Super soaker 'Pineapple Express' organizing for heavy rain in California this weekend – as much as 20 inches in some areas

WUWT contributor Dr. Ryan Maue writes on his Twitter feed:

Can’t ask for better setup for enormous rainfall totals over NorCal & now linto Bay Area in 5+ days

Looking at the model output below, I tend to agree, if the pattern holds. It sets up Northern California for the perfect orographic lifting enhancement in the Sierra Nevada mountain range that will not only provide a bounty of liquid precipitation, but a significant boost to the well below normal California snowpack.

pineapple-expressMost or northern California will get some benefit from this “super soaker” storm:

west-coast-QPF1The Quantitative Precipitation Forecasts show some parts of Northern Calfornia getting as much as 20″, along with many mountain areas getting 5″ or more.

norcal-QPFHow much will be snow? That’s anyone’s guess at this time, it depends entirely on how much air and moisture is advected into the low pressure system to collide with colder air.

We’ll know more as we get closer to the event.

Graphics courtesy of Dr. Ryan Maue and WeatherBell.com

 

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136 thoughts on “Super soaker 'Pineapple Express' organizing for heavy rain in California this weekend – as much as 20 inches in some areas

    • you are kidding right? So all extreme weather conditions in history were due to climate change? I might agree all extreme weather is due to climate change and because the climate is always changing there have always been extreme weather events.

    • I’m home from work, watching TWC, just saw a dozen officials including the mayor, CTA head, and police chief etc in Chicago giving a press conference about some approaching “snow event”. In January? In the Upper Midwest? What’s this world coming to? What ever happened to Chicago’s famous indomitable spirit? You, know, “The City With Broad Shoulders” and all that. Pitiful. Every storm from now on will be an emergency and “possibly historic”. Like grade inflation in the schools.

      • Well it happened and it is historic! Snow to our waists and back ups of stuck/stranded cars for days. Thanks to Stuper Bowl and grubhub for running their poorly tipped drivers through the thick of it.

    • Having lived in Ca for half a century I can assure the “Pineapple Express is not a new weather phenomena! Every few years it cranks up and brings drought relief, that last time was 2010 when we experienced 200% rainfall in the great Central Valley. In 1995 we had 35 feet of snow in the Sierras, making for some very interesting ski runs at the resorts.

    • The Pineapple Express of 1955, before global warming was invented, was just God running a simulation on his prototype cellphone. It took 59 years before the Heavenly Host Review Committee concluded that it worked, but in Santa Cruz, where it rained for more than 20 days straight and drowned nine while flooding all of downtown, they know better.
      Batten the hatches.

      • That must have been when Algore was still in knickers. Heck he probably invented the internet solely as a means to spread his GW propaganda across the globe.

    • phillipbratby
      People appear to be taking your comment at face value.
      I assume you’re kidding, though I think I recognize your name in a way that gives me pause.

      • Where is the sarc tag. I have trouble reading emotions on the internet. I think that’s why they invented emoticons.

  1. Is this going to be like the “2ft” of snow that was forecast to hit New York the other day, when it turned out to be between 6″-8″ instead?

    • Here in Michigan the forecast was 1″-3″, then to 4″-8″…but we got +16″. Third largest snow storm in Detroit’s history. I wish we’d have gotten a snow day out of the deal…

      • They don’t declare snow days based on the actual amount of snow, only on the predictions.
        If they expect 3 inches and get 3 feet, they can’t declare a snow day without being labeled a climate denier.

      • We got a snow day due to forecasted snow up in Port Huron (50 Mi NNE of Detroit). Hard to tell how much is actually on the ground lot of drifting, there is at least 14 inches on the road here,(80 Mi NNE of Detroit)

      • In Waterloo on Groundhog Day I was up to my waist trying to get the truck dug out of the driveway. Then the plough went down our street *&@$!. The kids were out in force with the snow blowers because schools were closed. That was a chance for them to embody the virtue, “Helpfulness”.

      • I don’t know about that. This year in Southern California has all the ear marks of a rainy one. Frequent intermittent small storms when it’s usually been bone dry. My money is on this year being a good “recharge the aquifers” year. Here’s hoping anyway.

    • If only they had used the GFS for that forecast. The new and improved GFS performed better but they didn’t use it for that forecast. We’ll have to see how it does with this event.

  2. but I thought that it was never going to rain again in so-cal, because this was the Greatest Worstest Drought in all of geological history, and that it was all man’s fault?
    well it just goes to show, rains happen when Gaia is overcome with tears at Man’s Wickedness.
    drought is when she chokes on her sobs.

