Huge storm poised to pound California; snow falls in Florida

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 7:59 PM GMT on January 03, 2008

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A large and very powerful Pacific storm is poised to hammer California this weekend, bringing blizzard conditions and sustained winds over hurricane force to the Sierra Mountains. The mighty storm, currently about 1000 miles west of the state of Washington, is intensifying rapidly today. As the system approaches the coast of Washington State on Friday afternoon, its pressure is expected to bottom out at 960 mb--a pressure similar to that of a Category 2 hurricane. High winds will buffet all of California Friday and Saturday, with sustained winds of hurricane force and gusts of 145 mph expected along the high ridge tops of the Sierra Mountains. Blizzard conditions will envelop much of the Sierras, with 2-5 feet of snow likely to fall by Saturday. Snowfall rates up to six inches per hour are expected. Travel will be difficult or impossible in the northern mountains of California Friday and Saturday.


Figure 1. A massive winter storm (left side of image) prepares to hammer the U.S. West Coast on Friday and Saturday. A second, weaker storm is affecting the coast today.
In Southern California, the concern is heavy rain and flooding. Rainfall rates of up to an inch per hour are expected in the mountains, with total rain amounts of up to 10 inches expected in the south facing mountains. Landslides and debris flows are likely on the hillsides burned by the recent fires. Strong, damaging winds are expected over much of Southern California, as well. High winds over the the ocean will bring swells of 6-10 feet to the coast and 20 foot seas offshore, and isolated thunderstorms could spawn waterspouts. The storm responsible for the wild weather will weaken and move ashore on Saturday over British Columbia, but will still be strong enough to bring additional heavy rains, high winds, and mountain snows to California through Sunday.

Florida snow
It's cold in Florida! Snow flurries were reported along the east central coast of the state this morning, near Daytona Beach and Cocoa. It was the first snow seen in the region since 2003.The cold air behind the cold front responsible for the freeze was pushed by an unusually strong high pressure system. Tallahassee, Florida reported a new atmospheric pressure record at 11 am today: 30.77 inches (1042 mb). The previous record was 30.74 inches (1041 mb) which occurred on January 4th 1979 and again on February 5th 1996. Record low temperature records were set in Fort Myers (32° F), Miami Beach (40° F) and Key West (45° F) this morning, and citrus growers worked hard to keep their orange crops from freezing.

Jeff Masters

Cold morning in SW Florida (Peacefulbon)
I put my sprinklers on this morning to protect things from the 31-degree cold snap. My oranges will now be sweeter, but ice here is certainly uncommon.
Cold morning in SW Florida

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99. LakeShadow
6:25 PM GMT on January 04, 2008
hola bonedog!
Member Since: August 10, 2007 Posts: 3 Comments: 2134
98. Tazmanian
6:18 PM GMT on January 04, 2008
01/04/2008 0753 am

Sacramento, Sacramento County.

Non-thunderstorm wind gust m66.00 mph, reported by ASOS.


Report from Sacramento international Airport - smf




01/04/2008 0825 am

Sacramento, Sacramento County.

Non-thunderstorm wind gust m69.00 mph, reported by ASOS.


Report from Sacramento Executive Airport - SAC




01/04/2008 0838 am

4 miles WNW of Elk Grove, Sacramento County.

Non-thunderstorm wind gust m71.00 mph, reported by mesonet.





01/04/2008 0800 am

Woodland, Yolo County.

Non-thunderstorm wind damage, reported by utility company.


Pg and E reported transmission poles down.




01/04/2008 0807 am

Woodland, Yolo County.

Non-thunderstorm wind damage, reported by law enforcement.


Chp reported an overturned big rig on Interstate 5 just
south of River Road.




01/04/2008 0830 am

Sacramento, Sacramento County.

Non-thunderstorm wind damage, reported by public.


80 foot Oak Tree down near the intersection of Elm and
Hazel.





01/04/2008 0727 am

Sacramento, Sacramento County.

