West Coast Wind Blog: Baja Hurricane Diary OLD

West Coast Wind Blog: Customer comments about Human Baja wind forecast:

Daily Human Forecast

Home  | Why Baja blows | Feedback: Baja forecast | | Road Rules |  Driving Down | Where to go. | | Food & Water | CampingResorts | Money, insurance, pets | Hurricane Diary | Windless days | East Cape driving maps | Fish/Surf | Baja photos |

Forecasting for Baja’s East Cape is hard. Many of the tools we take for granted in the USA are not available. And unlike the USA where we have lots of sensors at major kite and windsurf regions we only have one proprietary sensor in Baja. Still, I keep slowly climbing up the forecast learning curve. The last year I forecast I asked for feedback from customers about the forecast. Below are all the e-mails that came in during the next week or so. Such comments are what fuel my passion for improving the forecasts. Mike Godsey

West Coast Wind Blog: Where to go for Baja winter winds.

Where to go for Baja winter winds:

by Mike Godsey, mikeATiwindsurf.com

First, don’t confuse the April-Oct. down-the-line wave riding at Punta San Carlos and the other spots on the Baja Pacific coast with Sea of Cortez kiting and windsurfing. Different season, different crowd, and scant wave riding except when there is exceptionally big swell that breaks on sandbars or reefs and provides backside wave riding like you see in my photo from Cabo Pulmo to the right.

It is always tricky to make hard and fast wind rules but after having spent a total of 60 months living in Baja over 35 years I’ll stick my neck out.

Most years the Sea of Cortez winds are the strongest and most reliable from December to mid-February so this is the best time to visit if you are a windsurfer. If you are kiting add a month or two earlier and later. If you are a foiler you don’t even need to be reading this. If California is having an early winter then strong Baja winds can start in early November. If it is an extraordinarily mild winter in California then you better hope that the fishing is good in Baja. (this relates it being a El Nino or La Nino or Neutral winter which is a topic for another blog) The best pattern is when there are well-spaced storms coming over the west coast with clear spells between each storm. For example, in Nov. 2001 an unending series of storms hit the west coast and there was little wind in Baja.

When El Norte blows, all the sites from Punta Chivato to Cabo Pulmo have wind. Don’t switch sites if it is dead at your site… all the sites are probably dead. The only exceptions to this rule are Cabo Pulmo and La Ventana. Sometimes Pulmo just does not get wind. While La Ventana can have a very light sailable wind when the other sites are dead.
Most reliable winds (from most consistent to least consistent):

1. La Ventana
2. Los Barilles
3. Punta Chivato
4. L.A. Bay
5. Punta Arena
6. Cabo Pulmo

Strongest winds and most radical conditions (locations with typically the strongest winds and the most radical locations are mentioned higher on the list):
1. Cabo Pulmo (shown in photo)
2. Los Barilles
3. La Ventana
4. L.A. Bay
5. Punta Chivato
6. Punta Arena


Baja has few of the sharks that worry sailors on the west coast and Hawaii. The only dangers here are needle fish. These sea-going daggers have been known to leap out of the water causing puncture wounds. If you see long narrow fish 1 to 2 feet long jumping out of the waves in front of you, dump into the water and water start going the opposite direction. Hitting one of these daggers when it is moving at 20 mph and you are moving at 30 mph can send its point jaw into some unpleasant places. At all of the sailing spots, longtime sailors can recount last seasons fish stories. For example, if you are at La Ventana, drop by Ventana Windsurf and ask Steve to see the X-rays of his butt. And when at Las Barilles, stop by Vela and ask Bill about his knee. The danger is small but the stories large. At times, there are man-of-war jellyfish but they are small compared to the ones in Maui. All in all Baja sailing is very mellow.


More Details:

Los Barriles

This used to be most popular Baja windsurfing destination. If you are coming down for a short trip and like at least a hint of resort life and the proximity to the Los Cabos nightlife and shopping, this is the best place to consider.

There is a wide variety of accommodations ranging from windsurfing resorts to the camping of North Beach. Please see our “Resorts and B&Bs” page for further information. The social life is hot (by Baja standards) and there are lots of stores and places to eat. Telephones, banks, RV park, gas stations await you. There are superb resort and windsurfing rental facilities. For your none windsurfing partner Los Cabos an hour to the south may beckon. There amaze of resorts, golf courses and tennis courts and shopping malls stand ready to devour money and time.