    • Skeptic: It never rains in Southern California (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-pyC7WnvLT4); everyone knows that! Of course, that “scientific observation” was first “published” in 1972 before the start of the warming trend at the end of that decade.
      Warmist: So wait a minute…you mean reduced rainfall occurred *before* global warming kicked off?
      *head explodes* (metaphorically of course)

    • Well just last Saturday I drove from Highway 5 across to highway 99, in California’s central valley A laser straight shot across Manning Avenue halfway from Fresno to Visalia.
      Well near the highway 5 end of that road, the farmers traditionally grow row crops, in huge areas, lots of low bush tomatoes, and lots of cantaloupe. This time of year there is nothing growing there at all, they are getting ready to plant.
      So there was this huge area; I would guess 200 acres, of nicely tilled rows all set up with ridges to match the crop picking machines. Only trouble is there wasn’t a photon of green to be seen. Nice dark brown dirt, and soaking wet.
      The whole 200 acres was covered with a flock of oscillating sprinklers, running full bore so as to turn the whole area into a rainstorm.
      The water was running full blast when I went East across there at about 10 AM, and it was still going full blast when I came back about five hours later.
      They were simply watering dirt.
      Now the way they plant the tomatoes on those mounds, the starting roots are going to be all in the mound, with nothing in the furrows, except possibly weeds, and you don’t need to water the weeds.
      So I don’t buy this mega drought whining; there’s plenty of water for the farmers to water wherever they happen to want to water.
      Now as this drive progressed we passed grape vines galore all set to start growing again, some with over 100 year old root stock, and also plenty of stone fruit trees.
      Never saw a single blossom on anything’ probably needs to wait for summer in a couple of weeks.
      But without the foliage, it was really easy to see the difference between crops that have been watered by well water pumped out of the ground, and those farms where the watering is done from cheap water from the canals that take northern California water down to LA.
      The canal watered orchards and vineyards have the ground surface around the crops infested with weeds. They a re the weeds of every known California native species and many that aren’t native.
      You see the seeds of weeds blow from every surrounding area, into the canals, where they are fed to all the farms that use “ditch water” to water their crops, at very handsome cheap water rates.
      But if you pump the water out of a well, there are no weed seeds, so you don’t get any weeds, except a few that may blow in from your neighbor.
      The problem is the well water is hard and salt filled so after a few years, you can’t grow anything but cotton. So then your have to wait for a good snow melt and ditch water year to flood the ground and grow rice, which dissolves all the surface salts, and transports them back to the dungeons, to get pumped back up once thy turn off the ditch water.
      The ditch water users of course get stuck with a bill for herbicides that they have to spray to control their forest of weeds, and of course they have to do that weed control early before their crops get under way, so they aren’t spraying herbicides on their crops.
      So much for the “organic” food scam. Regular farmers can’t afford to spray pesticides on their crops; it costs them too much money. But if you like having animal protein inside your apples then of course you can get that with organic ; but at a premium price.
      So no we don’t really have a mega drought; the pols just make it sound that way, to control people’s habits.
      g

      • The fields in this area are usually 160+/- acres depending if they are on large or small sections. A standard section is 640 acres, but since the Earth is more or less a sphere they can be a bit larger or a bit smaller per township (appr. 6 x 6 miles). Every so often you notice kinks in some of the roads as the roads run along the lot lines in general.
        The reason the sprinklers were going was most likely pre-planting irrigation, a standard practice. This is often used in this semi-arid area to wash out salt from the upper soil strata in which the plants set their roots as many plant varieties are salt sensitive. The salt accumulates during the previous crop year and needs to be washed out. If there is plenty of rain then there is less need for it. But this part of the Valley gets not enough rain for that in most years.
        This water is not wasted; it is very necessary. In this part of the Valley, depending on the crop the farmer intends to plant, planting can begin quite early. For some crops such as iceberg lettuce it is done in stages to be able to maintain steady deliveries to the buyers. For processing tomatoes the planting date is often determined by the contract with the processing facility so these can maximize their capacity.
        Over the past few decades many farmers have drilled wells as the surface water supplies have been cut for environmental reasons. At the moment all water coming from north of the Sacramento – San Joaquin Delta is being transported through the Delta as there is no way around it. The State of CA intends to build a gigantic underground pipeline to circumvent the Delta as the US Government and Federal courts have imposed pumping restrictions at the point in the southern part of the Delta from where water is being pumped into the CA Aqueduct to protect the Delta Smelt, the salmon run, etc.
        Farmers typically blend well water with surface water. As you correctly stated, well water is frequently tainted with various minerals, such as boron for instance. In order to protect their soils farmers blend bad well water with good surface water. This goes only so far, depending on the salt tolerance of the crops, the number of years and the concentration of the well water that has been applied, the type of soil, and a number of other factors. Lately, due to heavy pumping, ground water levels have declined, as has water quality. A determining factor is also the depth of the well and the water yield, as well as the energy cost for pumping.
        Farmers who run sprinkler systems or drip irrigation, almost all in this area, have huge filters that filter out most detritus, including weed seeds. Most weed seeds in this area are likely to be airborne. In other areas where they have cheap water and use flood irrigation water borne weed seeds are certainly a point of concern. The weeds that you see near canals are often there due the availability of water due to leakages and cracks in the water distribution system or a lack of concrete lining of the smaller canals. However, usually the water is being distributed via underground pipelines to the final destination. Virtually all non-organic farmers (a stupid term, really!) apply herbicides, fungicides, and insecticides, and other chemicals, to one degree or another. This is a highly regulated activity often undertaken by a custom operator and not the farmer himself. Too many laws, rules and regulations to run afoul of. High value crops have replaced a huge acreage of cotton in the Valley as cotton is king no more. Fruits and vegetables rule. Cotton is almost an afterthought in many crop rotations, rarely planted under severe water rationing.
        Water is very expensive and very limited in quantity. Farmers maximize their income based on a variety of factors. One of the most prominent, especially in tight water years, is profit per acre-foot of water. Farmers concentrate their water supplies on the fields and crops that maximize their income (or minimize their losses). But other factors such as risk mitigation (market, diseases, etc.), crop rotation for soil health, equipment capacity, labor capacity, capacity of the water distribution system, amount of water available in a given period of time also play a role. Non farmers usually do not notice it, but many fields will lie fallow this year, as they have in many years past, for lack of water, even with well water being available. I believe that last year farmers were given 25% of the full allotment. I may be wrong; it may have been a bit more. But they could be cut back to 10% this year or even to 0%.
        The above is true for non permanent crops. Permanent crops get a higher allotment from the irrigation districts so the farmers do not lose a valuable investment. But typically this will just be enough to save the orchard or vineyard, it won’t be enough to produce much yield. Prudent farmers in areas with unreliable water supplies always plant only a fraction of their acreage to permanent crops. Doing otherwise would be a huge risk, even in good water years.
        You can expect to see almond orchards in bloom very shortly in this area. And you may pay $40,000 to $50,000 for the bees that you need for pollination.
        Farming is a business for highly risk tolerant people with many widely varying skills. City folks for the most part do not understand the degree of difficulty and skill that is required to be a successful farmer.
        And lastly, in the American West there is a famous saying: “Whiskey is for drinking, water is for fighting.”
        I hope I have helped to shed some light on this.
        Best regards – Manfred

