Central California will continue with its Dry Winter and Punxsutawney Phil has no business forecasting the rest of Winter for California…

Mid Winter Blues continue for the Eastern Sierra

Friday the 2nd….

Well folks it Mid-winter!  February 2nd just happens to be the day that’s in between The Winter Solstice and the Vernal Equinox.  I will say that Mammoth Mt has done a phenomenal job keeping the fun in the sport by moving snow around, making it where needed, and overall, creating the best skiing and boarding experience in California today!

Weather-wise, it is pretty amazing how quickly the State of CA went from Drought to Deluge last Spring,  and now back to drought officially in areas of Southern CA. However, many reservoirs are still fuller now then they were over the past 3 to 5 years and that is due to good water management and of course last years amazing winter! As we all know now, no one has the ability to forecast a winter of the like’s of last year or this year.  Even the most pessimistic forecasts gave us only 67% of normal this Winter. We are nowhere near that today. Statistically, according to Jan Null Meteorologist and CCM for Golden Gate Weather,  there has never been a winter or rainy season that has come back to normal levels from a deficit like this for the Central Sierra.  Will this be the year that breaks that statistic? SEE:  http://ggweather.posthaven.com


The Climatic Prediction Center’s last update says that our current La Nina signal “ENSO” will become neutral this Summer.  However, NCEP’s Climate Forecast System is currently indicating that La Nina will last through the Summer and into the Fall.  We’ll see what happens after the Spring barrier that often makes that difficult to forecast.  Remember that last Spring, NCEP was expecting a major El Nino! We ended up with a weak La Nina. Later this year I will be focusing on the QBO teleconnection. It will become positive at some point and that is a good situation if everything else stays pretty much the same.  With the expected ENSO neutral conditions and a positive phase QBO, we might we go from Drought to Deluge again in 2019 with “ARs”.



OK the Eclipse is over, this is the first day of February and tomorrow is Groundhogs Day!

Let talk about Groundhogs day.  The saying goes that if Punxsutawney Phil in Punxsutawney PA sees his shadow at about 7:20AM EST there will be 6 more weeks of Winter. I say Hogwash!  Why? Although there may be some relevance to the weather in the east, the weather pattern in the west is usually the opposite!  Why?  It’s all about the wavelength. A deep trough in the east extending from say Hudson Bay, Canada sets up a ridge over the far west.  Its the pattern we have been struggling with for the past two months.   Here is another way to look at it.  If you see/hear of a forecast of a very cold winter in the east, odds are good that you can expect a winter of below normal precip in CA and warmer than normal temperatures.

Checking the latest model runs tonight, the only change I see is some sign of some slight retrogression in the upper ridge early next week that may bring both breeze and some cooling but no precip. This is followed by another slightly stronger inside slider that may bring additional cooling the following Friday. The MJO charts (RMM) show the MJO moving into phase 7 which will strengthen the ridge further and bring more warming this weekend and dump arctic air over the Great Lakes.  Next weeks cooling is questionable as the ensembles members are much closer to the coast with the upper ridge or over the state next week. Not a good situation.   If you want to see what the RMM phase space looks like;

See:  http://www.cpc.noaa.gov/products/precip/CWlink/MJO/CLIVAR/ecmm.shtml

In addition, a high pressure system over Alaska will develop and help direct Arctic air southward into the East via Canada.  This is called the negative phase of the EPO. (Eastern pacific Oscillation) SEE: https://www.esrl.noaa.gov/psd/forecasts/reforecast2/teleconn/epo.html

And finally, the Arctic Oscillation (AO) is also in its negative phase.  (High Pressure over the Arctic)  this forces more meridional flow and supports the Ridge/Trof pattern west to east even to a greater degree.  This is truly the Perfect Storm so to speak for dryness for the State of CA

See the AO teleconnection forecast:   http://www.cpc.ncep.noaa.gov/products/precip/CWlink/daily_ao_index/ao.shtml

This all adds up to a very dry outlook. In order for things to change, the MJO would need to either weaken substantially or progress to the Dateline then Hawaii and remain strong. The models are not showing that yet and odds are they wont because of the weak to moderate La Nina Base state.   I still believe that as we going into the last week of February, more positive changes will occur as well as into March as the seasonal change takes place. These proposed changes are a result of the Sun climbing higher in the sky.

Ridging Locked in over the Far West will insure a fair dry week….The Triple Crown of Lunar Eclispes is schedueled for Wednesday Morning over Mammoth Lakes….

