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Showing posts from 2011

Changes Still Coming, But Ever So Slow

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Changes should be coming to the Sierra in about a week to 10 days. However with all the cold air still trapped in the arctic, the storms headed our way are weak. In fact the Pacific born storms are all weak. We are about to conclude our driest December in the last 130+ years, with no measurable precipitation in the Central and Northern Sierra.

Having said all of that, the changes that I have been forecasting are still en route, but ever so slow. GFS has a fairly weak system coming ashore around the 5th of January, however this system will die as it attempts to rise above the Sierra. Here is a forecast look for the 5th along with the total forecasted precip through the 10th of January.



Again, without the cold air, we are not seeing storms of any significance.

Right now we need about 6-10 feet of snow just to open most ski areas completely. Right now I do not see that happening any time soon. Having said that, many of the long range models are predicting  a chance of a decent event arou…

Conditions For Snow Becoming More Favorable

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As I wrote in my last post, high pressure has been blocking anything from getting down to our area. However that ridge is showing signs of weakening and because of that it is being shoved south and west. This is allowing small storms to come down the coast and have at least a minor impact on Tahoe. Moving forward, these storms will gradually pick up in intensity. It looks like the first big storm of the season will arrive here sometime between Christmas and New Years. Both the EC and GFS long range models are showing signs of enhanced storm intensity. These storms are also moving much further south.

EC has a small system coming our way in a little over a week. (Figure 1)


Notice how this storm is still off the coast as it heads south. This is much more typical of an El Nino year than a La Nina year. Pretty much means you can throw the Nino/Ninas out the window this year.

A series of larger storms start to make their way into our area starting around the 28th. This is no guarantee, as t…

Change Coming But Not Until December 20th

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The stubborn high pressure ridge that has blocked all storms from sniffing our area is showing signs of moving south. That will open a large corridor for major storms to hit our area. However those storms will probably not start until around the Christmas Eve or Christmas Day at the earliest. I have displayed two images below, the first is where the blocking high pressure ridge has been and is now. The second is the GFS forecast for where it will be around the 20th of December.  Notice that the high pressure ridge is much smaller and about 1,000 miles south. The next challenge is for that ridge to move a bit west and the storm corridor will be open, big time.


I said this in my last post and I believe it is worth repeating. A typical La Nina year will not have as many storms but should produce an average amount of precipitation. This weather pattern, if it holds true, is setting up for some giant storms to slam the Tahoe area around Christmas.

This forecast is for 18 days down the roa…

Two Highs Become One, Dominate Our Weather

Our slow start to winter will continue for at least the next couple of weeks and probably until around mid December. Currently we have two large areas of High Pressure that are blocking any activity from getting anywhere near us. The only action we will see are sliders that come inland well north of us and slide down the through Washington and Oregon. Traditionally, these storms bring little if any precipitation. However, they do bring cold weather. Look for cooler temperatures for the next 3 or 4 days then a chance for a big warm up as the two high pressure systems become one and totally dominate our weather.

I will keep an eye out for a change in this highly unusual pattern. Generally when a pattern like this breaks, it is a major event. I am guessing between the 15th and the end of December we could see some really stormy weather. I believe it was 4 years ago we had a similar slow start. Rose made snow from NW all the way down Kit to the bottom, that is how late winter was. Shortly…

As Rose Remains Closed, Storm Falls Apart, High Pressure and Mild Weather to Move In

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Thanksgiving Travel
Travel should not be affected by the weather for the entire weekend. The Sierra, mostly north, will see some light snow between noon and 4:00pm on Thanksgiving day. After that the roads should be clear and driving conditions should be excellent.