Non-thunderstorm wind gust m61 mph, reported by ASOS.
Member Since: May 21, 2006 Posts: 5091 Comments: 114649
97. Bonedog
6:12 PM GMT on January 04, 2008
Hey folks. Good afternoon,

Looks like some wild weather on the west coast!!

BTW all my fish survived. Couldn't belive they made it. From fishy ice cubes to alright, amazing. I got some great shots of the ice cover on the pond.
Member Since: July 14, 2005 Posts: 14 Comments: 7418
96. Cavin Rawlins
6:05 PM GMT on January 04, 2008
Kings Beach Lake Tahoe Cam details

Kings Beach, CA United States

Member Since: July 24, 2005 Posts: 407 Comments: 19076
95. SouthBayDrK
5:46 PM GMT on January 04, 2008
First time poster, long time lurker.

This is sure a nice day to stay inside here in Sunnyvale (or should that be Rainydale). This PWS is less than a mile from my house. I just ventured outside about 45 minutes ago (and am about to leave again) - all I can say is I'm glad I bought new tires for my truck back in November.
Member Since: January 4, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 12
94. Cavin Rawlins
5:42 PM GMT on January 04, 2008
the storm cross near buoy 46005 just like the last one...

Member Since: July 24, 2005 Posts: 407 Comments: 19076
93. Cavin Rawlins
5:39 PM GMT on January 04, 2008
Tropical Weather Outlook for Indian Ocean south of the Equator...

1. An area of disturbed weather north of Madagascar. Circulation remains 25% open based on QuikSCAT derived winds. Microwave passes and conventional satellite imagery revealed some cloud banding around a core of thunderstorms. The disturbance is under 20-30 knots of southeasterly wind shear. Sea surface temperature under the disturbance is at 85F. Potential for development is low to moderate as wind shear is only forecast to drop to 20 knots in the next 24-48 hrs.

2. The remnants of Elnus becoming non-tropical south of Madagascar. QuikSCAT and satellite imagery indicated very well the merger of Elnus with a frontal boundary.

3. Elsewhere, there are no other features of interest.

by W456
Member Since: July 24, 2005 Posts: 407 Comments: 19076
92. SBKaren
5:38 PM GMT on January 04, 2008
Geesh eagah - look at all those events! Where do you live? I have relatives in Citrus Heights, Auburn and Herald.

I'm trying to highlight this storm in my blog from my southern CA perspective. But for now, I've got to get going...trying to get things done before the rain arrives!
Member Since: February 21, 2005 Posts: 195 Comments: 14535
90. sporteguy03
5:26 PM GMT on January 04, 2008
Dr.Masters,
Thank you for the New Year's first blog update and the snowy dilemna in FL with 456's updates!
Member Since: July 7, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 5138
89. Cavin Rawlins
5:17 PM GMT on January 04, 2008
highest 24hr snow depth....6 inches
Member Since: July 24, 2005 Posts: 407 Comments: 19076
88. Cavin Rawlins
5:14 PM GMT on January 04, 2008
the highest rainfall so far is 4 inches
Member Since: July 24, 2005 Posts: 407 Comments: 19076
87. Eegah
5:12 PM GMT on January 04, 2008
Yeah I just had to go in to work today didn't I
86. Cavin Rawlins
5:12 PM GMT on January 04, 2008
Current Winds

The plains low level jet stands out nicely

Member Since: July 24, 2005 Posts: 407 Comments: 19076
85. Cavin Rawlins
5:10 PM GMT on January 04, 2008
Superstorm

Member Since: July 24, 2005 Posts: 407 Comments: 19076
84. SBKaren
4:48 PM GMT on January 04, 2008
Those warnings aren't just nuts they are downright scary! I have family in Carson City, on the Nevada side of the valley. I think I'm going to email them to see how they are doing. They are on the east side of the Sierra's but they do get snow in bad storms - and it certainly sounds like this one is a bad one.

