1pm – update, the lightning has stopped. I hope it doesn’t come back…
June 22, 2008, lightning started a multitude of fires state wide. Ours was the Gallery Fire which morphed into the Basin. It was this fire that prompted this blog.
I am hearing thunder today, experiencing the lightest of sprinkles, and a muggy heavy heat I have not experienced since Hawaii, Zanzibar, and other tropical locales. The dogs are freaking over the thunder, as they always do. The coast is blanketed in fog down here. Dry lightning is not a good thing for us, as dry as we are, particularly up here in the hills. Keep vigilant, and keep an eye out. We are all look-outs, now.
NWS reports 600 cloud to ground strikes between 6-7 am. Small fire started in Highlands, but rain helped keep it small. Below is the lightning radar.
Oops … Should have had my coffee first, or gotten the sleep out of my eyes. The rain RATE was 2.54″/hour. I only received .06″ in that cloud burst. My bad! At 5:30 am, I received 2 and 1/2″ of rain in mere minutes. Wow!
I woke around 1:30 am to an amazing light show to my south. The sky is still being lit up every 30 secs or so, now at 2 am. It is far enough away that I can not hear the thunder I can only imagine is crackling through the atmosphere. My SLO weather caster tweets that there has been lightning and rain in SLO Co for the last hour. I checked wildCAD to see it hasn’t been updated since last night around 5 pm, but that there were several wildfire starts to the south, including a single tree lightning strike. I can only hope these are accompanied by rain. My cousin’s son said it rained the entire time he drove from Hesperian to Pismo yesterday, per a conversation I had with my aunt last night. We have no rain here, but at least the wild winds I had all day yesterday have died. It is quiet, for now.
This may be wishful thinking … But I really like these archival photos from Dan Danbom. they are from 9/8-9/9, 1999.
BTW, Internet at home is driving me crazy … Looking into satellite. Open for suggestions. I have had HughesNet in the beginning time, and they drove me …. NUTS! Any suggestions, shared experiences, welcome.
2:45 update – over 6,000 lightning strikes across the west in the last hour per Bay Area NWS.
…RED FLAG WARNING FOR DRY THUNDERSTORMS IN EFFECT BEGINNING
.DISCUSSION…AS OF 8:40 AM PDT SUNDAY…AN UPPER LEVEL CUTOFF LOW
REMAINS JUST WEST OF THE BIG SUR COAST…AND THIS WILL DICTATE THE
WEATHER SITUATION FOR THE NEXT SEVERAL DAYS. VISIBLE SATELLITE
IMAGERY SHOWS STRATUS CLOUDS OVER THE COASTAL WATERS FROM CENTRAL
SONOMA COUNTY SOUTH THROUGH POINT CONCEPTION…AND INTO THE SAN
FRANCISCO AND MONTEREY BAYS…PLUS THROUGH THE SALINAS VALLEY. THE
MARINE LAYER DEPTH IS STILL AROUND 1200 FEET DEEP…AND SURFACE
PRESSURE GRADIENTS ARE STARTING TO TREND MORE NORTHERLY OR
OFFSHORE (ACV-SFO: 4.2 MB…WMC-SFO: 2.9 MB…AND SFO-SAC: 1.2
MB.) VISIBLE SATELLITE ALSO SHOWS A SWATH OF MID CLOUDS ROTATING
AROUND THE UPPER LOW…EXTENDING FROM SANTA BARBARA AND VENTURA
COUNTIES NORTHWARD INTO THE SAN JOAQUIN VALLEY.