      • “So I don’t buy this mega drought whining; there’s plenty of water for the farmers to water wherever they happen to want to water.”
        You drive through the valley, and upon seeing one thing, you decide the drought is made-up?
        Sorry. But that’s just silly. I live here in the San Joaquin Valley, in Fresno to be exact, and have friends who are in farming or farm related industries that will tell you otherwise. I camp a lot, and have seen many of the lakes and reservoirs in the area. In the last three years, I’ve seen the levels of those bodies of water go down to as low as 17% of normal. I walked on the bottom of Cartwright lake last summer. On the Kings River, the white water rapids tours they do in the spring every year had to be cancelled last year because there was not enough water flowing down the river to do even that.
        In order to get the needed water, farmers have had to rely sometimes exclusively on well water pumped from the aquifer. As a result of the drought, many farmers have seen their old wells go dry much sooner than was originally estimated. They have had to drill deeper wells to continue to water the crops and orchards. Some farmers couldn’t afford the $1 + million dollar price tag to do this, and ended up going out of business. One town not too far from where I live, Madera, had to force severe water restrictions on its residence last summer because their well was dangerously close to running dry.

      • “””””…..
        Mike Alexander
        February 2, 2015 at 5:45 pm
        ……………………………………..
        You drive through the valley, and upon seeing one thing, you decide the drought is made-up?……”””””
        So Mike, I live in the valley too; I DON’T just “drive through it.”
        In Orosi specifically, six miles west of Dinuba.
        So I have watched the scene for years.
        My experience of it matches Manfred’s excellent description. And I do a lot of driving back and forth on hiway 5.
        So I see all those areas that the farmers let go to dust and weeds, so they can plant their “Stop the Congress made dust bowl.”
        And sure enough, you look a 1/4 to 1/2 mile off the freeway, and they are growing and watering whatever they want to. Yes I do know its a problem for them to keep track of their well water, and the canal water, and the problems of both.
        I pay a monthly fee for that canal water, even though not a drop of it do I get the use of.
        My house well is down 150 feet, and my agricultural well is at 185 feet, both of them hard as concrete.
        The irrigation canal actually runs across my property, so any rain water I do get, runs off into the canal, and I don’t get anything from the water district for it.
        And I also talk with a government crop insurance guy, so I also know how farmers can get their obsolete crop varieties replaced for free by the poor sap taxpayers, by turning off their water and letting their trees or vines die, and then calling him to collect on their crop insurance, so they can buy the latest fad stone fruit or grape varieties to plant instead.
        My hard working neighbor who grows citrus, stone fruit and table grapes, works his ass off along with his wife tending maybe 40 acres, and driving it to market themselves.
        So no, I’m not just driving through; I have a home there. And yes I do listen to the morning farm report from KMJ, to find out what the various crop watering needs are.
        g

  3. The storm would be of more use to the seething masses if it were to strike the heavily populated desert/coast of SoCal, but then those residents would only switch their moaning from “no water for us because we built our house in the desert”, to: “too much water for our house on the desert slope to cope with, causing us to be washed into the sea.”

    • I’m not sure why you think that. Most Californians rely on Sierra snowpack for water, so warm, wet storms hitting the south aren’t actually so helpful. For that matter, warm, wet storms hitting the north are only moderately helpful too, because they melt snow rather than create it.

      • I don’t live in CA and don’t know anything of their water sources. If as you say, SoCal reservoirs don’t rely on local rains, then local rainfall might not help you… sure looks like they need all the help they can get at this point. Here in South Central US, we get most of our water from reservoirs which are replenished by runoff from heavy rains. Oklahomans learned their lessons well during the drought era of the 30s and have built many reservoirs, so many in fact that there is now more shoreline in Oklahoma than on the entire US Eastern Seaboard and Gulf Coast, combined.

  4. 9 inches of snow overnight in Rochester, Michigan. Digging out this morning, under blue skies. I want April warmth.