Bad News For Skiers and Riders
A very slow start to winter is upon us. Mt. Rose was unable to open due to lack of snow and even snow making conditions. In addition, the decent sized storm that the models predicted a week ago has weakened considerably, will split and have nearly no impact whatsoever on the Sierra. To make matters worse for skiers and riders, a strong ridge of high pressure will move in and camp out, preventing any storms from moving into the area for the foreseeable future. As high pressure moves in it will block anything that does make it to our area from getting any sort of moisture tap. That means wind and no precipitation. Here is what we are looking at. Notice the 2nd area of high pressure. It will move …

Frustrating Pattern Makes Forecasts Very Difficult

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Yucksville
We have been in a frustrating pattern that has baffled the weather models and made weather forecasters look like babbling idiots, including yours truly. Having said all that, I have not been far off. I also search for storms that are way out and try to will them in. Not exactly scientific but many skiers and riders like that about this column ... something to possibly look forward to.

Storm 1
I am looking at a couple of storms. The first is knocking on the door. The models are generally in agreement. The storm, born in the Gulf of Ak, will travel down the west coast and cut inland somewhere between Central California and the Mexican border. However, GFS has this storm going right by us while EC has the storm coming down the coast more to the east and at least giving us a glancing blow. The first image is the GFS forecast, the 2nd is the EC forecast. This is for tonight and tomorrow. If the models are not in agreement 12-24 hours out ... then it is anybody's guess. But, I…

Thanksgiving Day Party?

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Thanksgiving Day Blizzard
I am tracking a decent storm that appears to be heading right for us on Thanksgiving Day. Obviously, your favorite Tahoe mountain will not be open by Thanksgiving, but if this thing holds together, it may be shortly thereafter. Amazingly, the two big long range models (GFS, EC) are in agreement about this one which is rare this far out. In addition the PNA is going negative for the last half of the month. Here is what GFS shows for Thanksgiving day:


GFS and EC are showing between 2-4 inches of liquid precip with this storm which could translate into 18-40 inches of snow, if we are lucky:



Notice the bulk of the precip staying to our north. However if a little more of that energy comes down to us we could turn this into a much bigger event.

If you have plans to travel over the mountain passes, I would stay tuned to this blog in the coming days as I fine tune the timing of this storm. For now, it looks like the party gets rolling Thanksgiving morning.

Two Storm…

2 Strong Waves Coming To Tahoe

I am currently enjoying 85 and sunny weather in Florida. I noticed that the weather has been summer like since I left town. The last time I left town was January. When I returned they were calling it June uary. Well, the good news is that I am coming home. The really good news is that we have 2 strong storms heading our way in the next 10 days. The first should be here on Friday and should last the weekend. The next arrives the following Wednesday and looks like a giant storm. When I am back in my office tomorrow, I will fine tune this forecast.

Stay Tuned ...

Storm Late This Week Should Open Door For Possible Larger Storms

The larger storm for late this week that I have been tracking is going to slide down the California coast and make shore in Southern California next weekend. It will have little if any affect on our weather. That is the bad news. The good news is that it should open the door for a series of storms to follow in its path and hit the Tahoe area starting in about a week.

The first of those storms should roll in mid day Sunday the 13th. EC has this as a decent storm for our area while GFS has it breaking up and only having a minor affect on the area. I will keep a close eye on this.

The next storm should roll in late in the week, around the 18th or 19th. GFS has this as a decent storm, EC does not go out that far.

I will be traveling, but should have time to post an update this weekend. Right now it looks about 50-50 to having the upper mountain open by Thanksgiving.

Stay Tuned ...

Tricky Weather Pattern Emerging

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As the first storm in our 1-2-3 punch approaches, models are pretty consistent. The Sierra will pick up some snow but it will probably be amounts in the low range of my forecast earlier in the week. On the heels of this storm comes another for Sunday and Monday. Again, this storm looks as though it will develop a north to south trajectory and snow amounts again will fall into the lower range. To fine tune the forecast, I am now looking at about 1-2 feet of snow by Monday evening, likely in the lower range.

The real tricky development comes Thursday of next week. The GFS model has a huge storm moving south and west right into our area. However the EC model has the storm moving south and getting trapped out at sea and having little to no effect for our area. Here is what GFS shows for early Thursday:


Again, EC could not be more in disagreement with the GFS model shown above, here is what EC believes will happen to this storm:


If GFS is correct, we could be looking at 3-5 inches of liqui…

Storms Strengthen, Looks Like 1-2-3 Punch

Quick Update:

Tonight the changes begin with a deep cold front dropping down to our east but hitting our area with strong winds and much colder temps.

