Epic NW winds rock the Bay Area Tuesday:

But somewhat weaker winds expected today.

by Mike Godsey, mike@iwindsurf.com

First let’s look at why the winds were so strong Tuesday then explain why the winds will be a bit weaker today. Image #1 shows the wind map for the Bay Area Tues. March 31. As you can see almost every launch site in the greater Bay Area saw at least upper teens winds with standouts being Tomales with an average wind that hit 38 knots and 3rd. Ave at 28 knots. So let’s do an analysis to see what created these strong winds.

EpicNWgreatbasin

Legend among sailors is that a strong SFO-SAC pressure gradient  produces strong Bay winds.  However looking at image #2 we cans ee that in the afternoon that pressure gradient peaked under .10 inches. This is strong enough to create upper teens wind but certainly not 30 knots + wind. Moreover notice the atypical morning winds to 20 knots at 3rd. in image #3 and the early start of Tomales winds in image #4.  Clearly something was adding a lot of juice to the wind beyond the gradient to the Central Valley.

Our first hint is in image #5. We are looking at the pressure gradients from SFO airport to sites ranging from the northern Great Basin all the way to Las Vegas.  This series of pressure gradient graphs shows that there was a massive pressure gradient in the .24 in to .34 range from the Bay to the Great Basin. This creates a powerful suction that pulled the North Pacific High’s surface NW winds through gaps in the coast range all the way to the Great Basin.

But there is more to this  story. Looking at image #6 check out the wind flow at 5000 feet. Notice the massive winds roaring over Northern California and over the Central Valley at 5000 feet then curving towards the Great Basin.  As you can see in image #7  these winds aloft grazed the tops of the hills and ridges of the Bay Area coast range. This in turn created turbulence aloft that sometimes transferred NW momentum to the surface winds. Thus the gust factor at most sites. This same process sometimes blew the surface wind away from Pt. Isabel and Berkeley making them somewhat unreliable as Mark noted in his forecast yesterday.

Now that you have a fuller picture of yesterday’s winds take another look at the animation below of the North Pacific High’s surface NW NWepicWindGBwinds and how they pushed so deep into the Bay Area and much of the west coast.

So why is Benjamin forecasting “0nly” upper teens to low/mid 20’s today? Basically it is because the winds aloft are much weaker and more NNW while the pressure gradient to the Great Basin is only about half as strong. Let’s see later today if my prediction is right.

Posted in San Francisco

Combo of NW and SW flow over the Bay Area March 30…so

Solid wind almost everywhere in the San Francisco Bay Area.

by Mike Godsey, mike@iwindsurf.com

Well yesterday was one of those somewhat uncommon days where kiters and windsurfers at almost ComboNW&SWevery site in the Bay Area had plenty of power. Wind savvy readers know that when my forecast headline mentions “Combo of NW and SW flow” you can expect a day like you see in the wind map in the top image.

Notice in the map how almost every site in the bay had at least upper teens winds with some well into the 20’s.

Looking at the ocean buoys you can see winds in the upper teens to upper 20’s so there is no question where the NW flow came from with a robust North Pacific High pressed against the coast.

And the first small graph showing the SFO-SAC pressure gradient shows why that NW wind was sucked into the Bay.

But normally on a NW day the winds is focused mostly on the coast and in the Crissy to Treasure Island to 3rd triangle. So why did the East Bay and Sherman Island blow?

Looking at the next image find the North Pacific High and its surface NW winds. Then look at the tiny pressure gradient graph and notice the SFO-Redding gradient skyrocketing around 4PM. Then notice in the upper right corner the low pressure area and the SW flow of wind heading towards that low pressure.

Now the tricky part… squint your eyes and look at the wind flow over the North Bay at the yellow arrows. Notice how the NW wind see north of the Golden Gate makes a dramatic curve turning SW and heading towards that low pressure near Redding.

This means SW flow over parts of the North Bay and East Bay  while the coast and Peninsula receive more W to NW flow. And SW flow helps the strong NW wind curve into the Golden Gate to East Bay to Sherman Island corridor.

But there is more to this SW story. In the next image we are looking at the strong SW flow aloft from a storm system passing to the north. Find the Bay Area in the image. Then check out the the strong SW winds aloft.

There is little connection between the NW winds on the surface and these strong SW winds. However when these SW winds graze the high ridges about the Bay Area creating some turbulence that transfers some momentum to the surface winds. This adds a gusty shifty factor for sites depending upon NW wind but it also jazzes up the SW wind for sites favored by SW flow like Pt. Isabel, Berkeley and Sherman Island.

Now scroll back up to the forecast text and notice the part in green. Why, as you can see in the forecast text and the Pt. Isabel and Berkeley wind graphs was the wind so unreliable in those zone when it was fairly steady elsewhere?

That will be a topic for future blog but if you can guess the answer mail me at mike@iwindsurf.com and if you are right you will get a free personalized San Carlos, La Ventana or Gorge forecast on your next trip.

Posted in San Francisco

Undulatus Apseratus clouding raises eyebrows in the SE Region.

1902066_926701750685620_7332514930673039864_n

by Weatherflow meteorologist Shea Gibson

On March 30, 2015, Mother Nature put on quite a show in the lowlands of SC and GA as a relatively new classification of cloud types called Undulatus Apseratus (Latin for “agitated waves”) rippled through the sky – appearing as rolling waves with incredible marbling effects.  These are often known to follow in the wake of storm systems and are fairly well known in the Plains states. However, these developed ahead of a cold front approaching the Southeast Regional Coastline.  Roll Clouds (rare) and Gravity Waves also appeared to be mixed in for a few extra visuals.

Here is the cold front approach with a gust front (fast moving outflow of cold air from storming) pushing ahead through to the coast and fizzling out. This is what caused the rippling/waving effects as the colder air pushed into a layer of warm air aloft suspended atop cooler, more stable air below:

If you watch closely in the center of the radar gif where the small + symbol is, you can see a “puff” surge forward towards the coast in an outward arc. That is the gust front. 

GustFront3-30-15(b)

 

Visible satellite 9:00AM Eastern Standard Time

Visible3-30-15

Read more ›

Posted in Coastal South Carolina

Waking up to Marine Layer Clouds

by Weatherflow Meteorologist, Kerry Anderson

After completing my morning forecast I went for a hike here in the Conejo Valley.  The hike started at about 800 feet and as expected I was above the marine layer. The marine layer has been scarce this season and what has formed has been shallow.  This was the case again this morning.  The inversion which forms a cap to the marine clouds was only at 600 feet; below where I was standing when I took these photographs.  When the marine layer is that shallow it does not penetrate far inland and can quickly burn off when the sun hits it, which is exactly what happened this morning.

 Marine layer comparison

satellite comparison

Photographs and satellite pictures of Marine Layer Clouds over Southern California, March 31, 2015.  Note how quickly the inland clouds dissipate and the layer over the water thins.

Marine layer clouds develop frequently in Southern California due to the cold ocean currents that cool the air to its condensation point. Wind plays an important role in determining whether a marine layer will form.  The air has to be moving slowly enough so it remains in contact with the water long enough to cool. Just like Goldilock’s porridge winds have to be just right in order for the marine layer to develop. If they are too weak then the marine layer isn’t stirred enough and will remain shallow and won’t penetrate inland. If the winds are too strong warmer air can be mixed in from above which dries the air near the ocean and dissipates the clouds.

