Good Signs For A Break In The California Drought

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Good morning Weather2020 bloggers,

The storm system moving out into the plains has already produced out west.  California has been receiving a little break here and a little break there as the drought is likely going to continue to gradually weaken it’s grip in the coming weeks and months. The most recent storm, the fourth one to hit the Sierra Nevada mountains already this season, just dumped snow on the California ski resorts. Take a look at this picture sent in from Jeff Boris in the Tahoe Keys area of Lake Tahoe on the south shore:

IMG_0639

This is at just above 6,200 feet up. Look at the docks and how low the water is. Boats have been barely able to get out of the Tahoe Keys and onto the lake this summer, and apparently the lake was even lower as of this week. This is likely going to change by next spring and summer if the snow pack continues to grow.  The LRC is pointing in that direction, but it’s still very early in the season.  The rainy season kicks into high gear in January and February out west.  And, this part of the pattern will be cycling back through this winter. I still have some concerns that California is not in the direct path of the wrath of this year’s EL Niño. We are still doing some more analysis of this pattern and we will discuss the rainfall potential out west in our in-depth winter discussion next week.  Los Angeles has still been fairly dry this season, and it has my attention. Only 0.01″ of rain has fallen in Los Angeles this month, and the month is almost over.

What is this storm going to do as it moves east? Well, it really is going to get stuck over the west, and while it does Kansas City is about to have it’s wettest Thanksgiving Day ever recorded. Kansas City has never had an inch of rain on a Thanksgiving Day and our forecast is for 1 to 2 inches of rain to fall with a few spots possibly getting more than that. Kansas City averages 2.15″ for the entire month, and this is the second wet storm in the past couple of weeks.

Here is the latest LRC Index. You can click on this graphic for a much larger view. The cycle length continues to evolve and we will be able to firm up what that cycle length is within two to three weeks, as we do every year in December. The new LRC evolved from August into October, and this pattern truly began around that first week of October. We must wait for a match and this will happen as we move into LRC Cycle 2:

LRC INDEX Nov 25

Big Changes In The Pattern

The LRC is now set for the season. We are still identifying a few more features, and our in-depth winter forecast will come out next week. Let’s look at this current storm system and how it is evolving. The models are having a particularly difficult stretch of trying to model this developing pattern.

Screen Shot 2015-11-25 at 6.57.17 AM

This morning’s new data:

Look at this morning’s surface map:

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This is what we call a moisture tongue!  We will be discussing this in the spring quite often, as it is looking like it will be quite an active severe weather season in the plains in 2016. Moisture was surging northward from the Gulf of  Mexico this morning. Now, look where the front is forecast to be on the latest NAM model valid at 3 PM Thanksgiving Day:

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And, look at the temperature forecast:

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Who thinks this will be an easy forecast for the Plaza Lighting? This model has it in the 60s just three hours before the huge outdoor event, that will be broadcast live on 41 Action News, and it will be streamed around the world on KSHB.com. I am the emcee and meteorologist for the event. Look at this? Wow!  And, that frontal zone is right over KC at 6 PM on this model. Three hours faster and it will be in the 30s for the Plaza Lighting, one hour slower and we have the warmest Thanksgiving Evening on record. Isn’t weather fun?

Happy Thanksgiving Eve! Have a safe holiday weekend. Let us know if you have any questions or comments.

Gary

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Michael
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Michael

Would this current storm return in the cycle as a large snowstorm for KC?

Rockdoc
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Rockdoc

Good Evening Gary. I think you called it perfectly. Chaos in the atmosphere. A quick question or 2. Given that the “freeze line” is so close with all of the moisture in the atmosphere can you walk us through the science behind the formation of freezing rain? What is the antisipated temperatures of the atmosphere around 2k to 3k feet, which I think is the critical height for the formation of freezing rain? In reading up on it, if it were to happen would it be due to super cooled rain or ice crystal processes? What are you seeing at… Read more »

Mr. Pete
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Mr. Pete

A light mist has developed out already

Bill in Lawrence
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Bill in Lawrence

Happy Wednesday afternoon everyone!! Hope meetings are going well Gary!!! Man…quite a bit of difference between the 12Z GFS and 12Z NAM especially for the Lawrence and Topeka area. The NAM has a munch stronger push of cold air through the area with at least some light precip. still falling. The GFS is much weaker with the cold air and dries the entire area out. One thing is that the NAM has a much stronger vort in the northern stream that helps push that front further south and east…this is the one Gary alluded to earlier in the week. This… Read more »

Kai
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Kai

I would lean more with the NAM model. GFS will be unreliable this year just like last.

AlexPickman
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AlexPickman

And you base this idea off of what? There were plenty of times last year the GFS shined.

Will
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Will

It is disappointing most, if not all, of the precip in next few days will be rain. But I cannot wait until this cycle comes back aound when we have more cold air!!

Jason
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Jason

A lot of talk of the possibility of freezing rain, sleet and drizzle Emporia and further West Thursday night through Saturday. Could make for poor travel conditions in Central Kansas for those traveling that way.

Kathy
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Kathy

What a difficult forecast for the lighting ceremony!!! Glad you are both the emcee and meteorologist so that you can monitor the situation and give us insight as to how this is all going to play out tomorrow night. I would hate for the weather to make it dangerous for people to participate, but if it does get bad, would hope that it could be postponed to a better date (even though I have never seen that happen). Best of luck to you as you plow through all of the charts and data to determine what will happen tomorrow night.

terry mercer
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terry mercer

I’m so glad that this pattern is active for us here in the Midwest in KC!

Mr. Pete
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Mr. Pete

Will it be dry Friday evening for a fire?

Alice
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Alice

Gary,
Is Sunday still looking ok for travel here in the metro ?
Everyone have a blessed Thanksgiving.

Heat Miser
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Heat Miser

You might change it to Saturday day just in case. Even a small chance of a little ice could be dangerous for those seniors.