This is the time that you are so thankful you have a fireplace if you live in Tahoe. You loose power (and they just might with these fierce winds), it will be the only source of heat and light!

We had white out blizzard conditions once when we lived up there, but it didn't last long.

I also remember a winter trip up there in 1982, when we just made it down the mountain to Placerville before they closed the highway (50), and even Placerville was receiving torrential rain and had lost power for 2 days. That was one trip when we were soooo happy to be home!
Member Since: February 21, 2005 Posts: 195 Comments: 14535
82. ShenValleyFlyFish
4:47 PM GMT on January 04, 2008
The place to be if you're a snow lover

WOCN13 CWVR 041143
Special weather statement
Issued for the south and central interior of British Columbia by
Environment Canada at 2.43 AM PST Friday 4 January 2008.

A moist pacific frontal system crossing the southern interior later
today followed by a moist unstable airmass tonight will result in
significant snowfalls to Rogers Pass and Kootenay Pass. The heavier
snow will begin later this morning over Kootenay Pass and then later
this afternoon over Rogers Pass. Total snowfall accumulations
Through tonight will be 30 to 40 centimetres for Kootenay Pass
And near 20 cm for Rogers Pass. The snow level will rise this
afternoon to near 1200 metres for Kootenay Pass and to near 800
metres for Rogers Pass.

END/PSPC

Member Since: September 9, 2007 Posts: 36 Comments: 4687
81. NEwxguy
4:45 PM GMT on January 04, 2008
winds with that snowfall rate,it would feel like you were being sandblasted.
Member Since: September 6, 2007 Posts: 873 Comments: 15554
80. lawntonlookers
4:45 PM GMT on January 04, 2008
Good morning/afternoon to everyone. I, like lake droped in to check out the Pacific storm. Very impressive storm that 456 and others have been watching for several days. I checked Buoy 46089 which is located about 90 miles west of the Columbia River in WA and OR. The quickscat winds are unreal. The pressure at 7:30 AM PT was 28.61 and falling and the wave heights were about 19 feet. I wasn't able to find any active blogs in the north west to see what they thought. The links below take you to the buoy data and the quickscat.


Very powerfull storm.

____Quickscat____ ____Buoy 46089____
Member Since: March 22, 2006 Posts: 9 Comments: 1570
79. Cavin Rawlins
4:42 PM GMT on January 04, 2008
235 knot winds......mmmmmm....makes for breezy day...:-)
Member Since: July 24, 2005 Posts: 407 Comments: 19076
78. NEwxguy
4:41 PM GMT on January 04, 2008
Thats incredible,ontop of the wind,that snowfall rate is unbelievable.
Member Since: September 6, 2007 Posts: 873 Comments: 15554
75. LakeShadow
4:31 PM GMT on January 04, 2008
wow thats nuts!
Member Since: August 10, 2007 Posts: 3 Comments: 2134
74. ShenValleyFlyFish
4:29 PM GMT on January 04, 2008
Morning all:
Environment Canada has some great stuff if you want to view the whole storm system. Appearently they don't think the world begins and ends at the 49th parallel.

Their Sat immage page: Link

Shen
Member Since: September 9, 2007 Posts: 36 Comments: 4687
72. NEwxguy
4:11 PM GMT on January 04, 2008
morning lake
Member Since: September 6, 2007 Posts: 873 Comments: 15554
71. LakeShadow
4:06 PM GMT on January 04, 2008
morning all...
I've come to track the west coast storm...