The wind is strong and side shore with very big swell close to shore. On most days, this a rugged place for complete beginners. There is often a good size shore break but once you are a few feet from shore it is no problem. Sometimes there are boats anchored in the inshore waters that you have to watch out for. If you sail southward you will find several points with breaking surf and fun backside wave sailing on larger days.

The winds are a bit stronger here than at La Vantana but when El Norte dies there can be periods of no wind. The large sweeping beach way downwind acts to catch wayward sailors but if you are more than a mile offshore you will have a long drift.

The wind alternatives range from ATVs, to world-class fishing, to exercise classes, sea kayaking, and mountain biking. From shore you can see the windline as it moves towards the land. Typically the wind picks up at a civilized hour in the late morning. In town are all the supplies you need and there are good restaurants. There is usually a satellite network so you can get the weather channel and track those Highs and Lows. There is also internet access. On a typical year the winds blow 4 or 5 days out of seven here. The wind here is fairly consistent and the swells can get very large.

This is the easiest sailing place to find. From the border, head south for several days. The highway goes right on the outskirts of town. Head into town to your destination.

Los Barriles caters more to travelers staying at windsurfing resorts and RV parks, but also offers beach camping. In addition, this area has the most complete infrastructure including supermarkets and medical care.

Baja Adventures offers a full-service Bed & Breakfast in Buena Vista — just south of Las Barilles. This nice B&B offers rates from single bunk rooms to double accommodations.

Vela Windsurf Resorts is located in front of the main launch in Las Barilles — on the beach at Bahia de Palmas, 1/2 mile east of Highway 1, on the north side of town. Vela has a reputation for having some of the best windsurf equipment, accommodations, and instructors in Baja.

If your budget or lifestyle prefer beach camping, then you may be able to camp at North Beach in the arroyo on the north of town. The status of this camping area is always in flux.

Martin Verdugo’s is on the beach at Bahia de Palmas, next to Vela. It is partially shaded area with 69 level RV sites and 25 tent sites. There are full hook-ups, flush toilets, showers, laundry, and a restaurant & Bar. The RV camping here is crowded and you are parked with almost overlapping mirrors. This is definitely not a pristine Baja experience but the sailing is great!

The Playa de Oro RV resort has 54 RV sites and 2 tent sites. It has full hook-ups, flush toilets, showers, boat ramp, laundry, and ice. You can make reservations by calling (818) 336-7494.


La Ventana
The northernmost of the fabled East Cape sites. South of La Paz this site was relatively unknown until the 93/94 season. 15 years ago we sailed here for a week and never saw another sailor.

The water and air are warm and the campsites are fairly protected from the wind. If your are driving down for a week or two and sailing is your only goal, this is a good place to spend your trip. The sideshore winds at La Ventana are a combination of two wind patterns. The hot, broad San Juan de los Planes valley downwind creates a local thermal wind that accelerates a mild 18 knot El Norte into fun 20-25 knot breeze. When El Norte cranks this thermal assist gives La Ventana serious winds.


The wind at La Ventana is further accelerated by the venturi effect created by Isla Cerralvo located offshore. The swells are a bit smaller than sites to the south (still they dwarf the Gorge on a 4.0 day) but they line up cleaner than Los Barriles. There is backside wave sailing at the small break at the shallow sandbar about 300 feet off the camping beach. There is another good wave sailing place at the turn of the beach to the south. None of these offer real down the line surf sailing but they are fun!


There is more interesting back side wave sailing 200 yards upwind with glassy breaking waves. There is also some wave action to the south at the bend in the beach. At all of these sites, a surfer can use a long board in the early morning before the wind kicks in. There is world class surfing 90 minutes away at Todo Santos on the pacific side but don’t expect any wind.

The sandbar in front of the camping area absorbs the shorebreak making this Baja’s best place for complete beginners. There are lots of very sharp sea urchins in the cobblestones towards the pier just downwind. Unless you are able to return exactly to one of the cleared pathways through the cobbles you should wear booties.

If you climb the small hill across the road in the morning you can see the windline and watch as it approaches the shore. A huge beach sweeps downwind acts as a parachute for drifting sailors. Even if you break down 6 miles outside you will land on the beach after drifting only about 1-2 miles. On a typical year the winds blow 4 to 6 days a week.

Be forewarned this is not a place for those looking for nightlife. There is a nice campground with water, trash pickup, showers, and somewhat funky restrooms. It can be very crowded at times. The town has no bar, no paved roads, no gas station, and unreliable phones. There are several tiny but good restaurants. There are 3 small windsurfing and kiting B&Bs. See our “Resorts and B&Bs” page for a full listing. If you are camping the prices for provisions are currently cheaper than at other Baja sites.