Monday March 31

Light and variable winds this morning helped to set up the marine layer clouds but kept clouds from pushing far inland.
Posted in Los Angeles

What the hell is a ridge?

Whatever it is the ridge will impact the wind and weather in the Bay Area, the Gorge, Southern California and even Baja today.

by Mike Godsey, mike@iwindsurf.com

Today the Bay Area some sites will see mild upper teens wind at best, Southern California will have morning offshore gusts reaching intoBens forecast the upper 40’s on the ridge tops but afternoon sees upper teen onshore winds, Baja has El Norte wind but it will never reach La Ventana and the Gorge, rainy today, will have sunny warm weather tomorrow. To most people these events seem totally unrelated but in reality they are all triggered by the same event: The North Pacific High, aided by upper level flow, is extending a ridge into the Pacific Northwest and the Great Basin.

What the hell is a ridge?

Take a look at Ben’s Bay Area forecast for today. Notice the mention of ridging and NE flow. All the time on the news and in our forecasts you hear the word ridge but for most of us it is unclear what the term means. Here is a simple way of thinking about ridges. You know how mountains often have rocky ridges that extend from the mountain peak? Well you can envision the North Pacific High as a huge mountain of high pressure that wanders the waters between the west coast and Hawaii. Look at the next image and note the isobars. First find the “mountain” of the North Pacific High then follow the numbers on my diagram.

1.When this NPH “mountain” moves closer to the west coast it brings NW winds to the Bay Area and the Southern California outer waters and northerly wind to the Pacific Northwest coast.RidgeIsoBaySCgorge2

2. Often a few day after this happens the upper level winds cause the NPH to elongate with part of it being shoved over far Northern California forming a Ridge.

3. This process distorts the shape of the NPH’s isobars so the Bay Area winds go from NW to more NNW. And the winds just aloft go NE.

4. Sometimes the ridge from the NPH is carried all the way into the Great Basin creating  high pressure there. And tomorrow this high pressure expands over the Gorge so the rains stop and warm sunny conditions develop.

5. At the same time low pressure often moves over the California coast from Southern California to the Bay Area. So now we have high pressure in the Great Basin  and low pressure just offshore. In the Bay Area this means light AM North to NE winds. Which in turn causes the Central Valley thermal low to expand over the coast which, as you can see in the next graph, results in a weak pressure bay pressure gradientgradient and mild winds. In Southern California this produces strong Santa Ana winds. These winds have blow over the mountains of Southern California and then descend down the canyons. As the descend their air is compressed and heats warming the inland valleys. This creates an afternoon pressure gradient and mid day as the Santa Ana winds fade the winds reverse

When you have Santa Ana winds in Southern California you often have El Norte wind in Baja’s East Cape. But when the NPHridgeBaySCgorgeNPH is so close to the Baja coast the NW wind often blocks the North “El Norte” winds. You can see this in the animation below.

Q and A time:

Now looking at the animation of the winds this morning try to find all the above in the wind flow patterns.

Can you figure out why the North Pacific High’s surface winds are so clear over the ocean but so locally so weak or strong over the land?

And why is Ben’s forecast saying that Waddell will see some wind but the winds will struggle to fill into sites further inland?

Bonus question: Who do the NE winds in the Bay Area and the Santa Ana winds in Southern California both fade away in the afternoon?Great Basin High shrinks Hint, see animation below.

Send your thoughts to mike@iwindsurf.com

Posted in Columbia River Gorge, Los Angeles, San Diego, San Francisco

Current North Pacific High dies then new NPH arrives

Where does the North Pacific High go when the NW winds fade?

by Mike Godsey, mike@iwindsurf.com

Strong NW winds are a frequent visitor
to the Northern California coast in the spring and early summer. These winds appear when the North Pacific High locates closer to the California coast. Typically this happens after the passage of a storm system. Then after several days the NW begin to fade away. Often as this happens the NW winds turn more NNW especially in the AM and the afternoon winds become weaker, later and more focused near the coast. Then the winds really fade away for days or even a weak or more.

Most of the time this fade off occurs as the North Pacific High is shoved southward away from the Bay Area by a passing storm system or an upper trough. Then when the system ejects eastward the North Pacific High slides back up the coast and NE winds resume.Old2NewNPH

However as you can see in this series of images there is another, less common, scenario. In the Today image you can see the location of the current NPH and the moderate NW winds along the coast. Also notice the SW winds of a distant storm system .

In the Wednesday image notice the NPH is still west of the Bay Area. But you can see that the storm system and its SW winds are encroaching into the North Pacific High’s home waters. As part of this process the NPH begins to extend a ridge into far Northern California towards the Gorge. This in turns causes the AM wind in the Bay Area to turn more NNW. This makes it harder for the wind to curve into the Bay in the afternoon so the winds are weaker and later.

In the Thursday image notice that the NPH is being crushed against the coast. And the ridge extends all the way to the Gorge so we can expect sunny skies and warmer temps there. This also means the winds in the Bay Area are N. to even NNE. This brings warming but weak winds since the coast range north of the Bay blocks this wind. But looking north of Hawaii we can see that  even as the old NPH dies a NEW North Pacific High has formed. Note its NW winds and how they curve towards Hawaii as NE trade winds.

In the Friday  imge notice that the dying NPH brings light NW wind to the Bay.

But the big news is the Saturday image which depicts a strong NEW North Pacific High that causes the winds to really ramp up.

Of course all of this is from models and that many days in the future things get pretty iffy. But it does make a good story.

Posted in Los Angeles, San Diego, San Francisco

Spring North Pacific High

Despite an El Nino, a weird winter and abnormally high sea temps the NPH is behaving normally today.

by Mike Godsey, mike@iwindsurf.comNPHspring

Well this winter saw weird weather in windsurfing triangle from Maui to the Gorge to Baja. And the Bay Area was the epicenter of the weirdness. However today the North Pacific High is positioned in a good location to create moderate NW winds  for the entire west coast.

The North Pacific High is a huge mass of high pressure air created as air descends from aloft over the pacific between the west coast and Hawaii. This descending air compacts creates high pressure and then spirals outward from the center in a clockwise fashion. This mean trade winds for Hawaii and NW winds for the California coast. The North Pacific High, especially in the spring, is constantly being shoved around by passing upper trough and surface storm systems so the NW winds come and go as the NPH sometimes leaves our waters.  But today there is a lull in those events so North Pacific High is perfectly positioned to keep sending NW wind to the coast from Bodega to San Carlos, Baja Norte. Let’s hope we see a lot more of these days this spring.

Posted in Los Angeles, San Diego, San Francisco

Bay Area: Weak NNE winds aloft.

Why does the wind sometimes arrive early and other times later?

by Mike Godsey, mike@iwindsurf.com

In recent years is has become common to read about NE to NEE winds aloft over the Bay Area in the morning. Usually this observation is accompanied by a statement that the WeakNEdelaysNWwindNorth Pacific High’s surface NW winds will be delayed or even will not reach the coast. This video illustrates what is happening in this scenario.

Looking at the first half of the video from 7AM today notice the brisk NW wind about 20 miles from shore west of the ocean buoys. Also notice how faint the winds are inside the bay. Later in the day the as the Central Valley heats up the increasing pressure gradient will cause that NW wind to move towards the coast and to curve into Bay.