MOISTURE AND INSTABILITY WILL CONTINUE TO ROTATE INTO CALIFORNIA
FROM AROUND THE CUTOFF LOW AS IT CONTINUES TO WOBBLE OFF THE
CENTRAL CALIFORNIA COAST. THE BEST CHANCES FOR CONVECTION ACROSS
OUR DISTRICT WILL BE LATE MONDAY THROUGH WEDNESDAY AS THE UPPER
LOW BEGINS TO APPROACH THE AREA. HOWEVER DUE TO THE INITIAL
DRYNESS OF THE ATMOSPHERE…A HEIGHTENED RISK OF DRY LIGHTNING
PROMPTED THE ISSUANCE OF A RED FLAG WARNING FOR ALL INLAND AND
HILLY AREAS BEGINNING AT MIDNIGHT TONIGHT AND EXTENDING INTO
WEDNESDAY. SHOWER/THUNDERSTORM CHANCES WILL MOSTLY BE CONFINED
TO THE NORTHERN HALF OF THE CWA FROM LATE TUESDAY NIGHT INTO
WEDNESDAY AND CHANCES WILL END IN ALL AREAS BY THURSDAY AS THE LOW
MOVES OFF TO THE NORTHEAST.
.FIRE WEATHER…AS OF 8:40 AM PDT SUNDAY…AN UPPER LOW OFF THE
CENTRAL CALIFORNIA COAST WILL BEGIN TO GENERATE SHOWER AND
THUNDERSTORM CHANCES ACROSS MOST OF OUR DISTRICT BY LATE THIS
EVENING WHEN THE FLOW ALOFT BECOMES MORE EASTERLY…BRINGING IN
GREATER MOISTURE AND INSTABILITY. INITIALLY…THE SUB-CLOUD LAYER
WILL BE QUITE DRY AND SO ANY THUNDERSTORMS THAT DEVELOP ON SUNDAY
NIGHT WILL LIKELY PRODUCE DRY LIGHTNING. A RED FLAG WARNING
IS IN EFFECT FOR MOST OF THE DISTRICT BEGINNING THIS EVENING AND
EXTENDING THROUGH EARLY WEDNESDAY MORNING. THE UPPER LOW WILL
REMAIN NEARLY STATIONARY THROUGH TUESDAY MORNING WHICH WILL MEAN
CONTINUED THUNDERSTORM CHANCES FOR MOST AREAS. SHOWER/THUNDERSTORM
CHANCES WILL GRADUALLY END FROM SOUTH TO NORTH FROM MIDDAY TUESDAY
THROUGH WEDNESDAY NIGHT AS THE LOW MOVES TO THE NORTHEAST. WILL
THEREFORE MAINTAIN A RED FLAG WARNING FOR MONTEREY AND SAN BENITO
COUNTIES ONLY THROUGH MIDDAY TUESDAY…BUT CONTINUE THE WARNING
THROUGH AT LEAST TUESDAY NIGHT FOR THE SF BAY AREA. THUNDERSTORMS
WILL LIKELY PRODUCE DECENT RAINFALL BY LATE MONDAY…BUT EVEN THEN
NEW FIRE STARTS WILL STILL BE POSSIBLE GIVEN HOW DRY THE FUELS
MAIN FORECAST CONCERN REMAINS FOR SUNDAY NIGHT THROUGH THE FIRST
HALF OF NEXT WEEK AS MOISTURE WORKS ITS WAY IN FROM THE SOUTHEAST
AS THE UPPER LEVEL LOW REMAINS NEARLY STATIONARY. INSTABILITY WILL
INCREASE THROUGH THE DAY TOMORROW AND BY TOMORROW NIGHT THE MODEL
GUIDANCE CONTINUES TO SUGGEST THE POSSIBILITY OF NOCTURNAL
CONVECTION ESPECIALLY OVER THE EASTERN THIRD OF THE CWA.
CONVECTIVE PARAMETERS ARE FAIRLY IMPRESSIVE WITH MODIFIED TOTAL
TOTALS UP TO 34C AND MUCAPE UP TO 300 J/KG) HOWEVER, BY MONDAY,
THE COVERAGE WILL CONTINUE TO SPREAD AND LIKELY BRING AT LEAST A
SLIGHT CHANCE FOR SHOWERS AND THUNDERSTORMS TO THE ENTIRE CWA.