The reason La Ventana was so late being discovered is its isolation from Mex. 1. To get there if you are driving south, watch for the airport on the right as you near La Paz. If you are flying into La Paz leave the airport heading east and turn right when you reach Mex. 1. Once past the airport, head towards La Paz. When you get to the whaletail monument turn right and you will be on Boulevard Las Garzas (also called Agustin Olachea). Follow it to the first stoplight where you will turn right on Boulevard Luis D. Colosio. Continue out of La Paz and it turns into Hwy 286 to SJ de Los Planes.

You will know you are on the right road when you pass the Pepsi and Coca Cola bottling plants. Then the road heads to a mountain ridge. Then it drops down an endless hill into the Los Planos valley, where you will have your first view of La Ventana and the huge island offshore. If it is blowing you will see flashes of mylar sails.

As the road levels out, look for a paved road on the left going to El Sargento. Go about 7 KM to the tiny village of La Ventana. Just past the garish pink house on the left you will see Baja Joe’s, then Ventana Windsurf. A bit down the road is the campground. Captain Kirk’s is on the right about a half mile further.


Punta Chivato

Located between Santa Rosalia and Mulege at the end of a 15 mile dirt road, Chivato offers scenic high wind camping. El Norte is somewhat accelerated here by the thermal warm basin of spectacular Conception Bay to the south. There is big swell and flat water speed sailing here in strong winds. Produce and water are sometimes available and there is a resort nearby. The rumors of the camping area on the beach being closed have so far not been realized and improvements to the camping area are being made. The camping is on a firm sand beach. The launch is sandy with none of the rocks found at most of sailing sites. There is OK diving right near shore on windless days but fish are scanty near shore. The wind and water are very cool compared to the sites way to the south. The fishing is good from a kayak but nothing like the East Cape sites at this time of the year. Blowing sand can bury equipment and slow moving sailors. Typically the winds blow 2 to 3 days per week.

Chavato is easy to find. There is a sign “Palo Verde” at the entrance to the road to Punta Chivato. Once on this 15 mile dirt road follow the sign
“New Road” at the fork in the road. The road is usually it is in pretty good condition unless it has rained recently.They have reopened the hotel restaurant and are building a second restaurant near the airstrip.


Secret Spot

Located south of Santa Rosalia there is a place with some nice waves. You need a boat to get there easily. Breaking swell with good rides.


Cabo Pulmo

Cabo Plumo has spectacular scenery, Baja’s only coral reef, great fishing, whale watching, kayaking, hiking, biking, diving, huge swells, and very high winds. The only element missing many years is reliable wind. There are only about 20 wind-protected camping sites and they are usually taken by long-term campers. Camping on the exposed beach in 25 to 40 knot side offshore winds is not fun and it is not uncommon for sailing gear and small dogs to be blown out to sea.

Like Jay Valentine once said, “this is a site waiting for an accident to happen.” Be forewarned Pulmo is for advanced sailors only. The winds are side-offshore and the shore break fattens up on broken masts. If you break down far outside you risk being washed up in Central America.

On the upper reef, the breaking swells are far larger and more vertical than other sites and the white water can sweep your equipment away. 500 feet downwind, the razor sharp lower coral reef has fangs that stick above the surface at all but the highest tides. Do not sail in near the lower reef since the water ranges from 4 feet to 4 inches in depth.

Killer whales are occasional visitors to the edge of the reef. On a typical year, the wind blows 2 to 3 days per week but there can be long spells with no wind and conversely, long spells with continuous wind if you’re really lucky.

Unlike the rest of Baja, the winds typically blow all night and sleeping can be a challenge. It is not uncommon for the wind to fade by mid-morning. If you sleep in a tent, ear plugs are necessary. The nearest potable water is 16 miles away. When the wind has blown in the 3.0 to 4.6 range for several days, well-organized 6 to 9 foot swells break as they hit the shallow reef beyond the point. Its like backside sailing without an impact zone.

There is spectacular kayaking at the point to the south. There is fairly good fishing but fishing is forbidden within 5 miles of the reef. There is also some of the best shallow water diving in Baja on the lower reef.