Some days that NE wind aloft is so strong and endures all day so that it keeps the NW surface wind from even reaching the shoreline. But more commonly the NE wind fades mid day. There are some positive effects of the NE wind. As it flows down the mountains it compresses and heats which helps the pressure gradient so once it dies the NW winds are sucked inland.

This will happen today and by 3PM the NW wind you see in the video will be ripping the coast from Bodega to Waddell and coming through the west and NW facing gaps in the coast range.

Posted in San Francisco

We are Sensing Lake Effect Snow

by WeatherFlow Meteorologist Kerry Anderson

Buffalo radar 11.20.2014

We’ve all been watching for the last 72 hours as parts of Upstate New York are being buried under mounds of snow.  Nearly 36 inches have fallen in the past 72 hours.  While this has been an incredible storm, lake effect snow is part of everyday winter life for those who live in the lee of the Great Lakes and also the Great Salt Lake in Utah. I have personally shoveled more than my fair share of the snow that comes from these lakes, having lived and forecast in Rochester, Buffalo, Syracuse and Salt Lake City. Meteorologists watch carefully anytime cold Arctic airmasses drop down across these lakes.  So what made this storm so heavy?  WindAlert sensors help to explain what happened this week.

The first ingredients needed for heavy Lake Effect snow are warm water and cold air.

I have heard media reports this week make a big deal about how unusual it is that this snow occurred so early in the season. Well actually heavy lake effect storms are more likely earlier in the season.  Why is this? The atmosphere becomes unstable when warm moist air lies below cold dry air. When this occurs the less dense warm air will rise into the cool air, condense,  then clouds and precipitation  form.  The greater the temperature difference the greater the instability and potential for heavy precipitation.  Since we are still early in the season the Great Lakes have not cooled down yet.  Here’s the latest surface temperatures for Lake Erie. Do you see the  pool of upper 50s at the eastern end of the lake.  Meanwhile the WindAlert sensor at Crystal Bay reported air temperatures in the 20s. (see graphic below)

Lake Erie Surface Temperature

 

In order for the snow to really get going and continue for an extended period of time the winds need to be aligned so that they run along the length of the lake.  The longer the fetch the more fuel for the convective cells.  With this storm not only did the winds blow out of the West-Southwest but they did so for for a long time, keeping the snow machine cranking over the same locations for up to 36 hours.  The graphs from the WeatherFlow sensor at Crystal Bay at the north end of Lake Erie and our new sensor at Irondequoit Bay clearly show the cold West-Southwesterly flow that brought all this snow.

 

 

Lake Effect with explanation

 

Posted in Weather Blog

Hurricane Diaries

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Baja can have hurricanes in the fall that can have a major impact on the road and the windsurfing & kiting beaches. The following reports will help you understand what hurricane years are like. The following reports are in reverse chronological order. They are mostly unedited as they came via e-mail.
The very atypical hurricane that hit San Carlos, Baja Norte is at the bottom of this page. Look for “San Carlos Hurricane Diary”
Here is a summary of the damage done by recent hurricanes:
Hurricane Jimena 9/3/2009
The damage reports are still coming in and the damage appears to be worse then previously reported.
In mid-Baja, Mex highway 1 has considerable damage and many bridges are destroyed. Transportation by land at this point is impossible. Critical supplies, at this point, must be brought in by air. There is great need for food, water, and clothing.
Matancitas (Lopez Mateos) Almost 90% of the structures are down or severely damaged. All water, power, telephone, etc. out
Ciudad Constitucion: Most roofs are gone; sever damage to 70% of the buildings. Power, water, telephones are out
Loreto: All power / telephone are down, lines are down, trees and buildings blocking the streets, airport is closed at this time.
Mulege: All power, telephone, water, etc. is out. The water crested three feet above the bridge. Water was two feet deep in the fire station which would mean that almost of the entire town was flooded. There has been reports of loss of life.
Punta Chivato: One person indicates that the wind was over 100 mph before the indicator broke. Damage to almost everything. We should hear about the condition of the strip sometime today
Santa Rosalia: Wall of water came down the canyon and through the town, washed cars, etc. into the ocean.
Earthquake and Hurricane Henriette reports Sept 4 2007
Sept. 9, 2007 report from Mary from La Ventana:
THE NORTH ARROYO BY THE LITEHOUSE IS ABOUT 1 FOOT TO 18 INCHES DEEPER IN THE SAME WASHOUT AS LAST YEAR. THE ROAD NORTH OF THE LITEHOUSE IS A MESS BUT PASSABLE ON THE BEACH BYPASS AND THEN THE REGULAR ROAD IS RUTTED BUT PASSABLE IN 2 WHEELDRIVE. COMING SOUTH OF THAT ARROYO THERE ARE LOTS OF RUTS BUT NOTHING IMPASSABLE IN 2 WHEELDRIVE. SAME ON THE ROAD SOUTH OF MY HOUSE TO LA VENTANA. THERE ARE ONLY 2 ONE LANE WASHOUTS BUT A LOT OF DIRT ON THE ROAD. PER ANNE THE SAN ANTONIO ROAD WAS STILL CLOSED YESTERDAY WITH FLOWING WATER AND FROM THE SJ AIRPORT SOUTH TO LAPAZ THE ROAD WAS A MESS BUT PASSABLE IN A 2 WHEELDRIVE, SLOW GOING. PER JOYCE OUR HIGHWAY TO LAPAZ WAS CLOSED WED. AT THE BIG ARROYO JUST AS YOU GET INTO LAPAZ BUT OPEN YESTERDAY WITH A GUESSTEMATE OF DRIVING 25% OF THE TIME IN THE WRONG LANE DUE TO WASHOUTS, MUDSLIDES, AND ROCKS, ONCE AGAIN SLOW GOING. STREETLITES WERE ON LASTNITE BUT HOUSES DID NOT HAVE ELECTRIC IN LAVENTANA, EL SARGENTO OR IN BETWEEN. PHONE AND INTERNET SEEMS TO BE FINE IF YOU HAVE A PHONE THAT DOESN’T NEED ELECTRIC. IT’D BE GOOD TO PICKUP ONE OF THOSE OLD PRINCESS STYLE PHONES. THE BEACHES ARE LOOKING GOOD BUT HAVE LOTS OF DEBRI. CASA VERDE AND A BIT TO EITHER SIDE WAS THE LUCKY LOCATION FOR THIS YEAR’S SEAWEED DUMP PER MARI. THE CAMPGROUND LOOKS GREAT.
THE EARTHQUAKES ARE ALL JIGGLERS AND NOT JOLTERS SO I DOUBT ANYONE HAS ANY DAMAGE FROM THEM, NONE THAT I HAVE HEARD ABOUT.
SEE YAH ALL SOON, Mary.
Sept. 9, 2007 report from Angie of Baja Joe’s:
Once again a hurricane has come to La Ventana. Yesterday, September 4 about 11am Henriette made land fall in San Jose Del Cabo as a category 1 hurricane, quickly crossed the land, and traveled north up the Sea of Cortez. The rain started here in La Ventana early that morning and the winds were gusty, but not that strong. We watched the projected path on the internet and prepared (again) the best we could. We thought there was a slim chance the storm would miss us, but that wasn’t the case. The wind started picking up around 9am, but the rain was still sporadic and mild. Our electricity went off before noon. By afternoon the wind and rain were really coming in, but the computer said there was more rain coming our way. We secured the house and watched the weather steadily get worse. We could see the arroyo rage on it’s way to the sea and the waves crashing into our front wall.
This morning it was apparent the storm was over, the eye passed close to here around 2am, the wind switched directions, and the rain lessened. The report from NOAA confirmed our guess as to the location of the storm.
We went out to assess damage after daylight, finding that most of the wind damage was to plants and trees and most of the water damage was to the roads. This storm wasn’t as bad as John last year, so the damage was much less. The trees showed signs of being wind whipped, and the road eroded in the places that were eroded before. The recent repairs held up fairly well. The bad area just north of the campground had only a little damage, and the big wash-out near the sub-delagado (police station) which has been repaired, held up well. Farther north, past El Sargento, where the road is dirt there are many ruts, but it is passable all the way to the big arroyo. We didn’t see any damage to houses or buildings, but there were a few store signs on the ground. We saw only one power pole damaged. The road to La Paz has several places that has washed away and many vados are filled with sand. The worst wash-out is just outside of La Paz where the new slab crossing the big arroyo eroded half the lane. It looks like the other half is undermined and not safe, the traffic is diverted to the hard packed sand just upstream of the old crossing. The road to Enseñada de los Suenos washed in places, but is also passable and those communities between seem to have done OK.
I hope this finds everyone safe and happy, I think there is no need to worry about your places here. There may be some water to deal with, but all roofs and windows seem intact. ~Angie
Friday Sept. 7, 2007 report via Mike & Bella:
Mike just received an e-mail from Christian. The earthquake was 6.3 but very little damage. Of course the locals aren’t use to this so they were paniced.
Most of the local damage from the hurricaine was near San Pedro. The newly widened highway took a big hit from flooding. Lencho’s sister had to swim to Lencho’s car from their house which was submerged. Very little damage near us besides some power poles.
Latest report from Brian:
I talked to Angie from Baja Joe’s and also to Lalo from La Ventana this morning.
The hurricane passed almost directly over La Ventana. It was a Category 1 hurricane.
It brought a downpour of rain, and the arroyos flowed heavily.
Per Lalo, there is mostly just a lot of trash and sand everywhere.
The damage to the roads is much less than the damage caused last year.
The property damage is pretty light as the winds were much lighter – only 75 mph at their peak.
There was also an EARTHQUAKE at 9:07pm with a magnitude of 5.0 located near Isla Cerralvo per the USGS