Seattle radar:
Link

pacific NW sector loop:



Link
Member Since: August 10, 2007 Posts: 3 Comments: 2134
69. NEwxguy
3:58 PM GMT on January 04, 2008
Happy New Year Storm
Member Since: September 6, 2007 Posts: 873 Comments: 15554
68. flaboyinga
3:57 PM GMT on January 04, 2008
Thanks StormW, you have got it covered. Happy New Year.
67. NEwxguy
3:53 PM GMT on January 04, 2008
Take heart Florida much warmer days are ahead,and the same goes for up here in the northeast,good luck on the west coast things are really going downhill.
Member Since: September 6, 2007 Posts: 873 Comments: 15554
65. flaboyinga
3:44 PM GMT on January 04, 2008
Good morning and Happy New year to one and all. I hope the day is treating you good. I've been trying to get up the gumption to go see about my faucets , etc in the yard. Being born and raised in SW Fla has given me a great desire to run around outside when the temps are below 50F.lol. I trust that all of you were back in the malls this week to jump start the retail industry. I have been very blessed to have spent a lot of time with my family and extended family, and I have only been lurking for a while. I wanted to log on with a wish for all that this year will bless all of you with health, wealth, and happiness for you and all of your families. Seeing the reports from central Fla of frozen precip reminded of going out to move our 'rescue 2' back into Killarney Vol. Dept station (Org Cty #41) in Orlando and finding 2 inches of snow on the roof. (1980 something) Strange things is hapnin! Brrr! LOL
Later.
64. SBKaren
3:24 PM GMT on January 04, 2008
Down here in Seal Beach, south of L.A. we haven't received a drop of rain yet (7:23AM). When I look out at the sky right now, the clouds are even a little broken up. Doesn't look too threatening yet - but I know something is coming!

Feather - sounds like you have already been hit hard! Guess I'd better take my dog for a dry walk while I can!
Member Since: February 21, 2005 Posts: 195 Comments: 14535
63. hondaguy
3:21 PM GMT on January 04, 2008
Thanks 456.

Beell: That was a good read. It's nice to see that they have a good sense of humor there at the NWS's!
62. Cavin Rawlins
3:13 PM GMT on January 04, 2008
honda, its northern Australia
Member Since: July 24, 2005 Posts: 407 Comments: 19076
61. tmangray
3:09 PM GMT on January 04, 2008
The NWS local area discussion here in the SF Bay Area reports this morning a 226 KT jet aloft and a 70 kt low level jet. The result of these two can be seen easily on the satellite loop. The wind where we are along the bay is increasing and becoming very gusty. No anemomoeter handy, but the reports on TV have gale to hurricane force winds and gusts throughout the area. The rain has been moderate so far, but those jets have induced a large bloom of moisture offshore which is headed our way.
60. txag91met
3:04 PM GMT on January 04, 2008
Severe weather outbreak likely Mon night/Tue morning ARKLATEX.
Member Since: January 30, 2005 Posts: 6 Comments: 748
59. beell
3:03 PM GMT on January 04, 2008
Forgive the length.
Merry Christmas.

SOME LATE CHRISTMAS FORECASTS FROM THE NWS

AREA FORECAST DISCUSSION
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE AMARILLO TX
350 PM CST MON DEC 24 2007

.DISCUSSION...
IT IS THE AFTERNOON BEFORE CHRISTMAS AND ONCE AGAIN THIS YEAR
THE NWS IS FORECASTING ON THE METEOROLOGICAL FRONTIER.
THE MODELS ARE IN DISCORD WITH THIS TROF ON THE WAY...
AND WE ARE STILL TRYING TO FIGURE OUT IF SNOW IS IN PLAY.

THE NAM IS IN A HURRY WHILE THE GFS KEEPS THINGS SLOW.
WHICH ONE TO BELIEVE AND DO I CONTINUE WITH SNOW?
TEMPERATURES WILL BE COLD BUT MOISTURE IS LACKING.
SURFACE WINDS WON/T HELP BECAUSE THERE ISN/T ANY BACKING.

WITH DRY AIR AT THE SURFACE AND NO HOPES FOR SOUTHEASTERLY FLOW...
MOISTURE WILL HAVE TO FALL FROM ALOFT TO DOWN BELOW.
WITH SO MANY DIFFERENCES FROM MODEL TO MODEL
I FOLLOWED THE GFS SO I WON/T HAVE TO TWADDLE.

