West Coast Wind Blog: Most of the check boxes are checked for a marine surge today but…

Pressure gradient to N.Central Valley vs. gradient to Bakersfield limits southerly surge winds.

by Mike Godsey

Hi cTuna,

Funny you should ask! Looking at the thermal trough along the California coast and the low pressure off Arcata conditions almost looked ripe for a strong marine surge. Even the ocean buoy winds were southerly.

But the devil is always in the details. The low pressure was mostly just offshore so looking at the pressure gradient charts below notice that the gradients from SFO to Arcata, Redding and Sacramento are pretty mild. So it is hard to get really strong wind all the way Sherman Island. Plus there is a strong pressure gradient to Bakersfield. And this funnels a lot of the wind into the Peninsula.

This meant no real marine surge with fog blasting through the Golden Gate all the way to Sherman Island. Instead we got what I call a combo day with useful winds at many sites from Sherman Island to the Peninsula.

This time of the year the S. half of the Central Valley towards Bakersfield is usually hotter than towards Redding. So marine surges are not very common. That will change in the next 2 months.