http://earthquake.usgs.gov/eqcenter/recenteqsus/Quakes/us2007gxak.php

Lalo of Lalo’s Fishing Tours said that he and his wife felt the house shake abruptly and that he has small crack in his wall now.
The earthquake came as the Hurricane was in full swing… CRAZY !!!
Anyway, I hope to send out another update later in the day – perhaps with some photos take by Angie of Baja Joe’s.
Here is the latest report from Tom:
I talked to Guillermo across from the camp ground at 8:15pm PST tonight. He said the hurricane passed nearby offshore around 4 or 5 pm. It probably went right over Bahia de los Suenos south of La Ventana on its way across the Sea of Cortez to the mainland. Winds and rain were nowhere as forceful as last year’s. But there was a good downpour for about 5 hours. Electricity was knocked out but his telephone is still working. He has not been out but did not expect much damage.
Earthquake: From Mary (Sept.1) – WE JUST HAD A 6.3 EARTHQUAKE THE OTHERSIDE OF ISLA CERRALVO (East of La Ventana) – THINGS SWAYED QUITE A BIT BUT ALL APPEARS OK.
Hurricane John: Sept. 11 2006:

Los Barriles and La Ventana to a direct hit from Hurricane John earlier this month, see below for reports. This link will take you to photos: Hurricane photos.Both towns are a mess but repair is going along very fast and and it looks like it be completed well before the windy season.
If you are driving this year be extra cautious. The southern half of Baja has had lots of rain especially from Hurricane John. So there is lush growth along the road and hungery cows will be grazing along the road ready to lurch out into traffic.
Due to the heavy rain Mexico’s health secretary is warning people of dengue fever this year. This disease spreads through mosquitoes that breed in standing water. Dengue fever can be deadly especially the second time you get it. The disease is spread by weak flying mosquito known as “aedes aegypti”. If there is any wind you are pretty safe. Generally this mosquito only bites from the knees down. Be sure to bring a strong repellent and use if liberally especially below your knees. Typically the mosquito is gone by the time the windy season is in gear. Be sure that you bring metal screening to put over the black water vent on the roof of you RV or the mosquito will keep breeding from that location.
Sept. 3, 2006
The big news is the very destructive Hurricane John. The eye with winds near 100 mph went within a few miles of La Ventana. Paste this link into your browser to see photos:

http://pg.photos.yahoo.com/ph/bgeasa/album?.dir=/5245re2&.src=ph

Below is a report by Angie of Baja Joe’s Then a follow up report by Brian.
John, Big BAD John
Once again a major hurricane has hit Baja, including our beloved village of El Sargento and La Ventana. The US news touched lightly on the probabilities of the storm and effects on those of us here. Because we live here and have been here for other storms, we took the attitude that it�s better to over prepare than not.
We put away as many things outside as we could think of, of course there�s always things you miss or don�t see, or think won�t be a problem. We put plywood on our windows and door, sandbagged the front door and got the towels ready.
John arrived early evening with the usual angry surf, showers and gusty winds. It seems that hurricanes always do the deed in the night, and John, true to a hurricane�s nature was most formidable Friday night. As darkness came, so did more rain and stronger winds. I gathered my 8 cats and Roja to be sure they would be safe. At this time we still had power, but the flashlights and candles were ready.
The power went out about 9, so the movie watching was over. By candlelight we talked and wondered about the noises we could hear outside. The wind was pretty strong by this time and of course the rain was finding it�s way into the house. For those of you that don�t know, my house is on the second storey, but when it rains, my windows and doors leak, and the floor is wet until it stops. Add to that the power of hurricane winds, the windows and (almost) the walls leak. We tried guessing what was going where whenever we heard a loud noise. We guessed wrong. The biggest noise we attributed to the weight bench falling over, but in the morning discovered the awning on the roof and behind the house, so that was it. The living room flooded, we walked around in about 3 inches of water. The plywood on the bedroom window blew off, but the glass held, so we only had water coming in there between the glass and frame. We went to bed and tried to sleep, but the noise and force of the storm wouldn�t let that happen.
Morning came and the storm had passed, but it was still quite gloomy and rainy. The wind had subsided and the damage was done. The storm didn�t track as predicted hitting Los Cabo, but turned right and hugged the coast of the Sea of Cortez. I don�t have reports from Cabo Pulmo, La Ribera, Ensenada de Los sue�os or places between. I have heard that Los Cabos and La Paz weren�t affected much. Here some arroyos washed and destroyed the road, including the one at Palapas Ventana and in El Sargento where the police station is. Many power poles, electrical lines and telephone lines are on the ground. The water pipe is broken in several places. The dish receiver on the Tel Mex tower was facing north, about a 180 from normal. All these repairs will take some time to get us back to normal.
I�m happy to say that everyone has survived, here and throughout El Sargento and La Ventana. There is a lot of damage, clean up will take awhile too, but the attitude here is: �This time we�ll make it even better�.
Angie
Baja Joe�s
Report by Brian and Angie Sept. 4 2006:
Angie and I took a long quad runner ride yesterday. We tried to check on as many homes as possible.
Unfortunately, between the impassable roads, and the locked gates, we couldn�t get to many.
The hurricane reached Category 4 winds of 115 knots at its peak, but had subsided to around a Category 3 of +/-100 knots by the time it landed here.
Supposedly, it tracked right between the island and here. (see more hurricane data at the bottom of the email)
The homes and property all seemed to hold up well. Most all structures appear intact
The properties on the east side of the highway took it the hardest.
The plants and trees on the beach side homes got decimated.
If your home is on the east side of the highway and lacks window protection, then there is a good chance that you have some broken windows.
Palapa roofs usually have a little damage, tile roofs as well. Tin roofs often failed.
Water and sand made it into almost every home. Sand got forced through the smallest cracks and around the window frames.
If you know someone who can air out your home, it would be a good thing.
Unfortunately, Angie and Joe are not available to assist with repairs, as they have extensive damage and cleanup to get their hotel back together.
The real problems are with the infrastructure.
All the restaurants seemed to have been hit really hard.
The roads have washed out along with tons of soil that they once sat on.
More power and phone lines are down than are up.
The water pipes are exposed, broken and completely washed away in sections.
Most of the road past El Sargento is passable only with a 4×4 as the arroyos washed through the road and left soft sand.
The Hot Springs road is completely gone. I could not even navigate it on the quad.
As we drove through the street on the quads Sunday, all the people were already busy with the cleanup.
People were helping each other, and most are smiling � even the ones with extensive damage.
The people of La Ventana and El Sargento are wonderful. The communities are supportive and resilient.
But you know that, that is why we all live here�
(September 21, 2001). In La Ventana the beach and campground suffered lots of cosmetic damage but will be OK by Dec. Los Barilles- suffered some significan flooding and North Beach area has some severe local damage. No report from Cabo Plumo and Pt. Chivato yet. Traffic on Hwy. 1 is now getting through but detours and rough conditions are common. The road should be in pretty good condition in a week or two.