Bahia de Los Angeles

This spectacular, huge island-studded bay has a small but devoted windsurfing community. If you are driving and you only have a week in Baja, this is your first and last stop. The air and water are far colder than sites far to the south. The winds are moderate here and the passage of even relatively weak Highs to the north will bring good north winds. Despite its beauty, the only sailors that stop here are those who are unwilling to drive for one or two more days to warm water. Typically the winds blow 2 to 4 days per week. The road can sometimes be rough the last 40 miles.

L.A. Bay is easy to find. Just turn left at the well-marked turnoff and head east to the Sea of Cortez. La Gringa, as it’s called by the locals, offers good flat-water sailing from your campsite across the La Gringa Bay to the point. Camping is currently $3.00 per day per car. The beach is sand and cobblestones. Set up camp in a high spot to avoid inundation during real high tides as the water comes in from behind you via a low spot. The waters inside are great for beginners and intermediates. Advanced sailors can head outside and towards the islands. The small unattractive village offers basic supplies and some food items. The market on the right side of the road has a telephone.


Punta Arena / Playa de Los Naranges

Located at the mouth of spectacular Bahia de La Conception these sites offer mostly light wind sailing in the 5.5 to 6.0 range. Great camping and boating. You can buy fresh seafood at the fish camp. Lots of long-term non-windsurfing campers. Typically the winds blow 2 or 3 days per week.

To find Punta Arena, pass the Punta Chivato turn off. The road will continue along a coastal plain heading towards Conception Bay. As you ascend the first hill just before the bay look for a wide graded area on the left with a dirt road leading eastward. There will be a sign saying Punta Arena. Follow the road for about 4 miles. There will be a maze of dirt roads at times. Keep on the central road at the 3 way fork. If you come out at a sandy beach with lots of RVs you are at the wrong place. Your destination is about a half mile to the east but you may not be able to drive there along the beach. Head back into the desert and take the next right until you come to a sandy beach with thatched shelters with concrete pads.





West Coast Wind Blog: La Ventana forecast with clouds

Forecasting when locally formed clouds are present is very tricky.

by Mike Godsey, mike AT iwindsurf.com

La Ventana and Los Barriles human forecast link: http://wx.ikitesurf.com/proforecast/56

La Ventana is always a tricky place to forecast given the lack of our proprietary 1 and 3 km resolution models and sparse sensor coverage.

But the worse days are when there are sparse clouds in the inland valleys at dawn. If thoseclouds linger the valley does not heat as much and the pressure gradient will be weak.

Today there were mild and fading El Norte winds just offshore and if the valley were to clear it would pull those weak El Norte winds to shore where they would combine with mild local sea breezes. So there was a chance of upper-teens to even over 20 knot winds.

The satellite animation below shows at dawn some fog in the valley that is stationary and streamers of clouds that were forming out to sea east of La Paz and moving into the valleys.

If these were synoptic scale clouds from a storm (like we will see this Thursday) it would have been an easy no wind forecast. But clouds like this are very unpredictable.

So when you see a mention of patchy inland clouds in the forecast your best bet is to watch the clouds to the west. If you see clearing in the late morning expect stronger winds than forecast. If less clearing then expects weaker winds.

West Coast Wind Blog: Why are Pismo Beach wind forecasts so iffy this year:

NNW ocean winds and NE inland winds battle near Pismo Beach making forecasting tricky.

I know it is frustrating when the wind forecast babbles on with lots of maybes and issues etc.

Today’s wind forecast for Pismo Beach is a classic.

The forecast talks about very strong ocean wind but it ends up telling you to just watch the sensors. Worse ends asking you to watch sensors miles to the east where you could never kite.

Lets dissect the issue behind all this waffling.

In the fall the North Pacific High moves southward first depriving the Gorge of part of its wind machine and then the S. F. Bay Area. But it often lingers near Southern California for a couple of weeks in the fall so the ocean winds may build there.

Unfortunately, this year the North Pacific High as often pushed an extension or ridge into Northern California. This results in the normal NW ocean wind turning a less favorable NNW and for the winds in the interior of Southern California turning NE in the AM.

Let’s look at this animation to see how this pattern gives our forecasters an excuse for a Pismo forecast full of maybes!

First  notice that the animation shows the winds at 6AM then at 5PM.

At 6AM notice the weak NNW morning ocean winds and the NE winds inland. The NE winds is warm winds so it is mostly felt on the ridges and a few canyons and often does not make it to the surface at the surface at Pismo.

AT 5 PM, or actually even earlier, the pressure gradient towards Cuyama Valley & Los Olives and the northern Southern California bight has become strong. Notice how this has caused the North Pacific High’s surface NNW winds to curve near the Pismo coastline as NW wind. Ideally this wind would curve in as more WNW but that is unlikely today.