Thursday Night / Friday: Strong trough drops in and dumps 6-18 inches in Sierra, slightly lesser amounts for Carson Range.

Sunday Night / Monday: Similar storm drops another 6-18 inches for both Sierra and Carson range.

Wednesday / Thursday: Stronger storm drops 1-3 fee for both Sierra and Carson.

As advertised, winter almost here. I will continue to update these storms as they approach. Take this into consideration when driving over mtn passes!

Pondo could be spinning in a week. If all goes well ... who knows?

Stay Tuned ...

Winter is Coming to the Sierra

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The beauty of living here is that between the stormy days we usually have nice weather. Since mid-June, we have had only a couple of stormy days and very nice weather. However, it is that time of year when we can expect the storms to start dropping south again and pummeling our mountains. Fall has been beautiful, but that is about to come to an abrupt halt!

The first storm will actually come ashore up in Oregon, move inland a few hundred miles and then drop south. This will usher in a pattern change and much cooler, windier weather. Here is a quick peek at Tuesday, early morning (Notice the isobars being very close together, that means wind!). This storm will not bring much if any precip. Any precip that does accompany this storm will have a greater effect on the valley than the mountains:


Starting next Friday, November 4th, a series of storms are headed our way that could last through the following Tuesday. Right now the models are not agreeing as to the amount of precipitation. My g…

Weather To Remain Nice Into November

Nice is a relative term. However that is what we are going to get. Very mild weather with lots of sun and no storms. There is an indication that the pattern could change toward the beginning of November and I will keep an eye on that. Until then enjoy the beautiful fall weather. We will get ours, it is now just a matter of time!

Weather Will Turn Mild and Sunny

Looking down the road, our weather is going to turn mild and sunny starting Saturday and lasting for what looks like a couple of weeks, at least. Expect daytime highs in the mid-70's to possibly low-80's. So take the golf clubs back out and enjoy. This rain should have been very beneficial for the mountain bike trails as well! Next time you hear from me, I will have a storm in sight!

Stay Tuned ...

After This Storm, No Other Storms In Site

The coming storm will bring some real serious December/January like weather to the Sierra and leeward valleys. Most areas will see some snow and the Sierra will pick up 1-3 feet of snow, depending on elevation. That is up from my prediction of 10-20 inches yesterday.

Unfortunately, this appears to be the last storm for at least the next 2 weeks. The models are in surprising agreement that high pressure will move in and keep the storms far to our north.

I guess the golf season continues ... Stay Tuned.

One Storm Here Another On It's Tail

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We have a decent chance of precip for the next 3 days and if you think it is windy today, wait until Tuesday Night and Wednesday as our first moderate storm of the year approaches. Most of the action will be to our north and west. However it looks like Tahoe and the leeward valleys along the Carson Range should get some good rain. As far as snow, the NWS has issue a Winter Storm Warning for the Sierra around Lake Tahoe above 7,000 feet. Look for 10-20 inches of snow depending on elevation. When we see the mountains again from Reno, they will have a nice white coating on them. Here is a look at the EC precip totals. This is the most aggressive of all the models and shows quite a bit of precip for the area. Most of the other models are forecasting about half that. The bulk of this storm will come in Tuesday night and last into Wednesday. Looking down the road, temperatures will be much cooler, but High Pressure should settle into the area for the weekend, which should mean sunny skies w…

Near Perfect Weather To Slowly Phase Out Ahead of Stormy Pattern

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Hard to complain about our weather since the snows stopped in the middle of June. Since that time it has been near perfect with warm sunny days and cool nights. That pattern will not stay constant. Instead we have a series of disturbances headed our way for early next week. As I talked about in my last post, the remnants of Tropical Storm Hilery is going to mix with a trough and prime the atmosphere with moisture. That moisture will be pulled north by a couple of low pressure systems. This pattern that I see developing looks very similar to what we witnessed last March. Large storms to our north, cut off a chunk of their energy and send it down the coast our way. Next Wednesday is looking very interesting with what appears to be a decent precipitation event headed for the Northern Sierra. Take a look:


