The Perlan Project- Berlin 2002

Left to right: Dr. Austin, unknown, Einar Enevoldson and Dr. Joachim Kuettner (1909-2011).
Einar Enevoldson and Dr. Elizabeth Austin after their keynote presentation, Perlan Projekt, Mit Dem Segelflugzeug in die Stratosphäre , at the Deutcher Aero Club’s Segelfigertag in 2002, Berlin, Germany.

After Einar & Elizabeth’s presentation, Dr. Joach Kuettner gave a memorable talk about his life and the sport of gliding.

WxExtremeTV Coming Soon!!

wxextremetvblog-1-680x380WeatherExtreme Ltd. is proud to announce that we will be introducing a new tv show coming out this summer. WXExtremeTV. On it, Dr. Austin will cover all types of weather forensic, forecasting, and aviation news to the general public. All I can say is it will be a truly new experience…You can count on it!! Stay Tuned!!

A Big Change in our Weather…

nws-1-680x380Our very warm weather over southern California has come to an end as a trough of low pressure brings cooler temperatures, a deeper marine layer to end the high fire danger, and considerably more cloudiness.

Winds are also stronger, especially in the mountains and deserts. A 68 mph gust was recorded on the SDGE Mesonet site at Volcan Mountain at 5:50 am this morning.

There will be some light rain in some areas with this cool weather system, a 1/2 inch or less in the mountains, a 1/4 inch or less west of the mountains, a 1/10 or less at the coast. The San Diego County Mountains will see a dusting of snow above 5500 feet, and the San Gorgonio and San Jacinto Mountains in Riverside and San Bernardino Counties could see a few inches of snow above 7000 feet.

As the trough moves east later in the week we will begin a slow warmup, but not so warm as the past week.

Jim Purpura
Certified Consulting Meteorologist
Director. Weather Forecasting

Why didn’t the NWS Issue a Red Flag Warning??

The Santa Ana winds are dying down as this recent event comes to an end, although the warm weather continues for another day until the marine layer begins to return…and cool southern California down over the weekend into next week.

This past event the National Weather Service and private forecasters have called a near record event. Not the strongest Santa Ana winds ever, but certainly one of the strongest late season events of the season in many years. The San Diego Gas and Electric mesonet station Sill Hill (west of Cuyamaca Peak) recorded an incredible 101 mph gust, more like a fall or midwinter event.

This event has prompted the media and others in San Diego to ask, “Why wasn’t a Red Flag (Fire Weather) Warning issued?

To look at this, we need to consider the forecast elements for a Fire Weather Warning. This includes a forecast of sustained winds at or greater than 25 mph and/or gusts >= 35 mph, along with RH 15% or lower for 6 hours or more.

While the wind and humidity criteria certainly were met, there is another forecast element: the fuels must be sufficiently dry to sustain a LARGE fire (greater than 200 acres). By fuels we are talking about grasses, leaves, timber, brush, etc.

Here there seems to be a disagreement among forecasters. The National Weather Service felt that while Orange, Riverside, and San Bernardino County fuels were sufficiently dry, in San Diego County recent rains were just enough to prevent the start of large fires.

In some discussions with local forecasters around the area they disagreed with this call, but in retrospect the NWS looks to be right: No large fires in San Diego County from this event.

You be the judge…

James K. Purpura
Certified Consulting Meteorologist
Director, Weather Forecasting