easily kept counting past 1 inch of rain overnight. It was powered by a strong low pressure cell coupled with cold front that dropped down while drawing on a jet stream bring a large amount of subtropical moisture. The cold front blasted straight south into Mexico and the large storm itself rolled quickly into the great plains, where it became the rest of the country’s problem.

So, that’s 26 storms I count since the rainy season began. Oh, wait. That wasn’t the point of this blog! The point was to review the major storms of December, 2010. Oh, whatever, and HAPPY NEW YEAR!! We begin the new year with Storm 27, unless something unexpected happens…

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