THE SLOWER PROGRESSION REQUIRED SOME CHANGES...
I ADJUSTED THE TEMPERATURES AND EXPANDED DIURNAL RANGES.
WARMER IN THE SOUTHEAST AND COOLER IN THE NORTHWEST
DUE TO THE FRONTAL TIMING THAT THE GFS MIGHT SUGGEST.

POP CHANCES HAVE BEEN UPPED LATE TUESDAY INTO WEDNESDAY.
30S NORTH TO 20S SOUTH AS THE GRIDS WILL DISPLAY.
WITH THIS FAST MOVING STORM AND THE DYNAMICS GOING NORTH...
ONE INCH OR LESS OF SNOWFALL IN THE GRIDS WILL GO FORTH.

TEMPERATURES ON WEDNESDAY WILL BE A BIT COOL.
THE AVERAGE OF GUIDANCE SEEMS LIKELY TO RULE.
SNOW SHOWERS COULD LINGER ACROSS THE FAR EAST...
THE TIMING OF THE TROF WILL DETERMINE WHEN THEY CEASE.

A PROGRESSIVE PATTERN WILL CONTINUE INTO EARLY NEXT WEEK...
THE MODELS ARE PERSISTENT WITH JUST A BIT OF CRITIQUE.
TEMPERATURES WILL REMAIN AT OR BELOW CLIMATOLOGICAL NORMS
AND PRECIP CHANCES DEPEND ON THE STRENGTH OF THE STORMS.

FOR THE LAST FIVE DAYS OF THE FORECAST THINGS APPEAR IN GOOD SHAPE
BESIDES...THE STORM FOR LATE CHRISTMAS LEFT A PRETTY FULL PLATE.
MINOR ADJUSTMENTS WERE MADE TO SOME OF THE FIELDS...
WE WILL JUST HAVE TO WAIT TO SEE WHAT MOTHER NATURE MIGHT YIELD.

TO THOSE WHO MIGHT COMPLAIN THAT THIS DISCUSSION IS IN RHYME...
MY APOLOGIES TO Y/ALL...I AM HAVING A GOOD TIME.
FOR WE AT THE NWS HAVE TO WORK ON CHRISTMAS DAY
AND I TRY TO HAVE FUN WHEN I CANNOT GO OUT AND PLAY.

REGARDLESS OF THAT...WE WILL BE SITTING RIGHT HERE
KEEPING OUR EYE ON THE WEATHER...BE IT CALM OR SEVERE.
TO CLOSE OUT THIS DISCUSSION...AND I KNOW I AM RIGHT...
MERRY CHRISTMAS FROM NWS AMARILLO AND TO ALL A GOOD NIGHT!

-----------------------------------------------
from NWS San Juan

THIS OVERNIGHT TRANQUIL WEATHER PATTERN WILL ALLOW FOR A SMOOTH
RIDE FOR SANTA AND HIS REINDEER. LATEST POLAR ORBITING SATELLITE
IMAGERY AND NORAD DEFENSE SYSTEMS ARE CURRENTLY TRACKING A SMALL
FEATURE JUST PASSING GREENLAND
AT THIS TIME. GFS ENSEMBLE ANALYSES
DEPICT THIS FEATURE TO EVENTUALLY TRACK ACROSS PUERTO RICO BY
OVERNIGHT TONIGHT.


-----------------------------------------------
AREA FORECAST DISCUSSION FOR THE FLORIDA KEYS
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE KEY WEST FL
340 PM EST TUE DEC 25 2007

...DUE TO THE DREADED LACK OF COLD AIR...KEYS COMMUNITIES WILL BE
FOILED ONCE AGAIN IN EXPERIENCING A WHITE CHRISTMAS...

