Storm 38 – The Jet Has Landed

ENTERED Sunday 160131 at 0500PST—————————–

Here’s the 60 sampler cities totals for Storm 38 – “Significant Storm 13.”

Significant Storm 13 dropped 38.03″ of water on the 60 cities, about .62″ per city. Rainfall during this storm was distributed mainly to NorCal, Central Nevada and Utah, though I don’t usually monitor Utah because it is in the Rocky Mountain weather province. Notable totals — almost 6 inches fell in Nevada City  as it caught unobstructed atmospheric river moisture that came in through San Francisco Bay. Lee Vining, on the dry side of the Sierra Nevada, received an INCH of rain on Saturday.


UPDATE: WY2016 No. 38: 160128-31: Sigf 13: Saturday, 160130 at 2000PST:

As the last weekend of January 2016 arrived, so did a new session of storms from off the Pacific Ocean powered by the El Niño, which is currently in full swing. This 38th storm, the lead system of the new session, was powered by a polar cyclone off the coast of Washington State that moved southeast into Utah and Nevada. It didn’t cause the amount of storm activity that was expected, but did manage to bring a significant amount of rain to Northern California on Thursday, 160128 and Friday, 160129.

HOW El Niño brings storms to California:
(1) A warmer than normal sea surface temperature anomaly develops in the Pacific Ocean along the equator from the Galapagos Islands to Borneo – this is the El Niño. It causes the normal westerly Trade Winds to slow down, stop or change direction to easterly. (2) This results in extra energy than normal in the Western Pacific Ocean . (3) The extra power in the western Pacific makes the jet stream drive across the mid Pacific Ocean into California instead of the normal North Pacific route to a Pacific Northwest destination, especially during the winter months.

With this being an El Niño year, how is it going?
Some California locations are doing well, others haven’t. Grants Pass 16.33/121%; Fort Bragg 19.43/119%; Susanville 4.95/117%; Reno 3.95/167%; Sac’to 3.62/52%; SFO 4.80/65%; Yosemite 12.29/101%; Grant Grove 14.09/105%; Bishop .80/49%; Fresno 5.20/150%; Santa Barb .88/17% (!!!); Long B 1.00/28% (!!!); LA 1.03/26% (!!!)


UPDATE: WY2016 No. 38: 160128-31: Sigf 13: Saturday, 160130 at 1000PST:

The 38th system of the water year exists this morning as a meeting of the airmasses, polar and subtropical, along a frontal boundary that lies outstretched from Hawaii to Wyoming. The front is moving west to east, sliding the California-Nevada portion south very slowly, keeping the rain band along it practically stationary, prompting a flash flood watch in the Sierra Nevada Foothills of California. Fresno, where I am, has been under off-and-on very light rain since 5 am. Weather radar of the Western US shows very light rain or snow in falling in interior portions of California, the middle of Nevada, and the Salt Lake area of Utah. As a weather event on the ground, Storm 38 is currently not that impressive.



Storm 38 is as of this writing a current storm in progress. It has moved inland over NorCal and Oregon but remains at sea, and, I assume, about to move inland south of NorCal.

Storm 38 is the start of a new session of Pacific storms. I’m hoping this session will last all week and contain at least one major storm.

Pacific Storms are generated and supported by a jet stream.

Here is the current Jet Stream chart – it’s a beauty! It flows off Japan, dips toward Hawaii, picks up some tropical moisture, then heads to the North American coast. It needs a bit more of solid look to it before the storms it produces can get REALLY big, however. It’s not as bad as last week’s jet though, which was wide and slow as the Mississippi. The top half of the jet’s leading edge has made landfall over Oregon and NorCal. The rest of the jet is following suit, pushing into CenCal and Southern California (SoCal), along with the frontal boundary of Storm 38.



Here is another interpretation of of the current skies over the West Coast, from the Ocean Prediction Center. The frontal boundary is Storm 38 stretches out west at quite a shallow angle. As it comes onshore, that may favor a slowly moving band of precipitation, hence perhaps that is why the National Weather Service in Hanford, California, issued a flash flood watch for the Sierra foothills of CenCal.




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