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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149. NEwxguy
9:09 PM GMT on January 04, 2008
Can only imagine how many mudslides will occur in the fire ravaged areas.
Member Since: September 6, 2007 Posts: 883 Comments: 15865
148. LakeShadow
8:48 PM GMT on January 04, 2008
AP article on the storm:
Link
Member Since: August 10, 2007 Posts: 3 Comments: 2134
147. clydedog
8:45 PM GMT on January 04, 2008
Using the link in post #112, Ward Mt. has reported a wind gust of 163mph.
146. Levi32
8:43 PM GMT on January 04, 2008
~~~~~NEW BLOG UP~~~~~


~~~~~NEW BLOG UP~~~~~


~~~~~NEW BLOG UP~~~~~
Member Since: November 24, 2005 Posts: 635 Comments: 26661
145. tmangray
8:41 PM GMT on January 04, 2008
Wind shifted to SW just now, less gusty, barometer turning---frontal passage here along the east shore of SF Bay.
144. tmangray
8:30 PM GMT on January 04, 2008
Faux pas. I see the poster is in Marin County, not the Santa Cruz Mtns. The front looks to be passing through Marin County right now.
143. lawntonlookers
8:27 PM GMT on January 04, 2008
While surfing the web for storm reports in CA, I cam across Tazmanian. Located in Sulsbyville, ca. I thought it was interesting to see some of the pictures he has in the blog. Lot of wind damage and power outages all over CA. CNN has an article on some of the storm damage. Will have to see what the storm does over the next few days as far as going across the country. Looks like it may move to the north.
Member Since: March 22, 2006 Posts: 9 Comments: 1570
142. tmangray
8:27 PM GMT on January 04, 2008
I'm surprised that the front has already passed thru the Santa Cruz Mtns. as it has yet to pass through the central bay section. Perhaps the front has a wave on it. The winds along the east shore of SF Bay and along the hills remain very strong and gusty at this moment, and the barometer has yet to start rising.
141. tmangray
8:23 PM GMT on January 04, 2008
Truckee at 6000 feet in the Sierra has been reporting rain, not snow, all morning, reflecting the subtropical air being pulled in ahead of the cold front.
140. thunder01
8:21 PM GMT on January 04, 2008
Whew. That was the biggest storm in a long time. Here in Marin County (San Rafael), I have received 5.50 inches of rain since midnight on top of 2.05 inches yesterday. Winds really got going in the early morning hours and reached 57 mph before my anemometer failed and the station was apparently dislodged from quarduple 4-inch bolts in the roof! I estimate that gusts here reached at least 80 mph--I saw a discarded Christmas tree fly up the street around sunrise--perhaps 90 mph. Numerous trees are down, most are without power, some roofs have been compromised, high-tension power lines are down on the roadways, and a substantial storm surge in San Francisco Bay crested about 2 feet above the seawall in San Rafael and flooded homes. The peak wind gust so far in the Bay Area was 107 mph in the Santa Cruz Mountains. Rain continues at a lesser intensity, but winds have died down behind the cold front. I do expect more significant rainfall with strong convective elements for the next 48 hours at least, and some strong thunderstorms with hail are likely. More at Weather West
Link
139. NEwxguy
8:16 PM GMT on January 04, 2008
afternoon,was just scanning through all the blogging,nice job to everyone some great links were provided.When all is said and done,I think you will some records set in different categories.
Member Since: September 6, 2007 Posts: 883 Comments: 15865
138. Bonedog
8:16 PM GMT on January 04, 2008
yea must be lowing like mad at 14K
Member Since: July 14, 2005 Posts: 14 Comments: 7418
135. Bonedog
8:10 PM GMT on January 04, 2008
WOW Sts i dont remeber seeing it like that either
Member Since: July 14, 2005 Posts: 14 Comments: 7418
134. Bonedog
8:09 PM GMT on January 04, 2008
Im watching the observations from the sierra crest. I made the link in post 112.