  5. this is what the NWS says is coming tor me in my part of The Valley this next week:
    Thursday Sunny, with a high near 69.
    Thursday Night Partly cloudy, with a low around 53.
    Friday Mostly sunny, with a high near 73.
    Friday Night Partly cloudy, with a low around 55.
    Saturday Mostly sunny, with a high near 74.
    Saturday Night Partly cloudy, with a low around 56.
    Sunday Mostly sunny, with a high near 74.
    at least as of today. of course,last Thursday they said the weather Friday would be sunny. On Friday, we had a thunderstorm, so who knows. i think they just throw darts at a chart…
    i’ll believe it when it happens.

    • …i think they just throw darts at a chart…

      According to a NWS guy I met several years ago they actually tried that in Denver. The darts had about the same record as everyone else in the office.

    • Sadly they take climate records and overlay it with modelling predictions based of fake AGW statistics and averages proven already in court to be fraudulent and doctored records. If it was 30 degrees on June 1st five out of seven years, but a cool air mass is on its way, they will predict 25-27 degrees. Predictions are guesses based on circumstantial evidence which is often incorrect many times before we get anything right. These guys can not predict things properly four hours from now and they admit that. They often say weather patterns can change within hours but they want you to believe the same basis of modeling system will be accurate 15 years from now. The epic storm non sense is fear mongering due to allowing 24/7 weather channels that have nothing to report. To get ratings they ramp it up just like the lame stream media. People tune in every 15 minutes to get the latest update… see how that works. Why would you need to update every 15 minutes if they can model this stuff properly and are so convinced the globe is warming at an exceeding rate yet they can’t predict any temperatures properly nor sea and water levels nor ice and glacial levels. Every single estimate they have given has been over blown because they get more funding through fear mongering. Remember the politicians about the debt cap were lied to and given the bill at 11pm at night and then told if they didnt sign the country would collapse. That is what climatologists want us to believe so we can give them more money. My question, how much money does it take to stop a tornado or a hurricane? What does a tax do to squelch carbon usage other than stagnate progress and keep us using the stuff in general. All that money could have been spent on a new fuel source which there are dozens already. Here we are still stuck at step one and getting gouged soon through more taxes towards a goal they can never stop. Leave it to a politician to try and sell you black water and call it oil. I wonder if in the future we will look back at these scientists, politicians and the tools they used to create this mess and relate it to fortune tellers rubbing a crystal ball. Thing is, the fortune teller really believed in what they were doing and I think some of these people really believe too.

      • 1) At the very least, you need to find the return key and get comfortable with the concept of paragraphs.
        2) …and cogent thoughts wouldn’t hurt either…contra example: “…Remember the politicians about the debt cap were lied to and given the bill at 11pm at night and then told if they didnt sign the country would collapse….”

    • Note that the “forecast” is of weather consistent with expectations of global warming. The east Pacific satellite images are somewhat more promising. Provide a low circulating in the Gulf of Alaska does its part.

      • These days all weather “is consistent with expectations of global warming.” They are inventing new terminology for historically ordinary events like “atmospheric rivers” and “super soakers.” It’s repackaging to make it seem new and different.

  6. The Texas Gulf Coast was forecast to receive a heavy rain this weekend. Nothing came.
    These models are not taking the La Nina into acount very well.
    I certainly hope No Cal gets a lot of rain and snow, but I have no more confidence in weather forecasts in the age of climate crisis than I have in the prediction of future climate doom.

  7. Is that 20″ of snow forecast, or really 20″ of rain? Twenty inches of rain is a shed load of water.

    • 20″ rain could happen at the most orographically-enhanced spots on the coastal range and Sierras. Most areas would receive much less, of course.

  8. So creates a glacier. “Areas of slush and standing water along the southern coast of New England will freeze solid as temperatures plummet into the single digits F by Tuesday morning.
    AccuWeather RealFeel® Temperatures will dip well below zero F as winds kick up. The winds will cause blowing and drifting snow where, the snow remained dry and powdery through Monday.”

  9. Punxsutawney Phil’s prediction of six more weeks of winter is right on cue for New England. The same storm that walloped the Midwest with more than a foot of snow will produce similar results for New England residents. Meanwhile, an icy mess will continue for the New York City area while gusty winds follow later today.
    Snow stretches from far northern Pennsylvania into New England while sleet and freezing rain are pelting northern New Jersey and the New York City metro area. The precipitation is all rain for much of the Mid-Atlantic.
    As the day unfolds, the snow will continue to slam New England, with as much as 10 to 14 inches falling in a corridor from northern Connecticut into central and western Massachusetts to the eastern Maine coast.
    http://weather.weatherbug.com/weather-news/weather-reports.html?zcode=z6286&lang_id=pl-PL&region=8&region_name=North%20America&country=US&country_name=USA&state_code=MA&state_name=Massachusetts&zip=02108&city_name=Boston&stat=BOSMA&story=16654

  10. We’ve been told by the team that there was no El Nino this year, so why is California getting rains as if there has been one? Seems a bit having of the cake and eating it to me, right?

    • The Japanese Meteorological Agency (JMA) said there was an El Niño this year since June; NOAA uses narrow criteria on the NINO3.4 grid of the eastern Pacific to determine conditions and since those conditions weren’t met, there was no “official” El Niño according to them.