 

 

Hurricane town & road damage reports, Produced by: Mike Godsey, iwindsurf.com

 

 

By Bobbie and Leon,

Lets start at the beginning. We left the Bay Area on Thursday and spent the night in a small town outside of Bakersfield. We then headed to San Diego. We crossed the Border on Sunday morning. No problems! They just waived us through. We drove 12 hours to Guerro Negro, The next day we drove to Loreto.

The section from Mulege to Loreto the roads were really bad. Lots of debris, rocks, dirt, detours. The roads got worse from Loreto to La Paz. From Ciudad Constitution to La Paz was the worse. The road was gone. The arroyos were full of water and had to use 4wd to get through them. The water was so deep in one area that it came into the trailer. That was pretty hairball; a semi got stuck right in front of us. They had to use a bulldozer to push him out. Leon just put it in 4wd and stood on the gas. We made it no problem. It was about 2 ft. feet deep. Then about 10 minutes later they had a detour that took us out into the desert for about 5 miles. This was not from the storm; they were building a new road. So instead of closing off half the road like we do in America, they just send you out into the desert. It was slow going, but we finally made it to La Paz. Just 28 more miles, Can we make it! Yes, the roads were okay, a few landslides and one-lane roads, but no water crossings. We made it to an RV Park in La Ventana. They had some damage, and the arroyo went through part of his property. Nothing that canxt be fixed.

We got to go windsurfing the first day, and caught fish the second day. We are now eating fish again and will continue to eat fish for the next 6 months. Good thing I bought a new cookbook. Leon already has an invite to go goat hunting with YoYo again, and we are going to a Fiesta on Saturday for their daughter Brenda who just turned 18 years old.The weather is very hot here, low 90 with 80% humidity. Water temperature is about 80 degrees. The shower is the only place to cool off. It has cold water. It is very refreshing. The hurricane left a mess on the beach. There was a lot of debris from the arroyos. It will be a month or so before it gets back to normal.There is no one down here. We are the only ones at YoYos so far. The campground down the road has about 10 people. We have seen one or two people pull in everyday.


 

 

By Lane,

Here is the latest report from Los Barriles. We just got this message from Don & Gayle, our next door neighbors. It is a journal of their trip down last week. Will provide more updates as they come.

We had a perilous trip down to our casa through some of the worst roads I have ever seen. We got to Gurrerro Negro for what was to be our overnight stay, we were met at the immigration check point by a group of officials that we showing us a printed message in English that said the lower part of Baja was completely cut off from the rest to the world. The roads were blocked between Mulige and Loreto in 5 places, no telephones, electricity or gas and water was in very short supply. This did not tell us how bad it really was; we were to find out first hand in three days. We spent three nights in Gurrerro and after finding out that the roads had washed out north of us, we were cut off from going back to the States. We left at 3 am and drove south, into the problems. We found several very large rivers running across the road, we saw trucks and cars abandoned in the water and still we locked up the 4-wheel drive and somehow got across them, one was actually over the headlights and came into the car through the door seals. Gayle and I were both at times sure we would become a river victims!


 

 

From Eric Skemp

The Road to Los Barriles through La Paz and then past the mountains of San Bartolo were really bad, the road had washed away in places leaving only just enough for us to keep the wheels at the very edge of at times a fall of several hundred feet, there were not really any other cars moving around, then we found some people that had somehow made it to La Paz for water and food and gas as the town has none, we followed them down a riverbed almost 5 miles to the beach north of town and then we forded the last river, the one behind our house, it was about 1/4 mile wide and there are cars sinking in the middle, houses have washed away along side it and are caved in.

We are home safe and have gotten the generator working after about 3 hours of mechanical work, living out of the car 12-volt ice chest, and running the generator to power the small freezer. Our phones came back on today, we hope to have electricity on in the next two weeks, the entire transmission lines came down, big Trucks cannot get down the roads even to do repair. We have heard that there are almost 500 semi trucks struck back at Loreto where we forded the large river, even after that it will take weeks to get the road back to at least one lane, the road to the airport gong south to Cabo is closed, some vehicles have made it through but even the 4 wheel drive cars need to be towed out by chains from the far bank. We know that they are helicoptering people in to do repair work on the phones we met one group in Guerrero, I think that is why we are back to having phone contact again. The beaches are so eroded that getting to a boat is almost impossible, and maneuvering an ATV on the sand; is quite a task, because there is no sand. Yes, this sounds dismal because you who know our town would be saddened by this.