Again, GFS has this storm coming our way on or about Wednesday October 5th. This will bring snow only to the highest elevations > 10,000 feet, as it will be accompanied by warm air. I…

Cooler This Weekend, Nice Next Week

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Ok, about time I got back into this thing. I know under my roof everybody is looking forward to winter. This weekend will see a weak low pressure system to our north sneak some cool and windy air into our region. However next week is looking beautiful.

There have been some changes over the last few months, highlighted by the emergence of La Nina (Yes, she is back) in the Equatorial Pacific. That has caused a number of long range forecasters to predict an early start to winter, in some cases very early.

Currently, I am tracking a tropical storm down off the southern coast of Baja. Hilery is packing some moisture and moving north and this could coincide with a weak trough dropping out of the Gulf of Alaska. This could be our first major weather event and it looks like October 1 and 2 is when the party gets started. The mountains should see some snow in the upper elevations above 10,000 feet. Here is a look at the 2nd of October:



Ok, the models are all over the place. La Nina returned in…

Continued Near Perfect Weather For 7-10 Days

Unseasonably Large Cold Front Knocking at the Door

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Normally this blog is in hibernation this time of year, but this is no normal year. There is a very large cold front pushing down the Oregon coast that is coming our way. With this front will come wind, rain, snow in the upper elevations (> 9,500) and much cooler weather. Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday temperatures will probably not get out of the 70's in the leeward valleys of the Sierra. Likewise, in California, high temps will by 20-30 degrees below average. Here is a look:


This satellite picture is unheard of this time of year. Enjoy the cool weather while it lasts as summer is coming in full force as the jet will shift far to the north allowing much warmer air to come into the Northern Sierra. Temperatures could reach 100 by the beginning of next week in areas like Reno and Carson City.

Mother Nature willing, I can now go back to hibernation.

Stay tuned ...

Human Induced Global Warming Predictions Falling Like Dominoes

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Quick Weather Update
It is going to be hot this week. It is going to be really hot next week with high's in the upper 90's or above. So if you are waiting for the warm weather, your wait is almost over.

Colorado River Flows
Some amazing numbers are coming out concerning the water levels of Lake Mead and Lake Powell in Nevada/Arizona. Before we go into those numbers read this quote from the New York Times. The link to the ridiculous article is published at the end of this post:

"Lake Mead has a 50 percent chance of becoming unusable by 2021, the scientists say, if the demand for water remains unchanged and if human-induced climate change follows climate scientists’ moderate forecasts, resulting in a reduction in average river flows."

The headline of the article is:

"Lake Mead Could Be Within a Few Years of Going Dry, Study Finds"

This article was published in 2008. What is amazing and something you find all the time in the liberal media, is the purposeful dis…

Record Rains and Snows

Wow. The foothills of Reno picked up nearly 3 inches of rain over the weekend. The upper elevations of the Sierra picked up 5+ feet of snow. The Carson Range, west of Reno, probably picked up in the 4 foot range. Truly an amazing storm for June. As of 9:30am, we still have heavy to moderate snow in the upper elevations (8,000+) of the Carson Range. That will be winding down late this morning. There could be some wrap around moisture, but for the most part, this should mark the end of winter.
Prior to this storm, we were running very high from a snowpack point of view. In fact the Northern Sierra (North of Lake Tahoe) was at 559% of average. That is measured as a snow to water content. The Central Sierra (Lake Tahoe South to Yosemite, was at 332% of average. That was before this storm. Why do you never hear that? When we were running below average, it was a major story. Hmmm ...