....CLIMATE...
DESPITE HAVING WEAK LOW LEVEL LIFT AND AMPLE MOISTURE...ONE RATHER
KEY INGREDIENT BEING "COLD AIR" IS LACKING
TO FULFILL A WHITE
CHRISTMAS. ALTHOUGH SO CLOSE...OUR RECORD STREAK OF CONSECUTIVE
YEARS WITHOUT A WHITE CHRISTMAS IN KEY WEST IS NOW 137...WITH
RECORDS GOING BACK TO 1871. OH WELL...MAY BE NEXT YEAR.
Member Since: September 11, 2007 Posts: 141 Comments: 16117
58. hondaguy
2:59 PM GMT on January 04, 2008
52. CycloneQld 6:33 AM CST on January 04, 2008
Newly formed Cyclone Helen(10S)crossing the coastline south of Darwin as a strong category 2 storm


Where in the exactly on the map is this...what part of the world? I cannot place that land mass, or any of the cities listed on it just by seeing it! lol
57. NEwxguy
2:28 PM GMT on January 04, 2008
GM,looks like some wild weather for the west,and some pretty nice weather for the east
Member Since: September 6, 2007 Posts: 873 Comments: 15554
56. Cavin Rawlins
1:32 PM GMT on January 04, 2008
Showers over much of N CA and steady snow in the Sierra Nevada
Member Since: July 24, 2005 Posts: 407 Comments: 19076
55. Cavin Rawlins
1:23 PM GMT on January 04, 2008
The wind is picking up over Northern California

Member Since: July 24, 2005 Posts: 407 Comments: 19076
54. Feather3
12:43 PM GMT on January 04, 2008
I must be crazy posting this in the middle of the storm, but a huge gust woke me at around 4 AM and I can't go back to sleep. . .

I got up early to high winds and rain. . .this morning at around 4:15, I heard the unmistakable calls of a flock of geese (Cackling Canada or Snow/Ross from the high-pitched honking), flying very low over my place. I can't see them, but they are circling back and forth over the city and I am afraid for them in these high winds.

the power's been out off and on, so I am going to try to go back to bed and get some sleep.

The Weather Underground site says the gusts aren't higher than 50, but there were a few out there that were, I can assure you - after 21 (almost 22) years of living here and remembering the storms of early and late 1995, I can tell you that this is comparable to then, when we had 115 MPH gusts on our cliffs by the ocean.

Feather
Member Since: December 12, 2003 Posts: 72 Comments: 2951
53. Cavin Rawlins
12:38 PM GMT on January 04, 2008
Storm pounding the west coast

Member Since: July 24, 2005 Posts: 407 Comments: 19076
52. CycloneQld
12:33 PM GMT on January 04, 2008
Newly formed Cyclone Helen(10S)crossing the coastline south of Darwin as a strong category 2 storm.


Darwin 256km Radar:





Current Darwin Radar Images: Link

51. ShenValleyFlyFish
11:19 AM GMT on January 04, 2008
Good Mornin All:
Curent @ Crozet, VA: 12.4 F/ -10.9 C Clear

Special Weather Statement

Statement as of 4:23 AM EST on January 04, 2008

... Beware of thin ice on lakes... ponds... streams... and rivers...


The Arctic airmass that has been in place for the past couple of
days has caused thin ice conditions on many area
lakes... ponds... streams... and rivers. These hazardous thin ice
conditions are primed for people and pets to fall through... as
unfortunately happens every winter. Young children at play are
especially vulnerable to this hazard.


Everyone should avoid going out on ice unless they are positively certain
that the ice is strong enough to support them... and this is not
likely in the Baltimore-Washington-Charlottesville region except
perhaps in the highest elevations of the Potomac Highlands. It
takes many days and nights of sub freezing weather to produce a
layer of ice strong enough to support the weight of a person.

May all stay safe and warm today.

Shen
Member Since: September 9, 2007 Posts: 36 Comments: 4687
50. sydneyaust1
8:56 AM GMT on January 04, 2008
Helen

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49. Hurricaneblast
8:00 AM GMT on January 04, 2008
eye developing
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Jeff co-founded the Weather Underground in 1995 while working on his Ph.D. He flew with the NOAA Hurricane Hunters from 1986-1990.

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