ALTHOUGH THIS IS FAR FROM A SLAM-DUNK (CUT-OFF LOWS ALWAYS PRESENT
CHALLENGING FORECASTS) THERE REMAINS ENOUGH CONFIDENCE BASED OFF
OF REPEATED MODELS RUNS PLUS GOOD INITIALIZATION AND 48 HOUR
FORECAST OF THE PLACEMENT OF THE LOW, TO GO WITH A FIRE WEATHER
WATCH FOR ALMOST THE ENTIRE AREA. THE MAIN IMPACTS FROM THIS WILL
BE POSSIBLE NEW FIRE STARTS, GUSTY WINDS, AND BY LATER MONDAY INTO
TUESDAY, SMALL HAIL AND BRIEF HEAVY RAIN. THE LOW WILL VERY SLOWLY
PROGRESS TO THE NORTHEAST AND BE OUT OF OUR AREA BY WEDNESDAY
NIGHT. AS THE LOW MOVES TO THE NORTH, THE MAIN FOCUS FOR
CONVECTION WILL ALSO MOVE FROM SOUTH TO NORTH (IN FACT, SOME
GUIDANCE QUICKLY REMOVES CHANCES FOR SHOWERS BY MONDAY EVENING
ACROSS MONTEREY AND SAN BENITO COUNTIES).
The Bay Area NWS modified today’s forecast to include a slight possibility of rain, which i noted on twitter. I don’t know why I was up at 5:30, but I happened to glance out my window westward several minutes later (7 or 8) and saw what I thought was two lightning strikes. Then I thought I was hallucinating, but I tweeted Bay Area NWS anyway, and they said:
@bigsurkate Our lightning detection network just showed two strikes off the Big Sur Coast.. You’re not imagining.
Later, NWSBayArea said they were about 60 miles out.
Yesterday at 9:00 am, the outside temp recorded as 105 F. Last night it got below 85 for the first time since Friday – a cool 82. Needless-to-say, sleep is a hard commodity to come by.
report from Nor Cal – “[W]e are right in the middle of it at the Butte Co/Yuba Co. line, near Pike Co. Lookout. (Lat 39.4747; Long 121.2023) only a few drops of rain with the first round here, but lots of lightning and thunder.”
This same storm brings the possibility of thunder and lightning tomorrow to our area.
Also, first fire of season in LPNF, down by Highway 166. It is only 10 acres, contained on three sides, by pre-positioned USFS FF. Nice!
Noon – from the 9 am forecaster a winter weather advisory for the Santa Lucia Mts and the Los Padres National Forest.
THE BEST CHANCE FOR SNOW WILL BE OVER THE SANTA LUCIAS AS BOTH THE
ECMWF AND GFS CONTINUE TO KEEP A BULK OF THE PRECIPITATION OFF
SHORE. A WINTER WEATHER ADVISORY IS IN EFFECT FOR THE SANTA LUCIA
MOUNTAINS AND LOS PADRES NATIONAL FOREST AS WELL AS THE MOUNTAINS
OF SAN BENITO COUNTY AND INTERIOR MONTEREY. THIS AREA WILL SEE THE
BEST INSTABILITY COMBINED WITH MOISTURE AND LIFT. THE LIMITING
FACTOR IS THAT WHEN THE BEST MOISTURE IS PRESENT THE WINDS WILL
ACTUALLY BE COMING FROM THE EAST…LIMITING THE OROGRAPHIC EFFECTS
SEEN WHEN MOIST WEST WINDS ARE PUSHING OVER THE MOUNTAINS. NON THE
LESS THESE CONDITIONS WILL SUPPORT THE WINTER WEATHER ADVISORY
WITH 5 TO 10 INCHES OF SNOW POSSIBLE ABOVE 3000 FEET AND 1 TO 4
INCHES AT ELEVATION OF 2500 TO 3000 FEET. THE WINTER WEATHER
ADVISORY IS IN EFFECT FROM 1000 AM THURSDAY TO 1000 AM FRIDAY.