    • El Nino does not automatically equal more rain, just as Non-El Nino year does not automatically equal less rain. We’ve had dry El Ninos and wet Non-El Ninos. That said, an El Nino does typically produce a better rainy season here in California. But it’s certainly not an absolute.

  11. What’s so depressing is that many Lestist CAGW advocates will be disheartened to see semi-arid California get some much needed rain…
    The California drought makes such good CAGW propaganda while it lasts….
    Too many Leftists are such a heartless lot.

    • Of course, they will add, that we should all take heed. This is the last of the “normal” weather that we previously knew. Enjoy it while it lasts. Until the next time. And the next, and the next…

  12. “The California drought makes such good CAGW propaganda while it lasts…”
    ————–
    Oh, but Climate Change, Climate Disruption, Climate Weirding…
    This event will also serve the meme. Get ready for the guilt trip.

    • Alan Roberts–What’s despicable is that these Lestist loons will then blame the heavy California RAINS on Glooooooobal Waaaaaarming…
      Any rational human is starting to see the absurdities of this silly CAGW cargo cult.
      There will always be a boisterous and active leftist base that will continue to whine and propagandize the CAGW narrative. They’ll continue this gig until the next manmade catastrophe is concocted.
      Fear is a very powerful and effective tool of Leftists that will always be exploited to help achieve their nefarious ends.

  13. This with no El Niño this winter. MJO, Warm AO, Negative EPO playing a bigger role. These coming heavy rains have nothing to do with Climate Change, but the Liberal Left Media will go nuts with this story next week.

  14. So when there is flooding and mud slides the cagw crew will have something new to moan about instead of permanent drought. They seem to have a very short span of attention.

  15. It’s always informative to a perspective from outer space.
    So here’s a water-vapor (6-micron IR) from GOES-WEST Channel #3, which clearly shows the “conveyor belt” bringing the heavy water vapor (WV) in the mid-Pacific (green and red filled areas) towards California. This is “real”, not a model output.
    This is the same conveyor belt that was advecting warm moist air over the Alaskan coastal regions very recently. But now you can see it has shifted down to California. And in this latest satellite imagery you can see a frigid Arctic trough plowing southward now in central Alaska.
    But there’s no guarantee that the heaviest WV will reach California. The models (which tend to be wrong in the long range) should hopefully give us a day or two heads up on that.
    It is, after all, just “weather”. And it’s always changing.

  16. Nino region 3.4 SST is positive, as well as the NE Pacific SST, so conditions are certainly right for rains, or what might “just” be called a weak El Niño, at present.

    • There’s a good chance that SoCal will get a good rain out of the last cars of this atmospheric freight train if the high pressure area West of Central America continues to get pushed further to the East and South.

  17. This is excellent news! [assuming it happens]. Dr. Maue has been pretty darn accurate in the past.
    For folks in Kansas, the California snowpack is the critical part. It stores water that flows to the ocean throughout most of the year. Without a good snowpack, drought in summer gets much worse.
    Many years ago Southern California tried to take lots of water from NorCal, via what was called the Peripheral Canal. Gov. Wilson [IIRC] pushed it, and it would have been built. But the enviro groups of the day got together with the northern part of the state and circulated an initiative petition to stop it. The initiative passed, even with the help of SoCal voters, so the water was never diverted.
    The argument at the time was that the water would just flow out into the ocean. True. But that indicates that there is probably adequate water, at least for people. The problem is all the water taken from farmers to ‘save’ critters like the Snail Darter — a minnow!
    Around the same time the enviros got the massive Auburn Dam project canceled before it was complete. A billion dollars was used up [when $1 billion was a lot of money]. Now it’s just some old construction projects. They still crow about destroying that water storage. In the mean time, the state’s population has almost doubled.
    That political power gave the ‘green’ groups immense prestige, which they have parlayed into more power, and into an unaccountable income stream. They support politicians, who are then beholden to them. As usual when there is zero oversight, corruption has become rampant [a Greenpeace director was recently caught flying 1st class from his home to where he worked, when there was a commuter train available; their dues-paying members are so credulous that Greenpeace hardly lost any of them].
    I believe that human ingenuity will provide for sufficient water. As in any similar situation, the cost of water will rise. That’s the deal. But there will always be water available for people.
    Anyway, people in California talk about the rain like folks in other places talk about the weather in general. More is always very welcome. My money is on Anthony and Ryan Maue, and I look forward to this weekend. ☺ ☺ ☺

    • DB,
      You’ve highlighted what is perhaps the greatest modern threat to individual lives and liberty and that is the threat posed by (hidden) agenda driven, unregulated and unaccountable NGOs.Those NGOs are nearly universally controlled by the barest handful of elites, men and women who are too often grasping sociopaths and worse, with no one’s interest in mind, except their own. Those elites have no end of either means or aid, from both willfully mercenary and unwitting accomplices, to speed their acquisitions.This is the way of the world and the reason that mankind can not rid itself of war. It’s an us against them situation.
      vigilis salutis

      • The Wizard of Oz (1939)
        Dorothy says “I’ve got a feeling we’re not in Kansas anymore.”
        The folks from Kansas are really really nice but prior to the time of the movie they didn’t get out much. So things have to be ‘splained to them.