Take a look for yourself:

California Snowpack

This may be the last time you hear from me for a while. Our muc…

This Aint Over Yet

Sunday at noon has brought a brief reprieve from the last 24 hours of rain. However, the low pressure system is about to make it's move. It appears that the heaviest precip will now come just north of Lake Tahoe. Reno could see an additional inch of rain, tonight and tomorrow morning.

The rest of the forecast remains the same. Summer coming with mid-70's by Thursday, followed by upper 80's and low 90's the following week.

I am going to summit Slide Mountain in about a half hour and will report on snow levels. Tomorrow could be an epic day if snow levels stay below 8,000, which is expected. Slide Mountain is right in the path of the heaviest precip.

Quick Update

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Not much has changed as the large storm is stationary off the Northern/Central California coast. The NWS is increasing it's precip totals in areas further south, which includes the Tahoe Basin. Snow levels should be around 8,000 feet until Sunday night when the real cold air comes in on the back side of the low. They will then drop down to 6,000 feet. The NWS will issue a Winter Weather Advisory for the Sierra Starting very early Monday morning.

I am still sticking with my forecast of a major change to a summer pattern coming on the 9th of June. Then by the 16th or 17th, the leeward valley's will be in the upper 80's and low 90's, which is above the average temperature. It will, however, be a slow transition. This final storm of the winter will be very beneficial for the entire area and push back the fire season some 2-4 weeks, as many areas will receive 2-4 inches of rain. Here is a quick look at the regional radar at 1:00 pst today:


This moisture should push north and…

Huge, Cold, Wet Storm Knocking on the Door

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An unseasonably large storm is gaining strength and knocking on our door. This would be a pretty impressive January storm. It is unheard of for June. It does appear to be the last major storm until next fall. This storm will stick around for the next 4-5 days and drop copious amounts of precip in the region, especially Northern California. Here is a look at the storm as it approaches, this afternoon:



 This storm is going to stay stationary for a couple of days and send waves of moisture into California and the Lake Tahoe Basin. Around Sunday evening, it will make it's move and come ashore and track right over Lake Tahoe. Here is a look at early Monday morning (June 6):



Finally, here is a look at the projected precipitation totals. Some parts of California are going to pick up 4+ inches of liquid precipitation. This map has Tahoe in the 1-2 inch range, but I think that is low, especially over the crest of the Sierra, which could be looking at 2-4 feet of snow.
Summer is in Sight Elus…

When Will Winter End?

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As our temperatures hover around 20 degrees below average and our mountains continue to get pounded with snow, the overwhelming majority of people (including my 9 year old daughter) are asking, "When will winter end?" If you read the links of my last post, you saw that the stars aligned for a very turbulent winter this past year. That weather continues and will continue for about another 7-10 days, at least. About the middle of next week, our temperatures should rebound and get close to average for this time of year.



What is happening, is a large area of low pressure to our north continues to cut off pieces of energy and send them our way. The blocking high pressure channels these "cutoff lows" down the coast where they come ashore over Northern California. They bring with them unseasonably cold air. We have another system coming late this weekend with more mountain snow on Sunday night. On it's heels we have another weaker system. The NWS has described this as…

Not Much Has Changed, Not Much Is Changing

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Is This The New Status Quo
For you summer enthusiasts, I am not seeing anything on the horizon that will change the weather pattern that we have been in for months. Blocking High Pressure is anchored off the coast to the west. This is a very large area of high pressure. That area needs to move south for our temps to rise. The storms are moving around that area clockwise which is pulling unseasonable cool air in from the north. Occasionally, the ridge slides east and our temps bump into the mid to upper 60's, but then it slides back west and that opens the door for more cooler weather. The long range models are showing no change in our current weather trend. Here is our current situation:


For you drought mongers and global warming enthusiasts your silence in deafening. I have to admit, I do not remember a May like this one.
Global Warming, Fact or Fiction You Decide There has never been a better time to start our global warming debate than a 20 degree day with 1-2 feet of snow coming …

Storms Keep Coming

Last night's storm was a little disappointing. However, it appears as though the Northern Carson range may have been the big winner with around 6 inches of snow. Today another storm is on the doorstep and will bring us even more snow. With the big hit coming in late tonight and lasting through tomorrow night. Some areas of the Sierra could pick up another 3 inches of liquid precip on top of the 3 inches they have received since Saturday. The winds are coming too, starting late morning.