8:00 am, From NOAA’s 3:30 am forecast discussion –
RAIN WILL RETURN TONIGHT INTO THURSDAY MORNING AS THE UPPER AIR LOW DIVES TO THE SOUTH TOWARD OUR AREA. SHOWERS WILL SPREAD ACROSS THE ENTIRE CWA WITH THE MAIN FOCUS ALONG THE COAST…IN PARTICULAR MOUNTAINS IN MONTEREY AND SAN BENITO COUNTIES. SNOW LEVELS WILL DROP DOWN TO AS LOW AS 2500 FEET WITH A GOOD POSSIBILITY OF SUBSTANTIAL SNOWFALL OVER 3000 FEET. A WINTER WEATHER ADVISORY IS IN EFFECT FOR THOSE AREAS.
They also mention the possibility of hail and lightning. Stay warm, everyone!
Also, Rocky Creek Road Closures:
Night closures next week are as follows:
· Sunday, March 10 through Thursday, March 14—9 pm to 11 pm with up to 10-minute delays;
· Sunday, March 10 through Thursday, March 14—11 pm to 7 am (Friday am) with up to 30-minute delays;
(Roadway will remain OPEN each night next week—no overnight hard closures)
11:32 AM – highway 1  MUD SLIDE AND BOULDER 1125 SB LANE ONLY
This is at Highway One, southbound at the intersection with Carmel Valley Rd. man, I’ve never seen a slide here in all my 28 years!
10:00 am – Okay, we’ve got weather, boys and girls, and we are going to HAVE weather, unsettled weather up until Xmas.
Here is a NEXRAD shot from early this am:
And here are the 24 hour rain totals from 6 am (when I GLANCED at my rain gauge at first light, I think it was around 1 and 1/2 inches, since yesterday afternoon)
Here is another NEXRAD shot from later this am (note the time in PST is on the top left)
And here is the most recently tweeted shot from NWS-Monterey. It shows a band of lightning and strong winds coming through Carmel:
5:00 pm – red flag warning in effect throughout the evening in the Monterey NWS area. While I can see build up of clouds to the north and to the east, I have sunshine and no thunder here. Even my dog Dakota’s keen hearing is picking up nothing. She ALWAYS hears it long before me, and tries to crawl under whatever she can. My other three are not bothered, so I always keep an eye on her whenever there is a chance of lightning, no matter how remote.
8:30 am – This afternoon through tomorrow, very unstable weather, with possibility of lightning strikes. Wet or dry strikes (and models are unclear if the rain will hit the ground, but San Jose already experiencing rain this morning) brings serious threats of fire starts in Monterey County and the greater Bay area, even if rain accompanies the strikes, as fuel levels are extremely dry.
So keep an eye out, report any down strikes you see on land, if possible. I have to do a quick yo-yo south, but will be watching this closely through tomorrow.
The National Weather Service predicts isolated thunderstorms are expected Saturday, from the late morning through the afternoon hours over the higher terrain mountain locations of Southeastern Monterey and San Benito Counties. Severe weather or flash flooding is not expected and any rainfall amounts will be light. These storms will be capable of producing lightning strikes and contain a threat of dry lightning which will increase the wildfire risk and pose a threat to any back-country travelers on the ridge tops. IMPACTS TO SOUTHEAST MONTEREY AND SAN BENITO COUNTIES HIGHER ELEVATIONS (2500 FT+)
Thunderstorms will contain occasional cloud to ground lightning strikes in the absence of rain which will produce elevated wildfire conditions. Deadly strikes will pose a threat to any back-country travelers in the higher terrain on ridge tops.
I’m southwest, so no lightning, right? Will keep you posted, as necessary, and be on lookout duty for the day.