    • dbstealey:
      With the level of the California reservoirs still low, it really does not matter for our water supplies how much of this falls as snow rather than rain over the Sierras.
      When the reservoirs are relatively full, it is better for the long term supply to have more fall as snow and not reaching the reservoirs until the spring snowmelt. There have been winters when rainfall from warm winter storms like the one we are expecting mean that a lot of water has to be dumped. But that is certainly not the situation now.
      I think that its even likely that rainfall that flows quickly into the reservoirs will be somewhat better than snow — a lot of which will sublimate before it gets a chance to melt and run into the reservoirs.

    • dbstealey,
      I will join you in hoping that we actually get walloped by a big soaker. Our reservoir’s have room for lots of run off and any snow pack would be good snow pack. However, your description of the water issue as “people vs. fish” is a gross oversimplification that I repeatedly see both on the internet and in the MSM. I present the following from the perspective of an old fashioned “wise use conservationist” who has lived in Southern California, the San Francisco Bay Area, the Central Valley, and who now lives near Sacramento. I am an attorney who has followed both the legal and environmental water issues in Central California for the last 10 years, and I have represented farmers and small water districts, worked with attorneys who represented the big water districts who are fighting to take more water from the Delta, and dealt with the California Department of Water Resources.
      IMNSHO, a much better perspective is to recognize that the dispute is between groups of people who want to put the water to alternative uses, and the disputes are as nasty as they are because the allocations are made by political and legal processes rather than by markets. I.e., we’ve got water supplied by government agencies subject to the pressure groups, lobbyists, and lawsuits instead of water being supplied by private parties selling to the highest bidders according to the principles of supply and demand. As always, this results in what economists call misallocation / uneconomic uses of the resource–and all the nasty behavior is as predicted by public choice economics (or any experienced observer of human events).
      In other words, surface irrigation water from California’s extensive system of reservoirs is supplied at artificially cheap prices to users who are chosen in part based on riparian property rights and in part by contracts with government agencies, which contracts are subject to alteration–within various limits–by bureaucratic, legislative, and judicial action. Any new dams or other facilities–such as the proposed Delta diversion tunnels or the proposed Sites or Temperance Flat reservoirs–would also be built by the State government, although who would bear how much of the very expensive cost of each is still up in the air.
      The particular group of 600 farmers in the San Joaquin valley who lead the constant litigation over protection “for that little fish” are growing subsidized crops with subsidized water that is pumped with expensive electricity (that they don’t pay for) in soil naturally high in toxic salts–including Selenium–irrigation of which creates a drainage problem that their deal with the U.S. government for the construction of the dam and canals to irrigate their land required them to solve to the tune of several hundred million dollars–which they never have. The toxic run off from their land created a huge problem with deformed baby birds, etc. at the Kesterson Wildlife Refuge about 20 years ago that caused that refuge to be drained and closed. They are now trying to get Senator Feinstein to ram through a bill relieving them of that obligation and giving them a higher priority for water than they currently have. As of now, they have the lowest priority water rights. In dry years, they are the first ones to have their allocation cut. It’s been that way for fifty years. Before Lake Oroville and the canals were built, they didn’t have that water supply in any year, but they’ve grown pretty rich as ag welfare queens, and they’d like to secure their position, and get richer if possible. If they secure their rights, they may even turn around and sell some or all of their water rights to users who would put a higher value on the water (think Southern California urban users, who use a fraction of the total amount that Central Valley agriculture uses). Other water districts near Bakersfield have already done that.
      The competing water users are: 1) several hundred less wealthy farmers located in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta who draw their irrigation water directly from the Delta; 2) several thousand recreational fisherman and pleasure boaters who bring millions of dollars of economic activity to the economies of the numerous towns in and around the Delta; 3) groups of bird watchers and other nature lovers who flock to the Delta during the winter migration. (Don’t laugh. Incredible numbers of waterfowl winter here, including Sandhill cranes, which are very impressive birds, and significant numbers of folks come down to see them.) If the Delta tunnels are ever built, all these folks will suffer because the diversion of high quality fresh water from the Sacramento River north of the Delta will likely result in a severe deterioration of water quality in the Delta. This will include increased salinity where the local farmers draw their irrigation water and an acceleration of the ongoing decline in the populations of most species of fish in the Delta, including the most popular sport fish.
      And then there are certain environmental groups who may or may not just hate the thought that people are making money and doing something productive with the water. While several of them are involved in the lawsuits over water diversions from the Delta, local fishing groups are also involved and very active in trying to limit–not stop–the amount of pumping from the Delta. The ecosystem of the Delta and the rivers that flow into it has been greatly altered from what it was in the 1840’s and will never be that way again. (I don’t think any rational person would even want it that way if it could be made that way costlessly. But man, the fishing must have been great… but I digress.)
      While the environmental lawsuits were first filed by several environmental NGO’s and used the status of the Delta Smelt to force reductions in pumping, the point is not just to protect a few thousand “little baitfish.” The point is to stop the tremendous declines in the populations of almost all of the fish in the Delta. (I’m talking 95-99% declines over 25 years for several as revealed by trawl surveys.) While water exports for agriculture are not the only issue, they are clearly a major one. The second set of pumps in the Delta was turned on in the early 1970’s after numerous dams were completed in previous decades. During the 1990’s, water exports were around 4 million acre-feet per year and most of the populations were (relatively) stable, if lower than previously. In 2002, the Schwarzeneggar administration increased the exports to over 6 million acre-feet per year, and fish populations quickly plummeted, which led to the recent spate of lawsuits that resulted in a cut back to a level that is still above 4.2 million acre-feet per year (but which I don’t recall at the moment) and restrictions on pumping at certain times and under certain conditions.
      With regard to dams: Unfortunately, we have already put dams in all the good places to put them in California. None of the current dam proposals make economic sense–too much cost, too little extra storage–and all of them will have significant impacts on river habitats. I liver fairly close to the Auburn dam site and have listened to the arguments for and against it for a decade. Even if you don’t consider the earthquake fault in the dam site to make it a non-starter, the current dam won’t provide any additional storage because the water is already spoken for, and the flood control benefits have mostly been addressed by the improvements that are almost done at Folsom Dam downstream.