For you lunar-tics  😉 out there….The Triple Crown for this Astronomical Event is scheduled for this Wednesday AM the 31st. The following link with tell you why this is so special, and worth getting up for earlier than you normally would before going to work that morning.

SEE: http://www.newsweek.com/super-blue-blood-moon-lunar-eclipse-how-where-793427

For Mammoth Lakes:  https://www.timeanddate.com/eclipse/globe/2018-january-31#


Forecast Summery;

I have covered in detail in my last post on why in my opinion, this winter is so dry compared to last year. Again in my opinion, it will most likely be one of the dryer winters on record. However, as we get “toward” March, some of the forces driving this dry winter will begin to break-down. So, there is a good possibility that precipitation will again move back into Northern and Central CA, much later in February and especially March and early April. It may even be a “Miracle March” this year!

Expect Late Spring and Summer weather to arrive earlier this year followed by a warmer than normal Summer.


Dr Howard and the Dweebs…………………….:-)





Mammoth Mountain Reported up to a foot of fresh Powder this afternoon with more bands of showers expected this evening….Expect a fair dry weekend with high clouds and moderating temperatures……

Its been a while since a cold trough moved through the sierra from the Eastern Pacific. This time, there was no split and this time a pair of Vort maxes following the main trof axis passage, brought unstable air and snow showers today.  This will continue for a time tonight as the flow becomes more WNW and some of the shower north of the bay area, possibly swings into our area tonight.  This is all great news for the Mammoth Mt Ski Area with storm totals now 8 to 12 inches! That’s a big deal this winter!  Temperatures will moderate upward into early next week with lots of high clouds and lighter winds at the surface. Highs will climb into the low 50s by Sunday or Monday. Lows will move back into the 20s from the current single digits and teens.

Reflecting on the Late Fall and winter so far, the global pattern across the north hemisphere has been dominated by meridional Flow (North-South) since December.  This is likely to continue through at least part of February as the QBO remains in its negative phase and of moderate strength. The MJO is becoming very strong and will strengthen further as it moves into the Western Pacific and toward the Dateline about week 3.   SEE: http://www.cpc.noaa.gov/products/precip/CWlink/MJO/CLIVAR/ncpe.shtml 

Then   http://www.cpc.noaa.gov/products/precip/CWlink/MJO/CLIVAR/emom.shtml

This may repeat the pattern we had last December with strong ridging developing over the far Eastern Pacific/west coast in the coming weeks with dryer than normal weather continuing. The East Coast will get hammered again with Arctic Air. I’ll be following the progress of the pattern change which will remain in its warm phase in the east until phase 7 of the Rimm, provides the open door for the Arctic Highway for the East and extensive ridging for the West again.

Just as a note; I have noticed that the effects of the MJO, with relation to modulating the East Asian Jet, frequently behaves differently during winters when the QBO is in its “positive phase” contrary to what we have today.  There is often more Zonal Flow across the western hemisphere which tends to foster more successful undercutting’s of the west coast ridge and more successful central west coast extensions of EAJ and resulting Atmospheric Rivers. It is not to say that they are impossible, but more improbable.  With the current set up of the QBO, currently in its Easterly Phase or negative phase, meridional flow dominates, which combined with the current weak to moderate La Nina, may be the stronger force working against the MJO’s modulating effect upon the westerlies in phase 7-8-1.  If you click on the link above, you will notice that the MJO strengthens and then makes a run for Phase 8.  Watch the models toward that time period, and see how they want to amplify, then retrograde the west coast ridge. I bet that there will be models runs with the westerlies showing undercutting into the west coast. Keep your heart on this as there are strong forces working against any undercutting reaching the central west coast through mid February. The Pacific NW may benefit with “AR’s” during weeks 2 and possibly 3.

Opine: Looking at how strong the trades are getting again, and if they keep up current strength at this pace, we may be in for a protracted La Nina period, that goes well into the Summer.  The good thing to remember, is the QBO will eventually flip back to positive later this year and that is likely to bring winter back to the central west coast with more generous amounts of precipitation next year.

Just to Add:

For those who are interested in the QBO, here is a link that gives an easier explanation as compared to the abstracts written by actual scientist’s. I think that you will all agree that after going through all the analog’s in the various links associated with the link below, the screaming message is that there is a very strong bias for drier and warmer winters in California with the QBO in its negative phase during weak La Nina’s such as the one were are currently in.



The Dweeber……….:-)