Daniel Swain Profile picture
Mar 9 5 tweets 3 min read
A few storm updates following my session Wed PM:
Event still largely on track, but two modest shifts that could affect impacts:
1) Storm may not be quite as warm across central & northern Sierra; could see some very heavy snowfalls above 6,500 ft once again.
#CAwx #CAwater [1/5]
2) Rainfall may be a bit heavier and more concentrated across the northern portion of central CA (but slightly less to north). This means flood risk in Monterey County (including Big Sur Coast), as well as southern Sierra & foothills, has increased somewhat. #CAwx [2/5]
3) Still not expecting widespread major river flooding. HOWEVER, localized significant flooding of creeks & streams is likely, and *possibly* on a few smaller rivers in the above-mentioned areas, due to combo of heavy rain & snowmelt below ~4,500ft elev. #CAwx [3/5]
4) Another major concern is structural damage and possible avalanches in unusual places due to extreme snow loading (including added mass of rainwater absorbed by high elev snowpack). This could pose major problems in populated parts the higher Sierra. [4/5] #CAwx
5) Active pattern continues next wk, which could include an additional warm AR (though current indications are that it would likely be weaker). Still, today's event will prime watersheds for rapid response...so stay tuned for updates re: medium term flood risk. [5/5] #CAwx

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More from @Weather_West

Feb 16
Lot of hype right now regarding supposed potential for widespread "sea level snowfall" later next week NorCal.

That almost certainly isn't going to happen (for variety of reasons). But some unusually low elevation snowfall (to 1000-1,500 feet or so) is certainly possible. #CAwx
Yes, I know that the coarse-resolution ensemble models are showing accumulating sea level snowfall for SF/Sacramento. They are very likely wrong--and the same models' *own thermal profiles* are not supportive of snow in these areas with this pattern! #CAwx
It is *extremely* difficult to generate widespread snowfall to sea level in central/northern CA. Very cold air aloft sometime happens, but getting the freezing level all the way to the surface takes an exceptional weather pattern. #CAwx
Read 7 tweets
Jan 11
Additional widespread precipitation is likely over the next 8-9 days over the northern 2/3 of CA, and it will be heavy at times (especially northern third of CA). Strongest storm, with some more heavy rain, wind, and thunderstorms, is due in on Sat. #CAwx #CAwater [1/4] Projected precipitation map from ECMWF ensemble depicting wi
However, these are primarily areas that have not been nearly as wet as central CA recently. Also, these will generally be colder storm systems, bringing a greater balance of snow (vs rain) in mountains & somewhat limiting higher elevation runoff. #CAwx #CAwater [2/4]
For these reasons, although there will be *some* additional flooding, it increasingly look like *most* of CA will probably thread the needle--thereby avoiding a more widespread/severe flood scenario. Massive Sierra snowfalls are possible during this period! #CAwx #CAwater [3/4]
Read 4 tweets
Jan 2
Okay, folks. Starting to look like it's going to be a rough 10+ days from a flood risk perspective in Northern California, with a series of very wet & high-impact storms. Brief thread now; blog post late this PM; YouTube live Q&A Tue. [1/n] #CAwx #CAwater
The next inbound storm looks like it will be quite strong. A rapidly deepening surface low (i.e., meteorological "bomb cyclone") will remain well offshore, but the associated warm and cold fronts will bring widespread heavy rain and strong winds to NorCal later Wed. #CAwx [2/n] Map showing ECMWF model representation of "bomb cyclone
This storm would be fairly notable in its own right, as it will be associated with an unusually well-defined warm *and* cold frontal passages and an exceptionally moist and relatively warm #AtmosphericRiver. #CAwater #CAwx [3/n] Map depicting ECMWF representation of Wednesday storm, inclu
Read 17 tweets
Dec 29, 2022
Some thoughts on impacts from ongoing and likely prolonged very wet spell in NorCal. (Short thread). TL;DR: widespread heavy precipitation is likely, with mostly minor flood issues becoming more widespread this weekend & *possibly* more significant next week. [1/n] #CAwx #CAwater
Lighter precipitation continues today, but the next significant storm will be this weekend. This will come in the form of a moderately strong low pressure system coupled with a robust, warm, and relatively slow-moving atmospheric river. #CAwx #CAwater [2/n] Image
This New Year's storm will bring heavy rainfall to essentially all of NorCal, and widespread precipitation to SoCal as well. This storm will be quite warm, too, with very high freezing levels initially bringing rain even at 7,000 feet. #CAwx #CAwater [3/n] Precipitation map from ECMW...
Read 8 tweets
Dec 20, 2022
Still not seeing many images of damage, but based on anecdotes from folks in quake zone it does sound like there was damage to some structures & especially to infrastructure. I suspect that ongoing widespread regional power outages are reason we haven't heard more yet.#earthquake
This points to an emerging paradox in media reporting on disasters that's become really apparent in recent years: the more severe the damage, the less news initially makes it out (because power is out and telecoms are down) and the less coverage they receive.
In our hyper-connected information era, it often feels like there's a presumption that if something was a big deal, it must be prominent on social media (& if it's not, it's not a big deal). But that assumption breaks down if people can't get online in the worst-affected areas...
Read 5 tweets
Dec 20, 2022
To @JFrancisClimate's point, there has been some interesting recent work suggesting that amplified Arctic warming may be causing the *stratospheric* polar vortex to become disrupted more often in winter. But this is still the topic of very active research. science.org/doi/10.1126/sc…
And there's further evidence that Arctic warming may be associated w/jet stream patterns favorable for warm season weather extremes. So my view is that there is something going on! It just doesn't appear to be manifesting as colder winter extremes. science.org/doi/10.1126/sc…
BTW, my personal/professional view, essentially informed speculation, is actually that we're going to eventually confirm that Arctic amplification/sea ice/snow cover/high lat ocean temperature forcings are quite important in certain regions/seasons (including California!).
Read 4 tweets

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