  18. Lived in the Bay Area in the mid 70’s. A three year drought was in progress and EBMUD had us on a 120 gal/day ration. My wife was at home with two small children so I petitioned and received an extra 30 gal/day allotment. Lake Shasta was down to 20% of full capacity and the experts in such things predicted 10 years of normal precipitation was needed to bring it to near 100%. The winter of ’77/’78 was sufficient to bring it to “full”. Methinks this may be another such winter.

  19. Many major news outlets are reporting this morning that January 2015 was San Francisco’s driest January on record.
    http://abcnews.go.com/US/wireStory/san-francisco-experiences-driest-january-record-28646269
    The linked article concludes with this note::

    San Francisco’s recorded weather history dates back to the Gold Rush era of the mid-19th century.

    150-200 years is a span of time that virtually disappears on any geological time scale.
    Meanwhile, out in the California desert, we’ve had a little rain this winter, and some hardy grasses have begun sprouting in the sparkly sand where the golf courses haven’t been developed, yet. The number of golf courses in the Coachella Valley is given variously as between 100-150, and they are mostly green.
    Coachella is an orthographic flub, and not just because WordPress sez so.

    Early maps show the area as “Conchilla,” the Spanish word for “seashell.” Since the area was once a part of a vast inland sea, tiny fossilized mollusk shells can be found in just about every remote area. Local lore explains the change in the name from Conchilla to Coachella as a mistake made by the map-makers contracted to transcribe the data supplied by the Southern Pacific Railroad’s survey party. Rather than redraw the expensive maps, the railroad chose to instead begin calling the area by the misspelled name “Coachella” rather than its traditional name “Conchilla.”

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coachella_Valley

  20. Latest guidance it, it will fizzle around 38 N and be a very weak storm from the Bay Area south. While every bit helps, we had only 2/100ths at my (orographically favored) location for all of January. We are so far behind the 8 ball now, it would take 10 like this to give even a sliver of hope. Thing of it is, El Nino is just about gone and PDO is obviously still negative. Many factors are against breaking the drought.

  21. Problem is with the Pineapple Express is that the moisture tends to be warm, melts snow, runs off quickly.

  22. 1962/63 was a pretty dry year in California, too. While SF had no measurable rain in January, other California cities did. Southern California had rain in January.

  23. There is on old bush saying in Aussie land.
    “At the end of every drought, there is a good rain”.

  24. Horrors….. It’s going to rain hard, after a period of drought.
    Oh – The Humanity…..
    /sarc
    Thanks for the ‘meteo’ link, clipe!

  25. This is looking like it may be a one-and-done event. The ridge is prog’d to return starting Sunday. A figurative drop in the bucket (especially considering we are behind the 8 ball for the 4th year in a row).

  26. Earlier in this post I provided a link to the GOES-WEST water-vapor loop for the north-east Pacific, which renders this current Pineapple Express at a synoptic scale.
    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2015/02/02/super-soaker-pineapple-express-organizing-for-heavy-rain-in-california-this-weekend-as-much-as-20-inches-in-some-areas/#comment-1850359
    Again, the GOES WV loop of is “real”, i.e. not modeled, in the sense that it is rendering reading 6-micron IR readings where they manage to escape into space from the mid-troposphere.
    I think it’s much better to view these phenomena at a planetary scale, where it then can be seen that these are really planetary waves, spawned from the equatorial monsoon trough. But the caveat here is that these images are created using a technique called “blended advection” which blends passive microwave emissions from water vapor with “blended” wind data, derived from modeled winds (GFS, weighted avg of 1000mb, 850mb and 700mb). So the resulting imagery is almost but not quite “real” (as you can tell from the occasional glitches) but provides a very informative view of water vapor advection with respect to the general circulation of the Earth’s atmosphere, especially around equator and the ICTZ.
    http://tropic.ssec.wisc.edu/real-time/mimic-tpw/global/anim/20150131T000000anim72.gif
    The current ‘Pineapple Express’ shows up in this image in the Pacific area, but is less intense in terms of preciptable water vapor concentration compared to similar flows now occurring in the southern hemisphere.
    [Recall that this same advective blending technique is also being used to analyze columns of CO2 detected by the OCO2 satellite:
    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2014/12/20/agu14-nasas-orbiting-carbon-observatory-shows-surprising-co2-emissions-in-southern-hemisphere/#comment-1818214%5D
    Here’s the previous Pineapple Express which occurred this last December 2014:
    http://tropic.ssec.wisc.edu/real-time/mimic-tpw/global/anim/20141210T000000anim72.gif
    A more powerful P.E. hit California in December 2010
    http://tropic.ssec.wisc.edu/real-time/mimic-tpw/global/anim/2010/20101217T000000anim72.gif
    You can access the archive of these MIMIC-tpw images, produced by CIMSS at Univ of Wisconsin:
    http://tropic.ssec.wisc.edu/real-time/mimic-tpw/global/anim/?M=D (archive)
    http://tropic.ssec.wisc.edu/real-time/mimic-tpw/global/main.html (home page)