Next note how the NE winds are not modeled to fade today. So we have a battle line between the cool surface NW winds, which are building, trying to get the beach while the warm, but fading, NE winds on the ridges and just aloft try to blow over Pismo. Forecasting exactly where this battle line will be is impossible since it depends on the relative strength of each of these winds and their change in strength over the afternoon. So all I can do is to tell you to watch the inland sensors. If you see the Tepusquet and other nearby inland sensors showing fading NE winds early then there is a good chance the NW winds will reach the beach near Pismo.



West Coast Wind Blog: Diablo wind, Santa Ana wind, El Norte wind, Rooster wind…

All from chilly high pressure in the
Great Basin area!


A glance at the NWS technical discussions above tells you that localized big wind events are the story for Southern California, San Francisco Bay Area and the Gorge this morning.

Also, notice the mention of compressional heating and the winds fading in the afternoon.

First, check out the Gorge map to the right. Notice that sites to the east have weak while the Rooster Rock area has winds averaging in the upper 30’s.

But curiously the winds all around those sites are mostly weak.

Next, notice the mid 30’s Santa Ana winds in the passes and canyons of Southern California. Especially note that Pt. Mugu near Malibu is averaging 50 knots.

Yet once again many sites in Southern California barely have a trace of wind.

Lastly, look at the San Francisco area map. Again notice that the very strong winds are highly localized. Sherman Island is seeing northerly winds in the 20’s, Stinson has dawn winds to the low 20’s while Mt. Diablo wind is averaging 35 this morning.

These winds are sometimes called Diablo wind in the Bay Area for this reason.

Strong El Norte winds are also blowing down the northern Sea of Cortez in Baja and San Felipe, Baja.

Likewise, brisk southerly winds are blowing into the Canadian Rockies while northerly wind are blowing in Oklahoma and Texas.

So where is all this wind coming from? Also, why do the Southern California, Baja and the Bay Area have such cool names for their N to E winds like Diablo, Santa Ana and El Norte while Gorge folks, uncreatively, just call east winds… East Winds? So I hereby propose that we call these east wind Rooster winds since Rooster Rock is where the usually are strongest. Of course, we could call them C–k winds since that was the rocks name before the early days of political correctness.

After that digression… The next animation shows the main causal factor behind all this wind. First note the huge dome of surface high pressure that spans the Great Basin, Columbia Basin and into the Great Plains. This mass of chilly dense air has higher pressure that all the surrounding areas.

Note the white isobar lines that define the high pressure. The closer the isobars lines are to each other the stronger the change in pressure over that area. ie. the stronger the pressure gradient. Notice how the isobars are tightest over the Gorge, near the Bay Area and Southern California. Hence the strong wind in those zones. Likewise, there are tight isobars towards Canada and Okalohoma. While Baja has fairly loose isobars so this is a very mild El Norte event.

Typically the winds you see in this animation will weaken after midday. This is because the air in the Great Basin begins to warm and is less dense so the high pressure weakens.

It is important to realize that overall these winds are really not that strong. But they do span huge areas. So when all that relatively slow-moving air encounters a mountain range it concentrates in the gaps, canyons and passes and accelerates.

This is why the winds are strong at Rooster Rock and in Southern California passes and places just downwind from the those passes. While most of us think as venturis as occurring at a gap in a mountain range the effect can also happen when winds run along a mountain range. Hence the El Norte and Sherman Island winds.





West Coast Wind Blog: Hurricane Sergio at dawn today.

Sergio now tracking south of Puntat San Carlos.

by Mike Godsey, mikeATiwindsurf.com

Today, Oct 10, 2018, hurricane Sergio has made the boomerang turn to the east as modeled. But it has taken a more southerly of all the modeled trajectories. This means it will pass over Baja well south of the surf sailing mecca of San Carlos.

As you can see from this mornings satellite imagery this puts San Carlos on the navigable quadrant of the storm where the winds and rains are weaker than on the dangerous quadrant.

Still, given the already poor condition of the roads to PSC you might want to wait for reports before making the long drive.

West Coast Wind Blog: Upper level winds steer the North Pacific High but also it may make…

Hurricane Sergio boomerang!


by Mike Godsey, mike@iwindsurf.com

So take a look at this first image. It shows the tracks of all the hurricanes in the eastern Pacific in the period 1980-2005.


