Hello Blanca

06Z-20150609_hrrrSW_prec_radar

This is sort of weird. Unexpected. Here I am working in Palm Springs, but in my second week talking about a hurricane. Tuesday we get a little touch of Blanca… the ragged little blob of moisture that remains.

Rain is VERY unusual in Palm Springs in June. Since 1893 the greatest rainfall ever on June 8th was a trace! We’ll get some today.

I’ve been looking at the HRRR for the past few runs. We won’t get a lot of rain, but it will be humid and in the low 90s. A very East Coast kind of day in the desert.

I’ve felt pretty confident watching Blanca. I’ve tracked a lot of hurricanes. This one imploded like it was stuck with a pin.

They Love The Rain

IMAG2686-w1200-h1200

There are some things I’m just going to have to get used to. I have never seen so many people happy about a rainy day! Really, people are ecstatic.

We didn’t get much. The rain started falling before dawn and was gone around 3:00 PM. Most areas got between an eighth and quarter inch–aka, very little. However, in a place that’s only gotten around two inches total since January 2014, even an eighth inch is a notable achievement.

For the next few weeks there will be a little green on the mountainsides. Desert flowers will quickly bloom, then die away.

It’s likely there’ll be no more rain until late fall. Climatically that’s the way it works.

Recent forecasts, first from the Aussies and now from the European Center for Medium Range Weather Forecasting, says a strong El Nino is building. If true, next winter in SoCal should be wet. We can really use it.

I wonder how many rain days we need before desert residents stop finding it cool? I’ll report back.

Bad Night — Good Dog

Now it’s coming back to me. I remember inclement weather! Isn’t this why we moved?

ezgif-3421828237

I’m in Irvine tonight. It’s raining. These are large economy size drops. That’s what convective showers produce. The atmosphere is unstable under a dome of cold air aloft.

The window thermometer reads 50. It’s raw tonight.

I escorted Doppler outside a few minutes ago. Now it’s coming back to me. I remember inclement weather! Isn’t this why we moved?

I looked down my street. No puddles. They might be against the HOA rules or possibly a city ordinance. Maybe both?

As always, Doppler was efficient. We were back in the house in a flash.

Helaine left a towel by the door. As I picked it up, Doppler laid down and rolled on her back. She’s been dried before. She obviously enjoys it. I carried her upstairs under my arm.

Bad night. Good dog.

Crazy Weather — Last Minute Changes

IMG_7309[1]-w1200-h1200

The Palm Springs area is known for it’s beautiful weather, especially now during ‘the season.’ For most, today was no exception. For some it was nuts!

I planned on showing a telescopic image of last night’s asteroid fly-by. It’s cool show-and-tell. I got to do that at five, but it was quickly pushed off my agenda.

My forecast yesterday called for moderate to strong winds this afternoon. By 4:30 police had closed Gene Autry Trail in Palm Springs because of reduced visibility in blowing sand! I quickly worked up a graphic showing the gusts tonight.

As we went to air (and the road reopened) I got a photo of what looked like a funnel cloud. I hurriedly pushed that into my TriCaster and aired it a few minutes later.

It was probably a landspout. Conventional tornadoes come from mature storm cells. Landspouts are weak tornadoes that form early as storms are building.

This evening I got the video you see at the bottom of this entry. It’s the landspout near Desert Center (population around 150), a rural community surrounded by sandy wilderness. I showed it briefly at 9:00 and will feature it again at 11:00.

The landspout was unexpected, unforecast and unseen by Doppler radar! Luckily, It did no harm. It made for great TV.

Rain’s A Big Deal Here

Meteogram Generator

We do a seven day forecast at KMIR. Yesterday I mentioned Day Eight. It got a shout out (as Day Seven) again tonight. That’s because there’s rain forecast next Thursday.

The actual value to rain in the Coachella Valley (Palm Springs area) is debatable. We average less than six inches per year. The majority of our water comes from an underground aquifer. It would be long gone if not supplemented by water piped in from Parker Dam on the Colorado River. Rainfall seeping down is a small piece of our specific puzzle.

Nature doesn’t provide nearly enough to support our population and the hundreds of thousands of tourists who arrive every week during the season.

Whether rainwater helps or not, people in the valley value it. Mentioning rain here is like mentioning snow in New England. It grabs your attention.

If you break down next Thursday’s rain forecast over Palm Springs, it comes to .06″. Tiny. Hardly noticeable.

A forecast for that small amount of liquid a week away is chancy at best, especially when you throw in:

EARLY NEXT WEEK A GULF OF ALASKA LOW WILL DEEPEN OVER THE PACIFIC NORTHWEST AND SEND A SERIES OF SHORTWAVES DOWN THE WEST COAST AND ACROSS SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA WEDNESDAY THROUGH FRIDAY. THIS UNUSUAL APRIL PATTERN WOULD BRING A DECENT CHANCE AT PRECIPITATION IF WERE TO UNFOLD. BUT THIS PATTERN HAS BEEN FORECAST SEVERAL TIMES THIS WINTER AND HAS EITHER 1) SUBSTANTIALLY WEAKENED OVER TIME OR 2) FAILED TO MATERIALIZE AT ALL. FOR NOW WILL HOLD ON TO A SLIGHT CHANCE FOR PRECIPITATION FOR THE MIDDLE AND LATER STAGES OF NEXT WEEK. – Area Forecast Discussion NWS San Diego

Wish us luck. It will get my attention on every newscast.

Who Said I’d Be Bored?

Some computer models show around an inch of rain in Palm Springs by Monday morning. That’s a lot in a place that floods easily. I spent time tonight explaining ‘washes’ to the tourists and snowbirds watching.

qpf

I’m forecasting the weather for the Coachella Valley at KMIR. The physics of weather are the same, but there are different tools to use.

Satellite imagery is a lot more important here. Anything coming from the Pacific is out of radar range nearly all the way to the coast.

I’ve been looking at a plume of moisture from north of Hawaii curving up the Pacific then back down the West Coast. It’s the big weekend weather maker for SoCal. The only way to see it is from the bird.

Saturday, while it’s raining in LA and San Diego, there will be partly cloudy skies over Palm Springs with a few sprinkles. We are protected by steep mountains, some over 11,000 feet tall.

On Sunday the moisture heads in from the south. No protection there! That’s when we get the bulk of our rain.

Some computer models show around an inch of rain in Palm Springs by Monday morning. That’s a lot in a place that floods easily. I spent time tonight explaining ‘washes’ to the tourists and snowbirds watching.

On top of the rain we’ve got wind for Saturday and as much as a foot and a half of snow in some mountain locations.

Who said I’d be bored forecasting here?