  27. I agree with Mac, those are very interesting animations. Thanks.
    I trust Ryan Maue is right about rain this weekend. Normally I would be skeptical, but not so much this time — and I have a very good reason.
    I am constructing a bedroom addition on my house. The concrete foundation is complete, and all the framing is done. The roof was supposed to be installed this week, but the guy got sick and he won’t be back to work until next week. All the framing is exposed.
    So on the principle of the Gore effect, or on the principle of ‘if I get my car washed it will rain’, I fully expect the exposed wood framing will get drenched. And yes, the bread does usually fall on the floor peanut butter side down.

  28. This forecast is very hopeful; it probably won’t happen. El Nino has failed to occur for the past 11 months ENSO watch period. NOAA/CPC has been jiggering the chances around week after week and have never seen the atmosphere fully cooperate with the ocean. What little snow fell in the mid California Sierra back in December has largely been melting or sublimating away. I cross over the Carson Pass highway about once a week and I keep and eyeball on the snowpack’s behavior and its now pretty much gone. Another storm this week would be nice but the satellite view is not very encouraging. Perhaps Southern Oregon will get wet but further South looks less likely.
    This is too bad as I run a small grape vine farm in the Lodi area of the central valley. We’re planted to Cabernet Savignon. We rely on well water. Good thing I upgraded our pumping capacity a year ago. This drought could last another 3 or 4 years, especially without an El Nino in the near future. The proletariat of the state will be screaming for heads on pikes by then but mother nature could give a rats behind about what they think. Perhaps the idea of desalinization will finally be considered by the enviros as a reasonable solution Or not.

  29. Wow the 7 day qpf from the HPC has gone nuts along with 12 to 15″ of precip from San Francisco to Seattle. I don’t think I’ve ever seen such a massive widespread AR event. That’s a distance of over 800 miles. Let’s see if it verifies or even comes close.

    • Many? Not to “rain” on your parade, but the reality is that there are a small number of relatively small reservoirs full, way up north. The large ones, in the central area, are pathetic.

      • I said many are above average and I could have said most. Most of the reservoirs are now above average. Look at my link^^^. They’re nowhere near full, but many are now above average. I think we’re all rooting for more rain. 🙂

  30. Average is, of course, nowhere near capacity. Average rain and storage in California is below average (being the inverse of the Children in Lake Wobegon). I think we’re all hoping for one of those nice abnormal super soaker years to refill our stores before continuing along in our normal perpetual near drought condition.

  31. James at 48-
    Sorry, you’re right. I blame the lack of sleep. Most reservoirs are about 66%+ of average, not 100% which would be average. Ugh. My bad. Why don’t they have a color coded map of the reservoirs? That would help those having brain freezes.

  32. This year’s crop of high school graduates will have never known or experienced global warming and yet it has been beat into their skulls for 12 years. The expectation is they will vote as influenced by that flawed education. They will, of course, and without having given the issues a critical thought.
    It is called grooming and is a tenant of child abuse of any kind. Especially education.

  33. California has gained a benefit from an extended drought as there is little lubricity in the rocks and fault lines, providing seismic stability for several years. An extended wet period can affect the friction co-efficient in certain earthquake prone areas as ground saturation occurs. The end of the drought could signal the beginning of earthquake season.

    • Ground water rarely reaches the focal areas of major tectonic boundary zone earthquakes and if it does, it is on time scales that make the amount of surface and near surface water irrelevant. And the forces involved are not greatly affected by the presence or absence of water. There are generally compressive components for most of our faults including the strike slip ones. This is a lot different from local issues due to fracking ala TX and OK.

  34. What happened to that glacier that carved Yosemite Valley? Based on rock evidence, the ice was close to 6,000 feet thick in the Tuolumne River drainage. We weren’t having 100-degree summers in the Central Valley that’s for sure. Something changed, and more than once, to advance these huge ice sheets and glaciers, then retract them.
    Point is, the earth has experienced massive changes in temperature over its estimated life of 4.5 billion years. The sun is 1.3 million times the size of earth, and it controls climates on all of its planets.

  35. NWC is indicating rain will be predominantly North of Interstate 80. That means North of SF as well as North of Sacramento. So Lassen and Shasta areas will get the most moisture in the state and trailing off to the South. The Visual and Water Vapor images in the satellite images already support those ideas. I doubt we will receive much in either the Carson Valley or central Valley South of I80. I’d be glad if ma nature proves me wrong. So far the “River” appears to be a broadening expanse of moisture with low impact.

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