California Storm Wrap-Up

By: Christopher C. Burt , 8:45 PM GMT on December 03, 2012

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California Storm Wrap-Up

The five-day series of storms, involving three systems in all between November 28-December 2, that affected central and northern California finally ended on Sunday. Some very impressive precipitation amounts were recorded in the central and especially northern regions of the state but damage and flooding was minimal thanks to periods of calm between each storm system.

In general, the models ended up being fairly accurate in the amount of precipitation that accumulated across the state, with the exception of the immediate San Francisco Bay Area which received considerably less rain than forecast (about 75% of forecasted amounts). The peak rain report for the state was a five-day total of 23.40” at Brandy Creek in the Upper Sacramento Valley’s western division and the top 24-hour total 9.75” at Lakeshore in Shasta County between noon December 1 and noon December 2. Maximum wind gusts were confined to under 60 mph at low elevation locations (54 mph at San Francisco Airport with 38 mph sustained) although a gust to 73 mph was measured at Point San Pablo on the northeastern shore of San Francisco Bay. In the Sierra Nevada a peak wind gust of 150 mph was reported on Saddleback Ridge Sunday morning. There were no reports of major flooding or significant landslips due to the intermittent nature of the rainfall.

Here are the final rain reports for major locations in central and northern California as compiled by Jan Null at Golden Gate Weather Services:



Below are the top rain reports for secondary hydro stations in the various water regions of the state. These are for the period of November 28-December 2 and compiled by Jan Null. For Jan’s comprehensive list of state storm totals please check http://ggweather.com/5day.htm

NORTHERN CALIFORNIA: 20.40” at Honeydew

SHASTA LAKE INFLOW: 21.36” at Lakeshore

WEST SIDE UPPER SACRAMENTO RIVER: 23.40” at Brandy Creek

EAST SIDE UPPER SACRAMENTO: 8.23” at Lassen Lodge

NORTHERN AND CENTRAL SACRAMENTO: 6.23” at Redding Fire Station

CLEAR LAKE AND WEST SIDE LOWER SACRAMENTO RIVER: 11.04” at Trough Spring

NORTHERN SIERRA/FEATHER RIVER: 21.12” at Stirling City

NORTHERN SIERRA/YUBA RIVER: 14.84” at Huysink

CENTRAL SIERRA/SAN JOAUQUIN RIVER: 9.84” at Telegraph Hill

SACRAMENTO METRO AREA: 8.23” at Auburn (actually in the Sierra foothills)

SAN FRANCISCO BAY NORTH: 17.16” at Whispering Pines

SAN FRANCISCO BAY CENTRAL: 10.62” at Mt. Diablo

SAN FRANCISCO BAY SOUTH: 15.91” at Mt. Umunhum

CENTRAL CALIFORNIA COAST: 17.38” at Mining Ridge

SAN JOAQUIN VALLEY: 2.98” at Stockton

Conclusion

This was a major storm system, probably the most significant in two years for most areas in the north and central portions of the state. However, being the first big wet storm of the season most of the moisture was well absorbed and welcome after a dry past year. Unfortunately, the very warm nature of the storms inhibited much in the way of snow accumulation in the Sierra so probably the storm has not contributed much to the state’s ‘water bank’ for next year’s dry season. Hopefully, we will see some just as wet but colder storms in the coming months.


KUDOS: Jan Null of Golden Gate Weather Services for keeping track of the myriad precipitation reports during this event. A daunting task!

Christopher C. Burt
Weather Historian

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5. WunderAlertBot (Admin)
9:37 PM GMT on December 05, 2012
weatherhistorian has created a new entry.
4. Christopher C. Burt , Weather Historian
6:05 AM GMT on December 04, 2012
Quoting rokeven:
Just curious, where do you see the wind gust of 150 MPH on Saddleback? I only see 102 MPH for the peak gust during these storms from that station.


Sorry, the 150 mph was reported from Mammoth Mountain at 3:05 a.m. (their peak station) Dec. 2. Ward Mountain registered a gust 139 mph a little later at 5:15 am.
Member Since: February 15, 2006 Posts: 316 Comments: 296
3. rokeven
4:46 AM GMT on December 04, 2012
Just curious, where do you see the wind gust of 150 MPH on Saddleback? I only see 102 MPH for the peak gust during these storms from that station.
Member Since: January 25, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 0
2. Barefootontherocks
4:40 AM GMT on December 04, 2012
Interesting to read this. Thanks. I'm sure all that water flowing into the Sacramento R. and down the Central Valley won't go to waste. Good to see it raining like this.
Member Since: April 29, 2006 Posts: 157 Comments: 19219
1. Some1Has2BtheRookie
4:23 AM GMT on December 04, 2012
Hopefully the high altitude regions will receive snow later in the season. Droughts are becoming a large issue across the nation for the past two years. Relief is on the way?
Member Since: August 24, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 4764

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About weatherhistorian

Christopher C. Burt is the author of 'Extreme Weather; A Guide and Record Book'. He studied meteorology at the Univ. of Wisconsin-Madison.