Natives say this is worst than KIKO… so clean up will be long and arduous. Much of the town is still under water, and Tio Pablo’s had to close for 1 week to dig out the silt. We did survive with a roof intact, but much constant pounding of water made for lots on the floor, as Consuelo y Roberto and family bailed us out many times. They really worked hard for us, and without them we would have had a mess, that would have made even Gayle want to move back to the states!! Neighbors rescued our impassable street to the Casa by hauling in dirt to fill. As I type a road grader has made several passes. If neighbors had not done what they did we would not have made it up the road when we limped in at 7 P.M.Thursday. Today is Sat. and we are typing this and not sure whether it will go though on the Internet. Sorry this is such bad news, even people with homes here are not coming down, because no one will pick them up at the airport, and we have discouraged many from driving for at least another week. AND we should not have done what we did either, but rest assured NEVER again. Guess we better value life more. To our family, we are slowing getting back to normal … hard living out of ice chest (er no ice) but generator power and noise. Seems we are on the hunt for dead smelling things as well… just too much water and things dying, Yuck,,,

Photos of North Beach Arroyo by Eric Skemp:

By Mike and Terry

Hi everybody, we left los angeles on sat. The 6th and drove to punta chivato. The roads were fine with a few bumpy spots around catavina. We only stayed in chivato 2 nights because miggie got 50 bites on him. He went crazy, poor baby, i felt horrible seeing him in such pain. Anyway, we left at 6 am and drove to la ventana, getting in around 4. The drive was slow with wash outs starting below loreto. By now the roads should be ok as there were many men working to fix them with lots of equipment. La ventana was hit fairly hard but no where near as bad as los barrilles or cabo. Ventana had no lights or water for 9days. The campground was a mess but is now repaired. Dave and lana, everything looks fine no damage just a lot of died bugs inside. We checked andy’s lot no damage. Garvin and sara’s no damage except that the front or tongue of your trailer fell to the ground, it looks ok just needs to be picked up. John and rebecca you have some erosion problems however the wall is still in tact. We didn’t get to look at the wall from the front but will in the next few days and will let you know how it looks. Our house and land and john and susan’s are fine. The beaches sure have changed. The campground is all sand, the strip in front of john and rebecca’s down to garvin’s has a lot more sand. Our beach was all rocky with half the jetty gone. We had 4 guys here yesterday and it looks much better already. We need to start a beach fund! Umberto’s beach didn’t change a bit!!! If we didn’t mention your property that means that we haven’t had a change to look at it yet. We will try in the next few days to check things out further. Sorry for the mass mailing, more personal stuff later. Love and hugs to all and please send info on the war. We didn’t know about it until yesterday when in town we saw a blip on tv.
mike & terry


 

 

 

From Viki and Jeffrey

Hi everyone! We just hung up the phone after finally reaching La Paz. We spoke to Cristina (of Humberto y Cristina Osuna) at length about the damage sustained in El Sargento from Julieta. Here’s their up to the minute info: La Paz had no electricity for 4 days, and horrendous rain, but hardly any structural damage. Two people were killed, due to trying to cross the arroyo on the Los Planes (Yonke) road near the Coca Cola plant. To illustrate the severity of the deluge, one girl’s body was recovered in Fidepaz… OK, so Humberto was finally able to drive to El Sargento yesterday (Monday) and he reports that it’s a total mess, but that everybody’s palapas were still standing. Nobody was hurt, and they are still without power or water. Juan Ramon said they thought they’d have it back by Thursday. Baja Celular is not functioning because their tower blew down. Cristina said there is debris everywhere, that it looks “just like a hurricane hit the place.” Really ugly, and lot’s and lot’s of water.

As for the forwarded pictures we received from Joan and Greg, from someone in Todos Santos: Thankfully for El Sargento, Julieta did not hang overhead for the eight hours it did on the Pacific. Besides ripping up Todos Santos, it really hurt Conejo. Apparently the winds were not as severe on our side. (That Photoisland is a great website though, it scared the shit out of us!) Go to this address to see photos… http://www.photoisland.com/servlet/GuestLogin?USERNAME=bajabus Type in the name “hurricane” for the password, click again on hurricane at the left of the home page for pix. When you see a photo you would like to enlarge, click on it. This comes to all of us via Joan and Greg. So, it sounds like all our Mexican friends are OK, we still have some palm fronds left above our heads, and our landscaping efforts have been seriously thwarted. Now, if you tune into the weather channel, you’ll see a swirling mass they are already naming (did I hear Lorna?) heading towards Baja once again. And the Hurricane season doesn’t officially end until Halloween. Anyway, thanks again to Cristina and Humberto for their excellent reporting! Best to everybody from beautiful downtown San Miguel de Allende, Vicki and Jeffrey

Photo of La Ventana Campground:

From Angie at Baja Joes in LaVentana,

As many have seen or heard on the news, Baja was hit by hurricane Juliette, at one time a category 4 storm. It weakened as it travel north toward the peninsula and was predicted to skirt Cabo San Lucas. It didn’t. We in La Ventana, watched intently as reports were made. The wind and rain started in on Wednesday 9/26 with a gusty downpour early in the day. Clouds built, waves got bigger, but the wind was fairly mild all day. We closed windows and doors, moved rocks to better let the water get to the sea, and braced ourselves. Thursday dawned gray and quiet, no birds were out making their usual morning greetings to the day. The wind steadily increased and the drenching rains came more frequently throughout the day. Arroyos began running, but would stop when the rain would stop. That afternoon it began to really rain, the wind, although strong, wasn’t doing much more than swaying the trees and slanting the rain. At dusk, the wind became strong, really pushing the trees and lifting some palm fronds. The rain came in the front door, through the windows and it seemed to be coming through the walls. I had towels piled up in front of the door, but couldn’t ring them out fast enough to stop the water flowing under and into the house. We did the best we could to shore up for the night, but I woke once and walked around in an inch of water. The wind and rain were howling during the night, not many in La Ventana got much sleep that night.

Friday morning began with the same conditions, we looked out to see rain going horizontal and we couldn’t see 20 feet into it. Mid-morning the rain let up a bit and we donned raincoats to see how things were. Our arroyo/driveway had been a river during the night, and came very close to our north corner nearest the beach. The rushing water had undermined that corner so that it was hanging in mid air. We began collecting rocks and piling them there, then we attacked more where the water made its’ turn toward that corner and dug out the main route to the beach, so that it wouldn’t be likely to go close to the buildings again. We had lots of help, Cory and Tate were by early in the morning, later YoYo and Tany helped. We hung tarps over our east facing windows and the front door, and that slowed the flow into the house, but didn’t stop it completely, we still needed to ring the towels often. The wind and rain continued all day and into the night. Saturday morning was calm, occasional showers but much less wind. We went out to see again, and couldn’t get much further than the end of our driveway. It seemed that we were on an island. Water was flowing down the driveway and on the other side of our property. The sea was dark brown, the surf 10 feet or so, and the beach mostly gone. Because the rain had let up some, we were able to go to the village in the late morning. The sites were incredible.

We arrived at Pablo & Helie’s as they finished some shoring up of their property bordering the arroyo there. The water was coming toward Pablo’s house, store, restaurant, and all the trailers he has stored. This same arroyo drains into the campground near the pier, on a normal rainfall amount storm. That night, the water crossed the road, and joined with the arroyo on the north side of the campground and pushed out to sea. This north arroyo was flowing hard too, pushing it’s way to the sea along the road and eroding the edges. Where once a small lagoon would form in the trees on rainy days, is now a big arroyo, and new beach access. The water moved through every part of the campground, giving it a fresh washed look. Where the water came to the sea, there is a big mound of sand. I think this will be very nice for launching this winter. The pier succumbed to the pressure of the pounding waves and fell into to sea and was being torn apart. Our latest report put the storm center very near us, and this gave the quiet an eerie quality.

Here is the road to LaVentana. It is now open but in bad shape.

More from Angie….

