Change in the weather – Marine Surge, followed by Rain in the PNW


Marine Surge 9:21:14This is the look of the Coast today as fog and overcast envelops the beaches, with cool southerlies, seen in this visible satellite image. See the graph of southerlies from Pacific City:  Lincoln City Roads End Live Cam, cloudy sky and waves.


Meanwhile the upper  low to the south, in Nevada, throws high clouds into southeastern Oregon, while a line of water vapor is poised offshore, north to south, seen in this infrared image. See video loop of satellite water vapor in the Pacific:

Posted in Columbia River Gorge

The North Pacific High takes a short vacation to it’s winter time home.

NPHwinterHomeFallNorthern California deprived of NW wind while Gorge lacks high pressure for the duration. 

by Mike Godsey,

Funny how we take things for granted. Each year around late September the NW wind gradually becomes weaker and less reliable and by late Oct. it is often only a memory.  The Bay Area has the most reliable winds on the west coast for a simple reason. We have  major 2 wind engines. The pressure gradient to the Central Valley that creates great thermal winds. And the North Pacific High’s surface NW winds. And often the 2 work together. With pressure gradient sucking in the North Pacific High’s surface NW winds where they combine with the thermal winds going to the Central Valley.

Now the gradual fading of the thermal winds in the Bay Area and the Gorge in the fall is easily understood. The sun rises later, sets earlier and its angle is lower in the sky. So there is lest heating in California’s Central Valley and the Columbia Basin. This means a weaker pressure gradient so weaker wind.

But why does the North Pacific High weaken and why do the NW winds become less common as fall then winter approach? Basically it’s the same reason the angle of the sun. The North Pacific High is created by a band of huge thunderstorms that span the pacific in the zone where the trade winds from the North Pacific High and the South Pacific High converge in the tropics. In this, area known as the InterTropical Convergence Zone or ITCZ, constant huge thunderstorms pump enormous amounts of air into the atmosphere. Part of this air descends far to the north to the surface and creates a huge dome of high pressure air known as the North Pacific High. In the spring the ITCZ marches northward as the sun appears higher in the sky each passing day. And the average location of the North Pacific High moves northward with it. But in the fall, as the sun becomes lower in the sky, the reverse happens and the North Pacific High moves southward.

The reality is more complex since even in the summer passing upper troughs push the North Pacific High southward for a few day so the Gorge winds weaken and the Bay Area loses its NW wind. But as fall progresses and the angle of the sun decreases those upper troughs drop further  south and the North Pacific High retreats further from the west coast. And finally we reach a point where, like today, winter type storms near the west coast.

The North Pacific High looks almost totally wiped out in the video but never fear. It will rebound since the systems you see creating SW storm winds pass. But the North Pacific Highs short vacation this week to the south is a harbinger of its coming departure to it’s southerly winter home.

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

Cat. 3 Hurricane Odile hits La Ventana and Los Barriles.

Imagery of hurricane HurricaneOdile

by Mike Godsey,

Hurricane Odile made landfall Sunday night as a Category 3 storm near Baja Sur’s Cabo San Lucas with an estimated intensity of 125 mph. Initial reports of extensive damage to some resorts but no loss of life.

No reports yet from La Ventana and Los Barriles on Baja’s East Cape. Initial reports have the hurricane going inland as it approached the East Cape which typically means weaker winds.

Here are reports about previous Baja Hurricanes at San Carlos, La Ventana and Los Barriles:

With the heavy rains the population of BoBo’s will be high near the beaches in the mornings if you arrive very early season in Oct. or early November.odile

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

Baja and the SW United States – making history.


By WeatherFlow meteorologist Shea Gibson

Hurricane Odile made land fall just over Cabo San Lucas as a Category 3 Hurricane at 9:45PM PDT, making it the strongest one to ever hit the Baja peninsula with winds packing 125mph and rains expected 6-12 inches or more. This is very recently after Category 3 Hurricane Norbert took a good swipe at Baja on its way up the coast, eventually turning into the SW states and dumping significant rainfalls over Arizona to cause flooding.

Here is Norbert’s track and post-track.



From Wikipedia’s information on Norbert : “In Arizona, rainfall peaked at 6.09 in (155 mm) near Chandler. During a seven hour period, Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport recorded 3.30 in (84 mm) of rainfall, breaking the 75 year old daily rainfall record. It was also the highest precipitation in a single calendar day, but fell short of the station’s 24 hour rainfall total. The rainfall was more than the city’s average summer rainfall. About one of every three Maricopa County rain gauges set all-time records.”

Here is what is going on now – Odile is a Cat 2 storm gradually weakening.

ATL PAC 9-15-14





And as if that wasn’t bad enough – guess what? There’s another area organizing and projected along the same general path.


Let’s take a look at what is going on climatically…

On September 8, 2014, The World Meteorological Association stated that the El Niño cycle is coming to its potential as Eastern Pacific Sea Surface Temps are well above average.

Here is the latest NCEP ENSO report with models steadily increasing for the El Niño as SST’s continue to stay above average.


