My lovely wife and I are back home now from our medical diversion to Stanford, and everything is OK. Looks like this was the last time surgery was needed. Thanks for all the well-wishes and help everyone!
While en-route on Thursday April 7th late afternoon, interesting weather (not climate) occurred as we passed through Fairfield, CA. It is not quite the Bay Area, but pretty darned close with an elevation of only 62 feet. Have a look at this photo:
The photo above is taken by a friend (Jane Locas) also traveling through at the same time. We saw similar scenes, but couldn’t get to the camera while on I-80. We did snap this photo when we pulled off:
Have a look at the met obs from Travis AFB, nearby for the time period:
The METAR report doesn’t mention snow, but does mention -TSRA (ThunderStorm and RAin). METAR codes are here. Note also the winds.
There was convective activity in the area, and we did see some mild thunderstorms and some lightning on the trip prior to driving through Fairfield.
When I picked it up and examined it felt exactly like wet snow and had the right texture, it was also very slushy, so melting had occurred. Note the air temp of 43-46F during that time. Note also in the first photo above the “clumpy” pellet like shapes seen through the windshield.
While Al Gore might have been at his bayside condo in downtown SFO contemplating whether the lack of an update for months on sea level at UC will make his purchase look better or worse, I think we can safely rule out the Gore effect and say it was simply a thundersnow weather event precipitating something known as graupel.
Thundersnow formation with an occluded front.
Thundersnow, also known as a winter thunderstorm or a thunder snowstorm, is a relatively rare kind of thunderstorm with snow falling as the primary precipitation instead of rain. It typically falls in regions of strong upward motion within the cold sector of an extratropical cyclone, where the precipitation consists of ice pellets rather than snow. Thermodynamically, it is not different from any other type of thunderstorms but the top of the cumulonimbus are usually quite low.
That pretty well describes the mesoscale phenomena I witnessed while driving that day.
Had I had time and a thermos container, I would have collected a bunch of the graupel took it home, and brewed some Hail Ale, which is a fond memory from long ago and some stormchasing work I once did.
However, as Mike Lorrey posted on the next day, that storm headed south and caused some real snow in the Los Angeles area.