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Typhoon Melor's remnants pound California; Tropical Storm Patricia nears Baja

By: Dr. Jeff Masters, 1:27 PM GMT on October 13, 2009

The remains of Super Typhoon Melor, which hit Japan last week, have arrived in Northern California. Tropical storm force winds of 44 mph, gusting to 58 mph, were recorded at 6 am PDT at the Point Reyes Lighthouse north of San Francisco, and tropical storm-force winds have been recorded at several other locations off the Northern California coast. Heavy rains have moved into the northern half of the state, with over an inch recorded north of the Golden Gate Bridge in Marin County. Check the blogs of our San Francisco-based meteorologists Dr. Rob Carver and Shaun Tanner for updates today, in what promises to be a wild weather day for Northern California. The Sierras are expecting several feet of snow and wind gusts of 120 mph late today. You can follow the storm today using our interactive wundermap for coastal California or the Sierras.

Figure 1. Latest radar-estimated precipitation for the San Francisco region.

Tropical Storm Patricia headed towards Baja
Tropical Storm Patricia is headed for Mexico's Baja Peninsula, but appears to be weakening. Latest satellite loops of Patricia show that the intensity and areal coverage of the storm's heavy thunderstorms has decreased in recent hours, and moderate wind shear of 10 knots appears to be elongating the cloud pattern into an unhealthly, non-circular shape. Patricia is over warm sea surface temperatures (29°C), and wind shear may fall into the low range (5 - 10 knots) later today, so the weakening may be temporary. An Air Force Hurricane Hunter aircraft is on call to fly the storm this afternoon at 2pm EDT to find out more information. While most of the computer model turn Patricia out to sea to the west before reaching Baja, the storm will probably come close enough to the southern tip of the peninsula to bring wind gusts of 40 mph and rains of 1 - 3 inches. The HWRF model is an outlier, and brings Patricia to the coast of Baja as a Category 1 hurricane. Given Patricia's recent struggles, this solution appears unlikely, and the official NHC track keeping Patricia offshore looks like a good one.

Destructive Tropical Storm Parma making its fifth landfall
Tropical Storm Parma, which traversed the northern portion of the Philippines' Luzon Island three times last week, is making a fifth landfall tomorrow, over northern Vietnam. Parma hit China's Hainen Island yesterday, killing three and causing millions in damage. The death toll from Parma's rains in the Philippines is over 300, on top of the 300 killed by Typhoon Ketsana two weeks prior. Most of Parma's victims were in the mountainous Cordillera region, where more than 40 landslides killed 227 people. Parma dumped over 26 inches of rain in a one-week period over the mountain town of Baguio. Parma has been alive for 16 days, which is a very long time, but far from the record 30-day life span of Typhoon John of 1994.

Quiet in the Atlantic
There are no threat areas in the Atlantic to discuss, and none of the computer models are calling for tropical storm formation over the next seven days.

Jeff Masters


The views of the author are his/her own and do not necessarily represent the position of The Weather Company or its parent, IBM.