Currently, the SST’s range between ~80° – 84° in the open waters, with the Gulf of California showing warmer waters around ~85° – 87° likely helping to keep strength to Odile along the eastern edges.



So basically what we have here is a southerly steering current with abundant warm waters which are a recipe for these systems to rapidly intensify. This 500mb mid/upper level Low may steer the next system along the same path as the pattern continues.


We would post the latest wind readings, but it looks like all of the stations down near that area are knocked out. Last reading I was able to get was at 8:40am PST from Ciudad Constitucion with 29mph.



We hope the best for everyone down there as they go through this very dangerous storm.


UPDATE 9/16/14: Here is the projected rainfall from NOAA’s Weather Prediction Center showing the 3 Day Total Precipitation Forecast valid through 8 a.m. EDT Friday, over the southwestern U.S.

“It’s a risk for a prolonged heavy rainfall and flash flood event, possibly severe in nature, to the Desert Southwest and western Texas as the moisture from Odile spreads northward.

The heaviest rainfall will likely be concentrated across southeast Arizona, southern New Mexico and far western Texas, where 3 to 6 inches of rainfall will be common through Thursday night and upwards of 9 inches possible in isolated locales. Flash Flood Watches are in effect for large portions of Arizona and New Mexico, as well as for parts of western Texas, southern California and southern Nevada.
The most susceptible areas for flash flooding and debris flows are over wildfire burn scars across the Desert Southwest. Precipitation over the mountainous terrain will complicate the flash flood potential, even several miles away from the source of the heaviest rainfall.

In addition, significant damage could occur in urbanized areas if heavy rainfall exceeds the capabilities of storm drains, normally dry arroyos, and flood control protective systems.”



Posted in Baja Guide

Ridge of upper level high pressure over Southern California

Bakes the region creating strong but UP AND DOWN coast winds

by Mike Godsey,

Upper level high pressureSoCAl

Posted in Los Angeles, San Diego

Southern California thermal trough (aka “heat bubble”) and unreliable wind.

The Heat Bubble: to much of a good thing.

by Mike Godsey,

Several years ago Southern California had an intense heat wave that produced thermal trough (aka “heat bubble”)  issues  that got so strong that they even impacted Cabrillo rather than just Belmont to Seal. This blog and imagery will give you some insight into  the sometimes weird winds of  recent days at those sites.

Heat bubble

Posted in Los Angeles

We Are in Hot Water

We don’t talk much about hurricanes here in So Cal, until this year that is.  Usually we leave all the talk about tropical storms to our forecasters on the eastern seaboard. But this year the Eastern Pacific has been particularly active, producing 14 named tropical systems and we have felt their effects here in the Southland.  Today the beaches were once again pounded with high surf churned up by the former Hurricane Norbert.  Overhead we’ve had cloudy skies and some showers.  All this has combined to produce a lackluster day at the beaches as far as winds go.

So why so many storms this year?  The answer lies in our oceans.  The Eastern Pacific ocean water is warmer than usual.  Oceanographers aren’t ready to call this a predictor of an El Nino yet, but you may have noticed that you haven’t needed your wet suit as much. Usually our ocean water temperature peaks at around 66 degrees at the beginning of September.  Today Los Angeles topped that temperature with a reading of 70.2 F.  San Diego had a reading of 76.1 F.   These abnormally warm ocean waters extend down into Baja which has been an active breeding ground for these Tropical Storms.

Blog SST The good news, for those of you who like high winds and small waves, is that Norbert’s moisture is on the way out. But don’t think its over yet, a new storm is developing down by Acapulco. Kerry Anderson

Posted in Los Angeles, San Diego

Golden Gate Eddy: birth and….


The death of the SW flow.


by Mike Godsey,


The large video shows the pattern that has created the small surface counter-clockwise spinning eddy west of the Bay Area. As you know the North Pacific High normally brings strong NW winds to the Bay Area coast in the spring and early summer  and then modest NW wind  in the summer that ramps up a bit in the late summer. This modest summer NW flow is critical for funneling wind to inside Crissy and to the Stick, Coyote & 3rd.

This summer for complex reasons the North Pacific High has brought N to NNE winds to the California coast. And  given the slant of the Northern California coast that means that those winds are west of the ocean buoys in our area as you can see in the larger video. As these winds come over the coast range north of the Bay Area they cause compressional heating so low pressure develops in the interior of Marin and Sonoma.

This causes some of the N to NNE winds to curve into towards the Bay Area creating an counter-clockwise spinning eddy and SW flow for much of the Bay.

The small video shows the death of eddy which I expect to happen mid day Sunday September 7, 2014

More detail soon.



Posted in San Francisco

Hurricane Norbert vs. Southern California winds

NorbertVS socal iwnds

Posted in Los Angeles, San Diego

WTF…. the North Pacific High with a former hurricane in its center.

If the climate is not changing then something is…….

by Mike Godsey,


Posted in Los Angeles, San Diego, San Francisco