Member Since: July 14, 2005 Posts: 14 Comments: 7418
131. N3EG
8:03 PM GMT on January 04, 2008
Barometer here in WA has been hanging around at about 980 mb all morning...Link
Member Since: April 23, 2005 Posts: 38 Comments: 234
130. tmangray
7:59 PM GMT on January 04, 2008
The cold front associated with the monster low off the Pac NW coast is beginning to pass through the SF Bay Area. Winds are still strong and gusty from the south. Rainfall is moderate, heavy in spots. Winds on the other side of the front are shifting to SW, but still pretty strong. Numerous convective cells behind the front, so expecting thunder later. Winds along the crest of the Sierra gusting to 110 currently.
128. sp34n119w
7:54 PM GMT on January 04, 2008
Here's an article on the early effects of the storm in Northern Cali, including...
Since the storm hit early this morning, 750,000 customers from Bakersfield to Eureka were blacked out,
It's raining in my part of So Cal and I'm waiting to see what happens next. It won't be as bad as that, though.
Member Since: January 27, 2007 Posts: 82 Comments: 4307
127. LakeShadow
7:53 PM GMT on January 04, 2008
wow. thanks for all of the stats and maps and images everyone...this is great to watch this storm this way...
Member Since: August 10, 2007 Posts: 3 Comments: 2134
126. Bonedog
7:49 PM GMT on January 04, 2008
(CNN) -- Fierce winds toppled trucks on a major Bay Area bridge and knocked out power to more than 100,000 people in Sacramento as wicked winter weather moved into California on Friday.

California transportation officials shut down the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge in the San Francisco area during Friday morning's commute when gusty winds blew over big rigs on both the upper and lower decks of the bridge, CNN affiliate KTVU reported.

Winds in the nearby Lucas Valley registered 83 mph, KTVU reported. The station also said the high winds forced 35 flights to be canceled at San Francisco International Airport, where wind was gusting at more than 60 mph.


Member Since: July 14, 2005 Posts: 14 Comments: 7418
125. ShenValleyFlyFish
7:50 PM GMT on January 04, 2008
121. StSimonsIslandGAGuy 2:35 PM EST on January 04, 2008
Sully, they could just borrow it--leveraged buyout ya know :P


Why in the world would they want it? They are a bunch of weather nuts (well most, someone must have a head for business and run round the parking lot figuring out what to do with the cars with doors locked and motors still running). The headaches involved in trying to salvage that shipwreck would make "Storm Stories" look like a walk in the park on a clear spring day.
Member Since: September 9, 2007 Posts: 36 Comments: 4687
122. weatherdogg
7:40 PM GMT on January 04, 2008
What do y'all think about the Weather Channel being up for sale (estimated $5 billion).

My thought is that it will be nice to see some ESS scientists make some money for once.
Member Since: September 5, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 91
119. sullivanweather
7:37 PM GMT on January 04, 2008
Does Wunderground have 5 billion dollars?
Member Since: March 8, 2007 Posts: 273 Comments: 12612
118. Eegah
7:34 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 live in Antelope around the northeast corner of that map, but commute to downtown, half by car and the rest by light rail.

This morning, the car portion of the commute was actually just fine, actually better than usual for the morning rush hour. The train was another story, as its power went out continually making for frequent coasts and stops.

As luck would have it, the train couldn't get through about four stations from where I get off. Instead of the driver, you know, telling us we couldn't get through, she just started backing the train on the reverse route to go back home. No warning or anything.

So, I got a nice fish's-eye view of the storm, braving the worst of the winds on foot for the last mile or so to the office. Good times.

I don't think we hit actual hurricane-force winds here or anything, but it was plenty bad anyway, and since this happens so rarely here there are lots of fragile-rooted trees to fall over. Right now the winds have died down and we're just left with the downpour, which to be honest we really needed anyway.
116. Cavin Rawlins
7:24 PM GMT on January 04, 2008
thanks
Member Since: July 24, 2005 Posts: 407 Comments: 19076
115. Bonedog
7:20 PM GMT on January 04, 2008
MN DY Hour Temp Dir Wind Speed Gust

1 4 1100 27 328 62 109
1 4 1000 26 325 61 105
Member Since: July 14, 2005 Posts: 14 Comments: 7418
114. Tazmanian
7:18 PM GMT on January 04, 2008
456 the link is in your blog
Member Since: May 21, 2006 Posts: 5091 Comments: 115255
113. Bonedog
7:15 PM GMT on January 04, 2008
web cam from Reno
Member Since: July 14, 2005 Posts: 14 Comments: 7418
112. Bonedog
7:12 PM GMT on January 04, 2008
got a remote site on the sierra crest!!

