We are pleased to announce that Dr. Elizabeth Austin, CCM of WeatherExtreme Ltd. has been appointed to the graduate faculty for Atmospheric Sciences at The University of Nevada at Reno (UNR). This follows from a vote of the faculty and approval by the graduate school. Congratulations Dr. Austin!
A vigorous late Fall/early Winter storm system has tapped a connection to subtropical moisture and is bringing substantial rain and mountain snow to much of California and eastern Nevada. Storms of this type are commonly referred to by the media as “Pineapple Express”, for their connection to the tropics, but Meteorologists generally refer to these moisture plumes as “Atmospheric Rivers”.
In advance of the storm, Incline Village registered a wind gust to 51 mph yesterday. Today, snowfall will be measured in feet in the Sierras. At lower elevations in northern California, rainfall has already exceeded 10 inches in some foothill locations in northern California.
In southern Califonia, rain totals early morning through noon have approached 4 inches in the LA County Mountains, and 1 to 2 inches totals are common across Orange, Riverside, and San Diego Counties.
Steady rain has ended across LA and Orange County and will be ending early in the afternoon across San Diego and Riverside Counties. The steady rain will be replaced by scattered showers and thunderstorms the remainder of the afternoon through Saturday morning.
There will be a break in the rain after Saturday, but computer forecast models are showing another system with the potential for significant rain could affect Califonia and western Nevada Wednesday and Thursday.
Director, Forecast Operations
It’s no secret that California has been experiencing one of the most severe droughts on record. But with a strong Pacific low pressure system along the west coast, moisture will finally be heading our way. This particular storm, known as a “Pineapple Express”, acts as an atmospheric river, characterized by its strong persistent flow transporting moisture from the tropics, the Hawaiian region in particular, to the Pacific coast.
Strong winds as high as 100mph along with heavy rain and snowfall can be expected to dominate California, as a cold front trailing the low sweeps across the state. Winter storm warnings and winter weather advisories are in effect for Central and Northern California, as well as higher elevation regions such as the San Bernardino Mountains, where 4-8 inches of snow can be expected. As much as 1-2 feet of snow is anticipated to dump on the Sierra Nevada Mountains, causing whiteout conditions and power outages throughout the region.
As for the lower elevation portions of the state including southern California, flood and flash flood warnings and advisories are in effect, leading to mudslides throughout the area. As the cold front pushes eastward by Saturday, a weak ridge will move into the region, bringing dry air and mild weather for Sunday and Monday. However, with another trough expected to dig along the coast on Monday, light to moderate showers may once again be headed our way next week. Stay safe
Here is a YouTube video that Morgan Sandercock of the Perlan Project shot of Ty from the parachute manufacturer explaining the deployment sequence of the tail parachute on the Perlan II.
The build of the Perlan II is coming along on schedule. We are expecting to do a first flight in July, eight months from now.
A series of storms will affect the entire length of California over this week, and should provide much needed rainfall almost everywhere in the state.
On Tuesday a much more potent—and warmer—storm will begin to affect the state. A low pressure area situated well off the coast is expected to draw high moisture content air from the tropics. This storm may have at least some characteristics of an “atmospheric river”. Atmospheric rivers are narrow bands of very moist air that provide as much as 90% of the poleward transport of water vapor in the atmosphere. Some atmospheric rivers may carry as much water (in vapor form) as the Amazon River.
Atmospheric river storms produce very high orographic rainfall when this moist air is forced up coastal mountain ranges. Because the air has its origin in the tropics, snow levels are usually quite high, and are expected to be over 7000’ for Tuesday’s storm.
Rainfall totals for the next five days are forecast to be greater than one inch at low elevation locations throughout the state, and five inches or more in some of the mountain locations.
James D. Means, Ph.D.
Atmospheric and Climate Scientist