The electricity went out early Thursday, and our generator wasn’t running very well. The heavy cloud cover blocked our TV reception, so, we were getting news only in bits and pieces. We’d heard that 3 people in Cabo had died, one a surfer from Colorado. Tany told us that 2 tin roofs of homes in El Sargento blew off, but other than that there hasn’t been any injuries or major problems. We saw one drowned cow on the beach and heard that there are others that fell into arroyos and drowned. All the garbage stacked up in the arroyos over the years, of course, went with the rain water out to sea and is being thrown onto the beach by the waves. Every bit of brush and tree limb and cactus that couldn’t hold on was in the surf too. There are piles of this mulch-like debris. The number of bits of cholla are amazing. It will be a new hazard to body dragging with a kite for a few days. Every arroyo flowed like rivers, all the streets are rutted with runoff and the main power lines are down near the road to the blow-hole. We heard that power is out all over including La Paz and we think it may be weeks before the power company can get to our small community.

Today, Sunday, we took a ride north, there the arroyos flowed too, but the smaller ones only smaller amounts, the 2 bigger ones far to the north carried a lot of water bringing sand to the beach. It seems that not much damage was done to any buildings and everyone had a safe place to ride out the storm. Now we are all looking at many days of clean-up. Bonnie & Johnnie, Ann-Marie & Franz, and Ken& Maryellen are the earliest arrivals to the campground this year and have started the clean-up there. During the storm they moved out of the campground, Bonnie & Johnnie into the village, the others to the gate. Their trailers rocked and leaked, but they are ready to settle in for the winter now. I’ve taken lots of pictures, so if you’re interested, come see. See you soon, Angie

The hurricane at it’s worst:

Here is the beach between Baja Joes and Ventana Windsurf. Photo by Esteban

From Esteban

Just a few fotos of some of the souvenirs of Julieta…looks like things were bad but compared to Todos we were lucky…here are a few things I
heard. Campground is wasted which if you look at these fotos of my beach you get some idea of what it may look like, 1.5 hours to drive from La Paz
to LV, Water system in El Sargento, LV is all messed up, power still out, ….sure looks peaceful as ever though! My cat Tigger got hit by something
and died on the way to the Vet in La Paz, this is a foto of what must have been his last moments with Christina. Pales with NY and DC but a tragic
event nevertheless. Hope you and yours are all well. See you down there soon.

Saludos,
Esteban

Mex Hwy 19 photo below

From Sharon

I got some details about the storm damage from Fran today. 3000 homes lost in Cabo area, Cabo marina is gone. Impossible to drive to Barilles from Cabo airoport because of a wash at Las Cuervas (by turnoff to La Ribera). The No. Beach arroyo was much more damaged then the last flood. The last beach lot is totally gone, the walls of the 3 homes near the road are gone and it appears there is a dropoff in front of their garages. It’s also impossible to drive north of the No Beach arroyo because of the drop off. However, someone went by CeCe and Steve’s home and said it’s OK…this is good as your home is very nearbye. You can get to Barilles from La Paz but it takes about 4 hours and one must drive thru the San Bartollo arroyo as the main road is not passable.

30″ of rain fell in the San Bartollo in less the 24 hours!

So…no phones (except cell), no water, no power. I think Cabo is also without power. Not really the time to leave for there!

I will let you know anything else I hear, Wayne is waiting in Guerrero Negro till they let them go, as it’s not possible to get to Loreto because a bridge is out. The Santa Rita bridge before La Paz is also gone.

Also, 3 feet of water in downtown Barilles. Wow…Sharon

Photo of La Ventana Windsurf Beach:

From Sherman Island Lane,

The Hurricane really hit Mexico hard. Right now you can fly into Los Cabos but you might not be able to get anywhere after that. All bridges south of La Paz are out. The Marina in Cabo is gone! Some 3000 homes in Cabo are gone. The road from La Paz to La Ventanna is barely passable via 2 wheel vehicle. The campground in La Ventanna has been destroyed and may not be usable in time for the winter season. The road from La Paz to Los Barriles is passable to San Bartolo. From there you must travel via the arroyo to Los Barriles. May not be passable on 2 wheel drive at that point. No way to get from Los Barriles to the airport in Los Cabos at this point. Some 50 metal power poles are down. Some 150 wooden poles are down. There is little electricity south of La Paz. Water has not been restores as of yesterday. Everyone planning a trip to Baja should check before they go to confirm their plans. As of now, no phones south of La Paz.

( END )


 

 

San Carlos Hurricane Nora Diary (September ’97)

By Chris & Annie McNeil
Photos by Mike Godsey

 

DAY FOUR AT SAN CARLOS, BAJA

UPDATE BY: CHRIS – No A.M. wind. Hike the mountains with Annie after coffee and muffins- and end up at the rock beach by airstrip. Surf the Stewart longboard with Dale and Annie at Bombora. Fun drops then a long slow ride to the gap. More wind at the point than up here. Watched Dale sail the Fanatic surf/sailboard. Another feast with BBQ lobster, tri-tip ala Kevin. Lunch was an epic Luis special – corvina ceviche. Watched Marc’s TV and weather channel tracking the big hurricane (Nora). Where will it hit? No one knows, but Marc is packing it up! He has been here since early August and was leaving soon anyway.

 

UPDATE BY: ANNIE – Surfing wasn’t very easy, but once in a while I was rewarded with a gliding ride. Chris had his eye on the larger sets at the Bombora and sensing his need for more challenging conditions I said I’d paddle out with him. At the Bombora he would move deep into the shoulder as it jacked up, well overhead and take off deep+steep, riding what seemed like a quarter of a mile into shore. I was too chicken to take off on the Bombora wave so I paddled back to the former spot and surfed on my own for a while. Later in the evening huge cumulus clouds gathered east of us on the shore and a light show of thunderbolts went off. I was feeling a bit scared and asked a lot of questions about storms in San Carlos, (eg. that couldn’t be the hurricane could it?!) many questions unanswered or with a general “no cause for alarm” attitude. I began to feel like the overreacting female.

 

Meanwhile, NWS HURRICANE WARNING:

AT 5 AM PDT1200ZTHE CENTER OF HURRICANE NORA IS MOVING TOWARD THE NORTH A GRADUAL TURN TOWARD THE NORTH-NORTHEAST WITH AN- INCREASE IN FORWARD SPEED IS EXPECTED DURING THE NEXT 12 TO 24 HOURS. ON THIS TRACK, THE CENTER OF NORA WILL LIKELY CROSS THE EXTREME NORTHERN GULF OF CALIFORNIA AND MOVE INTO NORTHERN SONORA MEXICO AND THEN INTO SOUTHWESTERN ARIZONA LATER TODAY.
MAXIMUM SUSTAINED WINDS ARE NEAR 75 MPH / 120 KM/HR WITH HIGHER GUSTS. ESPECIALLY STRONG GUSTS ARE LIKELY OVER HIGH TERRAIN. WEAKENING IS LIKELY DURING THE NEXT 24 HOURS.
HURRICANE FORCE WINDS EXTEND OUTWARD UP TO 60 MILES 95 KM FROM THE CENTER AND TROPICAL STORM FORCE WINDS EXTEND OUTWARD UP TO 145 MILES / 230 KM.
ESTIMATED MINIMUM CENTRAL PRESSURE IS 985 MB / 29.09 INCHES.
A STORM SURGE OF 3 TO 5 FEET ABOVE NORMAL TIDE LEVELS CAN BE EXPECTED IN THE WARNED AREA PARTICULARLY IN THE NORTHERN GULF OF CALIFORNIA AND THE BAHIA SEBASTIAN VIZCAINO ON THE PACIFIC COAST OF BAJA CALIFORNIA. THE SURGE WILL BE ACCOMPANIED BY LARGE AND DANGEROUS BATTERING WAVES.
RAINFALL TOTALS OF 2 TO 5 INCHES WITH ISOLATED AMOUNTS NEAR 10 INCHES ARE POSSIBLE IN ASSOCIATION WITH NORA. THE RAINBANDS OF NORA ARE MOVING OVER PORTIONS OF NORTHERN BAJA CALIFORNIA