It is clear that the vast majority of such hurricanes originate off  Central America then curve south of the tip of Baja then zoom out into the Pacific where they die without reaching Hawaiian waters.

So, with those tracks in mind, you would have might be impressed by this 2nd image of 115-knot hurricane Sergio with is eye looking spaceward.


But since it is firmly on the track far into the Pacific you would never think that Sergio could somehow bring downpours and possibly local flooding in Southern California and Arizona and especially the Punta San Carlos, Baja Norte wave sailing mecca.


But in the third image take a look at all the different models that have hurricane Sergio making an abrupt right turn and boomeranging back towards Baja.


The models differ a bit in their projected trajectory and a few model runs even have the hurricane following the traditional track eastward. But at this time it looks like Sergio tracks towards Phoenix where it fades and returns into a low-pressure system with light winds but torrential rains.


So what is behind this weird boomerang?

Occasionally in our forecasts, we will mention something like: “upper-level winds at ≈ 18,000 ft. will steer the North Pacific High closer to the coast so the NW winds ramp up” And you probably wonder: “How in hell can winds 3 miles above my launch site impact the wind in my kite or sail?”

The answer is that surface large-scale high-pressure areas like the North PacificHigh and winter storm low-pressure systems are both steered by the upper troughs and upper ridges at ≈ 18,000 ft. and above to the jet stream.

Usually, eastern Pacific hurricanes are generally too far south to be fully steered by upper-level winds. However, it looks like this week a very pronounced upper trough at ≈ 18,000 ft. dives southward towards Sergio and steers it in a radically different direction.

In this last image, you can see how the Euro model projects this happening.

This is a composite image. The white lines so the surface isobars that help define Sergio. All the colored areas show the winds at the 500 MB level that act to steer weather systems in general and, in this instance, Sergio.

You might wonder why Sergio’s movement is so abrupt and so long while the typical movement of the NPH is slower and over shorter distances. Basically this is because a hurricane is composed of wind spiraling into the center then ascending so upper-level events can rapidly change its strength and direction. While the North Pacific High is descending air spiraling outwards so it is not so easily impacted.

West Coast Wind Blog: Tiny North Pacific High west of Hawaii blossums dominating the eastern Pacific.

Fall type northerly winds return to the west coast.

by Mike Godsey, mike@iwindsurf.com

In part one of this blog, we saw that during recent days the North Pacific High had disappeared from the eastern Pacific depriving the west coast of its northerly winds.

This 2nd. part of the blog shows the return of the North Pacific High and touches on why the winds will not be as strong as you might expect. Looking at this animation of the eastern half of the Pacific first note the time and day at the bottom of the animation. Then find your venue from the Gorge to Southern California.

Next, notice how small the North Pacific High is as the animation starts on Tuesday and how weak the winds are along the west coast. Also, note the presence of low-pressure systems off the Gorge and California.

As the days progress from Tuesday through Friday the North Pacific High enlarges and marches towards the west coast. This causes NW winds to ramp up on the California coast. These winds will probably peak Saturday.

Lastly, note how the isobars of the North Pacific High begin to lean inland into the Pacific Northwest and far Northern California on Friday. This causes the North Pacific High’s surface NW winds to turn a bit NNW. This direction makes it harder for the ocean winds o curve into the Bay Area and Southern California. It also encourages the formation of eddies near the Bay Area and Southern California. So despite the return of the North Pacific High many sites may not see reliable winds.

And the Gorge? The pesky low pressure stays in place Friday but the winds should ramp up some on the weekend as the low departs. For all these venues the shorter fall days mean less heating in the valleys to the east so the pressure gradients are not as strong.

West Coast Wind Blog: Whence the North Pacific High

Part one: The entire west coast has light wind as the North Pacific High abandons the eastern Pacific.

Yesterday and the preceding days have seen easterly winds the Gorge and weak southerly winds for most of coastal California. Notably absent were the northerly winds along the coast and the high pressure that makes of a critical part of the normal wind equation. This image shows the issue:

The elephant missing from the room is the North Pacific High. Most of the summer this clockwise Spiraling mass of wind lorded over the entire eastern Pacific. Yesterday it was absent.

Now notice the weak low pressure off the Gorge. This played a role in the recent E. winds. Then check out the stronger surface low-pressure west of the Bay Area that delivered  weak southerly wind to the Bay Area. Next notice the huge storm in the Gulf of Alaska.

Lastly notice the tiny new North Pacific High way NW of Hawaii. In part 2 of this blog we will watch that new North Pacific High grow and move towards the west coast.