Link

updates hourly.

I see alot of 100 mph gusts
Member Since: July 14, 2005 Posts: 14 Comments: 7418
111. Bonedog
7:10 PM GMT on January 04, 2008
heard reports of 120mph gusts in the Mountains already!!!


000
FXUS65 KREV 041732
AFDREV

AREA FORECAST DISCUSSION
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE RENO NV
930 AM PST FRI JAN 4 2008



STRONG WINDS WILL CONTINUE INTO THE AFTERNOON HOURS TODAY AS
WELL. WIND GUSTS OVER THE SIERRA CREST ARE CURRENTLY ANYWHERE FROM
100 TO 120 MPH AND EXPECTED TO STAY VERY STRONG..
.DROPPING OFF THIS
EVENING AND OVERNIGHT TONIGHT.
Member Since: July 14, 2005 Posts: 14 Comments: 7418
110. Cavin Rawlins
7:06 PM GMT on January 04, 2008
taz can i get a link to that data with the wind gust?
Member Since: July 24, 2005 Posts: 407 Comments: 19076
109. Tazmanian
6:52 PM GMT on January 04, 2008
Wind gusts reported over interior northern California through 10
am...

Site wind gust time
Sugarloaf RAWS... ... ... ... ... ... 78 mph... ... ... ... ..651 am
Pike County lookout RAWS... ... ..67 mph... ... ... ... ..710 am
Sacramento int'l Airport... ... ..66 mph... ... ... ... ..753 am
Marysville... ... ... ... ... ... ... .61 mph... ... ... ... ..802 am
Sacramento exec Airport... ... ... 69 mph... ... ... ... ..825 am
Blue Canyon... ... ... ... ... ... ... 65 mph... ... ... ... ..828 am
Beale AFB... ... ... ... ... ... ... ..69 mph... ... ... ... ..828 am
Elk Grove... ... ... ... ... ... ... ..71 mph... ... ... ... ..838 am
Suisun City... ... ... ... ... ... ... 60 mph... ... ... ... ..838 am
Stockton... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... 60 mph... ... ... ... ..838 am
Redding... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... .82 mph... ... ... ... ..849 am
Chico... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... 66 mph... ... ... ... ..855 am
Eagle Peak RAWS... ... ... ... ... ..65 mph... ... ... ... ..915 am
Lyons Valley RAWS... ... ... ... ... 73 mph... ... ... ... ..917 am
Member Since: May 21, 2006 Posts: 5091 Comments: 115255
107. hurricane23
6:41 PM GMT on January 04, 2008
Member Since: May 14, 2006 Posts: 8 Comments: 13807
106. Bonedog
6:37 PM GMT on January 04, 2008
looking at the models Lake it appears the system moves into Canada after impacting the West Coast then degenerates rapidly. A day or two later it appears that its energy spins up a low around the panhandle then it tracks across the Great Lakes back into Canada
Member Since: July 14, 2005 Posts: 14 Comments: 7418
104. hurricane23
6:35 PM GMT on January 04, 2008
Here's one more...

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103. LakeShadow
6:32 PM GMT on January 04, 2008
So this system will surely affect the entire country in some way, I would imagine... Its huge!
anyone have ideas about that?
Member Since: August 10, 2007 Posts: 3 Comments: 2134
102. hurricane23
6:27 PM GMT on January 04, 2008
Here's a great IR loop from my software of the storm.Could get closer.



Large Loop Here
Member Since: May 14, 2006 Posts: 8 Comments: 13807
101. LakeShadow
6:27 PM GMT on January 04, 2008
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100. Bonedog
6:26 PM GMT on January 04, 2008
Hey Lake
Member Since: July 14, 2005 Posts: 14 Comments: 7418
99. LakeShadow
6:25 PM GMT on January 04, 2008
hola bonedog!
Member Since: August 10, 2007 Posts: 3 Comments: 2134

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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.