 

DAY FIVE

CHRIS – Sunny and hot, very light wind. Collect trash with Kevin and Dale of Solo Sports from all of the campers. Talked with Sheldon while Annie surfs. Swell increasing. Peaky waves at Bomby with 2-3′ inside. Fish Camp stop to drop off water barrel for Luis’ trip to El Rosario. Chill out with Luis and his homeboys in Luis’ crib. Red tide at fish camp. Take Fanatic surf/sail board out to Bombora, caught inside after 2 rides, leash snaps, board on rocks. Dale saves it from total destruction. Damage report. 2 small areas of chipped gelcoat. Then it hits us. A cloud burst front comes down the mountain. We watch a tent roll over the cliff down closer to the point. Our camp handles it well. Pretty soon the sun is out, humidity is up and we’re BBQ’ing chicken for dinner, while all the other camps are putting it back together.

 

DAY SIX

CHRIS – Short A.M. shower, kona winds, swell a bit bigger, full cloud cover. A.M. session at Dale’s left with 6-10′ faces. Epic session with Kevin and Dale as wind is El Norte and blowing straight up these mackers. Great waves, great conditions, only three of us in rotation, plenty o’ waves for everyone. Mountain bike to rock beach by landing strip with Annie. This beach is exactly like Goat Rock beach at the mouth of the Russian River, but twice as steep and very loud from the rocks getting polished. Afternoon surf with Annie out front. Large stormy waves, lefts and rights, rain starts up again. Another feast, then we all enjoy the cool evening air – oblivious to the night of terror we are about to endure. The wind increases with gusts of 20 to ?. The camp, set up for the prevailing winds, cannot hold up for this bitch of a wind from Nora that is coming in the opposite direction. Two sections of awnings take all the abuse as they peel back in the blasts. Annie and I head for the van and sleep fitfully as it rocks back and forth in the stronger puffs. Kevin and Dale tent it and wake up soggy.

 

ANNIE – Evening brought increasing fear about the looming storm. The water began to look disorganized and dark and when the strong winds and rain came I opted for moving into the van for the night. Not a wink of sleep, feeling the van rock sideways, making a sick sound with the raging wind and waves making thunder. I woke Chris up all night saying, “I’m scared!” I kept thinking the van was going to fall over or be pushed, sliding in the mud, off the bluff into the angry ocean. I was terrified and the only thing I could think of was seeing my two little boys’ faces again. I kept asking “Is THIS THE hurricane?” given answers of “no” or “I don’t know”. I tried listening to the radio but the only information given was that the hurricane was in Baja. Daylight arrived painfully slow.

 

DAY SEVEN

CHRIS – Wow! What a night! Damage report: 2 10X20 awning sections mangled like they were made of wire. Kevin’s tent rod snapped forcing him into a back up tent. A few lobster traps pushed by the surf with the shorebreak. Fishermen from the fish camp reported news of winds up to 80mph during the night and that a few fishing shacks were flattened. The surf is another notch larger and lumpier than yesterday, wind is side-off and howling. Spray off tops of waves is spectacular. Quick drive around to check on all the campers. The driving is almost impossible on even the flattest ground as the mud beneath sucks the tires in. Hope this rain stops soon so the road will dry out in time for us to travel it. Everyone OK and holed up. It continues to rain lightly. Driving is tricky at best, Nora is here to party. Annie heard radio reports that the storm is heading inland over central Baja, then up towards Phoenix and Tucson. Rain continued ’til noon then stops, blue sky visible over the ocean to the south and west. The swell is HUGE at the Bombora with 15-20′ faces closing out. We watch in amazement. Dale and I surf out front, some fun head high peaks, steep drops and fast sections. Dale redeems himself with a late take off on a critically vert, overhead right barrel-does he make it? ASK DALE? Ribs on the BBQ after a hike up the mountain to the cross (Nora had blown it over). Early to bed still a little soggy), we are all tired from the previous night.

 

ANNIE – So happy to see daylight. Throughout the evening the howling wind had switched from NE to NW and I heard radio reports that the hurricane was going to arrive in Arizona by nightfall. Again I asked the questions, “So Was THAT THE hurricane? It sure felt like one!” With responses of “NO, NO the hurricane was 100’s, maybe 200 or 300 miles from here!” At that point I began to trust my own feelings. Later in California we found out that the hurricane passed directly over us and that San Carlos was within 20-50 miles of the eye. Light on the Bombora revealed double mast high waves. From my limited experience I couldn’t exactly tell the size of them, but was told that they were double-mast high and could inflict significant damage. Too exhausted to attempt surfing out front in overhead conditions I biked to the point observing the beauty of surging volumes of water pushing their way into the Chili Bowl. It was good to be alive and I felt like crying.

 

DAY EIGHT

CHRIS – Clear A.M. light tradewinds, surf is still huge, but a little cleaner. The Bombora is whitewater, the inside = a nightmare. Coffee and bagels and we’re off to check out the surf. The fish camp right is going off. Dale, Kevin and I score another epic session. Unlike the rides at Dale’s Left these are endless waves with sections that jack completely covering you for moments them spitting you out down the line. This session and the one at Dale’s Left rank as the two on the top of my list for larger surf.
-Lunch and rig for sailing. Me on 5.5, 9’1″ Blair, Annie 4.5 Ezzy, 8’3″ Mistral. Very light inside, powered on the outside, but mast high Bombora waves keep you in check – no going out there – certain disaster!! Inside is pretty big, too – not easy for some. We take a break and watch the action, then Solo camp gets the 911 call. Can we help the lady with the gaping leg wound? They bring her over and every one scrambles around, luckily Solo Sports 1st Aid kit is loaded. 10 stitches are placed in her outer right thigh. The wound was as deep as it was long 3 1/2″. Surgery lasts 1-2 hours, Annie is my assistant and moral support. Julie is taken by her friends to San Diego for further help. The camp quiets down. Last dinner in camp with Luis. Early to bed, early to rise – one more day. Injuries reported in all the camps – this has been a difficult day for some.

 

ANNIE – I assisted Chris in the surgery, having assisted him many times at the dental office. She was allergic to the available antibiotic and so getting her to a hospital in the States was important. Julie’s main concern was for her friends to be able to stay on and sail, instead of transporting her to a hospital in the U.S. Kevin quickly offered transportation as well. Kevin takes care of everyone – a guy with a huge heart. That evening Julie and her friends blasted off for the U.S. Later, when I was told what her name was, I remembered reading in the recent windsurfing Magazine that she won the Gorge Pro Am, San Francisco Bay Pro Am, and 2nd in the US Open.

 

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