Looking ahead, Friday will be the only near normal temperature day for the next week or more, as we will remain in this stormy pattern. Another unseasonably large storm is going to slam the Pacific NW and may have an impact on our weather starting Saturday night and lasting through Monday. The blocking ridge of high pressure will try to make a recovery.

Looking way ahead, Memorial day weekend looks like a mixed bag with Sunday and Monday being nice with high's in the mid-70's. Saturday could…

The Squeeze Is On

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As our dominant high pressure system drifts further west, storms are squeezing by it, down the coast and hitting us in Tahoe. Yesterday's storm dumped over a foot in the higher elevations of the Sierra with 6-10 inches in the Carson Range. Two more storms are going to squeeze by until the high pressure system moves back east and blocks the storms again. Here is a look:


I expect another 1-2 feet by the end of Wednesday for the Sierra and very nearly that in the Carson Range as two decent storms are poised to hit the Tahoe area. Here is a look for late tomorrow:

One storm hits tonight and another tomorrow night. Tomorrow's storm has even more potential than tonight's which should dump over a foot of snow in the higher elevations.  Some areas are going to pick up nearly 3 inches of liquid precip, which is almost unheard of this time of  year. Here is the precip totals through Wednesday:


Snow levels will be right around lake level and these systems will have no significant impac…

Strong Low To Sneak In

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The high pressure ridge which has dominated our weather for nearly a month now is going to drift ever so slightly west, which will allow an unseasonably strong low pressure system to sneak into our area and have an impact on our weather for the next 5 days or so. I understand there is a bike race that goes over the pass between Kings Beach to Northstar tomorrow. There will be snow over that pass tonight through tomorrow morning with 2-6 inches of accumulation likely. At Lake level, the NWS is calling for 1-3 inches, falling late tonight through tomorrow morning. There is not a ton of moisture associated with this storm. This, however, this is a very deep low and the pressure gradient will squeeze out some very strong winds, especially in the Sierra. Those winds will start late this afternoon, peak tonight and remain strong at least through the day tomorrow. Here is a look at the GFS precip forecast for 5:00am tomorrow morning:


Again, not heavy precip, but the timing should guarantee s…

Inadequate Moisture Tap for Large Storms

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The models are now backing off of the high pressure system moving south. In fact by the end of next week they have it dominating the entire west coast. So expect more of the same.

That is not to say the potential does not exist for a large storm at this time of year. However, chances are greatly diminished. Remember last year? Here is a picture of my daughter snowboarding on Easter Sunday. I took this picture from about 5 feet away from her in the afternoon on Slide Mountain:


That stormed moved over the mountains and dumped in Reno too. I guess what I am saying is that the winter winds down, the potential does exist for one or two more pretty good sized storms. In fact, I would be surprised if that does not happen.

Happy Easter!

High Pressure Slides South, Storms Slide In

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Here is a look at early next week, notice the the blocking high has moved well south and the storm track is now back in Northern California ... More later.


We Remain on the Extreme Southern End of the Storms

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The ridge of high pressure that has been sitting off the west coast for what seems like a month, does not appear to be going anywhere. This is causing the storms to move well to our north. Occasionally, the ridge gets backed down by a stronger storm and we get a glancing blow, which comes in the form of mostly wind and minor amounts of precipitation. Here is a look at what has been in place now for a couple of weeks:


You can clearly see the blocking high pressure system. We are right on the edge of the block which is why we are getting an occasional wind storm. That will not change. Expect minor disturbances Tomorrow and Thursday.

I do not see any major storm activity. However there are some signs that the blocking high will eventually move on, which may open the door for more energy to hit our area.

We are moving from a La Nina back to an El Nino. I will talk about that in the coming posts.


Stay Tuned ...